Hasbro Elevates Global Brands to New Heights with Focus on Entertainment, Fashion, Sports and Digital Games
Licensing International Expo 2008
PAWTUCKET, R.I.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Entertainment and Licensing division of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) will arrive at Licensing 2008 International with new, ground-breaking licensing programs supporting global powerhouse brands such as G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, LITTLEST PET SHOP and NERF across a variety of licensing categories with a focus on entertainment, fashion and sports as well as the first digital offerings coming out of Hasbro’s strategic licensing agreement with Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS). In addition, Hasbro will showcase innovative licensing programs built around its deep portfolio of coveted brands including MY LITTLE PONY, TONKA, PLAYSKOOL and MONOPOLY at the annual show on June 10-12 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.
“Hasbro is pioneering the trend to extend classic and modern toy and board game properties to the entertainment sector,” said Lisa Licht, general manager, Entertainment and Licensing, Hasbro. “We are striking global, multi-year deals that allow our brands to live in worlds where consumers kick back, play and relax with movies, television, video games as well as sports. We’re also continuing to see an incredible demand for expressive fashion that helps define who you are, particularly in the area of graphic tees. Licensees and retailers alike have recognized that Hasbro’s unrivaled portfolio of properties provides the ultimate one-stop shopping solution to consumers’ insatiable appetite for pop culture infused apparel.”
TRANSFORMERS: EVEN MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE IN 2009
TRANSFORMERS has become a global phenomenon inspiring comic books, video games, animated series, films and a convention dedicated to TRANSFORMERS collectors. Fans of all ages are fascinated by the alien robots from CYBERTRON that live on earth as “Robots in Disguise” and have the ability to change from robot mode to vehicle mode.
Excitement is already building for the next movie – TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN — from DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, due to hit theaters on June 26, 2009. With a cast of more than 250 licensees in 70 countries supporting the first blockbuster film release in 2007, Hasbro continues to expand the lineup of TRANSFORMERS licensed products that will come to market around the globe in conjunction with next year’s movie release.
Shifting gears to TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED, Hasbro is set to deliver a wide variety of licensed products supporting this brand in 2008 starting with an animated television programming series called TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED being jointly developed by Cartoon Network and Hasbro and co-produced by Cartoon Network Studios. Paramount Home Entertainment is also on board to release two TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED home DVDs this summer.
Rounding out the TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED adventure is a just-released series of four titles from HarperCollins and pending publishing deals with Titan Publishing Group in the UK and Hemma in France. IDW will also release four digest-sized comic books targeting the younger audience and American Greetings will develop both stickers and greeting cards to ship this fall.
In addition, Hasbro has signed and extended more than 30 U.S. and international deals for TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED apparel and footwear. Licensees including AME, Kids Headquarters and Fruit of the Loom will deliver a wide array of apparel to market in the U.S. just in time for back-to-school while licensees like Adventure Diffusion, Blues Clothing and Cooneen Textiles will bring to market highly stylized fashions throughout France, Italy, Ireland and the Nordic region.
Plans call for European print and publishing licensees to release a range of stationery, posters, books, party goods and gifts and greeting cards across multiple countries, including France and the UK. Hasbro also has agreements in principle pending contract or signed licenses with companies including Alpa, Pyramid Posters (UK) and Gemma International (UK). Under pending deals, Editions Hemma would create a publishing program for France, and Durabo would bring out gifts and stationery for the Benelux countries.
Hasbro has agreements in principle under pending contracts for TRANSFORMERS domestic and houseware products to be sold across Europe as well as in Greece and Israel, as well as other key markets.
G.I. JOE: JOIN THE HEROES OF TOMORROW…TODAY
Hasbro is enlisting licensees around the globe to rally behind one of the greatest boys properties of all time – G.I. JOE. With the live-action G.I. JOE movie from Paramount Pictures, in association with Hasbro, due out August 7, 2009, several major licensing deals have already been signed and many more are underway to bring fans a wide selection of “everything G.I. JOE.”
Leading the publishing charge is IDW which will create an action-packed comic book series. IDW also has the rights to graphic novels. Under other pending deals, licensees will bring a number of G.I. JOE goods to market including graphic t-shirts, boys apparel, footwear, video games, electronics, children’s books, paper goods, room décor, social expressions, bikes, skateboards, and camping and fishing gear.
