9 JUL, 2015

HIT Entertainment Limited (“HIT Entertainment”), one of the world's leading pre-school entertainment companies and a subsidiary of Mattel Inc., is pleased to announce a global partnership with Virgin Atlantic enabling one of TV’s most popular children’s series, Thomas & Friends, to take to the skies.


The new deal is set to see the pre-school franchise soar with stand-out visibility across all Virgin Atlantic international routes throughout the month of August.


This summer, thousands of families travelling with Virgin Atlantic will be offered branded Thomas & Friends in-flight packs including colourful, engaging activity sheets and Thomas Minis collectable engines to entertain children for the duration of the flight. Once in the air, passengers will be invited to sit back, relax and enjoy Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.


Under the direction of Executive Producer Christopher Keenan, the 60-minute movie Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure is a spectacular new adventure that takes Thomas to a new part of Sodor and on a curious quest that introduces a host of new characters. New engine Ryan will be voiced by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne, John Hurt will assume the part of Sailor John and Jamie Campbell Bower voices trusted sail boat Skiff. 


It’s a big year for content and also for the brand as in 2015; Thomas & Friends has been celebrating 70 years of friendship in a year-long program of friendship-themed activity around the world.


Kate Schlomann, VP Global Brand at HIT Entertainment commented: “2015 is a big year for Thomas & Friends. From the pages of a storybook in 1945 to action-packed TV and film, Thomas has brought fun to families for 70 years and is now watched in more than a billion households globally. As we celebrate this milestone for the brand, what better way to grow our reach and continue to entertain young audiences than to take Thomas on a new adventure to the skies? We are thrilled to announce this partnership with Virgin Atlantic and are really looking forward to seeing young families get excited about travelling.”


Further exposure in the air will include a 30-second television spot at the start of all international flights and presence in the in-flight magazine. Visitors to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse will also be gifted with Thomas & Friends merchandise.


Reuben Arnold, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Customer Experience at Virgin Atlantic commented “We’re always looking for new ways to surprise and delight our customers and partnering with another iconic British brand is a great way to achieve this.   We’re both globally recognised names and by joining forces with Thomas & Friends we’re able to provide an exciting on-board experience, particularly for our younger travellers, which we hope they’ll enjoy over the coming months.”


Thomas & Friends movie ‘Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure’ is available on all Virgin Atlantic international routes that depart from London’s Gatwick & Heathrow airports from 1-31st August, with one week’s exclusive rights from 1-8 August. Destinations include: Detroit, Boston, Chicago, New York/Newark, Washington, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Havana, Cancun, Montego Bay, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Tobago, Lagos, Johannesburg, Dubai, Delhi, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Grenada.


The magical year for Thomas & Friends is enabling little engineers around the world to celebrate their favourite #1 blue engine whether at Thomas celebrations in major International cities, or the first and largest Thomas Land theme park in North America opening this summer, or Thomas takeovers at retail.


For the latest news, visit the all new Thomas & Friends website www.thomasandfriends.com.


-ENDS-


 


FOR ALL PRESS ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT:



Thomas & Friends/HIT Entertainment


Debra Vago


debra.vago@grayling


+44 (0) 20 7025 7575


 


NOTES TO EDITORS:


About Thomas & Friends
Thomas the Tank Engine™ was created by a father for his son 70 years ago and today is enjoyed by families in more than 300 territories and in over 40 languages.  The No.1 blue engine and his friends invite children to enter a world of imagination through the tracks of a train and the words of a story. Children embark on adventures with their engine friends while experiencing timeless life lessons of discovery, friendship and cooperation. Thomas & Friends makes tracks to great destinations on PBS KIDS® and Sprout® in the US and on Five’s Milkshake! and Nick Jr in the UK and on CCTV in China.  Downloadable episodes are available through iTunes. For more information about the world of Thomas the Tank Engine™ and his friends, please visit www.thomasandfriends.com 


About Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 31 years ago after he decided the UK aviation industry needed shaking up.  On 22nd June 1984, Virgin Atlantic's inaugural flight to Newark took place, on an aircraft filled with personal friends, celebrities and the media.  Today, Virgin Atlantic flies to over 30 destinations worldwide, including locations across North America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Far East.  At the start of 2014 Virgin Atlantic entered into a joint venture with Delta Air Lines, creating an expanded trans-Atlantic route network and enhancing competition between the UK and North America.


Virgin Atlantic has recently launched a new service to Detroit, along with three new routes into Atlanta. The airline has also increased daily frequencies to popular destinations including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Miami.  Virgin Atlantic currently has a fleet of 38 aircraft which includes Boeing 747s, Airbus A340-600s and its newest addition to the fleet, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.


About HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment is one of the world's leading pre-school entertainment companies, specialising in building powerful brands based on engaging stories.  HIT Entertainment’s world-class portfolio includes  Thomas & Friends®, Mike the Knight™, Fireman Sam®, Bob the Builder™, Barney®, Angelina Ballerina®, Pingu® and Rainbow Magic®.


HIT Entertainment excels at creating and building globally successful brands which capture the hearts and imaginations of pre-schoolers and their families.  This is achieved through exceptional storytelling in multiple formats, enhanced by creating high quality character-based products and experiences with best-in-class partners. HIT Entertainment’s lines of business span television and home entertainment production, content distribution, digital media and live events and attractions.  HIT Entertainment, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc., has operations in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. For more information visit www.hitentertainment.com


About Mattel


The Mattel family of companies (Nasdaq: MAT) is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. Mattel’s portfolio of best-selling brands includes Barbie®, the most popular fashion doll ever produced, Hot Wheels®, Monster High®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends® and Fisher-Price® brands, including Little People® and Power Wheels®, MEGA® Brands, including MEGA BLOKS® and RoseArt®, as well as a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines. In 2013, Mattel was named one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" by Ethisphere Magazine and in 2014 ranked No. 5 on Corporate Responsibility Magazine's "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list. With worldwide headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel’s companies employ nearly 30,000 people in 40 countries and territories and sell products in more than 150 nations. At Mattel, we are Creating the Future of Play. Visit us at www.mattel.com, www.facebook.com/mattel or www.twitter.com/mattel


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