Among the hit brands being presented is Yu-Gi-Oh! - the global phenomenon that boasts millions of fans across the world and has inspired several hit TV shows and a series of best-selling trading card games. Currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, the franchise is more popular than ever, with the latest series, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s broadcasting across Europe along with the previous generations Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. A brand new series, Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, is set to launch across the continent soon, whilst a movie, Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D: Bonds Beyond Time, was successfully released earlier this year. An extensive licensing programme covers sectors such as toys, video games, apparel, costumes, calendars, publishing, BTS, stationery, games and puzzles and trading card accessories. The popularity of Yu-Gi-Oh! has been boosted even further by the recent launch of a new global web hub — www.yugioh.com — where fans can read about their favourite characters, download exclusive wallpaper and screensavers and find out about all the latest Yu-Gi-Oh! merchandise and games.
Another exciting 4Kids property at BLE 2011 will be Max Adventures — a popular kids’ brand aimed at 6-10 year olds that features Max the Lion and is currently making a mark across Europe. A TV show has been snapped up by key European broadcasters and a Max Adventures ice cream range is proving extremely popular and is available through retail, restaurants and leisure parks in most European markets, supported by Max-branded POS materials. This presence is being bolstered by marketing activities including print and TV ads, DVD promotions, online cooperations, and costume character appearances and themed activities at leisure parks and outdoor events. The brand is also promoted through digital channels, with a seeding strategy targeting children’s websites and video streaming pages such as YouTube. Additionally,, a dedicated Max Adventures website has launched across Europe and is adapted for each market in which the brand is present, featuring games, activities and a sing-along animation. 4Kids is acting as a brand consultant for the property and is currently exploring a number of potential categories for licensing, including publishing, collectibles, promotions, mobile applications, digital content and accessories, stationery, BTS and amusement park attractions.
4Kids will also be presenting Dinosaur King — the popular animated series that chronicles the adventures of Max, Rex and Zoe, known as the ‘D Team’, who search the world for dinosaur cards that have the power to bring dinosaurs back to life. The show is broadcast across EMEA, enabling 4Kids to build a strong and varied licensing programme. Publishing has been a particularly successful category for the property and partners include Signature Publishing and Egmont. Other sectors represented include stationery, apparel, toys, collectibles, confectionary, BTS, homeware, gifts, novelties and sporting goods, whilst Quick recently used Dinosaur King in a promotion across its chain of European fast-food restaurants.
4sight licensing solutions, a subsidiary of 4Kids that specialises in brands geared primarily to adults, teens and tweens, will also be presenting a strong range of properties at BLE 2011. These include aspirational fashion property Chicaloca, which is proving to be a big hit across Europe and represents an independent, fun-loving, confident and trendy attitude that embodies the mindset and lifestyle of today’s teen and tween girls. Licensees have been quick to realise the property’s potential and 4sight is building up an impressive European licensing programme. In the UK, Celestial Imports, Peers Hardy and SLG are on board to produce an exclusive range of Chicaloca lines for BHS that include toiletries, gifting items and accessories. In Spain and Italy, BLGS Hometextile is developing beach products including 42 different designs of beach towel and 10 designs of flip-flops that are set to launch in 2012. September will also see the launch of a new multi-platform Chicaloca game, which can be played via iPhone, Android, Facebook and online gaming portals. Players enter a virtual world where fashion rules — they can choose a virtual fashion model, buy Chicaloca clothes and accessories using virtual money, dress their model and take part in fashion shows where they compete for unique prizes against other users.
Another 4sight licensing solutions brand at the show will be the popular animal photography franchise Artlist Collection: The Dog and Friends. Featuring The Dog, The Cat and The Pig, and newcomers The Duck, The Rabbit and The Hamster, the property is based around irresistibly cute and expressive pictures of the animals, which are taken using a fish-eye lens to produce a trademark 70:30 head-to-body ratio. The franchise is hugely popular and this has enabled 4sight to put together a strong and varied licensing programme covering a vast range of categories, from plush to apparel to digital. One of the most successful licensees has been partworks specialist Eaglemoss, which has used The Dog and The Cat to create a partworks range that is proving very successful across Europe. There have also been a number of highly successful promotions involving the lovable animals with partners including McDonalds and Quick Restaurants, whilst The Continuity Company (TCC) is enjoying huge success with a loyalty campaign using The Dog plush that has been picked up by leading grocery stores and petrol stations worldwide.
Two other properties in the 4sight line-up are the Kennel Club and Crufts, two separate brands that are closely linked. The Kennel Club is specifically dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs, with a broad remit to protect and promote their general wellbeing. At its heart are programmes and investments in education and health initiatives to ensure that dogs are healthy, happy and long-lived. The Kennel Club also organises and hosts Crufts, the world’s most famous dog show, which is attended by dog lovers from the across the globe who come together to experience the competitions and events that celebrate the diverse role dogs play in society.Â The response from the licensing sector has been very positive and 4sight has developed a dedicated licensing programme, with more than 12 licensees now on board. Categories represented include dog bedding and accessories, branded pet tags, publishing, greetings, collectibles, digital content prints and canvasses.
Pachanga is also part of the 4sight portfolio – a distinctive and beautiful set of artwork, illustrations, drawings and designs by Ecuadorian artist Belen Ména, which has been created from the natural designs and colour patterns found on the wings and bodies of over 300 different species of South American moths. The artist spent five years in the forests of Ecuador observing, photographing, drawing and cataloguing the moths, which served as the inspiration for the collection. A growing licensing programme includes A3 Media for digital content, Atlas Wall Coverings for wall murals and Art.com for fine art canvas prints and posters. Other key sectors being targeted include home textiles, home décor, tableware, stationery and publishing.
”We are looking forward to what promises to be a very positive BLE 2011 and are hoping to build on the success of all our brands by presenting them to potential partners from across the licensing spectrum. There should also be a few new third party acquisitions revealed at the show” said Sandra Vauthier-Cellier, Managing Director, 4Kids Entertainment International and 4sight licensing solutions.