Plaza Sésamo apparel to outfit U.S. Hispanic kids
Plaza Sésamo, the Spanish-language version of Sesame Street that airs on PBS and TeleFutura in the U.S., has inspired a new line of infant and toddler apparel that will be distributed in select Mervyn’s stores this spring. Along with Elmo and the gang, the merch range will feature Spanish characters Lola and Pauncho on apparel, footwear, sleepwear, hosiery and bags for the under-four set. Licensing partners include Children’s Apparel Network, BBC, AME, Berkshire and L’Egent. Sesame Workshop expects the new duds to appeal to kids in U.S. Hispanic households – a full 84% of which tune in to watch the series.
Mr. Bean fans can get their very own Teddy
New York-based Toy Play will roll out its master toy line for Mr. Bean, The Animated Series at Fall Mass Market Toy Expo in New York this month, before taking the six-SKU range to North American retail in fall 2004. Bean’s beloved Teddy naturally gets a plush treatment, and a talking Mr. Bean doll and 10-inch, bendable, soft-bodied doll are included in the initial line. Expect to see other plush, PVC figures, beanies, key rings, wind-ups, cuddle pillows and blankets joining the range in the coming months.
Blue Jean Teddy goes farther abroad
Art Impressions has recently expanded the licensing program for its Blue Jean Teddy property into several international territories including Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe, Latin America, Greece and Canada. And the list of licensees for the property continues to grow. New licenses granted to Brown Shoe Co. (footwear), Calego International (backpacks), Hedstrom (wallpaper borders), Isaac Morris (activewear), New Adventures (girls toys), No Kidding (fashion apparel), Tri-Star (jewelry) and Snugabye (infant/toddler bedding) have pushed the number of denim-teddy licensees to over 40. New products from these partners should start seeing the light of retail in late 2003, with most items appearing in early to mid-2004.
Spellbound’s Koala Brothers gets a book deal
Random House Children’s Books has inked an exclusive North American rights deal to publish books based on London, England-based Spellbound Entertainment’s preschool property The Koala Brothers. The TV series is set to debut in North America on Playhouse Disney in early 2004, and the books will translate the series’ story lines and settings into print. The initial program features a hardcover storybook, picture books and coloring & novelty books. Set to hit shelves in summer 2004, the initial range will be quickly followed up by several hardcover and novelty titles in fall 2004.
Jakks double-deals with Universal
Jakks Pacific has been granted the master toy license for two Universal Studios Consumer Products properties. Universal Pictures’ Van Helsing, slated for theatrical release in May 2004, got the nod along with the classic Universal Monsters franchise. With its sights set on the boys action toy arena, Jakks’ plans for both properties include action figures, playsets, vehicles, activity toys, Tongue Tape candy, slumber bags, lunch kits and backpacks. The lines are expected to hit retail by spring 2004.
Hasbro lands Tractor Tom master toy deal
Contender Entertainment Group has named Hasbro the North American master toy licensee for its preschool property Tractor Tom. Product specs were still being hammered out at press time, although play patterns for the line will be built around farm life, like the TV show. Look for Hasbro merch to hit North American retail shelves in the second half of 2004. Vivid Imaginations continues to cover the U.K., and Contender says it’s looking to issue more licenses over the next 18 months.