I had the opportunity to test out my Jedi skills in the Lenovo booth at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Check out the video!
The year of 2017 is shaping up to be another substantial year for strong licenses and licensed properties, and brands with multi-generational appeal. There are a number of factors that support this premise. Character licensing is no longer relegated to the merchandising power of toys and games. Strong theatrical releases, live events and multi-tier tentpole events are driving merchandising dollars into apparel, publishing, sports, entertainment theme parks, and even more branded lifestyle categories.
For example, it was no coincidence that Pokémon Go attracted a wide swath of the population across multiple age groups. In 2017, the Pokémon brand celebrates their 20th anniversary. Kids who grew up with Pokemon are now young adults, for whom augmented reality treasure hunts were a positive pat-time for Summer 2016. Kids and parents also joined the foot traffic, as tens of millions of people across the globe hunted for the elusive Pokémon characters. Expect more Pokémon news throughout 2017, in new and exciting formats that will continue to break barriers with technology innovations. Promoting inter-generational play, active outdoor activities and the “Gotta Catch Em All “mentality will continue throughout 2017.
Key Anniversaries of Brands and Movie/TV Characters
|In the Night Garden||10||DHX Media|
|YooHoo & Friends||10||Aurora World/ Mondo TV|
|Build A Bear||20||Build-A-Bear|
|Pokemon||20||The Pokemon Company|
|Dragon Ball Z||30||Toie Animation|
|Care Bears||35||American greetings|
|Maya the Bee||40||Studio 100|
|Star Wars||40||Lucas Ent/ Disney|
|Toie Animation||60||Toie Animation|
|Mr Potato Head||65||Hasbro|
|Wonder Woman||75||Marvel/ Disney|
|Daffy Duck||80||Warner Bros Looney Tunes|
|Goofy animated character||85||Disney|
|Peter Rabbit: Beatrix Potter||150||Sony / Penguin/Beatrix Potter|
Other strong cross-generational brands celebrating major milestones include Star Wars 40th anniversary. Their first action figures for boys were launched in 1977, and stores couldn’t get enough merchandise to meet demand, even then. This dual target audience brand (kids and adults) will be strengthened with another new Star Wars movie, Episode VIII in late 2017, and the Rogue One movie (Holiday 2016) will continue to offer new footage and characters with epic stories in late 2016 and spilling over into 2017.
On a softer side, Care Bears will be celebrating its 35th anniversary with a Fall 2017 movie release. TeleTubbies are back, marking a 20 year anniversary with new TV episodes. Their storyline has been updated for today’s kids by updating the television screen on their tummies with touch-screens. Power Rangers continue to appeal to new fans each year, and will be celebrating 25 years of Power Rangers with their own 2017 movie launch. DragonBall Z (30th) and even Dirty Dancing (30th) will continue to tug at Millennial heart strings, with young adults and new parents remembering their childhood favorites.
With this knowledge of upcoming movies and strong anniversaries, store shelves and online channels will continue to appeal to the dual-target market audiences, and offer an inter-generational connection for the young and the young-at-heart.
Blockbuster Movies 2017 with Popular License Properties
|The Greatest Showman on Earth||20th Century Fox||Jan 2017|
|Monster Trucks||Paramount||Feb 2017|
|LEGO Batman||Warner Bros||Feb 2017|
|Beauty & The Beast||Disney||March 2017|
|King Arthur; Legends of the Swords||Warner Bros||March 2017|
|Smurfs 3: The Lost Village||Sony||April 2017|
|Guardians of the Galaxy 2||Disney||April 2017|
|Fast 8: Fast & the Furious||NBC Universal||April 2017|
|Power Rangers||Lionsgate||April 2017|
|Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales||Disney||May 2017|
|Despicable Me 3 (Minions)||Universal||June 2017|
|Wonder Woman||Warner Bros||June 2017|
|Transformers 5: The Last Knight||Paramount||June 2017|
|Thor Ragnarok||Disney||July 2017|
|Cars 3||Disney||July 2017|
|Emoji Movie: Express Yourself||Sony||Aug 2017|
|LEGO Ninjago||Warner Bros||Sept 2017|
|Care Bears: The Movie||Not yet announced||Sept 2017|
|Justice League||Warner Bros||Nov 2017|
|Black Panther||Disney||Nov 2017|
|Croods 2||20th Century Fox||Dec 2017|
|Star Wars, Episode VIII||Disney||Dec 2017|
Black Friday weekend is quickly approaching and we have some great Holiday gifts for all the kids on your shopping list!
This LEGO DUPLO Batman Adventure set is designed for young builders 2 – 5 years old. Kids can play with Batman™, Superman™ and Wonder Woman to save the day and create endless adventures with these iconic super-heroes. This set includes an easy-to-build opening bridge, Batman’s Batboat, Wonder Woman’s motorbike, and a cat. These Duplo bricks are over-sized and created to be fun and safe for small hands. As your little builder grows up, they will be able to use Duplos with other Lego sets as they are 100% compatible. Learn more here.
Activision just launched Skylander SuperChargers introducing “vehicles-to-life” that are playable in the real world and virtually come to life in the video game. Now, kids can play in the air, under the sea or on land with NEW Super-Charged characters and vehicles, including race cars, jets, submarines and more! ALL of the existing 300+ characters can be used in this new game and NOW, they all can drive! Get it here.
Kids can capture digital photos or videos of their active lifestyle with the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam. It is designed to be durable for kids as young as 4 years old, with different mounts to attach to their helmets, bikes, skateboards and scooters, plus a case that is waterproof up to 6 feet and will protect from splashes. An affordable way to introduce kids to photography. Parents or older siblings can help them download and share their images. Get it at VTechKids.com!
R.E.V. are super-fast Robotic Enhanced Vehicles from WowWee that are app-enabled remote control battle cars. The starter pack includes 2 cars AND 2 ways to play: One player can play versus the Artificial Intelligence controlled drone car OR battle against their friends. Simply download the free app, connect your device to sync with the vehicle, and start playing right out of the box! These cars are super-fast AND do NOT require a special track or surface to race, or battle on. Play anywhere! Learn more here.
For the Maker in your life, the ArcKit Architectural model building kit is a great hands-on way to teach practical STEM concepts with architectural design. The award-winning model kit comes with re-usable construction pieces like walls, windows, and floors. You can customize your design with printable adhesives like solar panels, wood textures, and terracotta tile. Easily put the set together using quick-click assembly and then re-construct something completely different. The sets include access to the digital materials library and the Sketch Up 3D Warehouse. Developed by a real architect in Ireland, Damien Murtagh, and available exclusively at Barnes & Noble this Holiday Season! Winner of multiple awards such as, The Parents Choice Gold Award, Irish Design 2015 Award, and the Red Dot Design Award! Learn more at ArcKit.com!