Character takes military action

Biggest ever launch aims to bring back military heritage products to boys market.
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Character Options has announced a major new range for next year, which aims to resurrect the boys military action figure market with a new MOD-backed line of figures and accessories.

HM Armed Forces will launch on May 8th next year – VE Day – with a range that will feature 10-inch figures, vehicles, accessories, plus novelty and role play items. The firm has a tri-service agreement with the Ministry of Defence which will see the range feature Royal Navy, Army and Air Force, and says it will be its biggest and most ambitious launch ever.

It is hoping to fill the void left by Action Man, which moved away from its military background towards more adventure-oriented themes, exchanging DPM camouflage for lycra and cycling shorts before eventually disappearing. In 1998, the Action Man line commanded 46 per cent of the action figure market.

“This is without doubt the most ambitious category launch the company has ever undertaken both in terms of product development investment and Marketing support” said Character MD Jon Diver (pictured).

Launch day will see the firm instigate an integrated advertising plan in conjunction with the three branches of the armed services with stunts happening across the country at 12pm involving troops, tanks, planes etc. Advertising activity will include TV, online and print. The TV campaign will see 500 TVRs at launch with three adverts (Army, Navy, Air Force) and a total of 2000 TVRs in all.

The range will include more than thirty different items, including action figures, vehicles, adventure play sets, role play and dress ups.

“Armed Forces”, added Diver, “represents a golden opportunity for Character to launch a major brand into the volatile Boys Action market, that will provide stability in the category for years to come”.

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