February 22, 2012, New York, NY., – Beanstalk, a leading global brand licensing agency and consultancy, has appointed Merchantwise to manage the brand licensing program for Out Fit 7 Ltd.’s Talking Friends in Australia and New Zealand. The wildly popular series of mobile applications have become a pop culture phenomenon. Merchantwise will be rolling out a licensing program across multiple categories for Talking Friends, its series of mobile applications, and its cast of characters, including Talking Tom Cat, Talking Ben the Dog and Talking Gina the Giraffe, among others. Moose Toys will be launching plush into Australian retail this June. Merchantwise plans to roll out the initial consumer products program for Christmas 2012.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Merchantwise to continue the global expansion of Talking Friends,” said Michael Stone, CEO of Beanstalk. “The brand is phenomenally popular around the world and we are confident that Merchantwise’s licensing expertise in Australia and New Zealand will help us to further build this entertainment franchise.”
The Talking Friends franchise has become a sensation with the media and millions of fans of all ages the world over. Each of the Talking Friends apps features a unique, heart-warming, and fully animated 3D character that comes to life when poked, tickled, and played with on mobile touch-screen devices for the iOS and Android platforms. The interactive character repeats everything a user says, and the apps allows fans to create customised videos of their interactions with the Talking Friends and share them via Facebook, YouTube, MMS or email. Over 600,000 videos are spread virally every month.
Like Talking Friends’ cast of digital characters, the licensed products will engage users differently depending on the user’s age, and provide the same unique connections and game experiences that have made the application so popular. The licensing program will have a two-pronged focus with consumer products designed for the user demographics — children ages 4-8 and tweens, teens and adults.
“We are excited to partner with Beanstalk to bring the digital experience of Talking Friends into the physical world,” said Alex Ishchenko, Director of Merchantwise. “We are looking forward to bringing consumers in Australia and New Zealand innovative products that allow them to experience their favorite characters in new ways.”
Talking Friends was created by global mobile entertainment leader Outfit7 Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Out Fit 7 Ltd., and has bounded over the 330 million download mark globally, with over 90 million active users monthly and is expected to achieve over 600 million downloads by the end of 2012. .The brand continues to dominate the download rankings and in Australia, over nine million apps have been downloaded to date, with an additional one million downloads expected by the end of February 2012. Also, 89% of those who downloaded a Talking Friends app in Australia would recommend it to a friend.
With over 330 million downloads and 90 million active monthly users since its first app launch in July 2010, Outfit7 is one of the world’s fastest growing mobile entertainment networks. Its Talking Friends collection has become an entertainment phenomenon with the characters featured on ABC’s Modern Family as well as NBC’s Today Show. There are twelve apps in the Talking Friends collection including Talking Tom Cat, Talking Ben and Talking Gina the Giraffe. Each of the Talking Friends apps features a unique and fully animated 3D character that comes to life when poked, tickled, and played with on mobile touch-screen devices for the iOS and Android platforms. The interactive characters repeat everything a user says and customized videos of interactions with the characters can be shared via Facebook, YouTube or email. Outfit7 is headquartered in Limassol, Cyprus with subsidiaries in Palo Alto, California and Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Merchantwise is a leading brand agency providing brand licensing, management, insights and creative marketing services. We pride ourselves on combining insight-driven strategy with creative solutions to cut through the noise and deliver tangible brand value for our clients. For over 10 years, Merchantwise has supported many of the world’s best loved brands across a diversity of sectors including adult and children’s entertainment, sports and leisure, retail and consumer products, government, business and community services.
Beanstalk, a global brand licensing agency and consultancy, extends brands through the strategic and creative development of licensed products. The company works with corporate brands, celebrities, entertainment properties, and other high-profile clients to leverage licensing as a strategic tool to enhance brand awareness, increase consumer touch-points, and generate revenue. Beanstalk also offers a breadth of additional licensing services including direct-to-retail program management, license acquisition for manufacturers and TransAct™ licensing program administration. The company is headquartered in New York, with offices in London, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and Hong Kong, and affiliates throughout the world. For more information, please visit www.beanstalk.com. Beanstalk is a part of Omnicom Group Inc. Diversified Agency Services (NYSE: OMC).
About Diversified Agency Services/Omnicom Group
Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group Inc., manages Omnicom’s holdings in a variety of specialty marketing and communications disciplines. DAS includes over 200 companies, which operate through a combination of networks and regional organizations, serving domestic and global clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries. Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE-OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.