From 'Thomas the Tank Engine' to 'King of the Railway': Mattel plans global push for franchise
Marketing push will see a range of new toys created and the release of a one-hour film as it attempts to make inroads in Asia and Latin America
Thomas the Tank Engine will undergo a major rebranding in 2013 in an attempt to get children in Asia and Latin America on board.
Following its $680 million acquisition last year, toy giant Mattel plans to overhaul Thomas the Tank Engine to bring the cheery locomotive and his friends in-line with its lucrative Hot Wheels and Barbie brands.
The New York Times reports that, although Thomas’ retail sales currently bring in around $1 billion every year, Barbie brings in double that, while Hot Wheels is also a better seller in toy shops.
David Allmark, executive vice president of Mattel’s Fisher-Price brands said: “It’s been a brand that has been pretty bereft of investment… We really believe that we can grow this on a worldwide basis, particularly in Latin America and Asia.”
The marketing push will see a range of new toys created, including an expanded and enhanced collection of wooden trains, and the release of a one-hour, straight-to-DVD film entitled ‘King of the Railway’.
The DVD release will be accompanied by ‘blue carpet’ premieres in the United States and Europe and a three series extension of the Thomas and Friends television show on US stations PBS and Sprout.
A multi-million advertising campaign entitled ‘Anytime is Thomas time’ is also set for launch.
Mr Allmark insisted Thomas will continue to espouse “innocent, sweet life lessons”, but said elements like faster story-telling would ‘liven up’ the franchise and help it keep up with modern brands.
Shari Donnenfeld, head of Hit Global Brandssaid: “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.”
Over the last three years the Thomas the Tank Engine brand has been steadily updating.
In 2009, the old-fashioned animation style was dropped in favour of computer-generated images and the trains themselves began talking to each directly, rather than using a narrator to tell the audience what was being said.
The New York Times reports that these changes have increased Thomas the Tank Engine ratings by around 30 per cent.
The computerised graphics also enabled the creation of a range of popular Thomas ‘apps’, with 15 already available and another four on the way.
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Isis could become 'world’s first truly terrorist state' and bomb UK with nuclear and chemical weapons, Theresa May warns
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...
£115 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: We are looking for infants and...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Qualified secondary teachers - ...
£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: KS1 & 2 Primary Supply Teac...