Weekly E-news, Issue #262, April 29, 2008

Entertainment Rights Takes Itself Off the TableEntertainment Rights has called off sale talks that have been ongoing for a number of months. ER made the announcement under UK Stock Exchange rules. Chairman Rod Bransgrove says, "The board of ER bel

April 6, 2018

Entertainment Rights Takes Itself Off the Table


Entertainment Rights has called off sale talks that have been ongoing for a number of months. ER made the announcement under UK Stock Exchange rules. Chairman Rod Bransgrove says, "The board of ER believes that the company has significant underlying value and remains in a strong position with regard to generating returns from its extensive portfolio of brands and content. The appointment of Nick Phillips as chief executive in March provides the company with the leadership to drive its growth going forward. We look forward to updating shareholders further in this regard in due course." Parties rumored believed to have been involved in discussions included Chorion and HIT Entertainment.

The announcement follows ER's preliminary report for the year ended December 31, 2007, which showed revenue increased 129 percent to £68.1 million (2006: £29.7 million), boosted by purchase of Classic Media in January 2007. Underlying profit before tax increased

45 percent to £12.6 million (2006: £8.7 million). Bransgrove says, "While the last six months of 2007 were challenging and the overall performance of the group was below original market expectations, this should not detract from the considerable achievements made during the year. The acquisition of US-based Classic Media has greatly enhanced the company's presence in the world's largest media market and the integration of Classic Media has delivered the expected synergies. While there have been concerns regarding US consumer confidence, the board has been particularly pleased with the significant increase in DVD sales of the Christmas Classics titles in the USA during the important fourth quarter trading period. "Importantly, the operational difficulties encountered in the UK in the last quarter of 2007 with its UK distributor, Universal Pictures (UK) for the manufacturing and supply of DVDs have now been resolved and the company continues to pursue appropriate remedies for the losses incurred as a result of UPUK's failure to supply the DVDs."



Sharper Image Announces Intent to Sell Company


Sharper Image Corporation has elected to pursue a sale of its business and assets pursuant to the provisions of the bankruptcy code and will solicit indications of interest from potential acquirers.

Any sale will be subject to approval of the bankruptcy court having jurisdiction of the Company's chapter 11 case. Sharper Image intends to complete the sale process and seek approval of the sale by the bankruptcy court by the end of May 2008.

"Given the present retail climate and specialty nature of the company, as well as the limited financing available to the company, a sale of its business and assets at this time will preserve values and yield the best recovery," says Robert Conway, Sharper Image's CEO.

Target Debuts Cynthia Rowley Outdoor Living Brand ‘Whim’


Target is launching the new Whim by Cynthia Rowley collection this April with a range of chic, trend-forward products for outdoor living and summer fun. Target and fashion designer Rowley serve up a collection infused with delightful details, graphic prints, and bold colors. Drawing inspiration from a range of influences, including her busy life as a mom of two children, Rowley was motivated to create products that would allow busy Target guests to easily add a dash of style and a stroke of color to every aspect of their lives.

“Target recognizes the popularity of summer entertaining products,” says Gina Sprenger, senior vice president, merchandising, Target. “Cynthia Rowley’s award-winning creative endeavors provide a great solution for guests’ summer entertaining needs, all at an incredible value.”

Comprised of more than 500 graphic and bold-patterned products, the Whim collection is designed to coordinate as a group and in multiples—mixing and matching prints with solid colors to create a summertime palette. With the wide array of selections available, guests won’t be forced to pick one favorite color or design, making home accessorizing effortless.

The Whim by Cynthia Rowley collection will be available in Target stores nationwide now through June 14. Select items will be available at

Target.com

.



Mars Announces Intention to Merge With Wrigley


Mars Incorporated announced this week a merger agreement with Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company in a transaction valued at approximately $23 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Wrigley will become a separate, stand-alone subsidiary of Mars. With $5.4 billion in sales, Wrigley is a world leader in gum and confections.

The combined company would have a strong foundation of established brands in six core growth categories—chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery, gum, food, drinks, and petcare—including M&M’s, Snickers, Dove, Mars, Orbit, Extra, Doublemint, Uncle Ben’s, Pedigree, Whiskas, Royal Canin, and Banfield. The transaction builds the Mars business by strengthening and diversifying its confectionery business, and enhancing its potential for growth in the chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery and gum categories.

