Saban Brands' SVP EMEA, distribution and consumer products, Leila Ouledcheikh talks 25 years of Power Rangers.
Remind us, just how old and how big is Power Rangers?
The original series, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, premiered in 1993 and the brand is now approaching its 25th anniversary. With the current 24th season, Power Rangers Ninja Steel, it’s one of the longest running series in television history. We’ve run 846 episodes and Power Rangers airs around the world in more than 150 markets while being translated into numerous languages.
Saban’s Power Rangers has consistently been a top brand and there are nearly 50 partners in the EMEA region with many, many more globally.
How is the brand still growing after almost 25 years?
First and foremost, Saban’s Power Rangers is an evergreen brand because it resonates with fans of all ages around the world. People truly relate to these ordinary teens who become superheroes and connect to the core themes of teamwork, inclusivity and fun.
Dating back to 1993, Power Rangers has fans who grew up with the show and continue to engage with the brand. Then, with each new season, which features fresh themes, new young fans are introduced to Power Rangers and continue to grow with us. Additionally, with the outstanding work of our partners, we are continuously able to deliver a wide range of product categories to support each season of the show.
We also always look for new ways to engage with fans and, for example, this year has seen Power Rangers execute multiple retail activations in the EMEA across the toy, grocery and fashion space. Alongside this, we have a network of local partnerships that continue to keep brand awareness high by offering live tours and seasonal outdoor events for the kids.
For example, in France Power Rangers recently featured in Lagardere broadcaster group’s ‘Kids à la Plage’ summer event and will form a key part of the kids’ activity programme on The Gulli Cruise this November. Our Rangers are always on the road - the calendar for the rest of the year is pretty booked up.
Content is also key and through digital, TV, streaming and the recent movie, Power Rangers fans have many platforms available to engage with us as we continue to expand. For example, new broadcast partners continue to come on board and this year we have welcomed Neox (Spain), POP (Italy), E-Vision (UAE), Gulli Arabi (Middle East), Smile TV (Greece) and London Live (UK) to our expanding line-up.
We are also growing our success on Netflix and have all seasons available on the streaming platform, including the 24th season ‘Power Rangers Ninja Steel’ which premiered across the region last month.
You mention digital. Is Power Rangers innovative in this field?
Saban’s Power Rangers continues to evolve with the times while also staying true to its core DNA. Interactive, digital experiences for fans are essential and Power Rangers has a strong digital presence with on-demand viewing, apps, games, social media and more. For example, Power Rangers partnered with Twitch on a first-of-its-kind marathon to stream all seasons in the franchise’s history (at the time, 831 episodes) in promotional celebration of the feature film’s release in March 2017.
What part do social media and online platforms play in the Power Rangers story?
In the digital age, fans want continued access and new ways to engage with their favourite brands and one of the best channels to do this is online and through social media. With Power Rangers, we have an incredible global fan base that we engage with on these platforms in numerous ways. Earlier this year in the U.K., we launched an official Power Rangers channel on the hugely popular Super Awesome kids’ app PopJam. We’re also enjoying great success on YouTube and on Facebook, our global fan-base continues to grow too with over 2.8 million page ‘likes’.
What plans can you tell us about for 2018?
In 2018, Saban Brands’ focus will naturally be on celebrating Power Rangers’ 25th anniversary and commemorating this significant milestone. We’ll also be looking to create growth in the FMCG area, publishing, back to school and live events.
Power Rangers is an ultimate kids’ action brand with evergreen appeal and staying power that continues to resonate with kids right through adulthood as they become collectors.
How will you celebrate Power Rangers’ 25th anniversary?
For Power Rangers’ 25th anniversary, we’ll celebrate 25 powerful years of the brand in morphinominal fashion with fans of all ages. We can’t yet reveal too much about the year to come but we will soon begin unveiling partnerships and programmes that will embody the core pillars of the Power Rangers brand: friendship, inclusivity, diversity and teamwork.
Is Power Rangers the ultimate action figure toy property?
Power Rangers is an ultimate kids’ action brand with evergreen appeal and staying power that continues to resonate with kids right through adulthood as they become collectors. Power Rangers has been a top brand for decades and is one of the longest running shows in TV history.
In the EMEA specifically, the franchise continues to resonate with fans, be a top brand and show growth. For example, Saban's Power Rangers has recently signed new licencees including Sambro, IMC and Tech 4 Kids and is celebrating the long-standing success of other partners such as Rubies, Morphsuits AFG Media, Smith and Brooks, TDP/Aykroyd, Trademark Products, Dreamtex and Amscan.
Why do you think Power Rangers has such lasting appeal?
I think Power Rangers has lasting appeal with fans because the core messages of inclusivity, teamwork and fun are universal and timeless. I also think that everyone, from adults that grew up with the series to kids watching today, can see themselves as one of the Power Rangers which also translates to success in role play, action figures and beyond. People can truly identify with at least one, if not all of the Rangers - ordinary teens who also happen to be saving the planet.
Anything else you’d like to add?
At Brand Licensing Europe this year we’ll also be presenting opportunities for two brand new licensing propositions. Firstly, we have the Netflix original series for pre-schoolers, Cirque du Soleil Junior - Luna Petunia that is currently streaming seasons one and two. The show is quickly establishing a solid fan-base thanks to its wonderful array of characters, engaging storylines and bright animation. Then, in co-production with Funrise, we’ll also be debuting a fantastic new animated comedy for kids and tweens called Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty. The show will be a true celebration of non-conformity, individuality and confidence.