Just over a year ago, Licensing.biz' sister title, ToyNews detailed Moshi Monsters' planned comeback for both the children’s entertainment sphere and toy space.
2019 is the year that all of those plans now come into fruition for the brainiacs at Mind Candy.
For many, it has been quite the hiatus for that brand and a spell away from the dizzying heights of fame that the franchise was hitting in the early 2010s. Now, with a master toy partner in the form of Flair, and a slew of brand new IP on the scene, Moshi Monsters has resurfaced.
That IP has taken the form of Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt, signalling a belated move to mobile devices via a new app game.
When the franchise first shot to fame under the creative direction of Michael Acton Smith, it was in every definition, a phenomenon. However, like most in the toy space, it had a shelf life and eventually became hamstrung by its failure to move to mobile devices quick enough and seamlessly enough.
Now, under the watchful eye of Mind Candy CEO Ian Chambers, all of that is about to be reversed.
“With Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt, we have created a window into the world of Moshi on mobile,” he tells Licensing.biz. “We wanted to create a game that kids love and parents trust. As such, the game is free with no in-app purchases, has built-in ‘stealth education’ and there are no social features for parents to worry.”
In essence, it has been stripped right back from what Moshi Monsters once was and repackaged for the youth audience of today. And what do kids today want more than anything else - well, recent history dictates that you can’t go much wrong with a line of collectables - and who would be more up to the job than Flair?
“Our existing relationship with Flair and the company’s recent success in the collectables space made them the perfect partner for us to launch the range,” continues Chambers.
Arguably, Mind Candy led the way in the now commonplace digital-physical crossover in the toy space. Afterall, it wasn’t that long ago that kids were clambouring to get their hands on the physical characters that lived within the Moshi Monsters world on their screens. This is a heritage that Mind Candy is proud of, and one that it will endeavour to uphold as it continues to innovate in this very space.
“Digital is at the heart of everything we do,” explains Chambers. ‘So it makes sense that the collectables we have developed with Flair link in with the game, enabling kids to collect physical Moshlings and then unlock goodies in the app through the use of digital codes in every pack.
“We are very proud of the Moshi Monsters heritage, however, we don’t make comparatives to the past but focus on how we can lead into the future.”
So this really is a carte blanche for Mind Candy and with Chambers at the helm, it is simply the mission for the firm to build on the success of its history without dwelling on the past. This is all about the next generation of children now, and to reach them, it is all about combining the best of physical play and digital play.
“That’s how we are bringing the magical world of Moshi to life,” he smiles.
Mind Candy likes to put itself at the forefront of the latest in cutting edge technology. It’s a simple rule that has - even while Moshi Monsters may have been rested, awaiting their triumphant return - kept the company innovating in the mobile gaming sphere for the best part of a decade.
So how does it all culminate with an app game for mobiles? Well, it doesn’t. Not quite. There’s a two-pronged attack on the children’s space emerging from the Mind Candy camp, you see. Egg Hunt is but only one asset the company is utilising to bring the IP back into the fore. The second is yet another push forward in digital innovation and it goes by the name of Moshi Twilight. And this one sees Mind Candy enter the wellbeing space.
“With Moshi Twilight we have entered the wellbeing category, which is opening up all kinds of new and interesting licensing discussions for products that can help kids relax and sleep at bedtime,” says Chambers.
“Ultimately, the goal of Moshi twilight is to improve the health and happiness of kids which in turn will make life better for the family as a whole.”
So what is it, this result of new age thinking for the brand? Chambers explains that through a series of partnerships for Moshi Twilight, the company is aiming to bring the audio stories to life outside of the app itself.
“For example, we have been working with the manufacturers of smart speakers to give parents a choice of ways to listen to Moshi Twilight. For instance, users of Amazon Echo simply have to ask to ‘Open Moshi Twilight’ to listen to a range of free stories.”
It’s storytelling for the 21st century, wrapped up in the popularity of this fan favourite IP, certainly. And the potential for the brand - according to Chambers and the Mind Candy outfit, is limitless.
“With Moshi Twilight, we are opening up new opportunities for licensees in an emerging category,” he continues. ‘Sleep deprivation among kids and adults is becoming a global epidemic and it can affect general health, development and learning.
“We are already making a positive difference to the lives of families, and, working with partners, believe we can offer a range of products under the Moshi Twilight umbrella to go even further.”
Of this, plans are already well underway - as are discussions with numerous partners. All in a very selective approach, of course. What Chambers is certainly not looking to do, is put Moshi twilight onto every product in the bedroom.
“Instead, we want to work with key partners that want to innovate with new products that help kids relax and sleep at bedtime,” he explains. ‘We do not expect Moshi Twilight to be affected by seasonality as sleep is something we all do every day.”
In that regard, Mind Candy is facing a 100 per cent penetration market.
“It’s very attractive as we haven’t yet cracked how not to sleep,” he laughs.
The first partnership announced for this initiative has been Posh Paws, and Chambers teases that plenty more will be unveiled throughout the Toy Fair season this month.
Moshi Twilight is already doing well in terms of numbers, too. In app, the company already has millions of kids that have listened to the stories, and it holds a firm belief that this will ultimately translate into a demand for physical products to bring the stories to life in the bedroom.
“Our relentless focus on quality in terms of both the experiences we create and the products that our partners produce is what drives a lot of our decision making,” continues Chambers. ‘We also want to ensure that all products, digital and physical, complement each other to achieve the overall goal of helping kids relax and sleep.
“Equally, we expect our partners to create products that will stand alone in their category and introduce kids to the stories that are available via the app. Our ultimate goal is to create worlds that fire the imagination and to inspire kids, and this is what we look for in our partners.”
Early readings, by the way, for both Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt and Moshi Twilight, has been nothing short of ‘exceptional.’ Moshi Monsters Egg Hunt is actually a top five mobile game of the moment.
Moshi Twilight, meanwhile, has repeatedly been at number one in its category and to date over three million kids have fallen asleep to Moshi Twilight.
“Our audience is saying what we want to hear,” says Chambers. “And that’s that Moshi is inspiring a new generation of kids to play, relax and sleep.”
One thing is for certain however, and that’s that in his role at Mind Candy, Chambers certainly won’t be caught sleeping at the wheel, not with the kind of year ahead he has planned for the outfit.