Gabby’s Dollhouse enjoys success across EMEA

The newly rebranded Universal Products and Experiences celebrates its successful entry into the pre-school space with DreamWorks Gabby’s Dollhouse.

Devised by Blue’s Clues veterans Traci Paige Johnson and Jennifer Twomey, the combined animation/live action show sees presenter Gabby unbox a new surprise each episode, then magically shrink to join her miniature feline friends – Pandy Paws, MerCat, Cakey Cat and more – on a fun adventure in the dollhouse.

The series has racked up impressive viewing figures since it debuted on Netflix and YouTube last year. Global monthly views on the show’s YouTube channel, Gabby & Friends, averaged more than 18m throughout 2021, while the series also featured in Netflix’s Global Hours Viewed Top 10 for the second half of that year. The free to air roll-out is now underway across EMEA with the series having just launched on Cartoonito in Italy in September. It will make its free to air debut on Tiny Pop in the UK on 17th October 2022 and on Clan in Spain later this year.

“We’re delighted with Gabby’s Dollhouse: it’s evidence of our ability to launch a new property into a sector that is completely new to us and produce something fresh and original that has really captured the imagination of younger kids – and appeals to their parents, too,” said Paul Bufton, vice president EMEA at Universal Products and Experience. “The show is a mix of all the things pre-schoolers adore – unboxing, miniature worlds, cute cats – and it’s full of joy, colour, good vibes and catchy songs, with plenty of positive messaging around solving problems, teamwork and friendship.”

The toy line from master toy licensee Spin Master, which includes play sets, plush and collectibles, has already proved a hit in the UK market, with retailer Smyths bringing forward its Gabby’s Dollhouse launch to June this year to meet overwhelming customer demand and Argos listing the Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse in its Top 15 Toys for Christmas list. Plans are currently in motion to expand Gabby’s Dollhouse into new international markets and new categories including fashion, home, publishing and more.

“Parents and pre-schoolers have really fallen in love with Gabby and her cat friends, and we’re so excited to watch the brand grow and thrive,” concluded Paul. “It’s a fantastic first step on our journey in the pre-school category, and there’s so much more to come.”

Aspire, Kärcher and Smoby Toys collaborate on role-play range

Aspire has secured a deal with Smoby Toys for a master role-play range based on the established cleaning-technology brand Kärcher.

Aspire, the dedicated Corporate & Lifestyle division of world-leading brand licensing agency WildBrain CPLG, has secured the deal with the Simba Dickie Group’s Smoby Toys. Brokered by WildBrain CPLG’s German office on behalf of Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG, the partnership will see Smoby Toys create a role-play toy range based on the design of original indoor and outdoor Kärcher products.

The extensive line will feature toys inspired by products from Kärcher, including a pressure washer, a window cleaner and a handled cleaner, targeted at key toy and DIY retailers across Europe, with the first range of products expected to launch from 2023.

Victoria Whellans, commercial director at Aspire, said: “As we extend the Kärcher brand into complementary product areas that reflect the company’s values, this new partnership with Smoby Toys will provide an exciting opportunity for younger fans to be introduced to the world of Kärcher through engaging role-play products. Kärcher and Smoby Toys share an ethos of creating innovative and high-quality products, and we have enjoyed presenting this creative toy range to potential retail partners at BLE.

Bernard Russac, marketing & communications manager at Smoby Toys SAS, added: “Kärcher is undoubtedly a strong, trusted and valued brand, with wide international recognition. We’re therefore very excited to partner with them and create a range of realistic role-play toys that are inspired by some of the company’s most iconic products.”

Kärcher is an established and market-leading manufacturer of home and professional cleaning equipment, recognised for innovative products including pressure washers, window vacuum cleaners, hard floor cleaners and more. The German company is family-owned and operates worldwide, with its products sold by over 150 companies across 78 countries.

Aspire represents Kärcher across Europe and is developing a licensing programme targeting adults and kids across further categories including workwear, storage and promotions.

WildBrain secures new deals for Tom Gates series and specials

WildBrain has signed multiple territories distribution deals for The Brilliant World of Tom Gates series and specials.

WildBrain has secured a wave of international sales across seasons one and two of The Brilliant World of Tom Gates and the brand’s Christmas special. A Sky Original kids’ TV series produced by TG Entertainment Limited, The Brilliant World of Tom Gates is based on the multi-million-copy bestselling book series written and illustrated by Liz Pichon.

