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Thomas & Friends marks 75 years with new deals

Deals confirmed with Harrods, Egmont, Smiffys and more for iconic preschool property.

Mattel has revealed a raft of new partnership deals for Thomas & Friends, rolling out from AW19 across key categories including toy, publishing, apparel and retail as the world-famous children’s brand gears up to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2020.

Created as a fictional story by the Reverend. W. Awdry for his son in 1945, publishing remains a strong part of the brand heritage and franchise.

With over 100 titles and two million books sold each year, licensing partner Egmont continue to tell stories of the iconic engine through generations of children and will be producing a special edition compilation of the original Railway Series to commemorate the anniversary.

In April next year, the brand launches a licensing partnership with exclusive London department store Harrods, to celebrate the heritage of the brand with several activations throughout the store and limited edition branded merchandise sold in-store.

Later in 2020, model railroad manufacturer Bachmann will work with the brand on a two-year licensing deal to bring the world of Thomas to life. The traditional electric trains will encompass the adventure and discovery of Thomas & Friends, providing fans, railway enthusiasts and collectors with a realistic re-creation of the adventures on the Island of Sodor through HO (1:87) scale products in the UK and Ireland.

In addition, Smiffys has also teamed with the brand to launch a dress-up range for babies and toddlers, which is on track to launch in time for World Book Day in March 2020.

On top of this, a new partnership with Danilo will see a collection of Thomas & Friends branded greeting cards, wrapping paper and gift bags launch, while Pyramid International will launch a range of wall art such as posters, prints and canvases, together with an accessories collection of badges, stickers, keychains, mugs and stationery.

“We are thrilled to announce these new licensing deals for Thomas & Friends spanning publishing, apparel and retail that will delight and excite Thomas fans,” said Helen Genia, head of UK licensing and hardlines EMEA at Mattel. “Our goal this coming special 75th anniversary year is to introduce new highly accessible and memorable consumer products through our increased partnership activity.

“A number of specialised product and retail executions will be launched to help give added meaning to the experience Thomas & Friends delivers to the consumer in its celebratory year.”

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