Patti Becker discusses licensing classic toys and games as TV shows, pet products – and more

Anjar Co. & Becker Associates Patti Becker on licensing classic Wham-O toys to Jazwares and Winning Moves.

Patti, how’s things? So… Anjar Co. & Becker Associates just inked a deal to licence classic Wham-O toys to Winning Moves. How did that come about?
In March, we issued a press release announcing that we were the exclusive global licensing agents for Wham-O… Since then, we’ve experienced unprecedented interest from licensees interested in licensing the brand, including from Jazwares, Winning Moves, and many others. We expect to announce more deals in the next few weeks.

And what kind of toys does the deal include so far?
The deal gives Winning Moves the rights to classic, retro versions of Wham-O toys. That includes Frisbee, Super Ball, Trac Ball, Hacky Sack and more.

“These are some of the best toys ever made: they’re in the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.”

My brother was obsessed with most of those at one point or another! They’re all pretty classic…
Right! We grew up playing with Frisbee, Hula Hoop, SuperBall… We consider them some of the best toys ever made. We’re not the only ones who think that, of course – nor is your brother! These toys are in the Toy Industry Hall of Fame! We’re actually collecting stories about people’s memories of playing with Wham-O toys, so if anyone wants to share a story involving Wham-O toys, please email us.

Patti Becker, Anjar Co. & Becker Associates
So send stories of classic Wham-O toys to you at [email protected]. When does the range launch?
Winning Moves will be launching in January 2022 – just in time to celebrate Frisbee’s 65th Anniversary!

Is that right? Frisbee’s 65?! Wow. Also, this follows a licensing deal with Jazwares for Wham-O branded pet toys. Can you tell me more about that?
We’re very excited about our partnership with Jazwares; it’ll be our third deal with them recently. There are many new pet owners since Covid started. Pets provide emotional support and companionship, so it’s not a surprise that the Pet Business is thriving. Pet toys are a natural outgrowth of the increased number of pets, and the increased importance of the backyard…

So pet toys are big business right now?
Absolutely, yes! And since a lot of kids toys get played with by pets, pet toys are a natural extension for Jazwares. These toys translate well to pet toys and there’ll be additional new products in the Wham-O Pet Line too. The Wham-O brand provides Jazwares with an important distinction from all other pet toys in the market.

Patti Becker, Anjar Co. & Becker Associates
Interesting. What’s led to this increased push on licensing?
Wham-O’s long been associated with outdoor fun and timeless toys! Like all brand extensions, Wham-O brand licensing provides an additional revenue stream and increased brand awareness for the Wham-O company. People are passionate about the Wham-O brand and their legacy products. Brand extensions bring in a very significant amount of income for many brands.

And more generally, what is it you look for in licensing partners? Are there any things that you know are an absolute no?! Products that just aren’t for you?
Each license deal is truly unique, and that’s what makes this business so exciting! But we work with all toy categories, and many different types of licensing partners and, as you know, we’ve recently expanded into pet, apparel, retail… And there’s more to come! After all these years and seeing what works in the marketplace – and what doesn’t, historically – when we’re looking at products and sizzle videos, we’re considering a number of things…

“Each license deal is truly unique, and that’s what makes this business so exciting!”

Most notably, we’re thinking about the wish lists of what our customers are looking for, as we work with manufacturers from around the world. We also consider trends in the marketplace, what’s selling well according to the toy store owners and the buyers we speak with… We consider research, expert panels, what we’re reading – we read voraciously – and what we hear is selling around the world in real time. We think about the competition, what our industry is doing and what’s doing well in other industries that can translate into toys… And then there’s that gut feeling we have when we we see a new product!

Patti Becker, Anjar Co. & Becker Associates
Great answer; thank you! Wham-O also has a TV show coming up: Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide. This is an unscripted reality competition series launching on NBC… What’s the gist?
It’s an unscripted show that takes the spirit of the classic backyard slide – and transforms it into a real-life water park full of gigantic, slippery rides. So participants go head to head to navigate a series of obstacles… Match-ups take place in oversized chutes, jumps, and tunnels, including the Big Slipper, the show’s 65-foot-tall slide! Winners get cash prizes and a chance to compete in a grand finale event.

And who else is on board?
Bobby Moynihan, host of Saturday Night Live, will host and there’ll be celebrity guests. To make it happen, Critical Content – a leading independent, non-fiction production studio – developed giant sets on 16 acres of land for the live-action show. The first of 10 episodes is scheduled to premiere on Sunday August 8th, on NBC, immediately following the closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics.

That seems strangely fitting! Just before we got going, you mentioned you had some Breaking News?
Breaking News; yes! We know many entertainment providers and streaming services are looking for content. So we’re very excited to announce that we’ve created an entertainment and media division to make content available for movies and streaming companies like Netflix. Can you imagine movies featuring Wham-O, Frisbee, SuperBall, Hula Hoop, Boogie Board, and Slip ‘N Slide?

And that’s the tip of the iceberg, presumably? You have other licenses…
Yes, we’re going to be telling a lot of stories! We also have IP Rights for Sophie La Girafe, Howard Robinson, Steve Kaufman, Anne Geddes, Timber Tots, V-Cubes, Go For Broke – isn’t that a great name?! There’s also Tumball, marketed by MegaBleu in over 30 countries. Recently, Tumball was made into a 10′ version for a game show in Germany.

Patti Becker, Anjar Co. & Becker Associates
Brilliant. So into what areas would you like to expand first?
We have treasure troves of extraordinary opportunities to take advantage of. So if you’re Netflix, or a scriptwriter or movie maker, or someone else in need of content, or you’re a screenwriter, we’re happy to discuss what interests you… To name a few key areas where we’re looking to start, we have outdoor sports like Wham-O; activities – we have a new line coming out with Jazwares later this year; animal selfies from Howard Robinson; infant toys by Sophie La Girafe, or games like Battle Dome, Tumball and Go For Broke,.

Go For Broke being the board game where you have to lose all your money?
Right. It’s relaunching in 2021 all over Europe. Classics are hot now!

Patti Becker, Anjar Co. & Becker Associates
Well, that’s terrific! I used to love that; I can’t wait to play it again! We need to start wrapping this up, Patti, but let me ask you this… Why do think your clients enjoy working with you? I mean, what is it that you and Jonathan are bringing to the table?
Oh, goodness! I guess it comes down to our complementary skills. The combination of Jonathan being an Intellectual Property Attorney, and my background in developmental child psychology, education, marketing and art make us uniquely positioned amongst our peers to understand toys from the end-user point of view – and have the legal and business savvy to finalise deals and make brand launches possible.

You know, I figured you were going to say, “Our experience…”! You’ve been doing this a long time…
Well, yes! Spending over 40 years in toys doesn’t hurt! And as you know, Jonny grew up in the business. So there is that; our clients come to appreciate all this as they work with us. There’s no substitute for the perspective you achieve and the Toy Industry knowledge that more than four decades and over 1,000 agreements brings.

“There’s no substitute for the knowledge that more than four decades and over 1,000 agreements brings.”

Becker Associates complements our licensing business. Becker Associates works with inventors and entrepreneurs to represent and develop their products. And, my passion for helping Women Entrepreneurs – as I’ve done for decades on the board of LIMA and as president of Women in Toys, Licensing and Entertainment – are well-known. I started the Walmart-WIT Program to empower women in 2012, where women-owned businesses come and pitch their products face-to-face to Walmart buyers.

Superb. Patti, thank you so much for making time to speak with us. I know how busy you and Jonathan are, so thanks again.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk; it’s always fun catching up.

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