W ith 16 feet of retail real estate at Toys ‘R’ Us to play with and a logo revamp underway, the Joester Loria Group is gearing up to significantly expand the kids part of its Animal Planet licensing program. CEO Debra Joester sees plenty of potential in the kids consumer products space, pointing to the fact that the Animal Planet brand currently derives 70% of its revenue from the kids market, largely because the channel’s youth viewership sits in the millions.
The plan now is to broaden the limited toy line of plush, board games and puzzles with existing licensees – which have been feeding products to Toys ‘R’ Us for eight years, as well as Target (through an exclusive) and other mass, specialty and book retail outlets – plus pursue some new categories.
Current licensees on-board the program include TFH and Meredith for publishing (both of which already have books at retail), Activision for video games and Jakks Pacific for pet accessories. Joester is already in discussions for kids apparel, room décor and food & beverage, working with a gender-neutral target of six- to 11-year-olds. Other categories she’s keen on securing are apparel, sleepwear, accessories, arts & crafts, some toys and back-to-school.
Led by books, toys and pet products, this new wave of products will start rolling out in early spring 2009, in tandem with the switch to AP’s bold new logo and branding strategy on packaging for existing products. The property has a clear, distinct identity about animals and exploring the world, says Joester, which makes it easier to position in the market. Discovery Communications is also planning to market the brand and products heavily across its network to drive viewers to stores.
Proceeds from licensed product sales will be donated to support Animal Planet’s cause-related group called R.O.A.R. (Reach Out, Act and Respond), a charity that supports local conservation and exotic and domestic animals.