Bob the Builder is headed out of his eco-friendly Project:Build It Sunflower Valley locale and into the Wild West for an upcoming direct-to-video special, Built to be Wild. With the new offering, HIT Entertainment’s U.S. arm is cementing the licensing strategy it used for 2004′s Snowed Under – The Bobblesberg Winter Games by releasing DTV-specific products as the video hits retail in the fall. In fact, expect to see a Bob’s fall DTV/consumer products push become an annual event.
Jamie Cygielman, senior VP of consumer products, says more Bob DTVs will follow each fall for at least the next few years to keep the franchise fresh and feed product collectibility. Popular characters from future DTVs will also likely migrate to the television show, as Benny the digger from Snowed Under did with Project: Build It. In Built to be Wild’s case, look for new pickup truck character Jackaroo to hop over to TV after the special hits retail.
Built to be Wild is an all-singing, all-dancing musical adventure. Although HIT is keeping the DTV’s big build under wraps, it’s been revealed Bob will meet new characters including: Jackaroo, cowgirl Rio, her horse, Dollar, and the Double Ranch crew. Campfires, gold mines and lost treasure will serve as the group’s musical inspirations.
Like its Project: Build It collaboration with Oakbrook, Illinois-based RC2, HIT brought in Bob’s master toy licensee and publisher Random House early on the production process so toys and books could be created and released in tandem with the show.
RC2 is producing four vehicles (US$4.99 each) and two take along Built to be Wild Collectible Sets (US$14.99), including a Wal-Mart-exclusive model. Meanwhile, Random House is launching a coloring and activity book (US$2.99). HIT is also seeking food partners for fruit juice and snack promotions to get product on the shelves in time for the DTV release. A national ad campaign is set to target moms through print and TV, and a retail program is currently in the works.