As Hasbro continues its rollout of major initiatives focusing on the company's branded play profile, instrumental to its strategy is the new role Joe Keane will execute as vice president, brand licensing for the Americas.
With this title, Keane will work closely with the global brand and customer strategic marketing teams to continue creating licensing opportunities and build long term franchises for Hasbro within North and Latin America.
"Of the four areas of growth and strategic investments Hasbro is making, a critical area is people," says Simon Waters, senior vice president, global brand licensing and publishing for Hasbro. "The quality of people is critical and we are very blessed to have Joe run the America's business. His aim will be to drive America's business to new heights."
Hasbro currently is a leader in licensed merchandise sales, accruing $3.5 billion at retail in 2010, and ranking No. 12 on License! Global's Top 125 Global Licensors list, the annual report on the sector. Last year, Hasbro launched key ventures, including The HUB TV network, as well as extended numerous iconic properties including Transformers, My Little Pony, Nerf and Mr. Potato Head into all categories, to name a few.
"Hasbro has great brands," says Keane. "We have some iconic properties and as Hasbro moves much more into the entertainment space, I fully expect to leverage those categories more."
Keane plans to focus heavily on entertainment partnerships, of which there are many both currently in development and on the table for discussion.
"We have these great mythologies for our brands, and the films represent a moment in time for the brand and form an overall arch for the properties," says Keane.
Select brands are slated to be franchised for film, television, publishing and more as they become part of a "much larger story," he says.
"We're very excited for Battleship," says Keane, which will premiere in 2012 in partnership with Universal Pictures. "It's a great example of our plans for the future. Battleship will be very different than the typical entertainment coming out in 2012."
Keane will also drive Hasbro's extensions into apparel and accessories across all age groups and demographics. Hasbro will look to strong properties such as Transformers to rollout full lines in both mid-tier and high-end retailers, leveraging Keane's apparel background as former chief operating officer at Reebok and 5.11 Tactical, Inc.
"You may have a 25-year-old fan who may not buy a t-shirt at a big box store, but he will go to a high end outlet. Our products are not defined by one distribution channel nor are they defined by a specific age group," says Keane.
Classic categories will of course remain a focus for brand licensing as they continue to drive properties such as Chuck and Friends into bigger spaces like as entertainment and apparel. Likely extensions for classic properties include publishing, which according to Waters will see much activity both in traditional formats and digital; consumables; and home décor, in addition to apparel and entertainment.
"Everyone is genuinely excited by the opportunities we have from a theatrical perspective, from a publishing perspective and from multiple other perspectives," says Keane. "We have this incredible emotional resonance that is just waiting to get tapped into."
Joe Keane, vice president, brand licensing for Americas
Prior to joining Hasbro's global brand licensing and publishing division, Keane was the president and chief operating officer of 5.11 Tactical, Inc., a privately held company that develops and markets footwear, apparel and accessories to the public safety market. Other past positions include chief financial officer for Cumberland Farms/Gulf Oil and Keane was the former chief operating officer for Reebok.