Kmart Partners with E! Entertainment
Kmart Holding Corp. and E! Entertainment Television have partnered on a marketing campaign to launch Attention, an exclusive women’s apparel line available at Kmart. As part of the deal, E! News Live talent will wear the apparel in Kmart’s magazine advertising, in fashion and entertainment publications, and on the air throughout the fall. In return, Kmart will include tune-in messaging for E! News Live in the ad campaign and in-store signage.
Toys “R” Us to Separate Businesses
Toys “R” Us will separate its global toy operations and its more profitable Babies “R” Us businesses. The company also is investigating the possible sale of the global toy business, as well as the possible spin-off of Babies “R” Us. Through these initiatives, the company hopes to cut operating expenses by more than $125 million in 2005.
“The series of steps we are announcing today reflect the fact that our global toy business and our Babies “R” Us business operate in distinct markets, and are at fundamentally different phases in their growth cycle,” the company said. “Consequently, by ultimately operating them as separate entities, we will provide a better opportunity for Babies “R” Us to continue its healthy growth.”
Williams-Sonoma to Enter Home Furnishings Market
Williams-Sonoma enters the home furnishings market with the introduction of its Williams-Sonoma Home brand. The initiative is the first brand in the Williams-Sonoma family to focus exclusively on the premium home furnishings market. The new brand launches with the delivery of the September 13 catalog and includes dining and living room furniture, accessories for entertaining, lighting, tableware, bedding, and bath linens. The catalog launch is expected to be followed by an e-commerce site (
) in spring 2005. Current plans are in development to open Williams-Sonoma Home retail stores in key markets.
Borders Partners with Seattle’s Best Coffee
Borders Inc., a subsidiary of Borders Group Inc., and Seattle’s Best Coffee LLC entered into a licensing agreement whereby Borders will operate Seattle’s Best Coffee cafes in more than 400 existing Borders Books & Music stores in the continental U.S. and Alaska, and within new stores as they are opened. In early 2005 and beyond, cafes currently located in Borders will be converted to SBC cafes.
Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Focus on Preschoolers
Cartoon Network and the Warner Bros. Television Group joined together on preschool programming that appeals to kids’ funny bones. Humor will play a significant role in the original and acquired programming to air on Cartoon Network in spring 2005. Still to be officially named, the programming will be packaged with a distinctive, cohesive on-air environment. First series Krypto follows the adventures of Superman’s canine companion when he lands in Metropolis and becomes friends with Kevin Whitney. Together, they fight forces of evil that threaten the well-being of both people and animals in Metropolis. All of the series will be developed in collaboration with a Child Development Advisory Board and from a curriculum framework based on the importance of humor to children’s healthy development.
Russ Berrie and Co. Partners with Marvel
Marvel Enterprises, Inc., named Russ Berrie and Co. as a supplier of plush and gift items in the specialty markets. The move comes as Marvel consolidates subcategories of its toy business and furthers its category management strategy. As part of the multi-year agreement, Russ Berrie and Co. will produce products for characters including Spider-Man; X-Men; Fantastic Four; Thor; Iron Man; the Incredible Hulk; Captain America; Daredevil; Silver-Surfer; Namor; and Marvel’s preschool line, Spider-Man and Friends. The initial assortment includes Spider-Man plush items and other gift products due for holiday 2004.
Fisher-Price Supports Reading Program
Fisher-Price is supporting the U.S. Department of Education’s No Child Left Behind Summer Reading Achievers Program by donating PowerTouch Learning Systems to participating kindergarten classrooms across the nation this fall. The Summer Reading Achievers Program encourages students to read actively during the summer months. Upon returning to school, they are required to complete a form describing the books they read, with prizes and certificates awarded to students and special recognition awarded to schools with the highest percentage of participating students.
TripleTake Media Enters Fray
Content owners have a new resource as three industry veterans have formed TripleTake Media. The new entertainment branding company was created by distribution executive David Wollos, television producer Al Lowenheim, and creative executive David Hamby. The company is co-owned by Diversified Entertainment Properties, parent to numerous companies in television and film, music, publishing, and live tours. As brand representative, TripleTake Media will partner with content owners for exclusive worldwide rights to developing properties in all areas of mass media exploitation and structuring the financing, production, marketing, and distribution areas on behalf of the property. A key initial focus is on the children’s and family category targeting original content including published books, unpublished manuscripts, and branded family and toy products, and cultivatating the properties for television, licensing, and retail.
Back-to-School Promo Is Shoe-In
TRG Group, maker of Riddell Footwear, launched a back-to-school promotion that provides kids with new school shoes and a cool way for them to carry their lunch. As part of the promotion, all Riddell girls’ and boys’ shoes are packaged in an insulated lunch box. JCPenney and other retailers are supporting the program with in-store signage and circular ads. The boys’ athletic shoe lunch boxes are dark blue and feature football, biking, soccer, and skateboarding themes, while the girls’ product features an electric blue background with a multicolored flower design.
Thomas & Friends to Air on PBS Kids
Thomas & Friends pulls into PBS Kids on September 4 with 13 half-hour episodes, each of which contains three separate adventures. The episodes also include interactive games and sing-along songs that reinforce the stories’ key lessons. HIT Entertainment will support the new series with print ads and an on-air promotional tune-in campaign. The characters were last seen as part of PBS Kids series Shining Time Station in the 1990s.
Radica Games Bets on New License
Radica Games Ltd. will develop and distribute a line of handheld electronic Texas Hold ’Em casino games based on the World Poker Tour television series that airs on the Travel Channel. Under the terms of the deal, Radica will manufacture the games due on shelves in March 2005 to coincide with the launch of season three of the tour. The licensing relationship between Radica and WPT was developed and negotiated by Brandgenuity LLC, WPT’s strategic product licensing and merchandising agency of record.
Enter the MIPCOM Jr. Licensing Challenge
Organized in partnership with License! magazine, the MIPCOM Jr. Licensing Challenge will take place during MIPCOM Jr., October 2-3 in Cannes, France. If you are a producer or creator of children’s entertainment, we invite you to submit and pitch new properties. Entries must be received by License! and/or MIPCOM Jr. no later than August 31. For more information, guidelines, and an application, visit
Following preselection (executed by License! editors), five properties will move to the next stage of the challenge. At MIPCOM Jr., in front of a live audience, finalists will have the opportunity to “pitch” their properties (and ultimately learn the potential for their property) to an international jury, chaired by Warren Kornblum, chief marketing officer, Toys “R” Us.
Link—Licensing International Networking Conference, November 2-4, 2004, Miami, FL
The complete Link conference program now is available online at www.linkconference.com. Conference sessions discuss Promotions & Co-Branding, State of Retail, Marketing to Demographics, Financial & Legal Issues, and European and Latin American Licensing. Conference speaker highlights include keynote speaker Todd Kahn, EVP & COO of Sean John; Tom Miller, global managing director of research firm NOP World; Simon Brown, Woolworths (UK); and the Link Entertainment Roundtable, which includes panelists from Disney Consumer Products Worldwide, MGM, Sony Consumer Products, Universal Studios Consumer Products, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products Worldwide. If you’re thinking about expanding your licensing business, think Link. Register now at
In September, License!’s automotive feature transports you to the lap of luxury. In addition, September focuses on back-to-school/SHOPA, celebrity chefs, and entertainment/broadcasting trends in advance of MIPCOM—a perfect editorial environment for character, brand, and entertainment properties. Contact your account managers,
at (212) 951-6705 or
at (212) 951-6698, for more information.
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