To provide more focus to Mars’ brands and drive growth, the company will be transferring its global non-chocolate confectionery sugar brands, including Starburst and Skittles, to Wrigley.  


 


Safeway Inc. Forms Brand Alliance to Market Healthy Foods


Safeway Inc. announced the formation of the Better Living Brands Alliance. The Alliance will market O Organics and Eating Right across all retail channels in the United States starting this year. The expansion of O Organics and Eating Right will also include the food service channel and international markets.

The mission of the Alliance is to provide health and wellness food and beverage solutions via two proven multi-category lifestyle brands: O Organics and Eating Right. In their current limited distribution, O Organics is the No.1 organic food brand in the United States, and Eating Right is one of the fastest-growing health and wellness food brands.

The Alliance includes world-class manufacturing, marketing and distribution companies as brand licensees. Co-pack and distribution partners have also been signed to provide a robust supply chain network. The Alliance will receive additional support from EMAK Worldwide Inc. for consumer communications and Crossmark Inc. for communications to retailers.

Lucerne Foods Inc., a Safeway subsidiary that markets to external customers, manages the licensing of O Organics and Eating Right and is participating as a member of the Better Living Brands Alliance.



Fremantle to Represent Fashion Property Rebecca Bonbon


FremantleMedia Enterprises has exclusively acquired representation of Japanese fashion property Rebecca Bonbon from Crown Creative. Rebecca Bonbon, an adorable French bulldog, is a new fashion property created by the designer of Hello Kitty—Yuko Shimizu. Launched in Japan back in 2005 by Crown Creative, Bonbon can be found throughout Japan with a highly successful product range, which includes apparel, jewelry, bags, and other fashion accessories, including cuddly toys and confectionery products.

Keen to build this acquisition into an aspirational fashion and accessories brand, FME is launching Rebecca Bonbon at the International Licensing Expo 2008 as the “new face in fashion.” Primarily known for its slate of major TV properties worldwide, FME will apply both its brand-building skills and worldwide network to position Rebecca Bonbon on a global scale.

Rebecca Bonbon is now available, through FME, for licensing and co-branding opportunities in Europe, United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia (excluding Japan, Korea, and China), Australia, and New Zealand.

Nominees for LIMA's International Licensing Excellence Awards Announced


The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) announced the nominees for the Annual LIMA International Licensing Excellence Awards, recognizing the industry's most impressive and successful licensed properties and products from the past year. The Awards will be presented in seven categories at the industry's most prestigious event, the annual LIMA Gala and Awards Ceremony, on June 11 at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, during the 2008 Licensing International Expo.

Licenses from around the world will be honored in the following seven categories: Art, Character, Corporate, Sports, Retailer, Promotions, and Film, Television & Entertainment as well as the Overall Best License of the Year. In addition to acknowledging the Best Program of the year within each category, awards will be presented for the Best Licensee Hard Goods and Best Licensee Soft Goods.

Nominations for the LIMA Awards were solicited from the entire licensing industry based on a list of categories and criteria that ultimately determines who the industry honors as leaders in those criteria. Winners are chosen by a vote of the LIMA membership. Nominees for the Overall Best Licensing Program of the Year award will be proudly displayed in the Main Aisle at Licensing International Expo 2008. Those nominees are Andy Warhol (The Andy Warhol Foundation/The Beanstalk Group, LLC); Coca-Cola (The Coca-Cola Company); ESPN (ESPN); High School Musical 2 (The Walt Disney Company); and It's Happy Bunny (J.K. Benton Design Studio/CopCorp Licensing).

More information and a complete list of nominees can be found at

www.licensing.org

.

Hannah, High School Musical, and WALL-E Catch a Croc


Crocs Inc. and Jibbitz LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crocs, are launching an all new collection of footwear and accessories inspired by the smash hits Hannah Montana and High School Musical, and the upcoming Disney/Pixar film

Wall-E

.

