Toy firms take off with Thunderbirds Are Go

Modern Brands and Planet Fun signed as toy distribution partners in Australia and New Zealand.

ITV Studios Global Entertainment has named Modern Brands and Planet Fun as exclusive toy distribution partners for the new Thunderbirds Are Go toy line in Australia and New Zealand respectively.

Both companies will begin to sell in the AW19 Thunderbirds Are Go range with immediate effect, having showcased the toy line at the Melbourne Toy Fair in March.

Thunderbirds Are Go airs on both ABC ME and NINE Network in Australia, and on TVNZ2 in New Zealand, while it also has additional VOD exposure through kids platform HEIHEI in New Zealand.

With season three continuing in 2019 in the UK, broadcast in Australia and New Zealand will follow the UK premiere, with new episodes to support the launch of the toy line in the market.

“Australia is a very relevant and important market for Thunderbirds Are Go,” said Tim Clarke, general manager at Modern Brands. “We are very excited to be working with ITV to bring the Thunderbirds Are Go toy line to the Australian retailers and consumers from 2019.

“Thunderbirds has a strong following in Australia and as a long-term property has a great fit within the Modern Brands brand portfolio.”

Jeremy Kirk-Smith, the ceo at Planet Fun, added: “Planet Fun have long been passionate Thunderbirds Are Go fans, and are proud that the show is produced in New Zealand.

“We are thrilled to announce that The Warehouse will be exclusive retail partners with stock hitting the shelves in August this year.”


NatGeo, Oculus partner on Antartic VR

National Geographic and Oculus have partnered on a virtual reality experience that takes users on a trek across Antarctica.

The 30-minute experience takes explorers on a journey across the snowy tundra with a kayak ride and rock climbing included. Explorers must survive a snowstorm during their brief virtual expedition.

“National Geographic continues to experiment in the immersive storytelling space,” says Jenna Pirog, senior director, immersive experiences, National Geographic. “This latest partnership with Oculus and Force Field is in line with our mission to entertain with a purpose. We’re using the latest visual technology to spark curiosity about our world and enable people to better understand it.”

National Geographic’s VR experience will launch on Oculus later this spring. It will join other VR titles from companies such as Hasbro.


Bob Marley Family extends CBD drinks deal

New Age Beverages has expanded its agreement with the Bob Marley Family to continue their drink partnership into 2030.

The new deal will see Bob Marley’s image used on New Age’s line of CBD-infused beverages. It will also connect the Marley family more closely with marketing and awareness-building of the brand.

New Age originally licensed the Bob Marley brand in 2017 to launch yerba mate and cold brew drinks with the reggae singer’s image. Since then, the Marley collections have become one of the drink maker’s leading brands.

“Since taking over the Marley brand, we have successfully completely remade the brand in beverages together with the help of the family,” says Jay Barrow, head, marketing, New Age. “We know the potential that the brand represents across beverage segments with its current portfolio and the impending products infused with CBD. We look forward to capturing that potential together with the support of the Marley family.”

Along with beverages, the Bob Marley brand has also recently been licensed for lines of ice cream and skateboard decks.


Sonic pumps out pre-workout cherry limeade

Brand Central has connected fitness company Ghost Legend and drive-in restaurant Sonic to develop a line of cherry limeade flavored pre-workout drink mix.

The sweet drink is the first officially licensed cherry limeade-inspired product in the fitness space. Ghost Legend is launching the mix via GNC stores nationwide and online at

“Through the years, guests have come to directly connect the Cherry Limeade flavor to the Sonic brand,” says Lori Abou Habib, chief marketing officer, Sonic. “Now, Sonic fans can enjoy their favorite drink flavor before a workout at their local gym or even at their home gym.”

The Ghost Legend agreement marks another recent licensing agreement for Sonic. Brand Central recently worked to connect the drive-in with Jel Sert Company, Ziegenfelder, and Quality Candy.


Pokémon Covent Garden pop up planned

Special event will be promoting the upcoming Detective Pikachu live action film.

Warner Bros. and Legendary are joining forces to open a special Pokémon pop up in Covent Garden next month.

The two-storey pop up will be celebrating the hotly tipped live action movie, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, which opens in UK cinemas on May 10.

Open on May 3 and 4, the pop up will give visitors plentiful photo opportunities, with a backdrop of bright yellow walls, according to Campaign. There will be special Detective Pikachu coffee, hot chocolate, yellow turmeric lattés and yellow bubble tea, as well as karaoke sessions and nail art stands.

There will also be a series of themed workshops to tie in with the movie. These will include yoga sessions, cupcake icing, head and neck massages and mime classes.


Dunkin’ debuts ‘Munchkins’ lip balms

Dunkin’ has launched a collection of donut hole flavored lip balms, reports The Delish.

The pastry makers new line of lip balms are available in Dunkin’ stores across the U.S. Each set of two balms come packaged in replica versions of Dunkin’s munchkin donut holes boxes.

This is not the first series of Dunkin inspired lip balms to hit the market. The company previously launched a similar collection in its online store.


