As Hasbro's exclusive licensing partner for brands such as Transformers, My Little Pony, Monopoly, Play-Doh, and Blythe Dolls in the Greater China region, Yodo1 is partnering with mobile game developers to bring beloved brands to games in China.
In November 2019, our brand licensing team facilitated a Transformers IP injection in Mini World—a 3D sandbox game with 400 million registered users and 80 million monthly active players. Since then over 500,000 units have been sold.
Seeing potential in additional IP matches, and always dedicated to the long-term success of our partners, we helped Chinese developer MiniWan prepare for a second collaboration - this time targeting the game's female user base.
MiniWan's research on which brands would appeal most to their players revealed My Little Pony's place in the top ten most attractive intellectual properties for the game's audience of children and young teens. The IP's cute elements also fit well with Mini World's pixelated graphic style, making a great IP match.
Finding the Right IP Match for a Young Audience
When an IP has worldwide appeal among young fans, it allows game developers to leverage the brand's recognition, fan base and loyalty, and positive values.
We are committed to building one of the best open platforms for youth creators in the world, and are eager to work together with the world's top IP to create a first-class game and creative experience for playersMini World
To have a successful IP match, we also look at how well a brand is being kept alive by its licensor.
As one of Hasbro's top brands, My Little Pony has a near universal brand awareness worldwide. With the licensor continuing to invest in the IP, the brand remains highly relevant. Fans can be found around the world and the ponies continue to feature in gaming and anime events.
In China, My Little Pony is best known for its classic animations, brand-driven physical merchandise, and its "friendship is magic" theme. With meaningful stories set against colorful backdrops, the IP has a lot to offer mobile games for children.
Moreover, games such as Mini World - which are built on a reputation of being healthy and educational options for children - can benefit greatly from the positive connotations brands such as My Little Pony carry. Parents who know and trust the IP will also trust games in which it features.
How My Little Pony Drove Engagement Mini World
We worked together with Mini World and Hasbro to create promotional videos for the injection that would capture the essence of the brand in the game's established art format.
Girls, making up half of the game's player base, fell in love with the cute new content and weren't shy about expressing it on social media.
The main promotional video, featuring My Little Pony in Mini World's July 14 version update, now has 200 thousand likes, 39 thousand comments, and 2.5 thousand shares, while topics with the My Little Pony tag in the Mini World community have received over 10 million views and 750 thousand comments.
We are glad to see that some of our players have become My Little Pony fans and created a bounty of wonderful works inspired by the brand. At the same time, there are also many new players who have learned about Mini World because of the My Little Pony skins and have been able to experience the fun of interactive creation with friendsMini World
What Makes an IP Injection Succeed?
With eight years of experience co-creating, publishing, and marketing games, Yodo1 has learned what makes IP injections successful. Here are two of the tools we used when injecting My Little Pony in Mini World.
Brand injections are not without their challenges. When bringing My Little Pony to Mini World, the Yodo1 and MiniWan teams had to work around the fact that the game design did not include skins for pony-like characters.
Since we couldn't inject the brand's fantastical ponies as they were, we had to come up with an alternative. Considering how popular cosplay culture is in China, we decided to inject the characters' magical elements by creating unique in-game accessories.
Thanks to Hasbro's trust and Yodo1's professional guidance, we've brought outstanding content to our players. In the future, we hope to bring more IP to our millions of players and continue adding joy to their childhoodsMini World
Where the Transformers skins were cool and adventurous, this injection of IP accessories gave the mobile game a fashionable edge that attracted more interest from girls—a big part of this game's audience—and allowed us to capture a larger segment of its user base.
With dresses, hairstyles, wands, and spell books, the Hasbro, Yodo1, and MiniWan team found effective ways to put My Little Pony’s magic inside China's largest sandbox game. Even players who were not already IP fans found these cute and stylish elements attractive.
Each element was crafted with brand and game characteristics taken into account and made complete with sounds and visual effects to give fans an authentic and immersive in-game brand experience.
As an IP licensee, Yodo1 works with brands and games to find solutions that link both party's products—such as game skins and brand merchandise—to maximize marketing value.
To help make the My Little Pony IP injection more successful, Yodo1 recommended the creation of co-branding events via trending channels such as live-streaming and through partnerships with key opinion leaders.
By having Mini World influencers who promote the game and its branded skins offer Hasbro-sponsored discount coupons and limited giveaways, for example, we helped create a win-win for Hasbro and MiniWan.
Online Hasbro stores in China received an influx of traffic from Mini World players interested in buying tangible Transformers and My Little Pony merchandise, while MiniWan leveraged Hasbro’s gifting to attract more people to the event and further promote their in-game skins.
IP licensing with Yodo1
Yodo1 connects mobile and video game developers to intellectual property holders and helps bring brands and games together such that both sides can benefit from optimal revenue and exposure in an ever-growing industry.
Our Brands in Games team provides comprehensive project management assistance—facilitating smooth and effective communication and providing hands-on solutions to keep marketing, game content, and game design processes moving swiftly. We also help integrate online and offline promotions.
With full support in and translation between English and Chinese, we help break down communication barriers and further decrease the burden on developers and IP holders.
With eight years of experience in the gaming industry and expertise in the world of marketing, Yodo1 is here to help developers and intellectual property holders reap the benefits that the promising field of IP in games has to offer.
Get in touch via BiG@yodo1.com to kickstart your success with Brands in Games.