The sweet little girl with the puffy bonnet and a love of baking who debuted on a Valentine’s card in 1973 is back with a cool new look and a confident, savvy attitude for young modern audiences. More than 40 years since she came on the scene, global kids’ and family entertainment leader WildBrain is ready to roll out a new animated series inspired by the popular Strawberry Shortcake franchise, plus a brand-new global franchise program spanning events, toys, games, books, music, learning and shareable experiences.
“Strawberry Shortcake has brought so much joy to children over the years, and now we’re thrilled to provide today’s generation with the opportunity to create new experiences and memories with the brand,” said Michael Riley, Chief Brands Officer, WildBrain. “While staying true to what makes Strawberry Shortcake special – her sweetness, scent and joyful strawberry motif – this new vision aims to inspire today’s girls with relevant and empowering themes of diversity, sustainability and entrepreneurship. We’ve teamed up with some amazing brand partners and have a fantastic schedule of events, social campaigns and activations lined up for the brand beginning this fall. Whether it’s baking with Mom in the kitchen, playing with scented dolls, enjoying new content on YouTube, immersing themselves in Roblox, or reading books and listening to music, today’s little girls are going to love making the new Strawberry Shortcake a big part of their lives.”
WildBrain’s relaunch takes the character into the future, fully engaging its deep expertise and resources in brand management to activate the property with content production, digital distribution and consumer products licensing. A wildly popular line of toys and consumer products in the early 1980s, Strawberry Shortcake was then licensed annually across US $500 million worth of consumer products. It went on to sell over 5 million dolls and has generated more than US $4 billion at retail to date.
The fun kicks off September 18 with the premiere of WildBrain’s original new animated series Berry in the Big City in an exclusive double-episode event only on the official Strawberry Shortcake channel on WildBrain Spark, the Company’s leading AVOD network on YouTube and YouTube Kids, where it will be available initially in English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese, by territory. The series trailer was unveiled today on the official channel, where new episodes will drop each Saturday following the premiere, through June 2022.
Produced by WildBrain’s Vancouver animation studio – with renowned showrunner Michael Vogel, one of the creative forces behind the success of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and the theatrical feature My Little Pony: The Movie – Berry in the Big City finds Strawberry Shortcake traveling to Big Apple City, where all the biggest names in baking go to get their break. Along with her cute cat, Custard, she teams up with her new “berry besties” – Orange Blossom, Lime Chiffon, Lemon Meringue and Blueberry Muffin – as well as their lovable pets. Together, the entrepreneurial girls run their fabulous food trucks and enjoy daily adventures filled with laughter and singing as they strive to “bake the world a better place!”
“Working with WildBrain Studios to reimagine Strawberry Shortcake for Berry in the Big City has been a dream come true,” said Vogel. “This is a sweet and funny series, with modern, inclusive storytelling that I think today’s kids are going to love. We’ve captured all the adorable sweetness of Strawberry Shortcake while giving her a cool new look and a savvy ‘can do’ attitude, perfect to inspire kids to embrace their dreams and do great things.”
Season one of Berry in the Big City delivers 40 all-new four-minute adventures in 2D animation for kids aged 3-6. A second 40-episode season of Berry in the Big City has already been greenlit, and WildBrain Studios is also in development on a slate of new, CG-animated 44-minute Strawberry Shortcake family specials for a major streaming platform.
Berry in the Big City also features 10 original songs that will be released next year as animated lyric videos for kids to sing along with and enjoy on WildBrain Spark’s official Strawberry Shortcake channel. WildBrain Spark is one of the most popular networks of kids’ and family content on YouTube and YouTube Kids, generating billions of views per month and offering brand-safe, premium content enjoyed each quarter by at least one in three kids worldwide.
In addition to starring in a brand-new series, the bonneted little girl once famed as a popular ragdoll is graduating for the first time to the digital universe of Roblox. Beginning October 2, kids can enjoy WildBrain’s brand-new Roblox game, Baking with Strawberry Shortcake, which marks the brand’s debut on one of the world’s most popular 3D digital gaming platforms for kids. Baking with Strawberry Shortcake invites fans to dive into an interactive 3D adventure, where they can play with each other and engage with Strawberry Shortcake and her friends in a digital world not available anywhere else – customizing food trucks, creating amazing baked goods and competing in baking contests.
Available across all major gaming devices, Roblox is one of the most popular gaming platforms for kids and teens. Every day, more than 42 million people come to Roblox – over half of them under the age of 13 – to create adventures, play games, role play and learn with their friends in a family-friendly, immersive, 3D environment.
The new series and game come as WildBrain rolls out an exciting new global franchise and licensing program for the brand. Built to heighten the experiential world of Strawberry Shortcake, while celebrating the nostalgia today’s moms feel for the brand, the franchise program will feature new toys, apparel, books and more, plus celebrity spotlights, social media activations, brand partnerships, baking demonstrations and friendly competitions – all encouraging today’s parents to re-visit and share their love of Strawberry Shortcake with their little ones. The new program builds on the foundation of classic Strawberry Shortcake consumer products that continues to grow as it appeals to a sense of nostalgia in today’s parents.
Central to the new consumer products program, WildBrain has appointed Moose Toys as Master Toy Partner for Strawberry Shortcake. Known for such innovative and highly successful toy lines as Shopkins, Bluey, Little Live Pets and Heroes of Goo Jit Zu, Moose has been hard at work with WildBrain’s Franchise Brands team and leading licensing agency, WildBrain CPLG, developing an amazing line of new Strawberry Shortcake toys and playsets to be unveiled in early 2022. Today’s moms who loved Strawberry Shortcake when they were little will be delighted to learn that Strawberry Shortcake’s signature scent is set to return in a line of collectible dolls their daughters are sure to love.
“We’re thrilled to collaborate with WildBrain. Their position as a ‘new generation’ kids’ entertainment leader makes them the ideal partner to introduce today’s kids to such a beloved and iconic property,” commented Menal McGrath, VP Global Licencing, Moose Toys. “This aspirational, fun and fresh reimagining of Strawberry Shortcake gives us an incredibly exciting platform to deliver never-before-seen, ‘wow’ products that will redefine how consumers see and experience the brand.”
Additionally, WildBrain CPLG has expanded its existing Strawberry Shortcake partnership with Penguin Young Readers Licenses, an imprint of Penguin Random House, for a range of new Berry in the Big City story books, board books and sticker books, set to launch in 2022 in North America.
Other household-name brands launching new Strawberry Shortcake partnerships at retail beginning in early 2022 include Naturipe (strawberries and blueberries), Sunkist Growers (oranges, lemons and limes), Envy Apples (apples), Langers (juice), Zolli Candy (dentist-approved lollipops), Dippin’ Dots (ice cream), Snip-Its (kids’ hair salons), Challenge Butter (butter) and more.