In keeping with retro toy resurgence, Cabbage Patch Kids-the `80s phenom created by Xavier Roberts that resulted in an approximate US$1 billion in licensed product sales-has re-entered the fray. Cleveland, Ohio-based Roberts and 4Kids Entertainment out of New York are banking on adult awareness to sell new Cabbage Patch kids products, says Al Kahn, chairman and CEO of 4Kids. The partners are also keen to develop entertainment extensions for the doll property. In terms of timing, Kahn projects 2002 for the total relaunch.
New York-based United Media and the U.K.’s Copyright Group have allied, forming Copyrights at United Media. This new arm will handle North American licensing for classic brands like Peter Rabbit, Paddington Bear, Maisy and Spot. ‘I think the marketplace is looking for greater depth and resource from all licensing organizations,’ says Nicholas Durbridge, president of Copyright Group, about the merger.
Initially, there could be some activity around Maisy and Spot, Durbridge says, and properties like Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman (lesser known State-side) will particularly benefit from the greater resources that the merged entity provides.
While people speculate that the pocket-monster fancy is fizzling, Pokémon still sallies strong with over 500 licensees. In fact, 4Kids signed 159 in Q2 2000 alone, including Toy Biz (for kites, 3-D magnets and marbles) and Kellog (for foodstuffs like cereal, Pop Tarts and Nutri-Grain bars). New categories have surfaced as well, like Mattel Interactive’s PokéROM minidisks, as seen on page 38.
Cardcaptors master toy licensee Trendmasters is rolling out (North America-wide) plush toys, dolls, collectible figurines and dress-up and role play toys for the Nelvana-produced anime series that’s currently airing on Kids’ WB! The St. Louis, Missouri-based toyco is also marketing a magic wand, light-up key chains and the Clow Book, which fans of the series will know holds the magical cards Sakura gets her powers from. Ashland, Ohio-based Landoll has also signed on to create a line of coloring books for the series.
In a deal with San Leandro, California-based Winterland, Beloit, Wisconsin’s Patch Products has obtained the board game rights for *NSYNC (no strings attached). Backstage Pass helps players ages eight and up figure out who the biggest *NSYNC fan is and can be found on-line at www.patchproducts.com for US$25. (The game has a suggested retail price of US$24 across the U.S. in Target, Toys `R’ Us and Barnes & Noble stores.)