The Hannah Montana-inspired line of Crocs hits retail this May with the Hannah Montana Mary Jane-style Crocs shoes for girls, available in children's and junior sizes. Hannah Montana enthusiasts can also customize their look with Hannah Montana rock-star themed Jibbitz brand charms. Crocs is also launching Wall-E-themed Jibbitz and Crocs footwear in May.

The Disney Channel hit franchise High School Musical will also be added to this summer's line up. The collection will include High School Musical themed Jibbitz brand charms with the names of cast members in vibrant designs and iconic logos. A special High School Musical Cayman-style Crocs shoe will also be added to the collection in July.

del Toro Officially Signed to Direct 'The Hobbit' and Sequel


Pan's Labyrinth

director Guillermo del Toro has officially signed on to direct two new films in the Lord of the Rings franchise—

The Hobbit

and a currently unnamed sequel—for New Line and MGM.

After he finishes his post-production work on this summer's

Hellboy 2

, del Toro will move to New Zealand for the next four years to work with

Lord of the Rings

director Peter Jackson, who will be co-executive producing the new films, and his Wingnut and Weta production teams. The new films will be shot back to back, and the sequel will deal with the 60-year period between

The Hobbit

and the beginning of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

New Line is overseeing development and will manage production. The films are being co-produced and co-financed by New Line Cinema and MGM, with Warner Bros. distributing domestically and MGM handling international.

Plus Licens to Represent Sesame Workshop in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia


Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind "Sesame Street," has named Plus Licens as its licensing representative in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia beginning April 2008. Sesame programming is currently, or will soon be, broadcast in Sweden on SVT; Norway on NRK; Denmark on DR; Iceland on RUV; Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia on MiniMax; and in Poland on Mini Mini. Sesame Workshop invests the proceeds it receives from the sale of Sesame products back into its educational projects for children around the globe.



Pressman Signs Deals for Mr. Men, Domo Toys and Games


Pressman Toy Corporation has signed a licensing agreement with Chorion to create board games and puzzles based on Cartoon Network's animated series "The Mr. Men Show." Puzzles will be available in stores for spring 2009 and board games will follow thereafter. This announcement follows Pressman's existing relationship with Chorion for licensed product from the Mr. Men and Little Miss literary characters. Licensed products based on the television series will target a younger audience.

Additionally, Big Tent Entertainment and Pressman have reached a licensing agreement under which Pressman Toy has the right to develop board games in the United States based on Japanese viral sensation Domo. Pressman plans to create fast-paced dice and board games that incorporate Domo and his friends. The games, which target new and old Domo fans from 18-34 years old, will be available at specialty retailers in September 2008.

Nickelodeon and Stride Rite Join Forces for Slime Shoes


Nickelodeon and Stride Rite have entered into an agreement to create slime-inspired shoes. Slime, Nickelodeon's iconic green goop, has been incorporated in products from toys to books. The new Stride Rite line is its footwear debut.

Two boys' styles, "Barforama," a hook-and-loop closure, and "Snotrocket," an alternative closure, each feature a rugged Slimers! logo imprinted outsole, a wrapped toe for durability at play, gooey green splat inspired prints, and their own printed "Warning: Extreme Slime Drippage" label. Additionally, the shoes' ultimate green slime pods glow in the dark.

For girls, Nick's "I Love Slime" logo colors and elements sparkle in two styles, "Stickysweet," an alternative closure, and "Ooeygooey," an ath-leisure Mary Jane. Both styles feature a heart-and-swirl sparkle outsole, pearlized leather upper, colorful glitter design accents and heart shaped green slime pods that glow in the dark.

Stride Rite will utilize Nickelodeon as the exclusive marketing platform for the Nick Slimers! footwear line. The program will be supported through a custom designed Stride Rite box, point of purchase display, a slime-inspired gift with purchase, and an advertising campaign on Nickelodeon timed to the 2008 back-to-school season.

Licensing Works! to Represent Classic Zorro


Licensing Works! has been named the exclusive licensing representative for Zorro Productions' classic Zorro property for the United States and Canada. This classic brand includes all available licensing rights relative to merchandise, promotions, interactive, advertising and publishing.

