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For the Greater Good: How Licensing Partnerships are Aiding in The Fight Against COVID-19

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From highlighting heroes to encouraging indoor physical activity, many brands (and even the WHO) are teaming up to encourage consumers to stay safe and healthy.

On July 26, The World Health Organization teamed with “Angry Birds” for a week-long in-game tournament aimed to help encourage communities to get active. The WHO cited the last year as a key reason for the campaign, as many people are staying home and leading a more sedentary life due to COVID-19. 

For Rovio, teaming up with the World Health Organization for a healthier future makes perfect sense,” says Kieran O’Leary, chief operating officer, Rovio. “Engaging people through “Angry Birds Friends” is a way to promote fact-based information about health. “Angry Birds”
 may be angry, but they want to use their powers for good.”

"WHO continues to advise people to find ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and protect their mental and physical health, including during periods when spikes in COVID-19 transmission means they're spending more time at home,” says Andy Pattison, team lead, digital channels, department of digital health and innovation, World Health Organization.

This licensing deal is the latest of many over the past year and a half aimed to educate communities and keep them safe during the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, face masks became the hottest licensed accessory on the market, and the trend is continuing. Face masks generated $5.6 billion in sales last year alone, according to ResearchandMarkets.com and U.S. News reports that mask sales rose 24 percent in one week alone in mid-July of 2021 due to concerns over the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Other licensed products meant to protect the public include hand sanitizers, which brands like Crayola and bands like The Wu-Tang Clan have hopped on; and face shields celebrating icons like Frida Kahlo have also hit the market. This licensed personal protection equipment is giving fans access to their fandom while encouraging the following of local ordinances.

Other initiative included at-home resources for children and caregivers, which companies like Sesame Workshop provided, charity programs to aid frontline workers from brands like Mattel and Spin Master, as well as the creation of toys celebrating heroes helping on the front lines from brands like MGA Entertainment, who used the dolls for a charity initiative as well.

As a new wave of unpredictability in the COVID-19 pandemic arises, products and initiatives like these aid in not only giving people the resources they need during a devastating time in world history, but they aid in keeping the public as safe and healthy as possible as professionals work to stop the spread and encourage vaccination.

The ebbs and flows of a global pandemic are unpredictable, but the licensing industry and its willingness to dive into global challenges head-on stays the same. As we move toward the eradication of COVID-19 in the coming months, companies will continue to hop on the newest trends to lend a helping hand.

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