In an interesting twist, specialty retailer Build-a-Bear Workshop is making its physical product virtual via a new license with video game publisher The Game Factory. The title, intended for the Nintendo DS format, is due out for the holidays and will let kids five and up build virtual bears in the comfort of their own home. Players can construct custom bears and then care for and groom their creations. They’ll also be able to ‘buy’ additional clothes and accessories for their bears as they win virtual money, which opens up 20 mini-games within the larger one.
On the other side of the pond, Welsh pubcaster S4C’s commercial arm has landed a worldwide publishing deal with Random House Children’s Books for Hana’s Helpline, the stop-motion preschool series co-produced by S4C, Calon, Five and ZDF. The license encompasses English-language rights for story, activity, sticker and jigsaw books, which should start rolling out in spring 2008. The publishing giant joins UK master toy licensee Golden Bear and home entertainment partner 2-Entertain. The series is slated to bow on S4C in April and will debut on Five’s Milkshake! block sometime this fall.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products gets on the Croc trend train as it inks a deal with the trendy footwear maker for a line of DC Comics Super Heroes Crocs and Jibbitz shoe charms. Shoes sporting characters such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Women will hit US mass retail this summer. IP heavyweights Disney and Nickelodeon have made similar deals with the shoe company in the past few months.