In the beginning of the year, global independent animation studio ZAG established its first office in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to directly spearhead merchandising and licensing activities in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay for the company's portfolio of "ZAG Heroez" brands, including the worldwide hits “Miraculous - Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir” and “Ghostforce.” Julian Zag, EVP Global Operation and Head of Consumer Products at ZAG, explained this decision and talked about these powerful brands.
● Why did you choose Buenos Aires as a base to handle the operations in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay? How would you describe ZAG's strategy in this region?
“Argentina is a strategic market for us in the region, and Buenos Aires as a business center is the natural location. We determined back in 2020 that the best way for ZAG to grow was by appointing dedicated teams across key regions and working directly with our local partners and retailers. In addition to the Buenos Aries office, we also have opened offices in Miami and Mexico City to serve the Latin American marketplace; in Germany to serve Eastern Europe; in Tel Aviv, with the launch of the gaming division; and in Dubai to serve the Middle East and Africa. Plus, we already have offices in Paris, Los Angeles, and Montreal. All these offices handle our licensing and merchandising activities to develop the company's ‘ZAG Heroez’ brands - a label for all the shows we create here at ZAG - working directly with new licensing and promotional partners to implement a strategy that will increase visibility and market share, as well as bolstering relationships with retails to enhance the brand’s visibility at retail.”
● What projects are you carrying out in Latin America?
“On the TV side, we have the fourth season of ‘Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir’ airing throughout Latin America on Disney Channel (excluding Brazil, where the series airs on Gloob’s kids’ platform, Globo) and on Televisa in Mexico. Gloob had an historic season four with ‘Miraculous’ ranking number one on pay TV with girls and boys 4-11. Looking ahead, season five of the show will start to air in fall 2022 followed by our much anticipated ‘Miraculous’ $100M+ animated feature. ‘Ghostforce’ is also available across the region. The series launched in December 2021 on Discovery Kids, except for Brazil where it launched on May 2, 2022.”
● What is the company’s strategy regarding consumer products?
“On the consumer products side of our business, we have achieved over US$1 billion at retail for ‘Miraculous’ across the globe, and Latin America is a key territory in our growth. Just as an example, in Mexico, the toyline from ZAG Lab and Playmates - distributed by Bandai Mexico since 2017 - has been a huge success with a 130% increase in sales over 2021 numbers and 84% product sell-through. We have close to 100 licensees currently across Latin America - with key markets being Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. These include all kinds of products for children to interact with the brand, from publishing to back-to-school products, to apparel, food, home furnishings, and more. Products are available throughout the region at mass market in supermarkets, department stores, and specialized and e-commerce stores.”
● What is the potential of brands like “Miraculous” and “Ghostforce” in Latin America?
“We see tons of potential for our ‘ZAG Heroez’ brands in Latin America. Viewers in Latin America, and indeed across the globe, have fallen in love with ‘Miraculous - Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir,’ a modern-day story of two young, magical, transforming iconic super-heroes featuring a blend of genres from action to superhero to comedy and romance with themes of friendship, inclusion, and girl empowerment woven throughout the series. And we are building ‘Miraculous’ to be an evergreen brand that reinvents itself to connect with new audiences. In the first season, the audience for boys was just 10%, and today it is 40%, as we expanded the character of Cat Noir, so the series appeals to boys and girls alike. And due to the cinematic animation and storylines, the show fits firmly in the kids and family category. Brand awareness for ‘Miraculous’ is high in Latin America: between 85% and 91% in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil, according to Brand Trends (October 2021). Moreover, the brand has become a global social media phenomenon with over 30 billion views on YouTube.”
● What are ZAG's goals in the region for the rest of 2022?
“We want Latin America to become one of the biggest regions in the world for our brands and this is the first territory where we initiated the direct operation model, overseen by our VP of Consumer Products, Angela Cortez, and her team.”
By Federico Marzullo