Hilda may be known for her love of curious creatures, but the animated protagonist’s latest adventure involves a very different beast—consumer products.
Produced by Silvergate Media and animated by Mercury Filmworks, Hilda originally launched globally on Netflix in September 2018. The second season is set to bow on the platform in late 2020, and Silvergate is inking agreements for the property’s consumer products program.
Recent partners include Nobrow (books) and Zazzle (print-on-demand products including apparel, mugs and phone cases). Plush and plush accessories from Gund are set to debut at New York Toy Fair in February 2020, and as Silvergate continues to develop the program, key categories will include toys, collectibles, gaming, apparel, accessories, stationery, gifts and greetings.
“Hilda is a fantastic alternative to the pink- and movie-saturated toy shelves we’re seeing right now,” says Lisa Macdonald, SVP of consumer products and content sales for Silvergate Media. “She is a really smart, inspiring and alternative hero.”
Like the series, upcoming consumer products will target kids ages six to 11. Gund’s plush items are a good fit for this age demo, Macdonald says, and the category also lends itself well to translating the 2D-animated character into the real world.
But Hilda won’t be the sole focus of the consumer products program. Macdonald says supporting characters (including the adorable Twig and sarcastic Woodman) will also play an important role in licensing efforts.
“Woodman has a really dry sense of humor, and that is something we want to translate into the consumer products,” says Macdonald.
In addition to having the character’s one-liners printed on apparel or packaging, she says future toys could incorporate sound chips that would allow kids and collectors to hear Woodman’s wisecracks in his own voice. Macdonald also anticipates the character will play a significant role in marketing, as his sardonic sense of humor translates well on social media.
“We’re seeing a lot of engagement on social—and cosplay, in particular, is something we’ve seen a lot of online,” she says. “There is potential in the dress-up and costume category. We’ll be guided by the fans in terms of what works and what doesn’t.”
Silvergate is working with Gund on its retail rollout strategy, and while the current focus is on specialty stores, Macdonald says the team is open to conversations with all retailers. And because fans of the show span from early elementary school all the way to adulthood, Macdonald believes the property could find success with a number of different partners (including older, more pop culture-focused stores).
“We’re treading new ground to launch consumer products off the back of a Netflix property. The team has been watching the products related to Stranger Things very closely [to gain insights],” she says. “It’s important we stay true to the aesthetic of the show, with a lot of attention to detail.”
One such detail is Hilda’s love for the world around her. The series follows its titular hero as she leaves her rural home for the bustling and magical metropolis of Trolberg. Because the show so often emphasizes creatures and nature, Macdonald says the team is investigating methods to avoid throwaway packaging. Not even Woodman could complain about that.