With more than three dozen apps and 170 million downloads under its belt, Toca Boca is making its foray into the world of consumer products. The Spin Master-owned, Stockholm-based children’s mobile developer is launching its first-ever collection of consumer products, which will be available exclusively at Target stores (and at Target.com) across the US beginning July 17.
Inspired by the Toca Life digital brand, the gender-neutral lifestyle line includes apparel, accessories, sleepwear, backpacks, lunch bags, bedding and activity books from a crop of licensees that includes FABNY, The Foundery, Franco Manufacturing and Random House Children’s Books. Target will be merchandising the new Toca Boca products in between the boys’ and girls’ aisles in many of its stores, and Toca Boca COO Caroline Ingeborn says Target’s values fit with Toca’s efforts to focus on diversity and inclusivity. For example, Toca Boca’s recently released Toca Hair Salon 3 app is gender-neutral and includes a number of hair types, including naturally kinky hair.
“Our guiding star when we talk about inclusivity is that we don’t want any kid to ever feel left out,” says Ingeborn. “So we’re very happy about the opportunity to merchandise all of our products in between the aisles.”
At its core, Ingeborn says, the Toca Life brand is a role-playing experience. In working with the new physical products, she says Toca Boca believed it is important to empower kids through self-expression.
True to its name, the Toca Life mobile series focuses on everyday experiences, from life in the city, to family vacations and visiting the hospital. Aimed at kids ages five to nine, the new physical products also play on those moments of familiar fun, and range in price from US$6.99 to US$32.99.
Moving forward, Toca Boca plans to expand into additional consumer products categories and make the products available in territories beyond the US. “We want to ensure, regardless of what platform we’re working on, that we have the highest possible quality for all of our kids’ products,” Ingeborn says. When asked if toys were next in the company’s CP plans, Ingeborn couldn’t confirm specifics, but did say that other categories, including branded playthings, weren’t off the table.
To celebrate the launch of its first physical products, the company’s app Toca Life: City is now being offered for free. The app has also been updated to include a new feature and location that kids can unlock with a code found in Target stores.
The move into the CP world isn’t the first brand extension for Toca Boca, which released its first open-ended play app in 2011. In 2016, the company launched Toca TV, an SVOD service offering thousands of pieces of licensed content and a raft of exclusive originals. In March, however, Toca TV ceased operations. At the time, Toca Boca CEO Bjorn Jeffery stressed that the model is one that takes time to build, and said the company made the decision to cut the cord after it foresaw difficulties in sustaining subscription targets.
Aside from taking a page from its parentco playbook, Toca Boca’s move also falls in line with subsidiary Sago Mini (which was also part of Spin Master’s acquisition last April). The Toronto-based division already has a consumer products line comprised of books and plush dolls, with all physical products designed by an in-house team.