Zorro Productions, Inc. (ZPI), the property's owner, is currently involved in theatrical stage productions, television programming—which includes a telenovela and animation—as well as publishing projects, interactive game development, and more.

"Zorro is likely the only icon able to traverse the heterogeneous Hispanic population and certainly the only instantly recognizable superhero with Spanish roots," says Leslie Levine, president of Licensing Works! "By embracing his Hispanic heritage, featuring his positive message and taking advantage of his instant recognition factor, Zorro can be utilized to assist the package goods and institutional partners wishing to connect with the fastest growing demographic audience in the United States."

'License!' Editorial Director to Speak at 'The Future of Licensing' Panel


License! Global

global editorial director Tony Lisanti will be a speaker at "The Future of Licensing," presented by Eisner LLP and Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. LLP May 8 at the Grand Hyatt New York.

The program will also include Greg Battersby (senior partner in the intellectual property law firm Grimes & Battersby LLP) and Stuart Seltzer (managing director at Marketing Management Group), and will be moderated by Eisner's Lewis Stark, CPA and MKA's Charles Schnaid, CPA. For more information, go to

www.eisnerllp.com

.

Harry Potter to Become Touring Exhibition


Becker Group, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will bring worldwide audiences "Harry Potter: The Exhibition," a state-of-the-art exhibition highlighting artifacts from the Warner Bros. films based on J.K. Rowling's beloved book series. The 10,000-square-foot experience will premiere in Spring 2009 in a major market, and will appear in ten or more cities around the world throughout a five-year span.

"Harry Potter: The Exhibition" will include elaborate displays of authentic costumes, props and artifacts from popular environments featured in the films such as those from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, including the Gryffindor common room and Hagrid's hut. During its run, the exhibit will also be updated to include artifacts from the final installments of the Harry Potter film series. The exhibition will be displayed in major cultural and entertainment venues, museums and institutions, and will be supported by a multimedia promotional effort and advance ticket sales worldwide. Tour information, updates and ticket availability will be posted at

www.harrypotterexhibition.com

as details become available.

Duraflame and Global Icons Strike a Licensing Deal


Global Icons has been named the exclusive licensing agent for the Duraflame brand. Global Icons will strategically build upon the existing licensing program, which includes charcoal products and utility lighters. The licensing program will seek out prospective partners and products that promote sustainability and preserve the brand's integrity. With nearly 40 years in the business, Duraflame is the brand leader in the manufactured fireplace fuels category. The company holds a significant share of the more than $250 million firelog market.



Dairy Queen and Girl Scouts of the USA Ink Cool Deal


Dairy Queen has inked an agreement with Girl Scouts of the USA, uniting the iconic Blizzard Flavor Treat and Girl Scouts Thin Mint Cookies. As a result, Dairy Queen will create a new flavor for its signature treat called the Girl Scouts Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard, which is scheduled to debut this summer.

MIPTV Pulls In The Crowds


MIPTV featuring MILIA 2008, which was held in Cannes earlier in April, brought together 13,360 participants, up marginally from 13,311 in 2007. Some 4,551 companies from 111 countries took part in the market this year, compared to 4,548 companies from 104 countries in 2007, according to show organizer Reed Midem. The number of acquisitions executives in Cannes was up 16 percent to 4,422 in 2008 from 3,817 the previous year. "The major industry trends seen in 2007 have been confirmed in 2008," says Paul Johnson, director of Reed Midem's Television Division. "The 2008 edition of MIPTV featuring MILIA was notable for the increased participation of the new players who will be key to the future of our industry, such as digital media and advertising."



New Look for Elvis


Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) has launched a new style guide to mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's famous '68 Special concert—the first of his televised live performances since the beginning of that decade. Using the stylized look of the iconic television event, the style guide also uses imagery patterns inspired by the Jailhouse Rock backdrop used in the '68 Special. The style guide aims at product to launch with retailers in the final quarter of this year. Alex Bloor, retail manager at CPLG says, "To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the '68 Special we hope to work with retailers most common to the current Elvis licensee base, and those that are relevant to Elvis fans and sell the broadest range of Elvis product."



Interplay to Bring Back Earthworm Jim With Help of His Creator


Interplay Entertainment Corp. has signed a partnership arrangement with Earthworm Jim creator Douglas TenNapel to relaunch the videogame icon.

