SOURCE: Hidden City Games

October 04, 2007 11:25 ET

Bella Sara™ Trading Cards and Online World for Girls Secures Canadian Distribution

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - October 4, 2007) - Just in time for the holidays, Hidden City Games is bringing Canadian girls a fun, self-esteem-boosting stocking stuffer. Bella Sara horse-themed trading cards and online world for girls, a phenomenon that began in Scandinavia and spread throughout Europe and the United States, expands into retail outlets throughout Canada this month.

Bella Sara was brought to the United States and the international marketplace by trading card tycoon Peter Adkison, the man behind the Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon trading cards. Inspired by her daughter's love for horses, Danish social worker Gitte Odder Braendgaard developed Bella Sara to encourage young girls to accept and express their feelings at an important developmental stage.

"Hidden City Games has been honored to bring the self-esteem-building fun of Bella Sara to different countries across the world. We are glad to have the right partners to help us achieve critical mass in Canada," said Hidden City Games CEO Peter Adkison. Adkison previously founded Wizards of the Coast in 1990 and built it to 2,000 employees before selling it to Hasbro in 1999 for nearly $500 million. "In a marketplace saturated with products sending young girls mixed messages about self-image, it's rewarding to be behind a product like Bella Sara, which was created to make a positive impact on girls' lives."

Bella Sara trading cards feature fantastic, imaginative illustrations of horses coupled with positive, self-esteem-boosting affirmations. There are more than 130 different Bella Sara horse cards to collect and trade, including extra-rare, "shiny" foil cards.

The inspirational cards can also be used to activate matching virtual horses in the online world of Bella Sara at http://www.bellasara.com. This child-friendly website features games for girls, including horse dress-up, jumping, and riding games, plus puzzles, coloring books, interactive storybooks and much more.

Since their debut across the United States earlier this year, Bella Sara trading cards and online world for girls have received numerous awards from child-development and parenting authorities, including the "Seal of Approval" from the National Parenting Center, the "Seal of Excellence" from Creative Child magazine, the "2007 Excellent Product" and "2007 Outstanding Product" designations from iParenting Media and the "Best Products -- Spring 2007" award from Dr. Toy.

"Bella Sara has done so well for us in the United States, in Wal-Mart and our other stores, that we are highly confident it will do equally well in Canada," said Rich Amar, vice president of international sales for Beckett Associates. Amar represents Wal-Mart stores and other mass-market retailers in Canada, as well as Wal-Mart, Meijer, Kroger, Fry's and 7-Eleven stores in the United States.

"We have been tracking Bella Sara's success in the United States since the beginning of the year, and we think it will do very well in Canada," said Greg Forrester, president of Echo Brand Management, a 100% Canadian-owned and -operated company that represents Toys "R" Us and London Drugs. "We are happy to see the marketing support behind bringing Bella Sara to Canada. We look forward to helping grow the brand by giving the product chain-wide support in Toys "R" Us and London Drugs."

Television ads supporting the Bella Sara rollout have already started appearing on YTV, the biggest national channel for kids in Canada, and will continue through the end of 2007 and into 2008.

Bella Sara's latest trading-card series, Northern Lights, features horses inspired by Norse and Celtic mythology. Both it and the upcoming Ancient Lights card series, based on Roman and Greek mythology, will be available at retail outlets throughout Canada, including Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us, London Drugs and Zellers, plus bookstores and hobby and specialty stores. Canadian collectors will also be able to find limited supplies of the few remaining First Series and Second Series card packs that were available in the United States earlier this year.

About Hidden City Games, Inc.

Hidden City Games, Inc., is a privately held company headquartered in Seattle, Washington and is the exclusive licensor of Bella Sara for worldwide distribution outside of Scandinavia. The company is headed by an experienced executive team, including founder and CEO Peter D. Adkison, who formerly founded Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Jesper Myrfors, chief creative officer and original art director for Magic: The Gathering; and Paul Peterson, HCG's vice president of research and development, who was previously on the R&D team for Magic: The Gathering. Under Adkison's leadership, Wizards of the Coast created an entirely new genre of games with the release of Magic: The Gathering, which was the world's first trading card game, published in 13 languages and loved by millions of players around the world. Additionally, Adkison introduced Pokémon trading cards to North America and reinvigorated the hugely popular Dungeons & Dragons brand after acquiring it from TSR. Adkison founded Wizards of the Coast in 1990 and built it to 2,000 employees before selling it to Hasbro in 1999 for nearly $500 million.

© 2007 Hidden City Games, Inc. BELLA SARA is a trademark of conceptcard and used by Hidden City Games under license. HIDDEN CITY GAMES is a trademark of Hidden City Games, Inc., in the U.S.A. and elsewhere. www.hiddencitygames.com

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Jonathan Zaleski
    Schwartzman & Associates, Inc.
    (310) 446-8310
    Email Contact

    Sales & Distribution Contact:
    Sean Lashgari
    Director of Sales, North America
    Hidden City Games
    (425) 387-3315
    Email Contact