When My Little Pony was launched in 1983, the last thing that Hasbro (HAS) expected was for adults to passionately embrace the line of brightly colored plastic toy ponies, but that's precisely what happened. Now the fans, known as bronies, can celebrate their devotion in a unique way.
Under a license from Hasbro, Integrity Toys will produce a line of collectible brony fashion figures geared toward adults. The 12-inch dolls decked out in My Little Pony gear will be available later this year. Pricing, though, hasn't been set yet, but it likely will mirror other Integrity toys, which generally cost between $90 and $150.
Integrity has published sketches of two of the figures it plans to sell. The male is dressed in trendy clothing inspired by the Rainbow Dash character, while the female doll takes her cues from Twilight Sparkle. Integrity noted the dolls are archetypes and aren't meant to represent particular individuals. Other toys will be part of the line, though Integrity declined to provide specifics.
My Little Pony first gained popularity in the 1980s. A new fan base emerged in the 1990s and 2000s, and the property surged in popularity again in 2010 after the debut of the "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" TV show.
The characters have been in a feature-length movie, four animated TV series and several specials. My Little Pony remains one of Hasbro's most popular lines, generating about $650 million in retail sales annually. Adult fans keep in touch through Brony websites and thousands attend an annual convention called BronyCon.
"There are probably two different markets that are intersecting," Carol Roth, who handles the merchandising for Integrity, told CBS MoneyWatch. "First of all, the bronies themselves are a group that have thousands and thousands of enthusiasts. ... Then, there's the overall market for adult collectors of fashion dolls and fashion figures, especially those in or around pop culture."
Nostalgia is also a selling point.
Integrity has a separate license from Hasbro to sell a line of Jem and The Holograms figurines, another property benefiting from sales to adults who grew up in the 1980s and are seeking to recapture their childhoods. My Little Pony has also attracted younger fans in their 20s and 30s who are just discovering the characters.