Eisner Award-winning artist TenNapel will serve as a creative consultant on

Earthworm Jim 4

, and will simultaneously develop an animated series and feature film to expand the well-known brand.

TenNapel created the original Earthworm Jim character, which Interplay developed into a video game with Shiny Studios for the Sega Genesis console in 1994. The game became an immediate hit, and later spawned sequels on various computer and video game platforms, including

Earthworm Jim 2

,

Earthworm Jim 3D

, and

Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 the Galaxy

. An animated "Earthworm Jim" television series, produced by TenNapel, aired for two seasons from 1995 to 1996 on The Kids WB!, with Dan Castellaneta of "The Simpsons" providing the voice for the title character.

Sega, Hasbro, and Marvel Team-Up for Toys Based on Hulk Video Game


Sega of America Inc. is working with Hasbro Inc., to produce a line of toys based on

The Incredible Hulk

video game. Hasbro's licensed toy line will include four action figures based on characters seen in the official video game from Sega, including Bi-Beast and The Gray Hulk. The remaining two toys will be announced at Comic-Con in San Diego, Calif. in July 2008.

"Hasbro is thrilled to be working with Sega to bring Hulk fans four very special action figures based on several Marvel characters appearing in the video game," says Eric Nyman, vice president of boys marketing at Hasbro Inc. "The action figures and video game are two great ways for kids and fans to experience The Incredible Hulk and expand their Hulk collections."

In the Night Garden Hits Number One


BBC Worldwide's In the Night Garden, produced by Ragdoll, is the biggest license in the total licensed toy and game market, according to figures from NPD, the BBC reports.

The latest NPD data also reveals that master toy licensee Hasbro's In the Night Garden products dominate the Top 20 Best Seller list.

Gill Pritchard, director of Children's, BBC Worldwide says, "In the Night Garden has soared to this level of success in such a short space of time. Less than a year since it entered the market, we are competing with long established pre-school winners."

New licensees on the property include Golden Bear, Vivid, and Danjam.

Golden Bear is launching a range including teethers, buggie toys, and first activity fabric toys to hit stores early 2009. In addition, BBC Worldwide has granted Golden Bear non-exclusive global manufacturing rights to supply BBC Worldwide's appointed licensees.

BBC Worldwide has inked a deal with Vivid Imaginations to develop an innovative range of infant arts and crafts products for market under the Crayola Beginnings brand in UK and the Republic of Ireland. DanJam Toys has also been signed for a range of traditional wooden role-play and learning toys for a UK retail launch.



IMC to Represent Chiquita


Licensing agency IMC Licensing has entered into a representation agreement with Chiquita Brands International Inc., a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables. IMC Licensing will develop a strategic licensing plan and a portfolio of new brand-building licensed products to support the Chiquita and Fresh Express brands.

Chiquita operates as a leading international marketer and distributor of bananas and other branded, healthy, fresh produce sold under the "Chiquita" and other brand names in more than 70 countries. In addition, the company holds the No. 1 market share position in United States value-added salads, which it markets under the "Fresh Express" and other brand names.

Italian Licensing Deals Signed for 'Lola and Virginia'


Spanish production and distribution company Imira Entertainment has signed a major Italian deal for "Lola and Virginia" with RAI Trade (the commercial arm of RAI) for merchandising rights to the hit international property for the territory.

In further deals, Panini is set to launch a Lola and Virginia sticker stack book, story albums, puzzle and coloring books in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil, and Imira has also inked an agreement with Nintendo DS for the development of a videogame to launch in selected territories worldwide.

"Lola and Virginia" is set to air daily on Italy's RAI 2 channel from September. The show has sold worldwide in over 90 territories to broadcasters including RTVE, France 3, and RTP as well as Nickelodeon in Latin America, Asia, and France, and the Disney Channels in Spain and Italy. Its broadcast presence is supported by a licensing and merchandising strategy, which includes a deal for Spain and Portugal with Comercial Nim. Products include school sets, stationery, backpacks, and pencil cases. More product lines are planned by Comercial Nim (working with Mendía Marketing), including games, T-shirts, beach sets, and toiletries. Grupo Edebe has already launched ten manga style comic books in Spain, and mobile content producer Alvento is distributing ring tones, games, images, screen savers, and a WAP Portal for the popular brand.

