Hasbro plans to distribute 1 million copies of a 45-minute animated DVD outlining the fictitious origins of Furby, the interactive talking pet, as part of a relaunch of the toy.
The giveaway, which will take place in July, is part of a &£1m UK marketing push over six months.
Henry Foulds, senior brand manager for girls’ toys and youth electronics at Hasbro UK, says the new Furby, which retails for about &£40, is 60 per cent bigger, has more facial expressions, including ears and a crest that move, and an increased vocabulary, both in English and “Furbish”.
The global relaunch, scheduled for July 28, will be supported with television, press and radio advertising, an online microsite, e-mail, viral, mobile and text promotions. There will also be a licensed clothing range.
The TV ads will run on ITV, GMTV, Five and several digital channels, including Cartoon Network, MTV, Nickelodeon and Toonami. Creative work is being generated in the US, and media buying is by OMD.
Furby sold 40 million units worldwide at the end of the 1990s. Its advanced electronics meant Furbies responded to their owners’ words and actions and could interact with other Furbies.
However, the original Furby phenomenon only lasted two years. This time around, Foulds says, “we intend Furby to be a much more long-term property.”
One reason Furby was short-lived when it first appeared was because it could not be turned off, which irritated many parents. Hasbro has now included an off switch.