Mondo TV’s director of consumer products Valentina La Macchia reveals details of its upcoming YooHoo & Friends Licensing Summit at Vegas and the firm’s excitement to appoint a global master toy licensee for the brand.
How have things been for YooHoo & Friends so far this year?
We had high hopes for this property from the start, and we haven’t been disappointed. As you probably know, YooHoo & Friends is the animated series based on the successful toy line of the same name created by Aurora World.
The YooHoo & Friends line focuses on rare or endangered animals around the world. There’s already huge awareness of the brand, not just because of the toy line but also thanks to an earlier 2D series that enjoyed worldwide distribution and, alongside huge TV exposure, was the driving force behind some massively successful promotions, such as the pan-European McDonalds Happy Meal Promotion. And of course the line has enjoyed huge plush sales; more than 40 million items have been sold since the line first launched in 2007.
This is an ideal time to bring the brand to a new generation in a new format, so Mondo TV is thrilled to be partnering with Aurora World Corp for the brand new 3D CGI TV series YooHoo & Friends. We confidently expect the characters and themes that underpin the new series will make it popular with a global audience, and inspire a strong and lasting L&M programme.
What will you be shouting about at this year’s Expo in Vegas for the brand?
The Las Vegas Licensing Expo is a very important event for everyone in the licensing industry and therefore a very important part of our plans for YooHoo & Friends – so we have big plans for this year’s event.
We are going to arrange a massive YooHoo & Friends Licensing Summit in Las Vegas alongside Aurora. This will allow us to introduce the property to the widest possible number of players in the international market prior to roll-out of the series and the licensing programme. We will be giving an update on the TV series, sharing the launch strategy for the property, outlining plans for a major international licensing programme and presenting a short video preview.
Which licensing partners are on board for the property?
With discussions now advanced to bring the new 3D CGI series to the main international broadcasters, we are very confident of a robust TV base on which to build a licensing campaign.
In particular we are working towards the appointment of a global master toy licensee and new European licensees, as well as building awareness with retailers. In fact some key products have been already secured, while many others are close to being finalised. Of course we already have a plush partner in the form of Aurora, where it all started.
Are there any new confirmed series you can talk about?
Our partnership with Aurora has also led to the co-development of a comedy-adventure series called Cuby Zoo. It is an animated TV show for children about cube-shaped animal characters who look like toys, but come to life when humans are away, and play a vital but anonymous role in keeping the world in balance. It’s exciting, different and a lot of fun.
What are you most looking forward to about the Expo in Vegas and how important are events such as these?
Meeting and greeting, forging new partnerships and making deals, and of course the YooHoo & Friends Licensing Summit. More precisely, we are going to meet current licensees to deepen our partnerships and define strategic plans for the launch of our properties. We will also look for potential new licensees to generate ideas and projects.
Our ongoing strategy is to set up partnerships with licensing agencies all over the world, supporting our direct management of Southern Europe, and to strengthen the licensing programme of our properties with new deals. We want to ensure our brands achieve a critical mass of licensed product as quickly as possible.
Licensing Expo is a unique opportunity for us to develop this process in an environment where many licensing industry decision-makers and innovators will be in the same area at the same time, and we expect to see quite a few of them at MondoTV Booth G214.