Imira Entertainment, which co-produces the series with Millimages, France 3, TV Catalunya and ETB, is also producing online games for the Lola and Virginia

Web site, which are available in Spanish, English, and Catalan, and are also currently being localized in Italian and Portuguese.



ITV Programming Sells on iTunes Store


In a deal between ITV and iTunes, 260 hours of ITV programming is now available for purchase or download from the iTunes Store in the UK. Programs available include Captain Scarlet, Lewis and Cold Feet, and Brideshead Revisited. More programming with follow.



Super Why! Gets Super Deal with Nick Jr UK


Decode Enterprises, the distribution subsidiary of DHX Media, has sold Out of the Blue Enterprises' critically-acclaimed animated pre-school show "Super WHY!" to Nick Jr in the UK, the number-one rated commercial preschool channel from Nickelodeon UK. The series, which Decode Enterprises holds worldwide television rights excluding the US, is already airing in the US on PBS Kids preschool programming block as well as Canada's CBC. It has also sold to Singapore's Kids Central, Korea's KidsTalkTalk channel, ATV, EBS, Hana TV, and Iconix Entertainment.



4Kids Entertainment Signs International Agencies


Children's entertainment and licensing business 4Kids Entertainment has signed up agency partners in Eastern Europe, South Africa, France, and Germany.

4Kids has expanded the territory of agent Kidz Entertainment/EEMC, which will now license Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) and The Dog and The Cat animal photography properties throughout Eastern Europe as well as in Scandinavia. Kidz Entertainment/EEMC will also be working this year on the 25th anniversary of TMNT and new TMNT retro program for 2009.

In South Africa, 4Kids is expanding an existing relationship with Johannesburg-based Character Licensing and Marketing (CLM), which already represents TMNT in that market. The new agreement adds two more properties to CLM's roster—Monster Jam and Cabbage Patch Kids. In France, MJA Licensing is taking on The Dog, The Cat, and the Royal Air Force (RAF) brand, and in Germany, m4e will represent Dinosaur King.



Artist Nava Grunfeld Signs With Wild Apple Licensing


Nava Grunfeld, who is best known for her bold color-saturated watercolors of still life objects, fruit, and flowers, has signed on with Wild Apple Licensing. "Working on a grand scale in watercolor has allowed me take a medium that is sometimes considered fussy and weak and show it capable of making a bold statement," says Nava Grunfeld, who has had dual careers in commercial and fine art until a decade ago when she decided to devote her time to painting.



Applejack Art Partners Teams With Bruce McGaw Graphics


Applejack Art Partners formed an alliance with Bruce McGaw Graphics, a publisher and distributor of museum and contemporary art prints, to license artwork worldwide. The agreement names Applejack as exclusive agent for Bruce McGaw Graphics' licensable artists and a collection of in-house artists available to create work specifically geared toward client needs. This further expands Applejack's extensive portfolio database of over 400 artists and 300,000 images.



Baby Prodigy To Become a Prestige Toy


Parenting expert and children's entertainment product company, The Baby Prodigy Company, signed a deal with Prestige Toy Corp. for developmental toys and Baby Prodigy products for both infants and toddlers. The deal will introduce "Dookie Duck" and other favorites as toys and infant products available in mass retail stores across the country. They will join the Prestige Toy Corp. family, which currently licenses Carter's, Care Bears, and Baby Snoopy. More news and developments will be announced as the company releases new DVD titles and ventures into other products.



IV Gear and Gecko Hawaii to Debut Gecko Girl Fashion Line


IV Gear and Gecko Trading Co. stitched an agreement that will see IV Gear launching a Gecko Girl collection of sportswear for spring 2009. IV Gear and Gecko's 3-year agreement will provide IV Gear access to Gecko's trademarks and artwork as well as the right to create a new Gecko Girl collection that will be sold into mid tier, specialty, and department stores across North America. The collection will consist of girl and junior sizes of graphic T-shirts, fashion knit tops, surf shorts, headwear, and beach bags with a strong emphasis on surf and beach themed graphics created by Gecko. In addition to the girl's collection, IV Gear will produce boy's hoodies and bags for the same market channels. "We feel there is a significant void in the expanding surf market for girls. Beyond the premium surf brands, there really isn't a brand out there with the strength of the Gecko brand to fill the growing demand at the mid tier level," says Ian Cole, vice president of sales and marketing of IV Gear.