NERF: BRING YOUR “A GAME” OR STAY HOME
As NERF approaches its 40th anniversary next year, the brand continues to deliver action-packed fun from innovative footballs to tactical dart blasters for generations of energetic kids. This year’s licensing program will put NERF center field with the goal of building a winning global lifestyle sports property in 2008 and beyond. Fueled by the new look-and-feel of the brand which blends action, sports and edge, licensees have stepped up to the line to create incredibly fresh and hip products that scream “It’s NERF or Nothin’.”
Leading the momentum of the NERF licensing program will be the apparel line, particularly in the area of graphic t-shirts. Fortune Fashions will roll out cool and stylish tees for tween boys this summer with plans to broaden the assortment to include an array of other items such as hoodies and track pants in a multitude of colors and styles. Elan-Polo has also just released NERF-branded sports sandals bundled with a NERF ball – true inspiration to get kids up and moving.
For those who seek the ultimate immersive NERF experience, Electronic Arts (EA) is developing the first interactive NERF “N-STRIKE” video game bundle for the Wii™. Based on the NERF N-STRIKE toy line, players will blast their way through action-packed battles in single or multiplayer modes. The NERF SWITCH SHOT EX-3 add-on accessory, the first ever 2-in-1 toy and game peripheral, will be included in the bundle and allow players to convert a real Dart Blaster into a Wii Blaster controller, further immersing fans into the ultimate virtual NERF experience.
Performance Designed Products is also on deck to amp up the digital showdown with an expanded line of NERF-molded video game accessories. Sold under the Pelican brand name, the NERF Sports Pack (tennis racket, golf club and baseball bat), NERF Wireless Controller, NERF skins and NERF DS Case are already hugely popular among gamers.
Under pending contract, Promotional Partners Worldwide will boost adrenaline levels in sports fans allowing armchair quarterbacks to fire off their own winning touchdown pass and hoopsters to sink a three-pointer at the buzzer with NERF-branded footballs and basketballs emblazoned with logos of their favorite college teams.
Ripping a page from the NERF playbook, the Entertainment and Licensing team will continue to ink deals that will deliver innovative “permission to play” lifestyle products to consumers. Currently, there are pending agreements to create products in the categories of sports, publishing, electronics, seasonal, room décor, novelty and accessories.
LITTLEST PET SHOP: IT KEEPS GETTING BIGGER AND BIGGER
The lifestyle-focused licensing program behind LITTLEST PET SHOP, the fastest growing brand among girls according to dollar sales, is continuing to grow “paw over tail” with more than 160 deals signed across all categories worldwide. To say that girls just can’t get enough of LITTLEST PET SHOP would be an understatement. Hasbro has expanded its roster of licensees across all categories and girls can expect to be wowed with the lineup of new products due to hit retail shelves this year.
As an extension to the LITTLEST PET SHOP toy line, digital licensee EA will bring the magic of the property to life this fall with a series of video games for the Wii and Nintendo DS™ as well as the PC. Based on the platform, the interactive experience will allow girls to engage with 20-30 of the most popular pets in the collection by exploring three unique worlds, playing mini games, earning accessories and enjoying playsets from the 2008 toy line.
The LITTLEST PET SHOP apparel and accessories segment will soar in 2008 anchored by the largest graphic t-shirt line for girls in Hasbro’s history. With the help of Fortune Fashions and others, Hasbro’s goal is to continue to fill girls’ dresser drawers with cool and sassy tees until they overflow. For girls who also like to keep LITTLEST PET SHOP “under cover” Leeward International, Cooneen Textiles (UK), Handcraft, Berkshire Accessories and TMI Australasia (Australia) are on board to deliver sleepwear, underwear and socks. In addition, girls can decorate their rooms with an exciting line of LITTLEST PET SHOP bedding from Franco in France and Zap in the UK.
This year will also feature a large selection of bags for all occasions from FAB/Starpoint in the U.S. and other licensees in countries like France and Benelux. Adding to the dazzle of stepping out in high LITTLEST PET SHOP style, Flik Flak Group will unveil the first LITTLEST PET SHOP Swatch watch collection in the U.S., while Fantabijoux (France) and Little Concepts (UK, Holland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland) will roll out jewelry lines.
