Mattel readies multi-million Thomas marketing campaign

'Anytime is Thomas Time' ads in the works; new toys on the way.
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Mattel is preparing a multi-million dollar marketing campaign for Thomas & Friends.

The classic kids' brand will get a global 'Anytime is Thomas Time' ad campaign, a new online portal, more live events across North America and possibly a balloon in the next Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, reports The New York Times.

New toys are on the way, including an enhanced line of wooden trains, and a new one-hour animated movie called King of the Railway which arrives in spring on DVD, supported with blue carpet premieres in the US and Europe. 

Mattel will also produce at least three more seasons of the Thomas & Friends TV series.

“It’s been a brand that has been pretty bereft of investment,” said David Allmark, executive vice president of Mattel’s Fisher-Price brands. 

“We really believe that we can grow this on a worldwide basis, particularly in Latin America and Asia.”

Allmark also said that faster storytelling can make Thomas more relevant to the kids of today.

“Some of it needs livening up a little bit,” he added.

Shari Donnenfeld, head of Hit Global Brands, commented: “When you are successful for as long as Thomas has been, you can become part of the woodwork. 

“We need to reinforce the brand by reminding people why they love it and introducing new content.”

Mattel announced plans to acquire Thomas brand owner Hit Entertainment in October 2011.

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Mattel Creations SVP Christopher Keenan on the business' first year, new Barbie content and plans for Thomas & Friends

Mattel launched its new content and entertainment hub, Mattel Creations, earlier this year, but already the studio is redefining the company’s wider approach to TV, film and digital for some of its biggest brands, including Barbie, American Girl and Thomas & Friends. Robert Hutchins talks to Christopher Keenan, SVP of content development and production at Mattel, about the latest developments for the blossoming studio.

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