Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 35
in 2016, according
to the NPD Group.
Basic action figures
the No. 1 selling toy
Casey Collins, execu- in the supercategory
tive vice president of of action figures and
NY Toy Fair.
"The great thing
about our brand is we are a true evergreen property that is not dependent on
big movie releases like other brands,"
Collins adds. "We have TV programming on the air around the world 52
weeks a year, with no off season - our
content keeps fans engaged year after
year. Being in the top three for the past
four years is pretty powerful."
Mattel offers WWE fans plenty of
options when it comes to its action
figure lines. This includes the Basic line,
targeting fans of all ages; and the Elite
line, a line of more detailed figures that
has a higher price point.
"Our figure lines hit both kids and
collectors - and collectors could include
children as well as teens, young adults,
parents or grandparents," Collins explains. "Our brand is multi-generational
Mattel introduced its newest line,
WWE Retro, to Walmart
earlier this year. The
figure designs and
packaging of the
A Digital Universe
In addition to its action figure/toy licensing efforts, WWE is rapidly growing its digital licensing
business. Two free-to-play game apps, WWE Supercard - developed by game maker 2K - and WWE
Immortals, from Warner Bros. Interactive, have had more than 30 million installs combined since
their launches in August 2014 and January 2015, respectively.
The company in January teamed with Scopely to launch a third title, WWE Champions. The puzzle/RPG game app launched as the No. 1 free game title in 53 countries. WWE continues to seek
developers for new games. "We don't want to just put out as many games as we can - we like to
find good partners and launch them in a big fashion," Executive Vice President of Consumer Products Casey Collins says. "We want to work with industry leaders with innovative game concepts
that work well with our [intellectual property]."
line harken back to figures from the late
"Our toy team grew up in the 1990s,
and most of our employees have many
of our old action figures on their desks,"
he adds. "We thought that, since what's
old is cool again, it would be fun to
bring those back and show everyone
what we grew up with."
The Retro line launched with
likenesses of WWE Superstars from
today who did not have figures in the
old style - such as Cena, Brock Lesnar
and Roman Reigns - as well as The
Undertaker. Upcoming Retro figures
will spotlight stars both of the past -
such as Macho Man Randy Savage and
Ultimate Warrior - as well as the present, including several of the company's
Although the Retro line has a built-in
audience of adult WWE fans because of
the figures' nostalgic appeal, their $9.97
price point makes them
appealing to all ages,
WWE recently united with one of
its fellow top-selling action figure
brands. In November, Playmates Toys
launched Ninja Superstars, an action
figure mash-up of WWE and TMNT,
at Walmart stores nationwide. The first
wave features Cena as Leonardo, Sting
as Raphael, Undertaker as Donatello
and Savage as Michelangelo. The second
wave is now hitting stores.
Playmates and TMNT brand owner
Nickelodeon approached WWE with
the co-branded concept because of the
popularity of both brands and WWE's
existing relationship with Nickelodeon.
WWE Superstars - such as The Rock,
Roddy Piper, Finn Balor and Ultimate
Warrier regularly appear on Nickelodeon's series and specials such as the Kids'
Choice Awards. "Nickelodeon sees this
as a way to extend the TMNT brand
into our audience, and the WWE brand
into their audience," Collins says.