The largest retailer in China is teaming up with an American toy giant and a major Hollywood studio to the tout the opening of the latest blockbuster addition to the Transformers movie franchise in China.
The movie is Bumblebee. It’s the sixth installment of the enormously popular series featuring the gigantic robot superheroes from the planet Cybertron known as the Autobots.
JD.Com, China’s largest retailer, is working with Hasbro and Paramount across an array of marketing and promotional platforms that will market the popular toys associated with the action on the screen.
Also known as Jingdong, JD is both the largest retailer in China overall as well as the country’s biggest online retail outlet. JD is headquartered in Beijing and is a member of the Fortune Global 500. As of 2018, JD claims more than 300 million active users. The company was founded in 1998 by Liu Qiangdong. Jingdong maintains more than 500 warehouses globally and reports an annual revenue in excess of $55 billion USD.
The Transformers began as a toyline in 1984. Originally created by the Japanese company Takara, the toys were called Car-Robots. Hasbro bought rights to the designs and rebranded the line as Transformers. The result would be among the most successful toy models in history. The popularity of the toys led to an animated cartoon series for television and eventually the big screen. The first movie was released in 2007 and directed by Michael Bay. The latest installment, Bumblebee, is the first Transformers movie not directed by Bay, although he served as producer.
The partnership between Jingdong and Hasbro began in 2017 with the release of Mission Red, a mini-short video production featuring Optimus Prime and another Transformer character known as Red Knight. The latter is a character special and exclusive to JD.Com. The Red Knight character lives on in three more mini-shorts that includes HLA, a Chinese menswear brand, and Panasonic.
JD has brought out an action figure of Red Knight which is only available from the company.
Furthermore, Jingdong also recently launched what it calls a “Super Bumblebee Day” sale. The promotion coincides with the release of the movie. The promotion enabled JD’s 300 million customers to purchase movie-themed merchandise from all partners in the venture, including Hasbro, HLA and Panasonic.
The partnership between JD.Com, Hasbro, Paramount, Panasonic and HLA is seen as a “match made in heaven” by industry observers. It’s a powerful way to market multiple products lines across a variety of platforms leveraging a symbiotic relationship between some of the biggest corporate entities in China, Japan and the United States.
The movie itself promises to be a fan favorite among the millions of devoted followers of the Transformers franchise. The Bumblebee character is arguably the most popular Autobot because of his prankish and exuberant personality, along with his distinctive yellow and black color scheme from which he derives his name. His automobile personae takes the form of classic American muscle cars, including the Chevrolet Camaro — although his original incarnation was that of a Volkswagen Beetle.
In a sense, Bumblebee is the “little brother” or “mascot” among the more “adult” Autobots led by the mighty Optimus Prime. For centuries, Optimus has led his team of heroic Autobots in an ongoing war with an evil race of robots known as the Decepticons.
Official with JD website say they are delighted to be associated with the Bumblebee movie and the entire Transformers universe of toys, movies, video games and other platforms. Hasbro officials as well said they are enthusiastic about the ongoing relationship they have developed with China’s Jingdong.