Sales director and partner at Kokomo Studios, John Harris discusses why Thunderbirds is perfect for the kids' washing and bathing products sector.
Can you talk us through Kokomo Studio’s Thunderbirds Are Go product line, what have you got planned for the brand?
We are looking to create a range for the Everyday Washing & Bathing, Dental and Gifting categories that incorporates all the favourite characters and vehicles in the Thunderbirds Are Go programme.
Our company’s heritage with children’s brands puts Kokomo in a unique position to not only identify with children’s needs, but also to develop innovative and affordable products for this selective and demanding group of consumers.
When will the range hit retailers, what plans for global distribution have you got?
We have a soft launch of Dental and washing & bathing products launching in October, with some additional everyday products due to launch in SS16 and then our "Hero Gift" range will launch AW16.
We are already in discussions with some of our key distribution partners in other countries around the world and look forward to selling to a wider global audience throughout 2016 and beyond.
What makes Kokomo Studio the ideal partner for Thunderbirds Are Go? What will you guys be bringing to the Thunderbirds Are Go offering?
Kokomo prides itself on its innovation and USP and the key for us is to understand the brand and its target audience. The combination of understanding the rationale behind the brand and what it represents, plus our heavy investment in tooling and NPD, means that we can deliver a product range that offers value for money, with collectability and after use, to a target audience old and new, that will identify with the old favourites including Thunderbird 2.
Why do you think Thunderbirds Are Go will be successful in the toiletries category? What age ranges will you be targeting with the collection?
Our Thunderbirds Are Go range will be successful in the toiletries category, as historically all our boys ranges have performed well and the toyetic element to our range lends itself perfectly to this target audience, which we see as 5-8 years on everyday washing & bathing, and up to 11 years old on gifting.
In addition, the authenticity and detail of our products, together with iconic status the Thunderbirds brand represents, means it will attract interest from fans of all ages.
How have you seen the licensed toiletries market evolve over the past 35 years and how does the Thunderbirds licence reflect the changing market?
The licensed toiletries market has evolved massively over the past 35 years, from when there was very little choice to where we are now, which is an abundance of brands to choose from, driven by TV and Theatrical activity.
The fact that Thunderbirds Are Go is on TV means that it has the opportunity to flourish all year round and grow as a brand.
What are the main challenges in managing the Thunderbirds Are Go toiletries line?
The main challenges with Thunderbirds Are Go Toiletries is to recreate the fantastic detail that the products deserve, plus develop a range that excites the consumer and makes Thunderbirds Are Go their first purchase choice.
Luckily we have a wealth of experience and some great manufacturing partners that enables us to produce products to that spec.
What’s the secret to keeping the line fresh and relevant?
Simply: innovation. Our ability to think of new ideas and through investment in resource and tooling, bring those new ideas to life, has gained Kokomo a reputation in the market place we are proud of.
What marketing plans have you got lined up for the range?
ITV Studios Global Entertainment will obviously be promoting the brand on a large scale across various different platforms, but we will be working closely with our retailer partners to secure promotional space and also communicating our range via their various gift guides and online facilities.
What are your expectations for the line through 2015/2016 and beyond?
Kokomo's rationale on licensing is to sign licences that have the potential for longevity and we see Thunderbirds Are Go as a brand that will continue to grow and re-establish itself as a classic license for years to come.
What’s next for you and Thunderbirds Are Go?
Our strategy on Thunderbirds Are Go is to increase our investment in NPD, which will enable us to continue to create fantastic & innovative products that will enhance the bath time experience.