WildBrain holds global distribution rights to The Brilliant World of Tom Gates season one and two (40 x 11’) and has also recently added the upcoming Halloween special, The Brilliant World of Tom Gates: A Monster Halloween (1 x 22’), featuring gamer and YouTube sensation DanTDM, and the previously announced Christmas special, The Brilliant World of Tom Gates: Epic Christmas Party (1×14’), to its slate.

Caroline Tyre, VP Global Sales and Rights Strategy at WildBrain, said: “The Brilliant World of Tom Gates continues to draw audiences and broadcasters looking for a fun and innovative series with a distinctive visual style that kids can relate to. We’ve received tremendous feedback on the show, and we’re now excited to introduce the series to new international audiences and to share even more of Tom Gates through the hilarious new Halloween special, starring the incredibly talented DanTDM, and the epic Christmas special.”

WildBrain has signed new sales across multiple global territories, including the US, Portugal, Israel, Hong Kong, and Canada for season two. These agreements add to the previously announced broadcast and streaming partners for season one, including Australia, Canada, Slovakia, MENA, Pakistan, and Hong Kong.

Published by Scholastic and translated into 46 languages worldwide, the heavily illustrated novels, in handwritten font with Tom’s doodles and pictures embellishing the text, document in hilarious detail his everyday trials and tribulations at home and school which all kids can relate to. The series follows Tom as he has fun with his family and friends, solves life’s problems, and comes up with an epic array of excuses to avoid doing his homework.

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates is produced by TG Entertainment and animation production services are provided by Wild Child Animation.

Monster High expands with Rubies licence and new product reveal

Rubies is excited to announce the acquisition of the Monster High licence for costumes and Mattel unveils new dolls and play sets.

The officially licensed costumes due to be launched in 2023 will have mass appeal with young fans, especially for next year’s Halloween- with werewolves, vampires, sea creatures costumes and more. First debuting in 2010, Monster High has always encouraged kids to embrace their authentic selves and celebrate what makes them unique. The strong fashion led franchise identity, as the teenage children of legendary monsters are back for a new generation.

Ruth Henriquez, Head of Consumer Products Mattel EMEA commented: “As we join BLE this week, it’s great to see the extension of our partnership with Rubies with the addition of Monster High. As a brand rooted in fashion and self-expression, we are thrilled to bring this new line of costumes to our fans old and new, as we begin an exciting future for this much-loved franchise.”

Monster High’s ethos of fostering a more accepting world, where everyone is proud to be their authentic self, aligns perfectly with Rubies values. Monster High as a brand has $2.6b in franchise sales since launch, with 150m+ dolls sold and 11b lifetime YouTube views. On top of this, the brand has an exciting slate coming up, debuting its first ever live-action movie this October on Nickelodeon.

Mike O’Connell, managing director for Rubies, added: “With the production of our Barbie and Fireman Sam ranges and the recent development of our He-Man costumes, our partnership with Mattel is reaching new heights. We’re delighted to be adding yet another well-loved and popular brand to our mammoth portfolio of licences and can’t wait to see what fans think of our upcoming Monster High costumes. On top of this, we’re excited to be adding a brand which lines up with our values that we promote through our products; primarily, being true to oneself and self-expression.”

Rubies official licensed Monster High costumes are currently in early stages of development and are due to be launched next year.

Mattel has also announced that it is expanding its range with dolls to include Draculaura, Clawdeen, Frankie, Cleo and Lagoona, Ghoulia, Deuce and Torelai. This new set of dolls will allow the fans allows even more storytelling opportunities by representing a wider array of body shapes and sizes.

Monster High was first introduced in 2010 and this year, Mattel has refuelled the franchise, beginning with the reproductions of the original dolls. Revealed to a new generation of fans as well as igniting the engaged collector audience, the reimagined Monster High offerings and dolls cater to what fans know and love about the brand.

Monster High is also partnering with DoSomething.org - one of the largest organisations exclusively for young people and social change, to bring kids together and give them that same sense of belonging.

18th anniversary celebrations for Winx Club

2022 marks an important milestone for Winx Club and Rainbow Group has deployed a host of brand resources and activities for the occasion.

