In a second promotion built around The Mask animated series, New Line Television and Taco Bell are teaming up to create a marketing program featuring five Kid’s Meal premium items, extensive signage and national TV sales. ‘It’s further support for what we’re doing, which is rolling out the first toy line based upon the animated series,’ says Dave Imhoff, senior vice president of worldwide licensing and merchandising for New Line Cinema.
Toy Island will manufacture the toy line itself, while premiums will be created by a toy company Taco Bell uses regularly. The toy line will be in stores in the spring, with a second range of product shipping in the summer, around the time of the Taco Bell promotion, Imhoff notes.
The partners’ first Mask promotion two years ago was done on a slightly smaller scale. ‘There’s actually going to be significant television advertising to support this premium promotion program,’ says Imhoff. ‘The first time [we got] together for The Mask, we had a relatively short window to bring everything together. It was very, very successful, but there wasn’t an opportunity to have media supporting it.’
The Mask airs Saturdays on CBS and six days a week in syndication. Its combination of action, comedy and adventure make it a natural for a toy line, says Imhoff, especially a toy line that uses voice chips. ‘It’s a takeoff on movies [and] voices from popular movies,’ Imhoff explains. ‘One of the characteristics of The Mask is that [the character is] constantly playing pranks and making fun of things. This toy line captures that with its voice activation feature it’s very funny. So these are action toys with a lot of humor.’
When it came to choosing a toy company for the license, New Line went with Hong Kong-based Toy Island for value and its up-to-the-minute capabilities. Toy Island is able to put out toys with tremendous value that appreciate significantly at the retail level, says Imhoff. ‘This company impressed us with what they’ve done in the past. [Their ability] to put together an incredibly creative toy shows that they think outside the box.’