We chat to Hasbro’s Simon Waters about what the future holds for the iconic brand.
Launched by creator Haim Saban in 1993, Power Rangers is one of the most-watched children’s television programmes in the US and remains one of the longest running live action kids’ series in television history. The series and subsequent movies, including 2017’s feature film with Lionsgate, follows the adventures of a group of ordinary teens who morph into superheroes to save the world from evil.
The TV show now airs in more than 150 markets around the world and is translated into numerous languages. In January, Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel – the 25th season – premiered in the US and began debuting across UK/EMEA in April.
In February 2018, Hasbro announced that it had entered into a licensing agreement with Saban to become the master toy licensee for Power Rangers effective April 1, 2019, but the deal quickly evolved as Simon Waters, senior vice president and general manager of the Power Rangers franchise explained: “Shortly after entering into our licensing arrangement, it became clear that now was the time to begin investing in unlocking Power Rangers’ full potential.
“We see significant opportunity for Power Rangers across our entire brand blueprint, including toys and games, consumer products, digital gaming and entertainment, as well as geographically throughout our global retail footprint.”
Haim Saban will continue in a consulting role as Hasbro recognises how important it is to honour the brand’s heritage. “It’s a fine line to walk, as we must continue to preserve the elements that remain at the heart of the brand and have found an evergreen resonance, while not missing opportunities to grow in exciting new directions,” says Simon.
The reaction to the Power Rangers acquisition has been overwhelmingly positive from the public, press and fan community. “Hasbro couldn’t be more proud to take on such an incredible and iconic brand,” says Simon.
“We saw an amazing reaction from fans at Power Morphicon [the biennial convention in Los Angeles over August 17-19] and were excited to see such tremendous fan engagement. It was a great experience at the convention, and we feel that we left fans with a huge sense of anticipation of all the great things yet to come from Hasbro.”
During Power Morphicon, Hasbro revealed its first-ever Power Rangers product – the Lightning Collection White Ranger Figure (pictured above), a highly-articulated 6-inch figure with high-level detailing and design. The figure, inspired by Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season 2, will be released in spring 2019.
“In spring 2019, we will also release the first set of toys inspired by the 26th season – Power Rangers Beast Morphers,” says Simon. “Hasbro’s Power Rangers line will feature a range of products designed for fans of all ages, including preschool to adult collectors. Stay tuned for more updates.”
While Hasbro is taking time to assess where the gaps and white spaces are in the licensing programme, Simon sees a multitude of opportunities across a wide range in categories – both in physical product and live branded experiences; particularly in Latin America.
“For years, we have seen the Latin American audience respond favourably to our content. As part of the Hasbro family, the Power Rangers franchise is poised to make significant inroads into this market, leading with the most innovative toy line in the history of the franchise to pave the way for multi-category lifestyle statements that enable consumers to truly live the brand.”
Looking to 2019 and beyond, Hasbro has some big plans to deliver ‘always on’ content. “We definitely have an eye towards the future with big plans to deliver targeted content, in various formats for each of our key segments, as well as tentpole moments designed to have a multi-generational appeal. We know that our audience is consuming and creating content across a myriad of platforms and we intend to emPOWER their consumption of exciting new content,” says Simon.
25 years of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
It’s been a big year for Power Rangers as it celebrates 25 years since the launch of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series in 1993.
On August 28 (the same day the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series premiered in 1993), Nickelodeon premiered a special Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel episode to celebrate the anniversary. The episode included iconic Rangers from the past, including the original Green and White Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Coinciding with the August anniversary, the Build-A-Bear Workshop revealed a brand new 25th anniversary branded Green Ranger bear that sports the 25th anniversary logo (pictured above).
And Shout! Factory commemorated the 25th anniversary with a collector’s edition steelbook complete series box set, which gathers all 155 original episodes out on Blu-ray for the very first time ever.