PRE-SCHOOL MONTH: E1's Ben & Holly flies into retail

Toy range from Golden Bear leads High Street and online assault by new property.
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The latest pre-school property from E1 – Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom – has hit retail, led by a full toy line from Golden Bear.

The firm launched its range of plastic play-sets, including Best New Toy 2010 award winner at this year’s Toy Fair, the Magical Castle play-set, plus Gaston’s Cave. Both the products contain secret magical elements. Meanwhile, the plush collection includes a Talking Holly Princess, Talking Ben Elf, assorted mini plush, Fetch-stick Gaston and lead item, Holly with fluttering wings and magic wand. Further items will join the range in spring/summer 2011.

The majority of retailers have taken the full eight lines, while E1 is currently working with a number of chains to develop exclusive lines and promotional activity.
Jumbo’s range of puzzles and games further bolsters the toy category. Meanwhile, Redan is launching a Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom version of its Fun to Learn title; Cooneen and Misirli are launching pyjamas, underwear and socks' Cohen & Wilks has t-shirts for autumn/winter, with plans to expand the line in spring 2011; while Character World is launching a duvet set, curtains and fleece blanket, with more products following for spring/summer 2011.

The Ben & Holly books launched in March and already the Little Library has reached the top 50 children's book charts. The line also includes higher value concepts such as Holly's Magic Wand book with glittery stickers and the Regal Picnic Magnet Book. The first DVD launches in September supported by TV advertising, which is linked to Golden Bear's main TV ad push.

“With the majority of girls’ pre-school licences decreasing in sales year on year, there is plenty of room for a new one in the marketplace to sit alongside Peppa Pig,” Hannah Mungo, licensing manager at E1 told “Boy-specific merchandise will also be built up slowly, reacting to consumer demand rather than forcing it. Nick Jr and Five’s Milkshake will play a big part in the merchandise launch with promotional slots booked, on-air competitions, homepage splashes and costume characters featured.

“With a BAFTA already under its belt, a solid year and a half of broadcast, book sales already strong and full retailer listings, the phase one merchandise launch looks set to sparkle.”

Phase two of the roll out begins from January 2011 - including product from Portico, Rudolf Stein, Spearmark, Wesco, Trademark, Gemma and MV Sports - while phase three is planned from autumn/winter 2011.


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