The EURO2024 mascot’s #MakeMoves campaign will see the teddy bear appear in Toikido’s upcoming Roblox game, Piñata Smashlings, as well as a YouTube series and school-based participation programmes.
London based creative design studio Toikido, UEFA and Fanatics (UEFA EURO 2024 Master Licensee) have unveiled the official EURO2024 mascot in the birthplace of the teddy bear.
Over the next two weeks, Children in UEFA’s Football in Schools programme will run a poll to decide the mascot’s name with fans also able to have their say on UEFA.com. All stemming from the German word for bear, “Bär,” children and adults alike will be asked to pick from: Albärt, Bärnardo, Bärnheart, Bärtram, and Herzi von Bär.
During the build-up to the tournament, the mascot will encourage Generation Alphas – those born from 2010 onwards – to be more active and health-conscious through its #MakeMoves campaign.
Using new technologies, the mascot will start its #MakeMoves journey in schools across Europe, asking pupils to submit their most creative football moves and celebrations. The best moves will be transformed into mascot-themed animations using cutting-edge motion capture technology and shared across Europe for other schools to try.
The campaign will also take the mascot’s ‘be active’ message to key digital platforms that young kids use daily – YouTube and Roblox. On Roblox, a platform that has over 66.2m daily active users – of which children under 13 comprise the largest demographic – the mascot will feature in a collaboration with Toikido’s Pinata Smashlings world. The UEFA EURO2024 Football Island will be filled with challenges, quests and host city stadiums all created to reinforce the key message of getting active.
The mascot will also lead an educational YouTube series alongside key European influencers, addressing crucial topics such as training, nutrition and mental health. Resources will be provided to schools, fostering cross-curricular teaching using the UEFA EURO2024 story.
Darran Garnham, CEO of Toikido, said: “We’re delighted with the opportunity to have the UEFA EURO2024 inspire kids by unleashing their creativity and passion for football, while also providing a unique and innovative way to play with friends online on our very own UEFA EURO2024 football island, via our game Piñata Smashlings on Roblox. The island will include a host of interactive mini-games and challenges which focus on the importance of physical activity and well-being.”
Phillip Lahm, UEFA EURO2024 Ambassador and German men’s national team legend, said: “I’ve seen how sports can change lives. This mascot is introducing a great initiative to inspire 5 to 12-year-olds to embrace physical activity through exciting real-world and digital experiences.”
He added: “Digital platforms like Roblox are where children now spend a lot of time, and we want to reach and engage them where they are – while still encouraging them to move and be active. It’s about finding the perfect balance.”
Steffi Jones, UEFA EURO2024 Ambassador and former German women’s national team player and manager, commented: “We want to see more children be active and this mascot is going to carry a powerful message, letting children be creative and use their movement to power the mascot in the digital world. It’s great to see UEFA innovating and understanding how to captivate the interest of 5 to 12-year-olds using digital technology to create interactive activities and educational resources, encouraging them to embrace physical activity and prioritise their well-being.”
The mascot, along with its dynamic initiatives and partnerships, aims to inspire the next generation, encouraging them to embrace an active lifestyle and develop a love for football and its values.
Toy World spoke exclusively to Darran Garnham, fresh off the back of an appearance on Sky News, about how the EURO2024 mascot will boost awareness of the studio’s IP and what else is going down in Toikido town.
What do you think clinched the EURO2024 deal for you and what kind of effect do you think it will have on Piñata Smashlings?
We’re delighted that Fanatics and UEFA chose our mascot. We’ve all worked in or around the toy industry our entire careers so we came at the project in a certain way, with a certain viewpoint, and produced a fantastic mascot. The comments we’re seeing online show the bear has been received really positively. We really leant into the brief and created something that can easily translate into toys and licensing, with Fanatics currently out there actively working on deals.
Having a game built around a major sporting tournament like this is unique. Tens of millions of eyeballs will be glued to EURO2024 and that will translate into a big lift for our Smashlings Roblox ecosystem.
You’ve spoken before about Toikido’s varied expertise and adaptability – is this one of the directions you thought the company might take when you founded it?
We’ve quickly realised that what we do best is create IP. We’ll always work with third party IPs – Among Us and Bare Butt Boxing, for example – and with outside studios to help transform a game into a fully-fleshed IP. But own-IP is where our strengths lie. We’ve just returned from Vegas, where we were pitching three new in-house designed IPs to major toy companies: we design the game and digital world, and then partner with global toy companies to manufacture licensed toy ranges. We’re less of a toy company now, more a digital entertainment company.
How was your time in Vegas?
Awesome – and humbling. We had fantastic meetings with new partners keen to come on board ASAP. IMG has done a great job on that side. The belief in Smashlings from the industry is so strong, and we’ve now got to launch it and prove everyone right. But so far, everything we promised we’d do, we’ve done. Major partnership with sport? Done. Major music deal? Big reveal on the horizon. Major collaboration with a TikTok influencer star? Launching in a matter of weeks. And we’re at proposal stage with a number of toy companies regarding our new IPs that are coming down the pipe, some of which we already have prototypes for. We’re doing things differently and injecting something fresh and new into the market. Retailers are telling us that’s what they need.
What will we see from you next?
We’re launching the Smashlings toy range with toy specialists in September, followed by mass in October, supported by full store takeovers. In partnership with Character Options, we’re holding character costume appearances, events and activities and much more. We’re leaving no stone unturned. We don’t want to be kicking ourselves in a year because we didn’t pull out all the stops.
The shortform animated Smashlings content is actually also launching earlier than anticipated this year. It’s been brilliant working with Chorus Entertainment and Nelvana. I’ve seen some of the first episode: it’s really funny. I showed it to my kids, and they’re hard to please, but they laughed in all the right places. We’re excited.