McDonald’s Corp. last week kicked off a worldwide licensing program for its McKids brand.
Big Mac revives the 16-year-old brand with plans for toys, clothing, videos and books. McDonald’s has been selling McKids clothes exclusively in Wal-Mart since 1997, but drops exclusivity at the end of this year to take the brand worldwide. McDonald’s first launched McKids in the late 1987 via boutiques in Sears, which closed the 47 under-performing boutiques in 1991.
Big Mac has deals for toys and clothes and is “close to” contracts for books and videos. “We’re in conversations with licensees and retailers,” a spokesperson said. Toys ‘R’ Us, Wal-Mart and Target have agreed to carry McKids goods.
Items are expected to launch in spring 2004 in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, Australia, Korea and Taiwan. First up is McKids toys, expanding on current licensed toys like SpinMaster’s McFlurry Maker. Other toy licensees are Creative Designs, Hasbro, Mattel and Patch Products.
ES Sutton and Group 3 Design will market McKids casual clothing; Oak Brook, IL-based McDonald’s is shopping deals for shoes and accessories, as well as McKids videos and books. Videos star Ronald McDonald in 30-minute, live-action shows that blend education with music videos. Creata Licensing works with McDonald’s on deals; it was unclear at press time whether Creata Licensing is related to McDonald’s premiums supplier Creata, Sydney, Australia.
Separately, McDonald’s has discontinued Redbox automated convenience stores that were testing in Washington, DC, this year. Big Mac reportedly shut down the four Redbox locations, where giant vending machines distributed food and sundries. It will continue to run 12 Washington-area Tik Tok Easy Shops, which dispense a similar assortment of goods, as well as DVDs.