By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
Wildbrain is pulling out all the stops in licensing activations as its new Strawberry Shortcake is due for a quartet of Netflix specials.
Wildbrain is a global entertainment leader, and expectations are high for the upcoming CGI animated shows airing on Netflix in 2023 and 2024. As a result, the company’s Strawberry Shortcake brand is getting a huge boost in terms of licensing deals, brand activations and content distribution deals.
The first film, Strawberry Shortcake and the Beast of Berry Bog, is a sweet but spooky Halloween story that will debut on Netflix on Oct. 2. The specials are in addition to the ongoing series Strawberry Shortcake: Berry in the Big City, which is enjoying its third successful season on YouTube.
The quartet of specials also marks the 45th anniversary of the Strawberry Shortcake brand in 2024, so the Wildbrain will be pulling out all the stops in promoting this property, according to Elizabeth Litten Miller, Wildbrain’s VP of Franchise Strategy.
“The World of Strawberry Shortcake continues to soar in popularity. Our innovative licensing program, extensive distribution partnerships and multiple brand activations are a testament to Strawberry’s enduring appeal as a much-loved brand,” Litten Miller said. “With the first of four new Strawberry Shortcake CG-animated seasonal specials premiering on Netflix on October 2, we’re excited that partners and fans are embracing Strawberry Shortcake to celebrate her message of diversity, creativity and friendship in so many imaginative and inspiring ways.”
The first special, Strawberry Shortcake and the Beast of Berry Bog, the title character and her friends are playing the role of sleuths, trying to deduce who is trying to ruin their town’s Berry Scary Fright-Fall Carnival. The answer is literally monstrous, and despite the scary situation, Strawberry faces her fears and stands up to the monster, causing chaos in Big Apple City.
Wildbrain is inviting licensees to visit their global agency Wildbrain CPLG at their booth at the upcoming Brand Licensing Europe trade show, from Oct. 4–6, where they are exhibiting at stand B171. WildBrain CPLG will also be attending China Licensing Expo in Shanghai (Oct. 17–19).
While Wildbrain is really only at the beginning of this licensing program, WildBrain CPLG has already lined up a roster of new licensees and activations for Strawberry Shortcake, including a deal with global retailer MINISO as part of a wider partnership which also includes WildBrain’s Teletubbies and In the Night Garden.
Additional new partners fresh to Strawberry include The Knot Churros, who held a delicious nine-week summer pop up at two London stores, featuring menu items flavored around the characters of Berry in the Big City.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Spacetoon has developed a live show for Berry in the Big City that will also feature costume characters for meet and greets. The first performance took place at Qatar Toy Festival in July.
In the digital space, Strawberry Shortcake: Berry in the Big City will feature in a new mobile gaming app launching this September from TapTap Tales, which will immerse players in Big Apple City with a host of educational games featuring Berry and all her friends.
Also in digital, Baretree Media have launched themed mobile sticker packs on both Android and iOS, with other digital goods coming soon globally.
In early fall 2023, Vampyre Cosmetics are launching a range of Strawberry Shortcake-inspired make-up palettes, lipstick, lip glosses, makeup bags, eyeliner, mascara and eyelashes. The products will be available in Canada, Denmark, Eire, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, UK and US.
Goose Creek Candles will also be expanding their scent collection for this winter and for Valentine’s Day 2024, after their first Strawberry Shortcake range sold out within two weeks.
Meanwhile, fashion label Cakeworthy is preparing to debut a Strawberry Shortcake capsule apparel collection plus accessories, stationery and homewares in the US, Canada and UK from March 2024.
Pop culture retailer FYE, For Your Entertainment, has signed a direct-to-retail deal to create sweet treats for Spring/Summer 2024 in a range that includes confectioneries, jewelry, home decor and gift items.
The Berry in the Big City is continuing to roll out to new territories with Amazon Kids+ acquiring seasons one and two for the US, while Stan in Australia and Spacetoon MENA have also taken the first two seasons.
Edye in Latin America and Caribbean has picked up season one and TVNZ in New Zealand season two, while TV2 signed a deal for the first three seasons for Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Also in the US, NCircle Entertainment has signed for home entertainment rights for seasons one-three.
In addition to dropping on Netflix this fall, the new special Strawberry Shortcake and the Beast of Berry Bog will have its linear broadcast premiere on WildBrain’s Family Jr. channel in Canada on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, international broadcasters Gulli (France) and TV2 (Hungary, Romania, Slovakia) have snapped up all four specials, with NCircle Entertainment acquiring home entertainment rights for the specials in the US.