* Scholastic is putting its tagline ‘All kids are created equal’ to work with a new deal to brand school uniforms. Scholastic formed its first-ever apparel partnership with New York-based clothing manufacturer M. Hidary & Co. to produce uniforms for fall 1999 branded by a discreet Scholastic label and logos on the packaging material. The uniforms will be promoted through book and software clubs reaching more than 26 million students, as well as by classroom magazines, book fairs and Scholastic’s Web site (www.scholastic.com). Scholastic is currently looking at expanding its licensing program to include other art and school supplies such as uniform accessories, craft kits, electronic learning aids and stationery. New partners will be announced shortly.
* Copyrights America has big plans for Maisy. After years in the specialty marketplace, the book-based property is set to move onto shelves across the U.S. via a mainstream retailer. An exclusive launch for Maisy is planned for fourth quarter 1999 with a major toy store chain, which had yet to be named at press time. Copyrights is currently talking to three major toy companies about the master toy license, and expects to reach a decision this month.
Recent signings for Maisy include Children’s Apparel Network as master apparel partner, Wormser for sleepwear, Holiday Fair for backpacks and accessories, Playskool for puzzles and KNR for swimwear and outerwear. Published by Candlewick Press in the U.S., Maisy’s books have sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
* Children’s Television Workshop has announced a new brand for infants called Sesame Street Baby Time. The new line will launch later this year, featuring Sesame Street characters engaged in activities such as bathing, eating, playing and sleeping. Retail partners already signed up for the line include Kmart, First Years, Romar and Playskool.
In other CTW news, preschool cloth book manufacturer Kidsbooks has been signed on to develop the first-ever Sesame Street books to sport zippers, buttons and pockets.
* Warner Bros. Consumer Products is shipping its Looney Tunes characters off to China to peddle drinks. A new deal with the China Peregrine Food Corp. will see Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Marvin the Martian and others appearing on a branded line of pasteurized milk, juice and yogurt drinks this summer. The new brands will launch in Shanghai and Hangzhou, which have a collective population of 22.5 million. China Peregrine produces Happy Family, the only fresh pasteurized milk brand in Shanghai.
* Thomas the Tank Engine is steaming into two new territories, thanks to deals with France’s Expand Licensing and South Africa’s Americom. Expand has a three-year license to secure a broadcaster for Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and develop French merchandising opportunities for the Britt Allcroft property. Fifteen-year-old licensing and publishing company Americom has a similar deal for South Africa.
* HIT Consumer Products has signed on DIC 2 to handle its licensing business in Italy. The 27-year-old Italian licensing company will take over some publishing rights and all licensing, merchandising and promotional rights for properties such as Percy the Park Keeper, Anthony Ant, Archibald the Koala and The Three Friends and Jerry.
London-based The Licensing Company has signed on British toy company David Halsall International to develop a new line of toys under license from European construction equipment giant JCB. New JCB branded products will include sit-and-rides, radio-controlled loaders and excavators, as well as toy helmets and tool kits.