Lord of the Rings and Yu-Gi-Oh!, a Japanese cartoon, are being tipped as the hot properties for children’s toys and merchandise following last week’s Licensing 2001 International Show in New York.
But despite the fact that more than 4,700 properties were on show this year, Logistix Kids Worldwide, one of the UK’s leading children’s marketing specialists, says that many of the offerings were “disappointing”.
“There was not much there that was of real interest,” says Ian Madeley, managing director of Logistix. “Although I was impressed by Lord of the Rings, and Yu-Gi-Oh! looks like being a must-have property for next year.”
The licensing programme for Yu-Gi-Oh! is managed by 4Kids Entertainment, the marketing and distribution company behind Pokémon. The new property is aimed at boys aged from ten upwards, who have outgrown Pokémon. It has already spawned products such as video games and trading cards.
Madeley adds that properties aimed at sevento 12-year-old girls were particularly thin on the ground. Commonly known as “tweens”, they are a notoriously difficult group to motivate and entertain.
But US toy company MGA Entertainment is hoping to capture the tweens’ imaginations and take on Mattel’s Barbie with its new Bratz dolls, which go on sale in the UK later this year.
Bratz are four ten-inch high fashion dolls called Cloe, Sasha, Yasmin and Jade. MGA is hoping to license the Bratz name and images for use on accessories, such as backpacks, and is also talking to studios about a Bratz TV show.