For girls who prefer an unplugged LITTLEST PET SHOP adventure, more than 20 new titles will be released in 2008 by Scholastic, Reader’s Digest and Bendon in North America and Latin America. Additionally, Scholastic plans to release its existing U.S. book catalog into the Australian and New Zealand markets this year. Eleven new book titles will be released by Editions Hemma (France) and Play Bac with an additional 10 to roll out from Ladybird/Penguin (UK). Five Mile Press (Australia) is also on board to release six new titles through 2009. Under pending agreements, the publishing program will also expand to Russia, Romania, Germany and Poland. Other publishing highlights include sticker and activity books from Panini (France), Redan (UK), Egmont International (Scandinavia, Poland), Noriel (Moldavia, Romania), and Big Balloon (Benelux). American Greetings will also develop LITTLEST PET SHOP greeting cards and party goods in 2008.
MY LITTLE PONY: IT’S ALWAYS PARTY DAY IN PONYVILLE
Twenty-five years and 40 million ponies later, MY LITTLE PONY remains a sweeping sensation among little girls around the world. This year, as candles are lit, cupcakes devoured and tea sipped in honor of the big birthday, the celebration will continue when THQ launches MY LITTLE PONY: Pinkie Pie’s Party on the Nintendo DS in the fall allowing girls to engage with the core cast of seven ponies while playing games and solving puzzles.
New stories will unfold as the publishing program continues to grow and thrive worldwide. With more than 24 million MY LITTLE PONY books sold since 2003, 18 new titles are planned for release in the U.S. with another 50 set for international debut this year from publishing houses, including Redan (UK), Pedigree Books Ltd. (UK), Panini (France), and Five Mile Press (Australia) with its highly anticipated Spring Tea Party book, as well as refreshing its entire back catalog of activity books. Distribution of the MY LITTLE PONY magazine has also been extended across all major territories in Europe including new partners in Eastern Europe. Additionally, American Greetings will continue to bring MY LITTLE PONY to life on a wide variety of social expressions products in 2008.
As a consistent top performer at key mass market retailers, MY LITTLE PONY graphic t-shirts from Fortune Fashions and apparel from Kids Headquarters continue to move off the shelves and onto the backs of girls of all ages. That program, along with underwear lines from Fruit of the Loom, which are also top-sellers at mass retailers, will expand in 2008 to feature new styles and logo treatments. Rounding out the MY LITTLE PONY fashion show will be jewelry by Little Concepts (UK).
MY LITTLE PONY apparel deals are also expanding on the international front. BC International (UK) will launch a new line of graphic tees for women, Silverknit (UK) will deliver adult sleepwear and underwear, Smith & Brooks (UK) is creating apparel and footwear lines, Cooneen Textiles (UK) will roll out sleepwear, Funtastic (Australia) is expanding its range in footwear and bedding, and TMI Australasia continues to dominate the Australian market with underwear and sleepwear. In addition, Carel (France), Madness Article (Spain), Santex (Benelux), Studiokids (Eastern Europe), and Cookie Company (Benelux) are on board to deliver apparel goods this year.
TONKA: STILL GETTING DOWN AND DIRTY
Just as TONKA has grown from the original two trucks to a full line featuring 100s of trucks, vehicles and playsets over the past 60 years, Hasbro is continuing to bulldoze forward its licensing program supporting the brand that has been paving the way for boys to be boys for decades.
The latest licensing agreements inked by Hasbro will allow tots to dig into the dirt with outdoor toys from Debut Sports or go off-road in an electric vehicle from TGA Electronic. Under pending deals there will also be plenty of fun indoor play items coming to market in the UK, Russia and Australia that will occupy hours of little boys’ time.
Other TONKA-branded products on deck for 2008 include bedding from Caprice (Australia), retro tees and underwear from Design Works Clothing Co. PTY. Limited (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa), and baby wear from WILDCARD PTY. LTD. (Australia and New Zealand).
PLAYSKOOL: 80 YEARS OF BELIEVING IN PLAY
As Hasbro celebrates the 80th anniversary of PLAYSKOOL, its commitment to provide quality toys that enrich children while they play remains at the heart of the brand. Keeping in step with the PLAYSKOOL brand mantra, the Entertainment and Licensing division has put in place highly innovative programs that further entrench the brand with mom.
