Hasbro Takes Transformers Mobile

Toymaker Hasbro is bringing its Transformers brand into the digital age, inking a deal with Glu Mobile to create and distribute games and content for mobile phones.

The multi-year deal will lead to content that will tie in with next year’s live-action Transformers film from Dreamworks and Paramount Pictures. Transformers has been one of Hasbro’s best selling brands since its launch in 1984, and the company last year began an effort to reinvigorate the brand with world-wide marketing and merchandising programs.

While a specific product marketing plan has not been laid out, Glu expects the offerings to include games, ringtones, wallpaper, and potentially video clips, all sold on a per-download basis, Jill Braff, GM of the Americas and SVP of worldwide marketing for Glu Mobile, told ClickZ News.

“The great thing about Transformers is it has massive brand awareness in a couple of different groups,” Braff said. “There are the young people, 8 to 14 year olds, who are watching the cartoons and playing with the toys now. But there are also the young adults, 18 to 35 year old men, who grew up watching the original shows and playing with the toys. That group especially is filled with pent-up anticipation for the movie next year.”

Glu expects to deliver the Transformers products in advance of the July premiere of the film. Glu will likely follow a marketing plan similar to one it is currently using with “Ice Age 2,” which includes TV, print, outdoor and point-of-sale advertising, both alone and in co-marketing with the film’s marketing team, she said.

Hasbro signed another Transformers licensing deal in February with Activision. The gaming firm received global rights to develop console, handheld and PC games. Hasbro has just begun exploring digital media, after reacquiring digital rights to most of its properties from Infogrames Entertainment last June. Infogrames had acquired the rights in 2000 through a license agreement signed when the company acquired Hasbro Interactive and Games.com.

“Video gaming is a natural next step for our classic properties as children and adults alike live more of their lives around technology,” Jane Ritson-Parsons, president of the Hasbro Properties Group, said last month. “We see the digital arena as a great complement to the lifestyle experiences that we’re providing to consumers in a variety of categories.”

In January, Hasbro launched an interactive video campaign for its Playskool brand, handled by Beyond Interactive. Hasbro has also begun streaming full-length episodes of several Transformers, G.I. Joe and other cartoons, along with several TV ads for its toys at Hasbro Action.

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