Variety Toy Fair Preview
The following appeared in Variety on February 12, 1996. The citation is Leventhal, Larry. Toy, biz synergy evident. Variety: Special report; spotlight; American International Toy Fair; p. 73.
Toy, biz synergy evident
This week's Toy Fair will feature a plethora of product line rollouts based on licensed entertainment properties. Entertainment licensees promise to be a presence at the show, and marketing support will take several forms. Some toy manufacturers will be showing excerpts from new shows on monitors, others will be running events focusing on newly licensed characters.
Personnel representing distributors and syndicators will no doubt be seen wandering the event, as they gauge reaction not just to product lines being introduced, but to the properties on which they are based.
The following examples of upcoming product available at this year's event illustrate the synergy between toy manufacturers and distributors and developers of children's programming materializes.
The introduction of a collection of action figures fashioned after characters from "The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest," a new animated series from Turner's Hanna-Barbera, bowing this fall and based on the classic '60s "Quest" program, likely will be one of the most hyped launches at the Toy Fair. The toy line is being done as part of a yearlong Turner marketing blitz to promote the program and its ancillary licensed products.
"What we are going to do is take these characters and make them relevant anew," says Anne Adriance, senior VP and general manager of licensing and merchandising for Turner Home Entertainment. "There is a great nostalgia factor, and we are going to make them contemporary enough to bring into the 21st century."
Adriance says the company's research shows that viewers of "Jonny Quest" reruns, now showing on Turner's Cartoon Network, spans aging baby boomers to their young children. As a result, the new series could mean a merchandising bonanza, if marketed correctly. A line of "Jonny Quest" action figures and accessories will be introduced at Toy Fair by San Francisco's Lewis Galoob Toys Inc. According to Gary Niles, Galoob exec VP, the Jonny Quest property has strong licensing potential.
"The people at Turner showed us their plans, which combines the story of a young adult with his adventures in virtual reality," says Niles. "These are stories involving a character that's a real young man, not a superhero."