August 11, 2011
Tonka Truck characters get cast in an app
Back in March, we quizzed CEO Rick Richter about potential brand opportunities in children’s e-books for his company, Ruckus Media Group. While he tipped his hand at sponsorships and mobile coupons, it seems Richter had another idea up his sleeve. In mid-June, Ruckus debuted its first licensed interactive storybook app, based on Hasbro’s Tonka Truck and Friends line of toys. The oversized rubber trucks are the central characters in “Friends for the Long Haul,” which adeptly renders the toys in illustrations and includes interactive games.
The app is the first in a series that will include Hasbro’s My Little Pony and Transformers properties. While the partnership represents a move away from classic and design-inspired storybook titles for Ruckus, Richter says it points to the huge potential of such apps: “We touch and engage both kids and parents through this medium. An interactive app is a living thing—we can touch it over and over again, update it, and include important, time-sensitive ancillary material. A clever marketer and IP originator will understand the tremendous opportunity this presents.” —Deanna Zammit