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Playmates Is Going Ape In 2005

Miscellaneous: Jay Cochran - 2004.09.09
New Licensed and "Home Grown" Additions Expand Product Portfolio "Atomic Betty", "Evergirl" and Universal Pictures' "King Kong" Join Proven Core Brand Performers

HONG KONG, Sept. 9 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Following a strong first half during which turnover grew by 62% and operating profit by 900%, Playmates Toys Inc. ("Playmates") today hosted its semi annual business review in Hong Kong. Playmates Toys Inc. is the wholly owned, U.S. subsidiary of publicly listed Playmates Holdings Limited ("Playmates Holdings", "the Company") (HKSE stock code number: 635).

Playmates Toys' exceptional first half results were led by the continued strong performance of its core brands including: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures and accessories, Speedeez micro vehicles and playsets, Disney Princess dolls and Waterbabies, a baby doll brand celebrating its 15th anniversary. The expanding U.S. retail presence and broader International distribution of these brands reflects Playmates' commitment to the comprehensive brand marketing strategies adopted in 2002. The execution of these strategies has resulted in the creation of a core brand revenue base upon which Playmates plans to grow its business in the years ahead.

Highlights of Playmates' holiday 2004 product line up include;

-- All NEW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures, accessories, vehicles, role play toys, communicators, and more. All supported with non-stop television advertising campaigns running through mid December and the six-day- a-week broadcast of the Turtles TV series on Cartoon Network and the FOX Box in the U.S.

-- The award winning Hummer H2 2-in-1 playset is back this fall and NEW Speedeez "Launcher" playsets are being added to this category leading brand in the U.S. The Speedeez Mini Cooper S 2-in-1 playset will spearhead the brand's entry into major European markets including the U.K., Italy and Spain.

-- The NEW "My Baby Princess" doll collection inspired by the classic Disney Princesses and developed in partnership with Disney Consumer Products. The "Baby Princess" dolls represent the first time that the classic Princesses have been interpreted as babies and join Playmates' "Little Princess" toddler dolls this fall -- the best selling large dolls in the U.S. for the past two years.

-- An all NEW packaging look and TV advertised addition to the Waterbabies line will refresh this evergreen brand's image in 2004. The "Wiggly Giggly Waterbabies" assortment has recently been awarded the National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval and will be introduced with a comprehensive promotional, public relations and national cable television advertising campaign.

-- Blinkies is the latest entry in the youth electronics category from the makers of the popular Nano virtual pet. With dozens of games and unique play features, Blinkies takes virtual character play to a whole new level. Blinkies launches this fall with Radio Disney events, Nickelodeon on line promotions and TV advertising support.

Prior to previewing new brand and product highlights from Playmates' 2005 line-up, Mr. Lou Novak, President of Playmates Toys Inc. stated, "Having established the core brands, streamlined operations, enhanced marketing capabilities and improved distribution, Playmates Toys is now concentrating on expanding its brand portfolio, as the next step in the achievement of its longer term growth objectives."

In 2005, Playmates will extend and continue to grow its core brands and will add new product lines to its portfolio. Among these new brand entries are "Atomic Betty" small dolls and playsets, Nickelodeon's "evergirl" fashion dolls and girls lifestyle products and action figures, role play toys and playsets inspired by Universal Pictures' 2005 theatrical feature film release of King Kong - directed by three time Academy Award winning director Peter Jackson.

Produced by Breakthrough Studios, the "Atomic Betty" television series premiers this fall on Cartoon Network in the U.S., Canada and several major European markets. Playmates' dolls and playsets will capture all the comic action and heroic attitude of this new girls action hero and will launch in Spring of next year to capitalize on Cartoon Network's multi-million dollar promotion of this new girls franchise.

Following the strong early response to Nickelodeon's launch marketing campaign of its' new "evergirl" lifestyle brand and in anticipation of the roll out of new licensed apparel and fashion accessories in Spring 2005, Playmates and Nickelodeon will launch the Playmates doll and accessory product line in fall 2005. This launch strategy will see Playmates product hit retail shelves as evergirl brand awareness peaks among "tween" girls following a full year of Nickelodeon promotion. Universal Studios Consumer Products Group recently announced a worldwide licensing agreement with Playmates as the master toy licensee for Universal Pictures' 2005 release, King Kong, from three-time Academy Award(R) winner Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy). Playmates Toys will create a line of intricately detailed action figures and accessories with exceptional sculpting and innovative special features. The products will capture the fearsome power of King Kong and his adversaries and will enable kids and collectors to recreate epic battles on the mysterious Skull Island.

"Playmates has reestablished itself as a strong global competitor among mid sized promotional toy companies. Our product innovation, marketing prowess and financial performance have solidified our credibility with U.S. retailers and our international partners. With the building blocks in place, we have embarked on a new phase in the growth of Playmates Toys," Mr. Thomas Chan, Chairman of Playmates Holdings concluded.

About Playmates Toys Inc.
With over thirty-five years of experience, Playmates Toys, Inc. is among the most well respected and innovative marketing companies in the global toy industry. Playmates has a proven history in the management of long term, proprietary and licensed entertainment brand franchises. Playmates designs, develops, markets and distributes its products in over sixty countries worldwide. Playmates Toys Inc. is a division of Playmates Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong-based company whose stock is traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Source: PRNewswire

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