It’s always a challenge launching a new pre-school property. In today’s crowded marketplace it takes something pretty special to make its mark and achieve both stand out on shelf and on screen.
Tickety Toc seems to have put big ticks in both boxes.
The show debuted on Nickelodeon in the UK in April 2012. It was the number one rated programme on Nick Jr in the UK among kids in its launch month and remains one of the highest rated shows for the channel. Tickety Toc also airs on Channel 5’s Milkshake (having launched in November 2012) and consistently outperforms the slot average.
On top of this, as a global Nick Jr acquisition, Tickety Toc has continued to roll out across all international territories. Agreements have also been inked with free to air partners including France 5, Network 10 in Australia, Disney Canada, NRK Norway and YLE in Finland among others. Altogether 18 broadcast partners have been signed, with Zodiak set to reveal further new additions shortly.
Solid broadcast platforms secured, Zodiak has also been busy establishing the foundations of a strong licensing programme.
Jennifer Lawlor, SVP consumer products, Zodiak Kids, explains that there are over 45 partners signed up across the phase one launch markets, which are UK, US, Canada and Australia. Categories include toys, publishing, DVD, apparel, accessories, homewares and stationery. The focus at launch will be on the core sectors of toy, publishing and DVD, although other partners will continue to come on board for a 2014 roll out.
The UK programme is being led by Vivid Imaginations as master toy, supported by Kidztation (wooden toys), while Anchor Bay is on board for DVD, Igloo Books, Century Books, Redan and Immediate Media for publishing, Cooneen and Miserli for sleepwear and underwear, and Blues Clothing for outerwear and swimwear.
Products will begin to hit shelves from late summer, leading with Vivid’s toy line in July, with the firm having secured full retail distribution in the UK including all the majors. Books, DVD and apparel will follow in the early autumn.
Next up will be further expansion for the toy line, as well as wheeled goods, bedding, confectionery, health and beauty, partyware and pocket money items.
Plans are coming together outside of the UK, too. The master toy partner for the US and Canada – Just Play – will be launching its line in late summer, with a storybook app arriving in August and a DVD in September. In Canada, apparel lines will also form part of the initial roll out. In Australia, Hunter Toys will launch its range from September, supported by DVD from Beyond Home Entertainment and publishing from Five Mile Press. Showtime Attractions has also signed up as the live events partner, while other deals are due to be revealed shortly.
Meanwhile, over in France there will be a soft launch of the Vivid toy lines within specialty retail.
All of these territories will expand their roll out from spring 2014 and further EMEA expansion is planned across Benelux, Nordics, Spain, Turkey and the Middle East. Indeed, a key focus for Zodiak at Licensing Expo this month will be to secure partners across the EMEA region.
“Tickety Toc is a contemporary animation with a fresh and unique style,” Lawlor tells us. “The CGI and wooden aesthetic makes it look fresh but with a classic twist. The modern look of the show has been consistently applied across product and has been well executed by our licensees across the packaging to create stand out on shelf.
“The charming characters, great sense of humour and the energy and pace really bring the show to life. We’ve had a lot of feedback from parents as well as licensees, retailers and other commercial partners to suggest that Tickety Toc offers something different both visually and in its storytelling and its values – such as the way children can learn the importance of responsibility to others.”
Lawlor continues: “Another key reason behind the show’s popularity is that both boys and girls can relate to the twins [Tommy and Tallulah] and the strong ensemble cast. The locations and props also make it truly dual gender. Each story encourages active and adventurous play, and the distinctive art style really brings the rich play world to life. With an abundance of iconic elements throughout the show, the extension from screen to shelf feels very natural.”
It’s certainly a strong start for Tickety Toc, and Lawlor is confident that the brand has what it takes to stand out in such a competitive market.
“In the current landscape we need a complete added value proposition across everything we do – from deliverables for broadcasters, our digital offering, bespoke retail initiatives, to value in pack and engaging experiential marketing for the consumer,” Lawlor concludes. “The market is extremely cautious and it’s never been so hard to make a lasting impression, but we’re doing our best to ensure Tickety Toc shines both on and off air.”