Why Nurture New York's Nature? This nonprofit organization aims to create public awareness for the importance of nurturing nature for the health and well-being of the city's inhabitants, while supporting the arts. The Gates is a 16-day public art event to be held in February 2005. Entirely financed by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the project will dress 7,500 gates that line the edges of Central Park's walkways with free-hanging saffron-colored fabric. The fabric will be suspended from the top of each gate, and the gates will be spaced at intervals, allowing the fabric to dramatically wave in the wind while forming a golden ceiling.
At press time, future plans include a calendar of high-profile events, such as a Leaders' Summit on the Future Green City, concert, gala, and Fashion Week party. The summit aims to gather corporate leaders and innovators, enabling them to explore opportunities in environmental products and services. It also aims to use licensing to assist sponsors with creating special product. An "experience space" likely will serve as a retail destination. Says Hoffman, "We are very close in our negotiations with a major real estate developer and a number of other companies. We have received some sponsorship commitments, as well."
Core of Creativity
Capitalizing upon "The Big Apple" moniker, Big Apple Fest, a philanthropic exhibit designed to promote a revitalized image of New York City, aims to foster creativity and stimulate tourism. The apples, each designed by a different artist, currently are on display through mid-October in the streets of New York City. The program provides NYC with a ripe opportunity to raise revenue for nonprofit organizations such as City Harvest, Police Athletic League, and NYC & Company Foundation.
Major artists and designers already have taken a bite, including Dennis Oppenheim, Cindy Sherman, Nicole Miller, and Diane Von Furstenburg. More than 300 artists have registered and submitted 1,000-plus designs; approximately 150 apples have been picked.
A licensing program is in development for Big Apple Fest, which is expected to develop into an annual marketing platform. At press time no licensing agreements had been signed. Says Jon Clay, managing director, Big Apple Fest, "We are in discussions, but do not have firm commitments. We are speaking with licensees that have distribution to the gift and specialty stores for figurines and replicas." After launching an upscale collection, it plans to introduce plush toys and apparel, and also will target the mass market.
Most of us recall when the cows arrived in our cities—from New York to Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, and beyond. According to Jerry Elbaum, president, CowParade Holdings Corporation, CowParade New York 2000—endorsed and supported by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani—was among the first public art exhibits staged simultaneously in all five boroughs of New York City.
CowParade Europe Ltd., its UK subsidiary, manages the cow parades in Europe and Africa. Foreign cities include London, Dublin, Brussels, Latvia, Tokyo, Auckland, and Sydney, among others. This fall, the cows will graze in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and are expected to saunter into Boston, Moscow, Monaco, Barcelona, Florence, and São Paulo in 2005.
Long after the cows go home, revenue is still being pumped by licensed product. Most of the artists, who include such well-known talents as Peter Max and Eric Waugh, assign the copyrights to CowParade, which has garnered more than 3,000 individual pieces of art that can be used for licensing. It includes all genres—from classical to irreverent and humorous sculptures. Its core licensee is Westland Giftware, which has created more than 200 6-inch replicas; suggested retails range from $13 to $25. Collectible World Studios Ltd. is another licensee that produces collectibles for the UK and European markets. It also manages e-commerce in Europe and features a CowParade store on its Website.
Via a recent agreement with cream-centered lollipop Chupa Chups, the cows soon will appear on its packaging. Other licensees include PinUSA (collectible pins), Portal Publications (calendars), Orange Frazer Press and Workman Publishing (books), Accessory Time (watches), MBNA America Bank NA (affinity cards), and Art Select (online graphics). In addition, CowParade entered into an agreement with GoCollect.com for an online store that went live last month.
At this year's Licensing Show, the company unveiled CowParade Baby, CowParade Kids, CowParade Cool, and CowParade Home. Says Elbaum, "We also intend to develop independent properties focused on 'character cows,' such as 'Daisy's Dream.'" Altogether, licensed products are expected to amount to approximately $75 million to $100 million worldwide in the next 12 months.
CowParade entered into an agreement with Asatsu-DK, a Japanese advertising agency that produced CowParade Tokyo in 2003 for its client, Mitsubishi Estate Company Ltd. It recently entered into a new multi-year agreement with ADK to promote events in Asia. It will have the exclusive rights to the art from each. It also launched a scholastic program with schools nationwide, which encourages children to create art for "Mini Moo," a smaller version of the cow. At press time, Sanrio Far East, Ltd. signed on to represent Cow Parade as the exclusive licensing agent in Japan.
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