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Sustainable Licensing: Animal Planet Roars Into Burger King With Eco-Friendly Toys

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

Sustainability seems to have been the theme of this month at The Licensing Letter, as several companies including McDonald’s Restaurants, Mattel, and Smiley have all revealed new environmentally friendly initiatives to reduce plastic waste, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Now, Burger King has announced it is working with Animal Planet, a member of the Discovery, Inc. family of brands, on a range of sustainable toys for its King Jr. meals for kids.

Animal Planet says it is collaborating with Burger King on a collection of paper-based King Jr. meal toys and activities in an effort to inspire young animal lovers around the world, as well as reduce the kids’ meal plastic footprint. Animal Planet fans can find the limited edition paper premiums in all kids’ meals at approximately 14,000 restaurant locations worldwide, beginning on October 18 in international markets and in the U.S. and Canada on Dec. 6 while supplies last.

“Animal Planet is dedicated to providing quality wildlife content to a global audience through compelling storytelling across Discovery’s platforms, a mission we deepen through our consumer products offerings and our partnership with Burger King,” said Carolann Dunn, Vice President, Consumer Products Licensing, Discovery, Inc. “Burger King shares Animal Planet’s enthusiasm for inspiring curious young fans, and we look forward to delivering on this shared goal through this line of kids’ meal premiums.”

Animal Planet, one of Discovery’s biggest global brands, is delivering on its mission to keep the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing the animal kingdom into Burger King restaurants around the world, Dunn says.

The collaboration, which will run for approximately five weeks, includes a variety of paper activity books that showcase animal themes including Safari, Ocean, Pets, Endangered Animals, Wilderness, and Cute and Cuddly. Kids around the world can enjoy their King Jr. meal while learning about wildlife with the six different activity books, which each feature coloring sheets, infographics, a poster, build your own mask sets, pop-out cards and stickers. Each activity book will also come with a scannable QR code to unlock more play opportunities.

Users can use their mobile device to walk through an augmented reality portal to experience the environment and animals of the themed activity book, such as a 3D walk through the Safari, spotting native animals through an interactive game.

For Burger King, the partnership is just part of a sea change in the way the restaurant chain handles its popular King Jr. toys, which are given away with each kids’ meal. In the past, those toys have been primarily made of plastics. Then, in 2019, both Burger King and McDonald’s responded positively to a petition in the United Kingdom that asked the chains to reduce the use of plastics.

As a result, Burger King not only eliminated almost all plastic in its British kids meals, but is on track to eliminate all plastics and non-recyclable materials at all of its restaurants globally before the end of this decade.

The partnership with Animal Planet is an example of how Burger King is transforming its business model and its licensing activities. “We take a great amount of pride in the joy that our youngest guests find in the toys accompanying our beloved King Jr. meals,” said Paloma Azulay, Global Chief Brand Officer, Burger King. “We are proud to introduce fun opportunities for digital play in our premium programs through this incredible partnership with Animal Planet, while also reducing our reliance on plastic premiums.”

The Burger King partnership comes on the heels of recent collaborations and merchandise programs for the Animal Planet brand, including the successful toy line at Target and brand-new, educational kids’ magazine, Animal Planet with DC Thomson Media Partner.

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