Hasbro has signed a multi-year agreement with Maxx Group. The California-based licensing agency will represent a number of toyco’s brands in the EMEA region. Maxx, via its toy brand YuMe Toys, will lock in partnerships for Hasbro’s brands, including My Little Pony (pictured), Power Rangers, Transformers, Nerf, Mr. Potato Head and Monopoly. The licensing agent is focusing on producing plush products, and filling the company’s white space in toys, advent calendars, collectibles and stationary items, according to statement from both companies. Hasbro has been shaking up its licensing partners amid its recent acquisition of Toronto-based prodco Entertainment One last month, and earlier this week the toy and entertainment company expanded licensing agent WildBrain CPLG‘s rights in Europe.
Mattel is growing its eco-focused efforts with new products made from a bio-based plastic. Mega Bloks, the company’s construction property, is expanding with three preschool building sets made with bio-based resins that have Forest Stewardship Council certified packaging, and which are fully recyclable. The new sets—Polar Friends, Safari Friends and Woodland Friends—will roll out globally, but no release date has been announced yet. These new toys are part of Mattel’s efforts to have 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic material in both its products and packaging by 2030, the company is now at 93%, according to Mattel.
London-based Entertainment One has partnered with national tourism agency Visit England to include popular kids brand Peppa Pig in a promotional campaign to get more English families with young kids to explore the country. Launched this week, Visit England is hosting a Peppa Pig-dedicated microsite on its website, which features clips from the show, activity sheets and branded maps. The tourism agency is also promoting the campaign through a national radio competition and digital advertising. The budget is around US$850,941 (GBP£650,000), and it’s expected to generate more than 225,000 additional overnight stays in England this year, and a US$21.6 million (GBP£16.5 million) boost to the country’s economy. The goal of the marketing push is to to grow England’s already billion-dollar domestic tourism market by getting the preschool family segment to travel more, according to Visit England.
UK pubcaster CBeebies has picked up stop-motion animated preschool series Kiri and Lou from New Zealand prodco Stretchy and Canadian animation house Yowza . Distributed internationally by London’s CAKE, the 52 x five-minute series was commissioned by New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ and Canadian pubcaster CBC Canada. Kiri and Lou is about two dinosaurs who adventure together and explore emotions. The show has already been picked up by international broadcasters ABC Australia, YLE (Finland), Czech Television, EVision, BeIN (the Middle East) and SVOD service Showmax in Africa.
Canadian animation studio ToonDraw has signed a trio of broadcast deals for its animated preschool series Genius Genie (78 x five minutes). International broadcasters YLE (Finland), Alati International (Russia) and Discovery Kids (MENA) have picked up the show, and Discovery Kids will launch it March 17. Revolving around a well-meaning genie whose magical solutions to problems often makes things worse, and the kids who help make things right, season one was produced by ToonDraw in partnership with Canadian broadcasters Radio-Canada, Knowledge Network, Tele-Quebec and TFO. ToonDraw is producing a second season, although the number of episodes and length haven’t been announced yet.