Winx Club, the hit animated fairy show created by Iginio Straffi and launched in 2004, is enjoying a year of celebrations, accompanied by the unveiling of news for the brand. To mark the occasion, Italian-based Rainbow Group has deployed a host of brand resources and activities, designed to develop the brand’s potential with new lines and events for young adults and thank fans who have grown up with the brand and continue to evolve with it.

The latest Giffoni Film Festival, held last July, served as a fitting   backdrop for Winx Club celebrations, hosted by the Italian producers of the hit-series. The Film Festival is Italy’s most important event for kids and young adult viewers, annually launching new IPs and unveiling the latest audience preferences, Winx Club’s 18 years were celebrated in a perfect setting, with memorable highlights from season one of Winx Club restored to delight fans.

In the evening, Rainbow hosted a special party for its older fans. Entitled “Winx Club 2004: Back to Alfea”, the event took place in the beautiful green setting of Giardino degli Aranci, and a night full of music and magical entertainment themed around Bloom, Stella, Flora, Musa, Tecna and Aisha, ensured all guests could come together and celebrate the important eighteen-year milestone alongside the company.

Fans flocked from all over Italy to celebrate the anniversary of the timeless classic, created and produced in the country, and which has made the Winx fairies icons of style, as well as a source of inspiration for its millions of fans.

Guests entered the party through the Alfea portal, on a magenta carpet and a tunnel of balloons and enjoyed themed installations reimagining the fairies’ world. A stage featuring some of the Winx Club’s most iconic songs entertained guests throughout the evening, as well as a modern-take on the inevitable photocall, web-themed games and fairy inspired cocktails and foods.

Winx Club’s many accolades mean the show has become an appealing saga for all target groups, and the show powered by Netflix has a YA target audience.

Fate: The Winx Saga is already in its second live action season which launched on 16th September and develops the Winx property even further.

Blu Goblin, Beano and Save the Children partner on charity collectibles launch

Beano celebrates its upcoming 85th birthday with exclusive new collectibles coming to Blu Goblin in support of Save the Children.

Blu Goblin has announced that Beano Studios is getting ready to celebrate its 85th birthday with an initiative to support Save the Children, one of the studio’s long standing charity partners.

Exclusive to the Blu Goblin platform, the collection launches as Beano prepares to celebrate its 85th birthday, harnessing the power of fun and mischief to support a fantastic cause.

For fans, collectors, supporters of the charity and the public at large, an official, exclusive, limited edition, Dennis sculpture will be available, heralding his recent 70th anniversary along with a classic Beano character chess set. Both unique items have been designed and developed by the Blu Goblin team in partnership with Beano Studios.

The hand cast Dennis sculptures are avalable in two versions. The first is traditional red and black, and a striking, limited edition of just 70 pieces will be finished with a brilliant white glaze and spiky metallic mop of hair. Packed with personality, the sculptures stand at 31cm tall.

The Beano Chess Set features Beanotown legends with the mischief maker as the King – and his trusty companion as the Pawn.

Vanessa Andreis, franchise planning and partnerships director, Beano Studios, commented: “2023 is set to be a massive year for Beano as we celebrate an incredible 85 years of making kids laugh. Now, thanks to this wonderful partnership with Blu Goblin, fans can collect their own little piece of Beano history whilst helping Save the Children change the future for good, for children around the world.”

Beano has chosen to support Save the Children one of its long standing charity partners, through the sale of these exclusive items via Blu Goblin. The company has worked with Save the Children for a number of years, and both organisations share a child-centred view of the world.

Gemma Sherrington, executive director of fundraising and marketing at Save the Children, explained: “Everything we do is powered by children, and what better way to demonstrate the power of children’s imaginations than to celebrate the original creative prankster – Dennis. We are immensely proud of our partnership with Beano and hope that everyone enjoys these limited-edition products which will raise money to help children get the food, education and medicine they need to see the wonder in the world again.”

Beano was first published in July 1938 and is still created every week in its original Dundee headquarters and printed in the UK. Beano recently reported an ABC of 58,053 and is in its fifth consecutive year of circulation growth. The brand reaches over 5m fans a month on its digital network, centred around multi-award winning Beano.com, featuring jokes, quizzes and games in a kid safe environment.

 

L.O.L Surprise! and Rainbow High to debut on runway in Milan

Top global doll brands L.O.L. Surprise! and Rainbow High to make their fashion debut on the runway making Milan Fashion Week history.

Capsule collections from two young Italian designers, Francesca Cottone and Casa Preti, include styles inspired by the popular fashion dolls and will be shown at an exclusive show in Milan, scheduled for the evening of 23rd September 2022 at the Spazio Antologico.

The doll brands L.O.L Surprise! and Rainbow High, produced by MGA Entertainment, will be the stars of a haute fashion show event at the international showcase in Milan. The show promises amazing and elevated looks inspired by the most glamorous fashions in the toybox, as well as unexpected production elements and immersive music. The two young Italian designers will interpret the looks of L.O.L. Surprise! Rainbow High, and L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G dolls, which have all uniquely transcended the toy space, adding their influence to fashion and pop-culture.

Rainbow High has caught the attention of fashion enthusiasts around the globe with the dolls’ highly detailed ensembles that pull inspiration from today’s hottest trends. The ever-growing, inclusive line-up of Rainbow High characters embrace the creative arts and are explored in the corresponding hit series, available for streaming on Frisbee, YouTube and Netflix. L.O.L. Surprise! has impressed the industry and consumers alike since its debut more than six years ago with the brand’s iconic packaging, fearless styles and endless surprises that characterise both the small dolls and, more recently, the larger L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. collection.

The fashion show will be open to the public and aims to engage fans and collectors of the doll brands and fashion at large, spotlighting the values of inclusivity and self-expression that both MGA brands embody.

“The link between our popular doll brands and fashion is integral, and there is no better place and time than Fashion Week, in one of the greatest fashion capitals of the world, to bring our beloved characters to the runway,” said Daniela Pavone, head of Marketing EMEA, MGA Entertainment. “Dolls have always been quintessential to fashion culture at large, and we are proud of our brands which continue to both reflect and inspire the fashion world.”

The show will be live on Friday 23rd September at 7pm Milan time. Fans from all over the world can livestream the event by visiting http://www.lolsurprise.com/milan, as well as follow along on socials using the #LOLxRHxMFW hashtag.

Jazwares to debut at BLE with Squishmallows

Jazwares is heading to BLE with its global plush brand sensation Squishmallows.

BLE attendees will have the opportunity to meet the Squishmallows team and collaborate with Jazwares to create meaningful product extensions for UK fans and collectors.

As Squishmallows continues its evolution into a powerhouse lifestyle brand, UK Squishmallows sales have doubled in 2022. Sales are set to double again moving into 2023 with over 250 new Squishmallows entering the UK market. Incredible results in the toy aisle are further fueled by out-of-aisle activations across major retailers, supported by a robust marketing campaign where UK TikTok stars showcase their Squishmallows squads.

“Demand for Squishmallows is at an all-time high and we are very excited to be attending BLE to discuss meaningful opportunities to expand our ever-growing licensing partnerships,” said Sam Ferguson, SVP Global Licensing, Jazwares. “We are focusing on authentic category collaborations that embrace the brand’s DNA, giving fans a chance to embrace Squishmallows across an array of categories and experiences.”

Since Squishmallows’ debut in 2017, the brand has become known for its ultra-soft feel and adorable designs for fans of all ages, with 125+ million plush sold globally. Last year Squishmallows took the US Toy Association’s coveted overall Toy of the Year award, and is also a 2022 nominee for the association’s licence and plush toy of the year awards. On social media, Squishmallows content has generated over 8.3b impressions on TikTok and @squishmallows (and related hashtags) have tagged in more than 1m Instagram posts. The Squishmallows social media channels have ballooned to more than 1.1m combined followers and nearly 100 global and local Facebook groups have been created by fans. In the Metaverse, the recently launched Squishmallows on Roblox game continues to be widely popular with players who can collect Squishmallows virtual plush, hang out with friends and more in a colourful world.

Recognising the brand’s vast global audience and multi-generational appeal, Jazwares created its premiere Squishmallows global licensing programme last year in the US and following its success, will debut an extensive UK programme with Q3/Q4 product launches for 2022, supported by some of the biggest names in consumer and lifestyle products. Partners include Bioworld, Character World, HarperCollins Publishers, Aykroyds and TDP Textiles and Crackerjack UK Ltd.

