WOODLAND HILLS, CA: Toy manufacturer and distributor Funrise has brought on JMPR Public Relations to oversee media relations for its Tonka branded products under license from Hasbro.
The agency will collaborate with Funrise’s internal marketing team on strategy, consumer-engagement programs, product launches, and special events, according to a statement from the firm.
JMPR will also connect with media to promote Tonka Motorsports’ efforts with the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, and its sponsorship of race drivers Eric Barron, Myan Spaccarelli, and Taylor Atchison.
The firm will also work to elevate Tonka’s marketing partnerships with Ford and Toyota and spread the word about its philanthropic efforts.
JMPR’s headquarters in Woodland Hills, California, is leading work on the account, with support from consultants across the US.
JMPR worked with Tonka on a project basis last year, then was brought on officially as AOR this week, said the firm’s president, Joseph Molina.
"When [Funrise] discussed their PR needs for this year, our name came up, and after a series of interviews, they were taken with our enthusiasm," he said.
JMPR will work to increase awareness of Tonka’s toys among children and parents, including its products like emergency, off-road, and construction vehicles, Molina added. While he called Tonka an "iconic" and well-known brand, he said the firm wants to make sure parents know it’s still around and is a choice for their children.
The contract will run for a half-year, with options to renew. Budget information was not disclosed.
Representatives from Funrise were not immediately available for comment. It wasn’t immediately clear if there was an incumbent agency working on the account.
In addition to Tonka, Funrise manufactures toy brands such as My Little Pony, Pound Puppies, Littlest Pet Shop, and Baby Alive.
Founded in 1987, it is a wholly owned subsidiary of Matrix Holdings.
Molina added that the account is "more than a check every month" for the agency.
"My big thrill was when they gave me my own dump truck," he said. "I’ve been in business for 37 years and I turned into a kid again."
This story was updated to correct the length of the contract. It will run for six months, not one year.