Mattel is taking a walk on the wild side with its new girls brand Enchantimals, a group of girls who also happen to be half animal. Each one shares a ritual with her animal best friend that celebrates their unique personalities. Sage and her skunk friend Caper, for example, are problem-solvers who love pulling pranks. Bree Bunny and her sidekick Twist the rabbit, meanwhile, get creative with do-it-yourself projects.
The first wave of Mattel toys—targeting girls ages four to seven—launched at major retailers around the world in August. The line includes 14 small dolls and three playsets ranging in price from US$8.99 to US$34.99 apiece. Additionally, ancillary products including plush, role-play ear/tail combinations and face tattoo cosmetics from licensing partner Just Play are rolling out this fall.
According to Lori Pantel, SVP and GM of Girl’s Toy Box, Mattel will continue to expand the brand into additional categories moving forward, with an eye on apparel, accessories and publishing.
“The energy and excitement from the licensing community has been fantastic,” Pantel says. “They love the aesthetic and see great opportunity in softlines and back-to-school. We’re excited that by 2018, we’ll see much bigger extensions of the franchise outside of just toy.”
Additionally, the characters are coming to life in short-form content on YouTube (uploading on a weekly basis), as well as in an hour-long TV special that Nickelodeon has picked up to air in the US on Nick Jr. in November. Pantel is confident the special will soon be acquired globally, and says Mattel hopes it’s the beginning of an extensive line of long-form content.
And while the toymaker is thinking far into the future, the inspiration behind Enchantimals is very of-the-moment. The popular animal aesthetic featured in social media app filters, like those found in Snapchat and Instagram’s canine selfie feature, inspired the animal-human hybrid world of the brand.
“There’s not one person I know who’s not leveraging those filters,” says Pantel. “We see that digital play is happening, and we know many of our Millennial moms are passing their phones back to their daughters and inviting them to use those filters. With Enchantimals, we’re giving girls a physical opportunity to become their favorite Enchantimals. We’re welcoming them to be Enchantimals, instead of just playing it out [with the dolls].”