Ludorum was formed and is run by former HIT Entertainment and Learning Curve International executives. Last year, the company brought on board Maureen Taxter, who has held licensing positions at The Jim Henson Company, Hasbro, and Nickelodeon. The Chuggington property is a big focus for the company. Chuggington is a train-based global children’s property targeted to children ages 2–5 years old that takes place in a vibrant and colorful world.
Chris Adams: What were the first tasks you wanted to take on after joining Ludorum?
Maureen Taxter: My first priority was to develop a strategic plan that would give us a roadmap for building our new preschool brand, Chuggington. 2010 is all about building brand affinity, positioning the brand as good for children’s emotional development, driving viewership to the show on Playhouse Disney, and engaging preschoolers and moms. We’re establishing our kid website, www.chuggington.com, as a home base for fans and using social media to engage with moms and build awareness and excitement about the show.
C.A.: In a climate where it is very difficult for new properties to get retail placement, how do you plan on bucking that trend?
M.T.: Most importantly, kids are falling in love with the show and the characters. This all-important emotional connection is apparent in the strong ratings and by the volume of comments and outreach we’re seeing on Chuggington’s Facebook fan page, Twitter site, and mom blogs every day. Many parents are already looking for product. Core toy product by Learning Curve and other partners is hitting shelves now in the UK, Germany, Australia, and many other markets and has been very successful thus far, so many U.S. retailers are aware of this track record. In addition, Ludorum’s U.S. licensees have strong relationships at retail and are building product and merchandising programs that will be relevant and responsive to their needs.
C.A.: What is your strategy for building out the Chuggington licensing program?
M.T.: For Ludorum, less is more. We’re extremely focused and committed to building the Chuggington franchise. Our overarching goal with Chuggington is to create a special property that both parents and kids will love for years to come. We’re bringing on partners that are passionate about Chuggington in the same way that our fans are. Learning Curve, for example, is not only our global master toy licensee, but also a strategic investment partner so we’re shaking up some traditional models of doing business. Learning Curve is a co-producer of the series. Having been involved with many entertainment properties over the years, Learning Curve recognized the unique potential of Chuggington. It was an unprecedented opportunity to be part of a property that is rapidly growing into a major global brand. We’re very optimistic that Chuggington will be a success story and establish Ludorum as a go-to player in the world of children’s media and consumer products.