Big brands move into toy market

Asterix, City of Friends and even astrologer Russell Grant want to up their presence.
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Properties new and old are seeking master toy licensees following Brand Licensing Europe 2012.

Classic French cartoon property Asterix returns to the big screen in 2014 with a new computer animated movie, and licensor Les Edition Albert René is seeking a master toy licensee to produce toys specifically around the film. It already works with toy firms Jemini, Ravensburger, Cartamundi, Mondo and Plastoy.

DCD Publishing, global agent of astrologer and Strictly Come Dancing star Russell Grant, wants figures, books and costumes based on dance sensation Zalza to hit shelves.

Zalza is a dance craze and ITV workout show aimed at people of all ages and abilities, created by Grant and his former Strictly dance partner Flavia Cacace. A DVD will launch next March and Zalza is targeting UK gyms.

DCD chief executive Adrian Sington told ToyNews: “We’re looking at some kind of toy aspect for younger kids; figures and also perhaps some dance costumes.”

Russell Grant said he’d like to take the Zalza brand “worldwide”. He’d be happy for a figure of himself to hit shelves, which can be shot out of a toy cannon, replicating the scene out of Strictly Come Dancing.

City of Friends creator and CreaCon CEO Carl Christian also told ToyNews he was on the lookout for a master toy licensee for the hit kids’ TV show. He also revealed that the number of licensees on board for City of Friends had almost tripled during this year’s Brand Licensing Europe show.

Additionally, FremantleMedia Enterprises is launching Strange Hill High on CBBC in the UK in January 2013. It is a new stop motion puppet show that the firm hopes will lend itself well to the toy market.

“Strange Hill High is very unique, an amazing show and we’re so proud to be associated with it,” FME’s UK VP of brand licensing and retail Pindy O’Brien told ToyNews. “We’re looking at collectability, trading cards and it lends itself to construction toys, novelty toys, publishing, apparel and stationery. I think kids are going to love it.

“From the way it looks, it will stand out on shelves, and retail has been wowed by it.”

Finally, ToyNews understands that FIFA will announce the master toy licensee for its 2014 World Cup plush toys shortly.

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