By Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Expert and Youth Market Specialist
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
In 2011, movie themes are heavily skewed towards Heroes and SuperHeroes, with strong empowerment themes throughout the year. Key 2011 SuperHero movies include: Green Lantern (Warner Bros.), The First Avenger: Captain America (Marvel Entertainment), Thor (Marvel Entertainment), and X-Men First Class (20th Century Fox). Since SuperHero themes do drive kids to emulate their favorite heroes with costumes and role-playing gear, expect to see little heroes everywhere this year. As a common cyclical trend, when new SuperHeroes are introduced, kids’ other favorite SuperHeroes (such as Batman, SpiderMan, and SuperMan) generally also are favored with a resurgence in toy sales.
Other highly anticipated toy movies for younger children include Cars II: Tokyo Drift (Disney), Happy Feet 2 (Warner Bros), The Smurfs (Sony/Columbia Pictures), and Winnie the Pooh (Disney).
For movies with deeper or more intense themes: Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides (Disney), Transformers 3 (Hasbro/Dreamworks), the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Warner Bros), Real Steel (Dreamworks), and the Twilight Saga:Breaking Dawn (Summit Ent).
Transmedia Storytelling is a newer strategy, that is expanding: By launching branded products across multiple platforms, transmedia storytelling uses the best of each platform’s capabilities to build deeper connections to the characters and the storyline. For example, books can really dig deeper into each character and their relationships to each other. Webisodes and online websites can build visual references and diaries for individual characters, so kids can follow their favorites. Combining this rich character development with a diversified product line builds brand loyalty. Some engaging examples in 2011 include:
Monster High, Mattel: (toys, games, publishing, entertainment, fashion, web and online, music, role-play and costumes, video games and more). This property delivers rich content and storytelling that connects to a tween and teen’s vulnerabilities. By acknowledging flaws in each of the Monster High characters, kids can relate to their own insecurities. With its on-trend pop-goth aesthetic, rich and relatable characters and storyline, Monster High has the potential to develop a monster-sized fan base (via publishing, webisodes and an in-depth, animation and live-action theatrical entertainment, music videos, and consumer products in notable categories including jewelry, apparel and accessories, costumes and toys).
Other new and recent Transmedia Storytelling examples include: Moshi Monsters , Cars II: Tokyo Drift (Disney), Dr Who, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Disney Fairies, Transformers and Pokemon.
Trend-Scout Key Worldwide Licenses
I explored the newest licensing trends at the Licensing Center in the Foyer, Brussels, in Entrance Mitte. The impressive selection of International licenses covered a broad range of existing and new-comer licenses. Seven key countries displayed their top three properties, with product examples ranging across multiple categories, age groups, licensors and genders. If you haven’t stopped by yet, make a point to get there before Saturday evening, and also preview the latest international publications specializing in the Licensing trends. Here is a quick review of the top properties:
Top Licensed Properties in Select Countries
Country/ Publication Entertainment / Licensed Property Country/ Publication Entertainment / Licensed Property
China: Brand Licensing China Golden Hero Spain: Licensias Actualidad BEYBLADE
MOMOKING SpongeBob Squarepants
France: Kazachok Mr. Men & Little Miss USA: License! Global Cars 2
Zhu Zhu Pets Tron
Germany: Licensing Press Batman: The Brave & The Bold UK: Licensing Today Worldwide Cars II
Das Haus Anibus Little Charley Bear
Monster High Monster High
Italy : Entertainment & Licensing Barbie
LOCATION: Licensing Center, Located in Foyer, Brussels, in Entrance Mitte