National Geographic is expanding its consumer products program beyond publishing and video to include a realm of high-end specialty kids toys and games. The products will be available in North America exclusively at the high-end Museum Company chain, which counts 100 stores in its roster.
A shop-in-shop area will be created for the launch of the line, which is planned for September and October of this year. Merch will target kids ages toddler and up, and all product will be created by the Museum Company’s exclusive licensees and branded with the National Geographic kids logo.
Each item will be based on learning. For example, dinosaur and other play figures will contain package inserts so children will be able to learn more about the habitats and eating habits of animals. Other products include puzzles, plush, arts and crafts items, model and excavation kits and role-playing items. National Geographic will also expand the program into categories not traditionally associated with the magazine, such as a line of tongue-in-cheek T-shirts by Joe Blow of Maryland. All net proceeds feed directly into the exploration, education and environment programs of National Geographic.
John Dumbacher, VP of licensing and merchandising for National Geographic Enterprises Group, says this is the first major licensing push for kids items. Licensing was previously handled by outside agent United Media, but now that the National Geographic Channel is launching in September in the U.S., Dumbacher says the company wants to be able to extend the brand across platforms from television to merchandise.