In 2008, Hasbro licensees will roll out a range of new PLAYSKOOL-branded products, from books to baby care items which will delight preschoolers and parents alike.
Little ones love a good story and the publishing program supporting the brand is going to deliver big this year. Featuring the fun, core cast of PLAYSKOOL characters from Digger the Dog to Tubby the Turtle, Kitty Kandu and Go Go Dino, Simon & Schuster has signed on to develop a new children’s book series that will commence with the release of the first five titles this fall.
For the youngest PLAYSKOOL consumer, the successful direct-to-retail baby care line at CVS/pharmacy stores will feature newly added items throughout 2008.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: AMERICA PLAYS
Hasbro’s wildly popular TRIVIAL PURSUIT board game has been bringing people together and driving the quest for wedges for 25 years. As the brand celebrates its silver anniversary, fans of the game will now have an opportunity to really get into the action this fall with TRIVIAL PURSUIT: America Plays, a television-based game show to be developed and distributed by Debmar-Mercury.
The TRIVIAL PURSUIT: America Plays game show has been designed to rely on user-generated content allowing viewers to submit TRIVIAL PURSUIT video questions that will in turn be asked of contestants. If the question is selected and stumps the contestant, the user who submitted the question can earn cash.
Ninety percent of the U.S. has been cleared for the fall launch in syndication of TRIVIAL PURSUIT: America Plays with FOX affiliates in eight of the top 10 markets thus far including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Stations from Cox Broadcasting, CBS, Belo, Gannett, Scripps, Raycom Media and Weigel Broadcasting are also signed up for the fall broadcast.
MONOPOLY: OWN THE FUN – ANYTIME, ANYPLACE
It promises to be a very exciting year for one of the best-selling board game brands of all time – MONOPOLY. The highly anticipated release of MONOPOLY Here & Now: The World Edition is slated for August in 50 countries and 37 languages, and several licensing programs supporting the brand are already in place to ratchet up the fun for fans around the world.
In a crowded graphic t-shirt market, MONOPOLY continues to resonate with consumers of all ages. From tees placed in the mass market by Fortune Fashions and in specialty stores by Junkfood Clothing to the highly successful direct-to-retail agreement with Steve & Barry’s, fans keep expanding their MONOPOLY wardrobe.
In the digital arena, EA has released a variety of MONOPOLY digital game experiences for the iPod® and mobile handsets allowing players to own it all, anytime, anyplace. In addition, later this fall MONOPOLY comes to the Wii, PlayStation®2 and Xbox 360™ consoles. The MONOPOLY games are just the tip of the iceberg with EA, which secured the digital rights to 100s of Hasbro brands. Video games are also currently under development for next generation consoles, PC, mobile, handheld and online for SCRABBLE (for the U.S. and Canada), YAHTZEE, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, and OPERATION.
Hasbro is also continuing to expand its reach into non-traditional channels through an ongoing global agreement with Scientific Games for MONOPOLY as well as almost 20 other Hasbro brands to appear on a wide range of lottery platforms including instant and pull-tab tickets, on-line terminal generated games, mobile, Internet and interactive TV. Today, MONOPOLY remains the No. 1 licensed brand available for worldwide lotteries. In addition, WMS Gaming has been manufacturing MONOPOLY slot machines for more than 10 years and its latest games, MONOPOLY Big Event and MONOPOLY Up, Up & Away, are now staples at many of the world’s top casinos.
Other Hasbro Game highlights include the six-year strategic partnership with Universal Pictures to produce at least four motion pictures based on some of Hasbro’s best-known and beloved brands. Also under pending agreements, several international promotions will also be executed this year including Nestle Greece which would integrate TRIVIAL PURSUIT into select products distributed to grocery stores and MONOPOLY, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, TABOO and TWISTER getting TOTAL Cereal box time throughout France in summer 2008.
For the unplugged traveler, under a pending agreement, L.L. Bean would produce a compact SCRABBLE game that will be sold at retail and online later this year and MONOPOLY trivia books from Sterling Publishing are ideal for passing time while on the road. Hasbro has also started to build a strong licensing program supporting the newly acquired CRANIUM property.
Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, CRANIUM and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world. ©2008 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SCRABBLE, the distinctive game board and letter tiles, and all associated logos are trademarks of Hasbro in the United States and Canada. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo.