2007 Hot Property

Principal: Jane Ritson-Parsons, president, Hasbro Properties Group

Licensees include: Activision, HarperCollins and French Connectionlic

The story: Hasbro Properties Group, in collaboration with DreamWorks and Paramount, developed a major makeover for its 23-year-old “robots in disguise” toy line (which has sold more than $3.1 billion worldwide to date).

The live-action “Transformers” movie, directed by Michael Bay and exec-produced by Steven Spielberg, lands in theaters July 3 with some 230 product licensees.

Everyone from vidgame maker Activision and book publisher HarperCollins to U.K. men’s apparel brand French Connection is seeking to capitalize on the property’s cross-generational appeal.

The Autobots and Deceptacons may sport 2.0 duds (thanks in part to ILM f/x), but the good-vs.-evil storyline remains the same.

Hasbro accordingly spent the last 18 months seeding the marketplace with products based on first-generation designs to familiarize kids with “classic” characters like Optimus Prime and Megatron.

POV: “We challenged every one of our licensees to create products that really demonstrate ‘more than meets the eye’ (a longtime Transformers tagline) — whether it be T-shirts that light up or the Optimus Prime mask, where your voice transforms into Optimus’,” says Ritson-Parsons. “Every category has its own differentiation as to how they’ve executed to that creative brief.”

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