Firstly, how did the brand perform in 2013?
2013 was a fantastic year for the brand, not least because of the release of Plants vs. Zombies 2 – this quickly became the most successful mobile game launch in EA’s history. The game also achieved one of the biggest opening weekends on the App Store ever for a mobile game title and the initial product launches following have seen very strong sales across a wide range of merchandise. The licensing programme is growing with top licensees in all key categories throughout Europe and 2014 will see some great lines launching in all key retailers.
How many licensees does it have to date, and in which categories?
There are currently 18 licensees across apparel, accessories, plush, toys, publishing, homewares, digital peripherals, nightwear, underwear and posters.
What are some of the best performing products?
Soft lines are performing particularly well throughout Europe with bedding and t-shirts seeing very strong sales. Toys are also a key factor in the growth of the brand alongside publishing and accessories.
Are you looking to sign more licensees this year – if so which categories are you targeting?
We are dealing with a large number of approaches for PvZ across stationery, food, outdoor products and games, so we are certainly expecting to see a number of new deals in place this year right across Europe.
Do you have any special marketing initiatives or promotional activity planned for 2014?
February 2014 sees the launch of the hotly anticipated Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare in which the brand delves into a new style of game – a third person shooter – for the Xbox at first. There is a significant marketing programme behind the launch, which has already achieved a huge response from fans and press. PvZ Garden Warfare was one of the hottest games at E3 last year and has seen critical acclaim across the board.
What has the reaction from retail been like to the brand?
Plants vs. Zombies is one of few properties from the game space which can be genuinely considered a brand, opening up opportunities for a full cross-category programme. With the enormous reach (approaching a 200M install base and nearly 11M followers on Facebook) and the incredible graphics, we have seen a great reaction right across retail throughout Europe. We are engaged with most major retailers and discussing opportunities to support brand initiatives.
What would you most like to achieve with the brand by the end of 2014?
We believe the potential for PvZ is truly enormous and, combined with the very high ambitions of Electronic Arts, we feel that PvZ could be one of the most successful brands ever to come out of the digital world. Our ambition for this year is to ensure the foundation has been laid through 2014 to realise this potential.