Beyblade is back.
The brand that took the traditional spinning top toy and made it cool has become a cross-platform powerhouse in the space of just over ten years.
From television shows to toys, games, websites, merchandise and Manga, Beyblade has become one of the best brands for boys in over 80 countries worldwide.
Thanks to new series Shogun Steel, official toys from Hasbro and a Nintendo 3DS video game from Rising Star all coming this year (see more details for each product later in this article), retailers and fans have plenty of reasons to get excited about Beyblade spinning back to the market all over again. And the stats speak for themselves.
“Beyblade is the number one battling toy brand for kids, and this year we are confident the new line and series will solidify that position for 2014,” Andrew Kerr, head of consumer products for The Americas and Australasia at Nelvana Enterprises, tells ToyNews.
“Beyblade dominates boys action in over 80 countries worldwide, with over 165 million toys sold, while online over 15 million registered users battle on Beybladebattles.com. There have been ten million codes redeemed, our app has been downloaded by over 675,000 people, our YouTube channel has over two million views and we have seen our Facebook fan page exceed 340,000 ‘likes’.”
Rising Star Games product marketing manager Yen Hau adds: “2013 is definitely the year of Beyblade. We are in constant dialogue with representatives from both Hasbro and Nelvana and are sharing our strategies for a completely immersive marketing plan covering TV, toys and games. The goal is to come out firing on all cylinders with cross-promotional activities and promotions that not only promotes our own products, but also expands the universe of Beyblade.”
The most successful territories for Beyblade include the US, Canada, France, Germany, and Brazil. In fact, France is the largest market in Europe for Beyblade video games, accounting for over 50 per cent of total global sales.
BEYBLADE BRAND BOOST
There will be online, on-air and in-store promotions worldwide, as well as tournaments and quick-service retail promotions lined up for 2013, as well as a complete refresh of both Beyblade.com and Beybladebattles.com coming in mid to late July.
Plus, Nelvana Enterprises hopes to see the brand grow further thanks to new content and a number of licensing deals.
“[New TV show] Beyblade: Shogun Steel will revolutionise the brand and take it in a tremendously exciting new direction, both in the TV series and the toy line, for years to come,” says Kerr. “The ambition for licensing the Beyblade brand has always been to extend the experience beyond the TV series and the toys to other forms of consumer products and we will continue to work with the industry’s leading partners to do so. Beyblade is everywhere kids are.
“It is the start of a thrilling new era in the Beyblade universe. Stay tuned.”
Beyblade: Shogun Steel from Hasbro
Beyblade Shogun Steel toys will launch exclusively with Argos in the UK this autumn.
Consumers will find an exciting new line-up of single tops, twin-pack tops and the new Beyblade Cyclone Stadium, as featured on Nick Toons.
Master toy licensee Hasbro also has extensive marketing plans for Beyblade which include on-air, online and in-store promotions. Many markets will continue to hold local tournaments where kids can battle for the title of Beyblade Champion.
A Hasbro spokesperson tells ToyNews: “Beyblade is the perfect line for boys who love tops battling action, and the new Beyblade Shogun Steel tops feature an all-new Top System with Synchrome Technology, which allows you to combine any two Shogun Steel tops for double metal power.”
Essentially advanced spinning tops, Beyblade toys have sold over 165 million units globally in just over ten years, proving the brand is much more than a one-off toy trend.
Beyblade: Evolution from Rising Star Games
In Beyblade: Evolution, players can launch their own virtual in-game Beyblade, by tilting the Nintendo 3DS handheld console.
They can battle against other players or follow the single-player Story Mode campaign, while fine-tuning their tops in the Bey Factory.
The product – published by Rising Star Games and due this autumn – bridges the gap between the current Metal Fury TV episodes and the upcoming Shogun Steel series, providing fans with a glimpse of the new show.
But probably the most exciting aspect of Evolution is the collector’s edition, made in collaboration with Hasbro. This includes an exclusive, six-piece Beyblade 90WF Wing Pegasus toy previously unavailable outside of Japan, making it ideal for collectors. A standalone game will also be available.
“It is a key selling point that our video game replicates how the toy range is played,” says Rising Star Games product marketing manager Yen Hau (pictured). “It is a truly unique proposition, sitting in between the toy line and TV series, and the fact it also comes packaged with a toy gives Beyblade: Evolution even more of an argument that toy retailers should be interested in it.”
“We are optimistic that, with the advertising and branding of the new Shogun Steel series from Hasbro and Nelvana, our game will pull in fans and push the Beyblade brand to an increasingly wider audience.
“Now more than ever, we have a product that perfectly straddles the video game, toy and TV markets and all parties are working towards a common goal,” Hau continues.
THE TV SHOW
Beyblade: Shogun Steel, co-produced by Nelvana and Japan’s D-rights
Current series Beyblade: Metal Saga was the top-performing show on Cartoon Network in the US during the Saturday morning block. It was the number two boys’ action show on YTV in Canada for boys aged two to 11. Nelvana says it also performs “phenomenally well” on Nicktoons in the UK, Gulli in France, Nickelodeon in Germany and Disney XD in Brazil to name but a few.
Shogun Steel is set seven years after the events of Metal Fury.
It introduces a set of new characters in a different and dangerous Beyblade universe, which delves deeper into Japanese mythology and stages more complex and dramatic battles.
The World Beyblade Battle Association (WBBA) has rebuilt the Beyblade world by introducing a new Bey system, as well as training the next generation of Bladers and introducing the first tournament since the time of Gingka. Zyro Kurogane aspires to be just like Gingka and become the world’s best Blader. But mysterious powers are at work plotting to take over the WBBA…
“Shogun Steel is by far the most unique and fantastical vision of the Beyblade universe we have yet seen,” says Kerr.
“We expect the new performance enhanced tops, coupled with the new play pattern, will reignite interest from current fans as well as invite new fans.
“There is tough competition in the boys action segment as there is limited broadcast slots so we are thrilled to have Beyblade as one of the top performing boys action shows on major kids networks around the world.”