Licensing Deals Spotlighted at The Toy insider’s Sweet Suite Show
From a seven-year-old toy reviewer turned licensor to the continued revival of vintage videogames brands, The Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite show spotlighted several licensing deals.
Among those we observed:
- Bonkers Toys will launch licensed toys with Ryan ToysReview, a YouTube Channel featuring seven-year-old Ryan unboxing toys that has attracted 14.5 million subscribers. The line, which will be available Aug. 6 at Walmart before reaching Target and Amazon in Q4, will feature slime putty, racing cars, plush dinosaurs and sky fighter planes designed based on Ryan’s interests, says Bonkers’ Deborah Stallings Stumm.
“We were asked how can we make a toy line for someone that unboxes other companies’ toys. That was a legitimate question, and we said we are going with what is he passionate about,” says Stallings Stumm. “We let him tell us what he liked and we knew what would sell, so we combined the two.”
The products will range in price from $3.99 for blind bag figures to an egg-shaped package ($40) that will be available in December and feature a collection of the toys. Ryan, who is represented by pocket.watch, generated about $11 million in revenue in the year ended June 1, 2017, according to Forbes’ list of the highest paid YouTube stars. The YouTube show started when Ryan was three years old with a 15-minute; the family began posting videos in March 2015.
Bonkers also will ship toys based on other YouTube shows represented by pocket.watch in 2019, including toy/gadgets review site EvanTubeHD and toys/games review site HobbyKidsToys, says Stallings Stumm.
- McFarlane Toys is revamping its NBA player figure line as it readies co-branded product for this fall with NBA 2K videogame developer Take-Two Interactive. The collection will start with six players, each of which will be packaged with a code to “unlock” additional content about them inside the videogame. McFarlane has had the license for NBA action figures since 2003. McFarlane took a similar approach with NFL player collectibles in Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL title, the newest of which, Madden NFL 19, will be released Aug. 10. Meanwhile, the company says it has signed an agreement with King Features and game developer StudioMDHR Entertainment’s for the “Cuphead” videogame, starting with building sets this fall and adding action figures in 2019.
Just Play’s Build-A-Bear Product
Build-A-Bear will find new space in the toy aisle this fall. Licensee Just Play will ship a 12-piece playset in August ($19.99) along mini-figures and blind boxes that will be sold through Target and Walmart. The playset contains a 10-inch plush, stuffing, heart locket, “birth certificate,” fashion outfit and accessories. Ten-inch Rainbow Bear and Sparkle Kitty plush will be sold separately. The Just Play items are a further expansion of Build-A-Bear’s licensing program that began with Spin Master Corp.’s stuffing station in 2016.
- Tastemakers (formerly known as Wish Factory) is readying ArcadeUp in-home arcade-style machines stocked with classic titles such as Atari’s “Centipede”, “Missile Command”, Bally Midway’s “Rampage” and Capcom’s “Final Fight” and “Street Fighter II”. The arcade machines, available in five cabinet styles with a 17-inch LCD screen, are slightly smaller – standing four ft. high vs. standard six ft. for commercial machines – to hit a lower price point of $399, says a company spokesman. Walmart, Target and GameStop will start taking pre-orders on July 25 with sales to start on Sept. 25, a company spokesman said.
- Plush supplier Gund (recently purchased by Spin Master) is weighing further expansion of its licensing business. Gund’s sales are split equally between licensed and non-licensed, but the company hopes to tap into Spin Master’s portfolio of licensing agreements, says Gund’s Colleen Morrison. It currently has licenses for Sesame Street, Curious George, Peter Rabbit and Pusheen, among others and recently added Sanrio’s Gudetama. Spin Master completed its $82 million acquisition of Gund from Enesco in March and is currently integrating the company’s business. Gund is expected to keep its headquarters in Edison, NJ, says Morrison.
- Basic Fun has launched sales of licensed Zing Toy’s Stikbots plush at Walmart Canada and will bring them into Target later this year, says Zing Toys’ Alex Tongue, whose company owns the brand. The social media-sharing Stikbots were launched in 2015 and hired Joester Loria Group last year to bring the brand into licensing. Hybrid Apparel is the licensee for apparel. Zing plans to expand its assortment of Stikbots products with the addition of playsets in 2019, says Tongue. The original Stikbots kits consisted of two, 2.5-inch posable plastic figures and a tripod that with a free animation app. The Stikbots Central YouTube channel has 892,767 subscribers.
- Dynacraft is extending its ride-on toy line into licensing. Having entered the category last year with the non-licensed Stable Buddies products, it’s adding Jurassic World Triceratops and Paw Patrol ride-on plush vehicles as well as a Paw Patrol fire truck. Best known for its licensed children’s bicycles, Dynacraft also is adding a Jurassic World bike with 16-inch wheels.
Basic Fun, Jay Forman, CEO, 561-997-8901, email@example.com
Bonkers Toys, Deborah Stallings Stumm, Senior VP Sales and Marketing, 858-695-3895, Deborah@bonkerstoys.com
Build-A-Bear, Jennifer Kretchmar, Chief Merchandising Officer, 314-423-8000, Jennifer@buildabear.com
Just Play, James Chang, Senior Marketing Dir., 267-989-3036, firstname.lastname@example.org
King Features, Ricky Li, Licensing Dir., 212-969-7567
McFarlane Toys, Todd McFarlane, CEO, 480-491-7070, email@example.com
Spin Master/Gund, Colleen Morrison, e-Commerce Marketing Mgr., 848-260-0947, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tastemakers, John Guest, EVP Strategic Initiatives, 212-967-5091
Zing Toys/Stikbots, Alex Tongue, VP Marketing, 503-802-6690, email@example.com