“We have witnessed exceptional retail sales in the UK and are following a very successful US consumer products launch. We are more than ready for this incredibly exciting new chapter for Squishmallows,” added Sam Ferguson.

Attendees of BLE are encouraged to experience the Squishmallows global lifestyle phenomenon at stand B200.

Jazwares promotes Sam Ferguson to SVP of global licensing

In his newly expanded role, Sam will oversee the company’s global inbound and outbound licensing efforts reporting to Judd Karofsky.

Sam Ferguson has been elevated to senior vice president of Global Licensing, Jazwares.

Since joining Jazwares in 2016, Sam has been instrumental in growing the company’s vast licensed portfolio and homegrown intellectual properties consisting some of the world’s hottest entertainment and lifestyle brands. Most recently, Sam spearheaded the successful cross-category global licensing programme for Squishmallows, one of the toy industry’s leading plush brands. Since debuting in 2021, the Squishmallows consumer products licensing programme has expanded exponentially, attracting world-class partnerships across apparel, footwear, bedding, stationery, publishing and more – further cementing Squishmallows as a powerhouse lifestyle brand. Sam’s elevation to senior vice president of global licensing is effective immediately.

“Sam is an absolute rock star who has the passion, commitment, and drive that makes him a true standout within the licensing industry,” said Judd Karofsky, executive vice president, Jazwares. “It’s been a privilege and honour to see Sam’s accomplishments over the past six years, cultivating Jazwares’ licensing efforts around the globe with his unparalleled prowess in executing impactful brand collaborations kids and consumers want.”

Sam will continue his role in identifying up-and-coming licensed properties, managing outbound licensing, brand building and leveraging key trade events around the world including Las Vegas Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe amongst others for Jazwares.

“Being part of the Jazwares success story is something I’m truly proud of and all our amazing talent that authentically brings our licensing efforts to life across the portfolio,” added Sam. “As we further extend our footprint, we will continue to be a world-leading licensee as well as an industry disruptor with our owned IP expanding beyond the toy aisle.”

Sam is a recognised expert within the licensing industry participating on several academic panels as well as serving on the board of Licensing International.

 

Chefclub to debut at BLE

Chefclub, one of the world’s leading food-themed entertainment brands, has announced that it will attend BLE for the first time.

Chefclub has been achieving success across the globe, most notably in the United States, UK, France, Germany and China. Chefclub generates 2.5b monthly views, half of which come from the US and the UK, and are a key driver for the brand’s licensing success and for attending BLE.

Marie-Laure Marchand, SVP global consumer products & business development, Chefclub, stated: “We are very excited to show new partners the broad range of content products and experiences Chefclub has to offer in support of its licensees. A great example is the live event tour we just announced with Klepierre shopping centres for a series of Chefclub immersive experiences with cooking workshops and demonstrations, food related games and competitions around France – great for licensee cross-promotion. Our unique position as a food entertainment studio with phenomenal digital performance means we can offer licensees very strong, targeted content to meet all their needs.”

At BLE, the company will highlight its 50-piece Chefclub for Tefal cookery range, which is available across Europe, as well as its unique Chefclub Kids line. This has in-house custom designed utensils for little hands, helping to make children independent in the kitchen, and including high quality cooking utensils, measuring cups, cookie cutters, safety knives and rolling pins. The kids cookbooks are illustrated and designed in such a way that children don’t need to be able to read in order to use them, again giving young children independence in the kitchen.

Chefclub has won three Digital Brand of the Year Awards in France and Germany for its outstanding food entertainment success, which includes the sale of over 700,000 cookbooks and 250,000 kids cooking kits.

Chefclub’s licensing success is based on the loyal and engaged following generated by its entertaining, food-oriented online videos. The reach of its programmes has been steadily growing beyond social media on platforms such as Pluto TV in US, UK, Spain, Latin America and France and Samsung TV Plus in France and Switzerland. Today Chefclub is focusing on expanding its catalogue for distribution on new linear, fast and social platforms worldwide.

The company’s current slate of programming will support its offline growth with a varied line-up of new shows, from hybrid shorts mixing animated characters with live action, to a first major animation series based on the Chefclub Kids’ characters launching at Mipcom.