Sony kicks off Cobra Kai deals

Sony Pictures Consumer Products has kicked off a cross-category licensing program in advance of the second season of “Cobra Kai” on YouTube.

The slate of new deals includes licensees in the apparel, collectibles, costumers, home goods, beverages and publishing product categories. Official licensees for “Cobra Kai” season two include:

  • Halloween and Party City Holdings for costumes inspired by “Cobra Kai” including karate uniforms and headbands;
  • Silver Screen Bottling Company for the first-ever official “Cobra Kai” alcoholic beverage as a 12-oz.-bottled branded IPA craft beer;
  • Bioworld for “Cobra Kai” collections including apparel such as sleepwear, headwear, hosiery and accessories;
  • Active Brand CommerceCaprice Australia and Fifth Sun for “Cobra Kai” t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, sleepwear and socks;
  • Surreal Entertainment for water bottles, stickers, duffle bags, wrist and headbands;
  • Impact Rock for notebooks, stationery, calendars, posters, wall art, key chains, rugs and mats, luggage accessories and coasters;
  • Funko for “Cobra Kai” action figures, phone accessories, backpacks, keychains, belts and buckles and hats and
  • NECA for all-new action figures inspired by “Cobra Kai” main characters.

Some “Cobra Kai” newly-licensed products will also be available exclusively at Spencer’s retail locations across the country on April 22 and via TeeSprings’ new online shop this summer.

“Cobra Kai” is a YouTube original series based on The Karate Kid film franchise. It follows a redemptive Johnny Lawrence after he reopens the Cobra Kai dojo and reignites his rivalry with Daniel LaRusso more than 30 years after the events of the first Karate Kid movie.


Angry Birds VR Creators Announce Upcoming VR Game Called Acron

Resolution Games, creators of Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs, announced that they’ll be launching a brand new VR title called Acron.

This will be a multiplayer party game that will be both competitive and cooperative in nature for players across VR and mobile devices. The company has stated that there will be severl “firsts” and will be a hilariously fun experience vr VR enthusiasts.

“We’ve always believed that VR is more enjoyable when you can play with your friends and family,” said Tommy Palm, co-founder and CEO of Resolution Games. “ACRON takes that idea even further by allowing players in VR to play with and against opponents on mobile in a social setting. And not only is this game a prime way to introduce people to VR, but I can honestly say this game is the most fun I’ve ever had in VR… and I’ve played a lot of VR games!”

In Acron, one player becomes a large, ancient tree that is the sole protector of the ‘seeds of life’ (the Golden Acrons), while the players on mobile take on identities of a gang of rebellious squirrels that band together to strategize on how to best scurry around to get as many nuts as they can.

The game will come with multiple levels depicting different nature environments and several characters with various roles for players to become. Acron is expected to launch across several major VR platforms and both iOS and Android devices.   The game is set to launch some time this summer.


VANS gets magical with Harry Potter

Vans has teased a new sneaker collaboration for Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter franchise.

The shoemaker has not officially unveiled what the new sneaker and apparel line will look like but shared pictures of each Hogwarts’ House on its announcement page. Fans of Harry Potter are currently able to sign up for email updates ahead of the yet-to-be-announced launch date.

“Vans and Harry Potter collaborated to conjure up a magical collection of footwear, apparel, and accessories for witches, wizards, and muggles alike,” the site says.

The Wizarding World collaboration continues Vans’ deal-making with partners. Vans has also recently launched collections based on Sweet ChickLed Zeppelin, and Mickey Mouse.

Smiley grows AR partnerships with de-Kryptic deal

Range of apparel and accessories will bring fashion and immersive tech closer together.

The Smiley Company has secured a new deal with de-Kryptic to create a range of Augmented Reality apparel and accessories under the SmileyWorld brand.

The range – which launches at retail later this year – features pioneering technology that brings clothing and accessories to life with 3D animations, rich sound effects and the ability to create sharable content across all social platforms.

The AR Smiley collection will include tees, crewnecks, hoodies, backpacks, bags and collectable boxes aimed at ages 16-29.

Smiley’s on-trend seasonal graphics will get the AR remix through the ‘Boosted Art App’, which is available to download on the Apple and Google Play stores.

“This partnership couldn’t come at a better time, with CNN predicting that 2019 will be defined as a landmark era in the evolution of hyperpersonalisation, with A/R-driven personalisation trends targeting a range of new applications focused on health, finances, shopping and everything in between,” said Nicolas Loufrani, ceo of The Smiley Company (pictured). “We think de-Kryptic tick a lot of these boxes as they fuse fashion industry ‘know how’, with a unique understanding of tech and A/R to create something truly stand out in the market and in keeping with SmileyWorld’s digital legacy.”

US-based de-Kryptic is part of Virtual Threads Inc, with two of the companies other subsidiaries – SmugglersMoon (high-end denim brand) and Heritage by America (mid-market fashion retailer) – also signing licensed deals under the Smiley brand to create upscale apparel and denim products which will launch at retail in early 2020.