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LEGO Named World’s Most Popular Kids Entertainment Brand

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

According to a sweeping new report on brands for children, LEGO is now the most popular kids’ entertainment brand in the world, followed by Disney, Marvel, Barbie, and with Paw Patrol rounding out the Top 5. 

The data comes via a report from Brand Trends, in which mothers provided answers to a survey on behalf of their children, from ages 0 to 6. 

However, it’s worth noting that some brands in the list could be combined, since, for example, Disney also owns Marvel. 

And, while Spiderman is now part of the Marvel Universe, it is also so popular as a brand that it places sixth on the list as a separate franchise. Similarly, the Disney property Frozen places seventh. 

If the various Disney-owned properties are combined, then Disney in general easily tops the list for most popular global brand. 

The rest of the Top 10 includes Spongebob Squarepants, Peppa Pig, and Tom & Jerry. 

The research was developed by Brand Trends, which has issued a sweeping new report providing in-depth analysis of the most popular toy and entertainment brands globally and by region. 

The full list of the Top 10 most popular kids brands globally breaks down the popularity of these properties as follows: 

Lego 9.9%
Disney 8.4%
Marvel 8.2%
Barbie 6.1%
Paw Patrol 5.3%
Spider-Man 5.2%
Frozen 5.1%
Spongebob Squarepants 4.9%
Peppa Pig 4%
Tom & Jerry 3.8%

Regional popularity, not surprisingly, shows great variation. In Asia, for example, the Doraemon franchise is number one for kids of the same age, and that franchise doesn’t even show up in the Top 10 anywhere else in the world, and Pokemon also breaks the Top 10 uniquely in Asia at Number 7. 

In North America, Marvel, Disney and Lego are in the Top 3 with a dominant position, with very similar results in Latin America, where the Top 4 include Marvel, Disney, Paw Patrol and LEGO. 

In Europe there are some preferences for regionally developed properties. The locally grown toyco LEGO sits firmly at #1, beating out Disney and Barbie. Harry Potter at #10 and Masha & The Bear at #6 are also much more popular in Europe than anywhere else.

Kids in Africa show the most variation from other markets, as neither Marvel nor Disney even appear in the Top 10 list. Instead, African children preferred Spider-Man, Barbie, Frozen, Sofia the First, Spongebob, Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry, Peppa Pig, Ben 10 and Mr. Bean. 

Finally, the nations of Oceania, or in other words, Australia and New Zealand, were more similar to results in Europe, with Lego, Bluey and Frozen taking the top three positions. 

So, what’s behind the choices of children and their parents when it comes to toy brands? Brand Trends says a sense of escapism and toys that give them the idea that they are empowered to make changes are both very important. 

In both those areas, ties to movies and TV shows are key. “What’s interesting about the top kids’ entertainment brands is that they relate to movies,” the report concludes. “In fact, the entire top 10 brands have ties to movies and programmable content. Of course, this also includes the #1 brand, originated from toys, Lego. The brand is so powerful in the licensing area, with over 50% of their offering in licensed products, not to mention the video games and the movies, that of course the brand relates to such type of content.”

Brand Trends researchers also believe the COVID-19 pandemic plays a role. With many people, including children, feeling powerless in the face of the global pandemic, the idea of having ‘powers’ or abilities to overcome challenges is particularly appealing to children right now. As a result, they say, “Marvel, DC Comics, Avengers and other super-heroes originated from comics are some of the big winners on the second semester of 2020.”

Two other trends marked this year is the rise in toys and entertainment brands that come from digital sources, like YouTube or even TikTok, such as Baby Shark or CoComelon, both of which began as shorts on YouTube.

“Baby Shark might have started with a song sung to babies and then a chart-topping hit, but now it is one of the leading entertainment brands,” the report says. “For the age range up to six years old, the brand enjoys 3.7% of top favorite mentions in the world, and it now places 13th in this age group. Increase in mentions represents an increase in popularity of 1.6 points, worldwide. The majority of growth (48%) has come from North America and Europe (39%). However, the trend in Asia is also on the rise.”

Another trend has resulted in a huge boost to LEGO, which appeared as one of the top brands in virtually every market, in every age group, and for both boys and girls. Some of this is due to the savvy film production choices LEGO has made over the past decade, and part is due to the large ‘replayability’ factor that LEGO products present. 

“Sometimes simplicity and tradition win over the bells and whistle of our digital age. In our BrandTrends tracking service, Lego has taken over the number 1 spot globally and is officially the world’s favourite entertainment brand,” the report states. 

That said, there is more than one way to interpret that data. Disney itself may not have been named by quite as many children or parents, but various brands belonging to Disney consistently placed in the Top 10 lists globally and regionally. 

On a global basis, LEGO was the top choice of 9.9 per cent of respondents aged 0 to 6, but that compares to an astounding 26.9 per cent who named Disney brands in general, including Marvel, Frozen, Spider-Man and Disney itself. Clearly, the House of Mouse has made some very good choices both in what it produces, and what it has acquired.

Nevertheless, LEGO’s growth is still very impressive. “The brand gained 2.4 points in 2019, which is the largest gain made by any brand over the year,” the report notes. “Simultaneously, according to Brand Finance, Lego is now worth $7.57 billion and is the most valuable toy brand in the world too.”

Also of interest to licensees are the report’s conclusions on DC Comics, which Brand Trends says is a brand very much on the rise. 

DC Comics ranks at 18th in the world of entertainment brands of children now, according to Brand Trends’ data, but it is 14th among children from 7 to 14, and has made major gains among 3 to 6 year olds. 

“Film Critics believe the franchise’s slow start, compared to Marvel, resulted from
it trying to replicate its competitor’s success,” Brand Central says. “Marvel was a revolution for the film industry in the 2000s, and it is fair that DC Comics wanted to cash in on this success. However, success only came when DC Comics realized its strength would come from stand-alone films rather than recreating Marvel’s massive shared universe.

“Consequently, fans of Batman do not need to be up to date with the lore in Superman. Wonder Woman also lives in her world, separate from the others. Therefore, secularizing the entertainment brand allowed for growth across multiple lines.”

As well, Brand Central notes that many of the DC films, like Batman v. Superman and certainly the Joaquim Phoenix version of Joker were too dark and violent for children, but Brand Central says DC has realized the need to produce family friendly fare as well. 

“The rise in popularity with children could be explained in DC Comics move away from solely making the dark and severe films of the past,” the report argues. “Instead, movies like Shazam, Aquaman and Wonder Woman have been brighter and funnier and so much more appealing to younger audiences.”

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