Stone America to Represent Pop Star Amy Diamond


Stone America Licensing LLC has added European pop star sensation Amy Diamond to its roster of entertainment-related clients. Amy Diamond has become a leading teen singer throughout Europe with multiple gold and platinum hits. At 15, she already has had a number of hits worldwide, including her hit "Shooting Star" and her most recent single "Stay My Baby," which went gold in only two days.

Stone America, in conjunction with WorldMusic USA, will be overseeing all aspects for Amy in the United States, including licensing, retail, and tour sponsorships.



American Classics Stitches Deal for Sanctify Brand


360ep, inc., an entertainment licensing company, has completed a deal on behalf of American Classics, to license its Sanctify brand to BioWorld Merchandising.

Kitson, Macy's, Journeys, Hot Topic, Against All Odds, Bon Ton, C-28, and Buckle are already carrying the collection of Sanctify tees, which have been received with great success. American Classics' partnership with BioWorld Merchandising will expand the program to include headwear, belts and belt buckles, wallets, and bags. Product is expected to hit retail for Q4 2008.



Franco To Extend Will Bullas To Beach and Kitchen Categories


Franco Manufacturing has been granted the right to feature award-winning watercolorist Will Bullas' art images on a wide range of kitchen textiles (including kitchen towels, dish cloths, pot holders, pot mitt, oven mitts, aprons, fingertips, hand towels/guest towels, kitchen rugs, tie towels, table runners, napkin rings, napkins, tablecloths, and placemats) as well as beach towels to be sold in department stores, specialty stores, and mass market retailers throughout the US and Canada. CopCorp. Licensing is the exclusive worldwide licensing agent for Will Bullas.



Trump Introduces Flavored Vodkas


In partnership with Drinks Americas Holdings, Ltd., a collection of vodka flavors including citron, orange, grape, and raspberry will launch this summer. The demand for premium quality flavored vodka follows the success of Trump Super Premium Vodka, which sold more than100,000 cases in the first 12 months. Trump's Super Premium Vodka is available throughout the US at wine and spirit retailers, high-end restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, lounges, and other locations where premium spirits are sold. Internationally, Trump Super Premium Vodka is currently sold in Russia, Canada, and the Dominican Republic, with further expansion in 2008.



AME Signs On As Newest It's Happy Bunny Licensee


CopCorp Licensing inked a deal that grants American Marketing Enterprises Inc. (AME), a division of Li & Fung Limited, the right to produce It's Happy Bunny children's sleepwear for the US market. Jim Benton, whom

People

Magazine called "the most visible cartoonist in America," is the writer/artist of three book series, including It's Happy Bunny, Dear Dumb Diary, and Franny K. Stein kids.



Thomas Kinkade Announces Vote Result for Daytona 500 Print


After more than 10,000 online votes were tallied, NASCAR fans have decided which Thomas Kinkade sketch will become the officially licensed Limited Edition Commemorative Portrait of the historic 50th Running of the DAYTONA 500. Kinkade will develop the winning sketch, named History in the Making into a studio masterwork, which will be released as the officially licensed commemorative limited edition portrait to fans of NASCAR, the DAYTONA 500, and Thomas Kinkade. The official portrait will be available in May.



Executive Moves


Jennifer Offenborn has joined Advanstar Communications as account manager for Brand Licensing Europe to support the show's drive to increase visitors and exhibitors attending from mainland Europe in 2008 and beyond. Brand Licensing takes place October 1 and 2 this year in London.

Marvel Entertainment Inc. has appointed Ira Rubenstein to the position of executive vice president of Marvel's newly launched Global Digital Media Group. In this newly created position, Mr. Rubenstein will oversee Marvel's digital distribution strategy across all media and platforms.

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