In the same week that its longstanding global CEO Mark Schuessler retired, tails will be wagging at Yowie Group (ASX: YOW) after the Perth-based novelty confectionery brand signed a deal to develop, manufacture and sell products based on the children's TV series Bluey.
A license merchandise agreement was struck with BBC Studios Australia to sell Bluey seasonal confectionery in the Australian and New Zealand markets over Easter and Christmas until 30 June 2026.
The agreement provides Yowie with non-exclusive merchandising rights in the Bluey brand.
"Bluey is the number 1 Children’s television program in Australia and one of the most prominent entertainment franchises in the world," says Yowie Group chairman Sean Taylor.
"We’re delighted that BBC Studios has chosen to partner with Yowie for seasonal confectionery in the Australian and New Zealand markets.
"The upcoming launch of Bluey seasonal confectionery for Easter 2024 has created enormous excitement from retailers nationally."
Australia has traditionally only represented a small portion of Yowie's total sales, of which most are in the US market. Amidst a "softness" in demand for its core product, seasonal sales in Australia and New Zealand helped offset the dip and keep sales flat year-on-year at US$3.6 million ($5.3 million) for the March quarter.
Taylor highlights there are synergies for both companies with their Australian heritage, and a "focus on fun with an educational aspect".
"We look forward to working with BBC Studios and major retailers nationally to deliver a high quality innovative Bluey product offer achieving sustainable success in the Seasonal Confectionery category beginning with Easter 2024," the chairman says.
"Yowie welcomes the addition of the Bluey license and the opportunity this brings to execute the company strategy to drive growth and increase revenue for Yowie in the Australian and New Zealand market.
"This follows the recent launch of Yowie Seasonal Confectionery earlier this year with Yowie 100g Surprise Eggs and 250g Giant Yowie."
The news follows similar seasonal confectionery license agreements with the AFL and NRL, which will be launched for the finals of both leagues this year and in Easter 2024.
"Yowie will continue to look to acquire relevant large-scale licenses both in Australia and globally to complement ‘better for you’ consumer and retailer demand," adds Taylor.
"These licenses allow us to produce innovative small snack format treats for children that add value beyond that which is contained in the actual chocolate, like environmental awareness, family values and physical activity. The synergies are terrific."
The news that the Bluey brand will be attached to confectionery aimed at children - who are known to be highly susceptible to cartoon branding on food products, particularly more addictive sugar-laden foods that can shape their eating habits and cardiovascular health as adults - comes just months after the show was criticised for body shaming when the parent dogs in the cartoon weighed themselves and weren't satisfied, prompting them to engage in exercise.
Viewer backlash led the producers to crop the scene.
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