We Speak With International Licensing Director, Charlotte Payne About Care Bears™, Madballs™ and ANZ Licensing

Cloudco Entertainment is an entertainment studio with a wide range of properties including Care Bears™, Madballs™ and Holly Hobbie™. Back in October, Cloudco welcomed Charlotte Payne (International Licensing Director) and Noelle Nuñez (Manager of Retail Development) into the Company to develop their global licensing initiatives. The Bugg Report spoke to Charlotte prior to the 2024 Toy Hobby & Licensing Fair in Melbourne about her new role, the Cloudco brand portfolio and licensing.

Charlotte Payne
Charlotte Payne
Cloudco Entertainment
International Licensing Director

Hello Charlotte, thank you for speaking to us. Can you tell us a little bit about your new role as International Licensing Director for Cloudco Entertainment and your main focus areas?

In my role as International Licensing Director for Cloudco Entertainment, my primary focus is expanding our global brand presence, forging new partnerships, and ensuring fans worldwide can enjoy the magic of our beloved brands.

We’ve seen great success with partners like Caprice and Headstart, offering inspiring products and retail exclusives, including the engaging Rare Bears. Big W, Cotton On, and Peter Alexander remain important retailers for us, and we aim to further grow the Care Bears brand with their consumers in mind. Peter Alexander has an exciting worldwide exclusive design aesthetic planned for 2024 as well so keep your eyes peeled for more on this.

Australia remains a priority market for us with so many devoted fans, and we’re committed to bringing unique and innovative experiences to this nostalgic audience. Fans can look forward to a year filled with fun, including culinary experiences, live events, pop culture retail activations, and immersive new experiences. We’ve also marked September 9th as ‘Share Your Care Day,’ where we plan to celebrate our annual giveback holiday with fans worldwide.

2023 has been a challenging year, however heading into 2024, what are you optimistic about for Care Bears globally?

While 2023 posed its challenges, heading into 2024, I’m incredibly optimistic about the global potential for Care Bears. With our fantastic team and exciting collaborations in the works, we’re poised to bring even more joy and positivity to fans around the world.

The recent Forbes article which highlighted that Care Bears and other classic toys are back in vogue was interesting. How do you see this?

The Forbes article certainly captured my attention. Seeing the Care Bears prominently featured highlights how these classic icons continue to resonate with audiences today. It’s not about a comeback; it’s about their timeless relevance. This aligns perfectly with our brand’s journey. We’re channeling the positive messages of the Care Bears to innovate within our brand, reinforcing our commitment to mental wellness and sustainability.

As we navigate the brand’s evolution, we’re keen to embrace the values that Care Bears represent — kindness, empathy, and care. It’s these principles that are steering our brand towards a future where mental wellness and environmental care are at the forefront. The Care Bears’ enduring appeal is a beacon for our mission as we strive to support our community’s well-being and contribute to a more sustainable world.

From a licensing point-of-view, what are you focused on over the next 12-18 months for the Care Bears brand?

From a licensing perspective, our focus over the next 12-18 months for the Care Bears brand includes exploring innovative collaborations, expanding product lines, and enhancing the overall fan experience. We’re excited about the opportunities ahead.

What are you most excited about when it comes to the Australian market?

I’m particularly excited about the Australian market. It’s a region with a strong affinity for our brands, and we’re looking forward to building on our presence there, connecting with fans, and creating memorable experiences.

We have some exciting plans lined up, including the launch of Noble Heart Horse. This is an exclusive market debut for Australia, as it was never produced back in the 80s, making it a unique offering for our Australian fans. Additionally, we’re exploring opportunities for unique collaborations, with the first one set to launch in Q4 2024.

Furthermore, we’re thrilled to expand our range of baby products featuring new assets, catering to a broader range of age groups. This initiative is sure to enhance our presence and bring even more magic to the Australian market.

I believe that Madballs is also currently a major focus for Cloudco; are you able to share any details about the brand and what is on the horizon?

Absolutely, Madballs is indeed a major focus for us, and there are exciting developments on the horizon for the brand that I’m eager to share.

Madballs is a brand that holds a strong sense of nostalgia in global markets, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Hunter Products and their exceptional product development team on a brand-new toy venture. This partnership will bring exciting products to store shelves in Q1 2025, marking a significant moment for the brand.

As we move forward, we’re expanding into collectibles and apparel, introducing fresh and innovative offerings to the market. We’re already engaging with fans and new audiences through a digital partnership with The Sandbox, and there are additional gaming partnerships in the pipeline that we’re excited to reveal later this year.

In a world where many brands take themselves too seriously, Madballs brings a much-needed sense of fun and humor and resonates with both dads and lads.

We hope you enjoy your upcoming trip to Australia and your time here. I am sure it will be nice to catch up with the WP Brands team and your local partners.

Thank you. I’m looking forward to my trip to Australia to reconnect in person with the WP Brands team and our local partners. After several years without travel, it’s truly a pleasure to have the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas face-to-face.


This article originally appeared in Edition 47 of The Bugg Report Magazine