Yaffe's plans for Bob the Builder

With a new series location and CGI animation, ToyNews speaks to Hit's Lesli Zador and Yaffe's Kristian Johnson about plans for Bob the Builder...
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With a tenth anniversary last year and new CGI-animated series this year, the Bob the Builder brand shows no sign of slowing its momentum. In fact, the all new Bob is set for one of its busiest years and the licensed range keeps growing.

“Everything will kick off with the debut of the new series on the BBC in the spring, followed quickly by the launch of the brand new DVD special, Legend of the Golden Hammer, with a star-studded premiere at Vue Cinemas,” says Hit’s international brand manager, Lesli Zador.

“Bob will be supported by a number of retail campaigns and new listings across all major retailers,” adds Martin Yaffe’s Kristian Johnson.

“Not only will Martin Yaffe’s great range feature, but there are also other new licensees signing on, including Zap with new bedding and Halsall with a die-cast range. This offers both the trade and consumer more Bob options than they’ve seen in a while.”

The new Bob CGI series, Ready, Steady, Build!, features two new additions to the machine team – Scratch – a mini tracked digger, and Rubble – a huge dumper truck.
Also new are human friends Dickie Olivier, the local thespian, Brad Rad, the surfer dude, and Brickbeard the Pirate. They’ve come about because of the new location, Fixham Harbour – a waterfront town that needs a lot of work to restore it to its former glory.

“In the past year there’s been lots of investment from Hit and our licensees,” adds Zador. “For example, Zap created a fantastic line of bedding and homewares that have a fresh look and make great use of the investment Hit has made into three new style guides in the last 18 months.”

The series’ look may have changed, but the essential element of the Bob story – teamwork – is still the building block on which it is based.

“Bob’s core message is one that is timeless,” says Zador. “It’s all about team work, friendship and the benefits of a can-do attitude. The adoption of Bob’s ‘yes we can’ catchphrase by great figures in the last couple of years shows that he’s as relevant as when he first appeared on our screens over ten years ago.

“Bob keeps his finger on the pulse of the changing world, for example he adopted green building techniques well before most other builders did and passed this message on to his fans – and that’s something he’ll continue to do in the future.”

Yaffe’s strong working relationship with Hit has enabled a strong flow of products to retail and the expansion of new and existing categories.

“Plush toys and friction vehicles were the first products to hit the shelves when Bob launched ten years ago,” explains Johnson.

“Friction vehicles continue to be the most popular products year-on-year. New fans get to know the characters and vehicles and naturally want to own their own Scrambler or Scoop, while existing fans eagerly collect new additions to the Machine Team, such as Splasher and Scratch.

“New additions to the range roll out every season in line with marketplace and technological trends. Our Interactive Construction Site and Tool Time Bob products used innovative technology as a USP – the latter having an educational slant.

“The new autumn/winter 2010 product range continues with the themes of innovation and education. Load Up Muck talks to little ones and helps them to recognise shapes and colours; Read Along Bob tells his favourite story and encourages children to read and play along.

“Bob moving into CGI gives us the opportunity to refresh current product ranges using new style guides and also to develop products based on the new characters and locations introduced through programming. Our newest friction vehicle, Scratch shows how our product development strategy works side by side with Hit’s brand and programming strategy.”

With the continual introduction of new characters, vehicles and locations in the show and strong character licensed products running alongside this, Bob will probably be around to celebrate in another ten years.

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