WWE & Mattel: A tight fit

Samantha Loveday

By Samantha Loveday

November 9th 2009 at 9:33AM
WWE & Mattel: A tight fit

We find out what the new master toy partner for WWE has up its sleeve.

WWE is already one of the largest boy brands in the toy market and, from January 2010, its presence on retail shelves will undoubtedly get even bigger as new master toy Mattel begins its product roll out.

“WWE is a massive global brand, appealing to kids of all ages, so it is a great fit for Mattel,” marketing director Erica Zubriski explains. “We’re excited about its super star status and there’s lots of collateral that we can work with in terms of design and innovation – we can bring a lot of excitement to the category.”

Mattel started off by doing its research into the property, discovering why it’s so popular and understanding the appeal of WWE to its wide fan base. It’s mainly a boys target market, of course, but Zubriski and her team found that the age range is very wide. To this end, Mattel is developing a vast product collection with items which will appeal to boys aged five to seven right up to adult collectors.

“The action figures already have a massive following; collectors as well as the core audience,” Zubriski says. “You’ve got generations now involved with WWE. Also, in terms of content, they always have new events; it’s got 20 hours of TV exposure in any given week and it’s always refreshing. There’s a wealth of material.”

Leading the line-up will be the FlexForce action figures, a range which Zubriski is particularly excited about as the flexible characters are able to perform their signature moves. “Each superstar has something which is very distinct to them and we’ve got that built into the action figures. There’s flips and all sorts of great stuff; it’s never been done before.”

To complement the figures, the Breakdown Brawl Ring will allow fans to recreate the action they see on the TV. Strategically placed launch points work with the Flexforce figures and accessories, while if kids slam hard enough into the mat the ring breaks wide open.

Alongside Flexforce, a range of basic figures have been created to real ‘super star scale’, complete with authentic tattoos and armbands. Available in two packs, the range will be updated throughout the year, including special editions showcasing major WWE events from Wrestlemania through to Royal Rumble. An assortment of WWE Superstar Rings will also be available at launch, featuring tension ropes, turnbuckles and springloaded mats.

Completing the collection will be six-inch Elite Figures of WWE’s biggest superstars, which will feature deluxe articulation, detail and accessories such as tattoos, arm-bands and costume pieces, plus a line of three Title Belts.

“Each segment within the category is going to work together, so the belts, the ring and the action figures, giving something where you can play out the complete experience,” Zubriski says. “It’s a complete package.”

Mattel will also be working closely with WWE on a number of event promotions, while Zubriski is also looking to return to TV with the line as well as tie up promotions with partners at retail level. Also, outside of toys there is already a comprehensive licensing programme for WWE - which is handled by CPLG - covering a wide range of categories.

It seems that Mattel has certainly listened to the desires of fans and is confident the new range can deliver. “The innovation we’ve bought into the action figures, scale and the signature moves are all really important, as well as the detailing,” Zubriski continues. “Everyone has been really positive and looking forward to launch. It’s the first time that any of those features have been available, so it’s something that everyone, particularly the strong collector base, is very much looking forward to.

“We’re committed to a long-term partnership so investment will be key. We will invest heavily in terms of promoting this and bringing it to market, and making sure that the innovation, coupled with the research and then the communication behind it, is something that’s going to bring this to a new level.”