Thunderbirds Are Go brand gathers momentum

Thunderbirds Are Go2As ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) and Pukeko Pictures continue to build upon the international reach of their highly successful new boys’ property Thunderbirds Are Go, they too are enjoying the brands’ success in New Zealand and Australia.

Since its debut in April on Nine Network’s Go! channel in Australia, Thunderbirds Are Go has consistently drawn large audiences, with each episode attracting over 200,000 viewers. In NZ, following the outstanding ratings for the first 13 episodes, TVNZ began airing the show on Saturday mornings at 0720 on TV2 from July 11.

The Thunderbirds Are Go licensing program is off to a strong start with Planet Fun and HeadStart distributing Vivid Imagination’s master toy line across both territories this summer. The retail debut of the range has been supported by an extensive marketing campaign, including TV advertising, POS and cross channel promotional activity. Both markets have been reporting exceptional sales figures so far at all leading toy retailers and independents, with Planet Fun selling out of its initial shipment of the toys in NZ.

Roadshow Entertainment’s DVDs have also seen strong sales in NZ and Australia. The launch in Australia was supported by TV campaign, Shopalites posters, online advertising and PR activity in kids’ magazines and on social media channels.

New partners added by licensing agents Global Licensing in New Zealand and Merchantwise in Australia and will see the apparel, confectionery and stationery categories expand. In NZ, Global Licensing has signed Caprice NZ for a line of children’s outwear, sleepwear and underwear whilst Engelite is on board for accessories including headwear, wallets and belts launching at Farmers department stores from September 2015.

In Australia, Merchantwise has recently announced a raft of new partners for the territory. Kinnerton has been signed as the brand’s confectionery partner and Bensons Trading is producing showbags. Amscan will develop a range of party goods and dress-ups while Impact Posters is on board for posters and canvas prints. Australia Post is releasing a collection of stamps inspired by both the classic and new TV show. From September, mass market retailer Big W will launch a line of apparel and accessories from recently signed licensees Hot Springs and Vimwood.

In August, publishing products will also be launched into both markets, with Hachette unveiling three books inspired by the series, including The Official Guide book, sticker activity book and a Crosscut book at all major book retailers.

Experiential consumer events are also generating excitement on the ground in the markets. Fans in NZ had a chance to meet Thunderbirds Are Go series director, David Scott, at Armageddon Wellington. As part of the event, Scott was joined by additional members of the show’s production team for a panel session. Details of plans for Armageddon Auckland in October will be announced shortly.

“The accelerating success of Thunderbirds Are Go in NZ and Australia is testament to the universal appeal of the property. The characters and themes that are captured within the show chime with fans all over the world and it’s fantastic to see the brand going from strength to strength in these markets,” Trudi Hayward, SVP head of Global Merchandise for ITVS GE explains. “We’re committed to harnessing this momentum and strengthening the brand’s international foothold.”

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