MUMBAI: Mattel is well renowned to be one of the leading toy manufacturers in the world with the likes of Barbie, Hot Wheels and Monster High, amongst others under its IP. The toy manufacturing giant has inked a deal with the wrestling giant - WWE - for an original animated short format series.
WWE Slam City, the company’s new kids’ property includes an original animated short-form series and a complete line of WWE Slam City merchandise. The 26-episode series, which launched yesterday in US, Canada and UK is comprised of two minute shorts featuring WWE Superstars in their new animated world, WWE Slam City.
The first four episodes began airing from 17 March at WWESlamCity.com and Cartoonium on YouTube. WWE Slam City toys, including action figures, ring sets and more, are currently available at major retail stores.
“WWE Slam City is a multi-platform property that takes our Superstars out of the ring and introduces them to kids through entertaining and action-packed animation,” said WWE chief revenue and marketing officer Michelle D. Wilson. “This strategic initiative is perfectly complemented through our partnership with Mattel and adds to an already dynamic portfolio of content designed to create lifelong WWE fans.”
The series, filmed in the next generation of stop-motion animation, features a new WWE animated character ‘The Finisher’, who fires all of the WWE superstars and sends them to WWE Slam City to find day jobs. WWE Superstars are plunged into new career challenges as John Cena as an auto mechanic, Randy Orton Orton as a zookeeper, Sheamus as a theater usher, The Miz, Rey Mysterio, Kane, Alberto Del Rio as a coffee house barista and Mark Henry pack every street corner with work to do and scores to settle in a new life outside the ring, but still staying true to their WWE personas.
In addition to WWESlamCity.com and Cartoonium on YouTube, WWE Slam City will also be available in US on WWE Network, Hulu, PlayStation, Xbox, AOL On, Nintendo, Vudu, Google Play, Kabillion, Mattel.com and iTunes. WWE will utilise all of its assets, including TV broadcasts, live events, digital and social media to generate awareness for its new kids property.
“Slam City is the result of a seamless collaboration with WWE where we are bringing kids a completely new and invigorating entertainment experience,” said Mattel senior VP, global brands marketing, boys and entertainment Doug Wadleigh. “Combining fun to watch content that features Superstar favorites, along with an engaging line of toys, enables Slam City to further expand the WWE Universe while opening new avenues of play for the franchise.”
WWE Slam City is a key component of WWE’s larger strategy to expand its reach to kids. In 2013, WWE’s national TV programming reached nearly three million kids each week, representing more than 20 per cent of WWE’s average weekly TV audience. WWE also reaches kids through the number two action figure property in the US.
In addition, WWE supports programs that positively impact children and families around the world, including a 30-plus year relationship with Make-A-Wish as well as various literacy, education, anti-bullying and military initiatives.
In addition to toys, a full WWE Slam City merchandise line, including apparel, back-to-school accessories, books, graphic novels and home videos will be available in stores by the end of 2014. In 2015, a WWE Slam City mobile game, as well as health and beauty items, home goods, party supplies and stationary will be available.
The 26-episode WWE Slam City series is co-produced by WWE and Mattel’s Playground Productions, a new division within the Mattel Global Brands with a mission to identify, cultivate and produce compelling storylines through multiple platforms.
“Slam City’s multi-platform animation engages kids where they are today with a unique larger-than-life Superstar inspired storyline that’s authentic to WWE,” said Mattel Playground Productions senior VP David Voss. “We worked closely with WWE to ensure our style and storytelling complimented the brand, and really tapped into our creative expertise to produce a playful narrative that both kids and fans enjoy.”
With the launch of the WWE Network recently and this tie-up with Mattel, the wrestling giant is clearly looking at reaching out to a wider set of audience on both on-air as well as off-air platforms.