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PROPERTY SPOTLIGHT Sonic The Hedgehog Sonic The Hedg

Sonic has come of age, what do you think is the universal appeal of Sonic? After 21 years, Sonic The Hedgehog is still the fastest hedgehog around, and both kids and parents seem to love this superfast and adventurous character. Having featured in over 68 games spanning more than two decades, he has become a global gaming phenomenon. Sonic the Hedgehog appeals to people of all ages, but the

fast-paced action and colourful environments seem to resonate particularly well with kids aged 6 – 12 years-old. Recent games have seen him running, jumping and collecting rings in stunning CG animation, allowing the player to experience the world of Sonic in brighter colours and faster than ever before. The more popular games over the

last few years include Sonic Colors, Sonic Free Riders, Sonic Generations and the upcoming Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. The new game will speed on to the Xbox 360, PlayStation3, PlayStationVita, and Nintendo 3DS on November 16th. The title is also a launch title on the new Nintendo Wii U system which releases on November 30th in Europe. There are also plans for a digital version of the game.

How has he developed over the years (from game to other incarnations)?

The games technology has moved on a lot since the early nineties so Sonic is now faster than ever and has also grown more athletic as a character. The speed aspect of the character is therefore very important and

we try to have this energy refl ected within most product designs, from apparel and accessories, to stationery, publishing and toys. We have also had some signifi cant promotions

where we’ve teamed up with big global brands such as Nike. Sonic was wearing the new Nike football boots in a bespoke PC game and appeared in Nike’s ‘My Time is Now’ campaign earlier this year. We’ve tried to incorporate the brand touch points in the diff erent merchandise ranges

Sonic The Hedgehog SEGA Interview

He’s the hedgehog with attitude and believe it or not he is now 21! Here Sissel Henno, Head of Brand Licensing (Europe) at Sega, reveals the secret behind his ongoing success

such as the new range of construction toys from Meccano, with which kids can create their own racing track and then run the diff erent characters and vehicles through various obstacles based on iconic levels from the games. The master toy range from Jazwares

also off ers a great assortment of toys for kids to play with, including a comprehensive range of articulated action fi gures, vehicles and plush. The latest off ering features Sonic and friends in vehicles from the new racing game, including Sonic in an airplane. There are also assorted fi gures/accessories combination packs and a set of collectible fl ocked mini fi gures. All items in the range are developed based on assets from Sonic’s gaming universe.

Sonic is mainly a boys’ property, do you know what percentage of followers are girls and do you do anything to encourage more girls to get into Sonic? The split between male and female followers is roughly 70/30 and we see this shifting more in favour of girls with the new digital gaming opportunities. We also have plans to do more around girl characters such as Amy Rose, however this will be more relevant once we’ve established the core Sonic programme.

How successful has Sonic been in diff erent regions?

He is popular across the world, but the biggest markets comprise the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. He also does very well in emerging markets such as Latin America and the Middle East.

Are there any regions 38 Sonic The Hedgehog

it hasn’t really worked in? Why do you think that is? Ironically, he is not very big in Japan. Apparently they are not so keen on blue characters over there. He does have good awareness of course, but their preferences tend to be more in favour of manga-style characters.

Is toy licensing paramount in gaming and licensing now? Toys are defi nitely very important as it is such a great way to engage kids and off er additional entertainment value. It is also a big licensed category which is instrumental in building a bigger programme, along with apparel for instance. For Sonic, the toy range is already

well established in the US, whereas the roll out across Europe is still in the very early stages. We started selling in the UK last year and have had very good results this year with retailers such as TRU, The Entertainer and Smyths. We’re launching in France and Germany this year and then going into Nordics, Benelux and Spain next year.

Do potential licensees always approach you, or does Sega sometimes come up with the idea and approach potential partners? It is a mix of both, but we are very

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