Hasbro showcased its roster of global franchise brands this week at Licensing Expo to underscore how it is revolutionizing play through immersive story telling platforms.
The company spotlighted new products and entertainment based on its key brands including Transformers, My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, Nerf, Play-Doh, Magic: The Gathering and Monopoly.
“Hasbro continues to evolve its brand franchises in new ways that bring play and lifestyle experiences to life through storytelling,” says Simon Waters, senior vice president, global brand licensing and publishing, Hasbro. “With our omni-screen strategy, branded storytelling across major entertainment platforms has really struck a chord with our consumers–to the tune of 8 billion impressions globally through our episodic content. We’ve strategically integrated narratives through our iconic characters and brands that continue to resonate worldwide.”
The Transformers brand celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with storytelling for fans of all ages. Momentum for the brand continues with the June 27 release of Transformers: Age of Extinction from Paramount Pictures, which is supported by global licensees New Era, Frito Lay and Oreo with global retail support from Benetton, Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour. Merchandise will arrive on shelves as part of 20 new retail programs with 14 fashion collections and eight direct-to-retail deals with La Polar, Ripley’s and St. Jacks across Latin American territories.
The brand will also land on television screens this fall, on the Hub Network in the U.S., with a new season of “Transformers Rescue Bots.” The company is also planning a new animated series, produced by Hasbro Studios, “Robots in Disguise,” in which Bumblebee is summoned by Optimus Prime to save Earth from a new faction of Decepticons.
Finally, Rovio Entertainment and Hasbro have teamed up to launch the next entertainment brand mash-up–Angry Birds Transformers, which will roll out across multiple platforms this fall. More details on the crossover here.
My Little Pony
Following a global entertainment, licensing and retail strategy that re-launched the brand in 2010, My Little Pony has grown to represent approximately $650 million dollars at retail across all consumer products in 2013. Its popularity is boosted by the hit animated series “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic,” produced by Hasbro Studios and airing in 180 territories. The series will kick off its fifth season in 2015.
The toy company is also planning a new animated film for the spin-off brand My Little Pony Equestria Girls, set to debut this fall.
McDonalds will My Little Pony-branded Happy Meal programs in multiple countries across the globe this year, while retailers from Build-A-Bear to Target, Walmart, Benetton, Hot Topic and Leader will support the brand with an array of retail programs. Hasbro also has 30-plus publishing licensees worldwide that will produce more than 200 new publications in 2014.
On the digital front, Gameloft will continue to deliver new ways to play the “My Little Pony” game with fresh entertainment-themed updates throughout the year. Both the core brand and Equestria Girls brand will also see direct-to-retail support with programs launching throughout Latin America at retailers including St. Jacks, Walmart, Ripley’s, La Polar and Exito.
Littlest Pet Shop
The brand continues to build a strong following, with expanding distribution and growing global audiences of the animated television series, produced by Hasbro Studios. The show is entering its second season across Europe, with Latin America following in Q4, and with Season 3 currently airing on the HUB Network in the U.S. and on-deck for Europe in early 2015.
Hasbro has taken the collectability of the brand to the next level with products that allow girls to design their own Littlest Pet Shop world with customizable style sets, figurines and more than 140 new pets inspired by the series. Customization will also be front-and-center in this summer’s new “Littlest Pet Shop Your World” integrated app, which allows fans to bring their pet to life digitally by scanning the code included on each regular scale pet in the line.
The brand will continue to turn pages with traditional publishers such as IDW, which plans to expand the new brand’s comic book series. Scholastic will continue the release of an entertainment-based chapter book series. Additionally, the brand has expanded their existing publishing footprint in Europe with six new licensees signed on in 2014.
In Latin America, the brand will get branded apparel and sporting goods through direct-to-retail deals with Ripleys and St. Jacks, as well as first-time ever regional QSR deals with Habib’s and Popsy. Globally, fans can catch their favorite pets with a new Happy Meal program in many key markets with McDonald’s this year.
Forty-five years after the original Nerf foam ball revolutionized the world of play, the NERF brand isn’t even close to calling the game. The brand has introduced a number of incredible blaster firsts inspired by its passionate fan base and a drive for continuous innovation.
Hasbro is working with its strategic licensees to creatively reach consumers with innovative licensed goods and experiences on a variety of levels. Inspired by current pop culture trends and based on insight from girls, the Nerf Rebelle brand is designed to empower players with confidence, high-performance action and a stylish edge.
The Nerf Dog line will also expand around the world featuring a variety of new fetch and retrieve toys. In addition, Hasbro is looking to broaden its experiential Nerf mall program in the U.S. and Europe.
The iconic modeling compound has been a childhood rite of passage for 45 years and licensing continues to expand in 2014 with Hasbro reaching an agreement with Cencosud, a Chilean multinational retailer, to deliver a broad range of Play-Doh arts and crafts products including crayons, coloring pencils finger paints and stationary sets along with creative, entertaining, and educational books from Silver Dolphin.
The fun with further extend as the Play-Doh brand introduces the DohVinci art and design kits, featuring an all-new design compound and innovative Styler tool for kids ages 6 to14.
Magic: The Gathering
With a following of more than 20 million players and fans worldwide, the strategy is Hasbro’s No. 1 game brand and is supported by a unique blend of digital game play and face-to-face play opportunities in more than 6,800 hobby game stores around the world.
The brand is also supported by a range of entertainment experiences with books, comics and now film. Twentieth Century Fox and Hasbro are joining forces to develop a series of films based on the fantasy property.
Licensing will continue to expand as Araca will be selling a broad range of Magic: The Gathering apparel online and at specialty retailers and Funko is launching Planeswalker figures under their Pop! Vinyl and Legacy Collection lines.
The Monopoly brand will return to McDonald’s in more than 20 countries worldwide, and also grew its presence in grocery aisles this spring by expanding its loyalty program, “Shop. Play. Win.” at Albertsons grocery stores throughout the U.S.
The brand is also the No. 1 licensed lottery game in the world.