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Inside PAW Patrol’s lasting global presence

Cars, dinos and dairy? Spin Master and Viacom dish on the IP's theme-driven strategy and what to expect for the popular show's seventh season.
October 1, 2019

Following a successful superhero themed year, PAW Patrol is breaking into new CP categories, introducing a season full of themed executions, and is branching into perennial favorite: dinosaurs. Among many deals, Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products (VNCP) signed and renewed multiple agreements in categories such as novelty toys, plush, dairy products and publishing.

The latest deals come on the heels of VNCP’s exclusive partnership with Walmart in the US and Canada for the franchise’s latest 44-minute DVD, PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue, and a special edition product line, including toys, apparel, accessories, footwear, home, health and beauty, tied to the home entertainment release. The DVD and the new products launched earlier this month and will be available in most markets next year.

Ready, Race, Rescue is the latest theme connected to Nickelodeon’s sixth season of PAW Patrol. A Ready, Race, Rescue DVD launched in September and a special, 44-minute episode will bow on Nick later this year. The season also introduced a superhero theme, Super Paws, which evolved from a 44-minute special, DVD and toy line—PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups—that introduced the IP’s rescue dogs as superheroes last fall. Super Paws episodes began airing in July and both themes are at the core of Spin Master and VNCP’s fall growth strategy for PAW Patrol across television, consumer products, home entertainment, theatrical and live experiences.

“Mighty Pups was so successful we decided to expand into a full season of themes this year,” says Roberto Stanichi, VP of marketing and global business unit lead for preschool at Spin Master. (Previous seasons featured single themes like Jungle Rescue and Sea Patrol.) “Mighty Pups was the first time the characters assumed different identities, which opened up a lot of opportunities for us from both a storytelling and a product development perspective.”

With the superhero theme, Stanichi says the pups required a new mega-sized headquarters and lookout tower. The accompanying toy, Spin Master’s PAW Patrol Mighty Pups: Super Paws Lookout Tower, recently made both Walmart’s annual “Top Rated by Kids” and Target’s “Bullseye’s Top Toys of 2019″ holiday toy lists.

As for new product launches tied to Ready, Race, Rescue, Spin Master is introducing die cast vehicle toys for the first time. “The strategy deals with the life cycle of consumers as they go through the brand,” says Stanichi. “As we continue to manage PAW Patrol for the long term, die cast was a natural expansion for us to appeal to the slightly older consumer, kids ages four to five, within the franchise’s target demographic.” He notes that several of the new die cast items, which launched last month, are currently among the company’s top performing toys across the entire PAW Patrol range. 

PAW Patrol is also making a bigger push into consumer-packaged goods, says Charlotte Castillo, SVP of global franchise planning at VNCP. “In the US and worldwide, a big category we’re seeing a lot of growth in is [consumer-packaged goods],” says Castillo. “PAW Patrol is cutting through because our partners aren’t just overlaying the characters’ faces on the packaging. They’re actually incorporating the DNA of the IP into the product by manufacturing paw-and pup-shaped items so the brand is instantly recognizable to kids.”

Specifically, VNCP renewed a deal with dairy maker Danone across Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and additional Commonwealth of Independent States countries through 2020 after a line of PAW Patrol dairy products (drinking and spoon yogurt, flavoured milk drinks and cheese curds) found success earlier this year.

Castillo adds that PAW Patrol is also getting into global theatrical releases and activations for the first time. Internationally, Ready, Race, Rescue will launch with promotional windows in cinemas from fall 2019 through 2020 prior to its DVD release. It follows successful cinema activations for PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups in Canada, Europe, Latin America and Australia.

“It’s about bringing new preschoolers into the fandom,” says Castillo. “Onsite there are sampling opportunities and in some cases we have the walk-along characters show up.”

Looking ahead to the small screen, PAW Patrol’s 26 x half-hour seventh season will add a dinosaur theme to the mix. New Dino Rescue episode air dates are yet to be announced, but associated consumer products are expected to hit shelves in fall 2020.

PAW Patrol contributed to US$1.63 billion in revenue for Spin Master in fiscal 2018, with the company’s preschool and girls segment growing 35.8% to the tune of US$139.1 million. Spin Master’s preschool and girls segment also grew 10.3% in Q2 2019 due to higher sales for PAW Patrol.

According to The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service, PAW Patrol generated nearly US$1.4 billion across entertainment categories (including DVDs, books, toys and video games) from 2015 through the end of 2018. The brand ranked seventh among total toy revenue in 2018, up from 14th in 2015.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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