Innovation First brings robotics heritage to toys inspired by hit show.
Brand extension and strategy agency, Licensing Link, which manages licensing of Robot Wars, the hit TV show from Mentorn Scotland and SJP Media in which teams of robot makers put their creations into battle, has announced the appointment of Innovation First International as Master Toy licensee for the brand.
Innovation First International is widely known as a pillar in STEM education through their VEX Robotics brand – its globally integrated classroom solutions and extra-curricular competitions, which attract students from primary school through to university, are used and respected worldwide. The birth of its consumer toy brand, HEXBUG was a natural progression and has seen major international success in bringing the joy of robotic toys into more than 1 in 8 households in the UK alone. HEXBUG’s product range of Robot Wars toys will include vehicles, playsets, remote control toys and construction kits.
The first phase of the range — comprising of a selection of autonomous robots, infra-red remote controlled robots and a house robot as well as a Robot Wars Arena— is expected to launch at retail in autumn/winter 2018. Outlets stocking the range will include toy shops, gift and gadget shops and a number of department stores as well as high street retail and online distributors. The launch will be supported by a strong marketing campaign focusing on TV advertising, YouTube, social media and promotional and PR activity in the press and online.
Robot Wars made its return to TV screens in 2016 with a revamped format, a panel of robotics expert judges and new presenters Dara O’Brien and Angela Scanlon. The first series in the new format launched in August 2016. Season two was broadcast in March this year. Both seasons appeared on BBC2 on Sunday nights. A new season is due later this year.
The revamped Robot Wars has enjoyed critical and viewer acclaim, boosting the licensing programme, which was launched alongside the new series. With an emphasis on STEM learning, Licensing Link will aim to encourage both girls and boys into robotics and engineering and capture the brand’s 20-year heritage of technology, humour, competition, teamwork, sportsmanship and family fun. The licensing campaign has already enjoyed success in publishing and apparel, as well as toys. A number of other deals will be announced in the coming months.
Filipe Barrau, Managing Director of Innovation First, says: “As well as being a developer of consumer toys, competitive robotics is in our DNA. We’re thrilled to be producing a toy range for the Robot Wars brand. We are certain the products will be a must have for all fans of the show!”
Chris Taday, Director of Licensing Link, adds: “Robot Wars has proved more popular than ever since it returned to our screens and there is already a strong interest from licensees and consumers alike in merchandise that taps into the heritage of this iconic brand. Innovation First, with its strength in STEM, robotics and innovative toys, is an ideal partner for the brand.”