Mattel readies for Thomas & Friends’ 75th with new partner line-up

Mattel has secured a raft of new partnership deals spanning toys, publishing, and retail as the team charges full steam ahead to celebrate Thomas & Friends’ 75th anniversary next year.

Created by the Reverend. W. Awdry for his son in 1945, publishing remains a strong part of the Thomas brand heritage and franchise with over 100 titles and 2 million books sold each year. Licensing partner Egmont will continue to tell these stories with a ‘special edition compilation of the original Railway Series’ to commemorate the anniversary.

In April next year, the brand will launch its partnership with the London department store Harrods as it celebrates the heritage of the brand with several activations throughout the store, and limited edition branded merchandise sold in store.

Later in 2020, model railroad manufacturers Bachmann will work with the brand on a two-year licensing deal to bring the world of Thomas to life. The traditional electric trains will encompass the adventure and discovery of Thomas & Friends, to provide fans of the brand, railway enthusiasts and collectors with a realistic re-creation of the adventures on the Island of Sodor.

Meanwhile, the popular party and fancy-dress company Smiffys has teamed with the brand to launch a dress-up range for baby and toddlers that support storytelling. The new range will launch in time for World Book Day in March.   

The UK will also see a partnership with Europe’s number one publisher of licensed calendars, greetings cards, gift wrap and diaries, Danilo. The family-run company has operated for over 40 years, creating products to celebrate those important milestones in life. The collaboration is a new licensing partnership, launching in AW19, and will see a collection of Thomas & Friends branded greeting cards, wrapping paper and gift bags.

Finally, a new deal with licensee Pyramid International will see the launch of a range of Wall Art, including posters, prints and canvases, together with an accessories collection of badges, stickers, keychains, mugs and a comprehensive range of stationery.

Helen Genia, head of UK licensing and hardlines EMEA, Mattel, said: “We are thrilled to announce these new licensing deals for Thomas & Friends spanning publishing, apparel and retail that will delight and excite Thomas fans.

“Our goal this coming special 75th anniversary year is to introduce new highly accessible and memorable consumer products through our increased partnership activity. A number of specialised product and retail executions will be launched to help give added meaning to the experience Thomas & Friends delivers to the consumer in its celebratory year.”

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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