The beloved brand is making a comeback by capturing the nostalgia and iconic values of the character to re-energize the original fanbase while also appealing to the new generation through meaningful brand extension strategies.
Futurity Brands, the organization behind iconic brands such as Paul Frank and Piping Hot, will be on hand as the annual Licensing Expo returns for its first in-person convention since 2019. Paul Frank, who started his company in 1995, has used Licensing for years to market his brand, including utilizing familiar faces like Julius the Monkey to serve as the face of the brand.
The Paul Frank brand, which Futurity Brands acquired in 2020, is now using prominent technology trends to embrace a different approach to consumers. I spoke with Michael Puglisi, global licensing manager, Futurity Brands, about how the organization uses licensing to continue to create and innovate its brand and what attendees can look forward to at Licensing Expo this May.
Anna: Could you tell us about yourself?
Michael: Futurity Brands is a purpose-driven brand management company and owner of two global lifestyle IPs, Paul Frank and Piping Hot from Australia. At Futurity, we proudly invest in brands and innovation that provide consumer-centric solutions to global challenges. We are excited to present the Paul Frank brand at Licensing Expo this year, bringing the IP back to its Southern Californian roots and reshaping its global appeal for the next generation.
How do you use Licensing to continue to innovate?
Whether through product innovation, lifestyle solutions or entering web 3.0, licensing allows us to partner with the best in class globally and create new differentiated opportunities to engage with our fans all over the world.
What industry trends are coming down the pipeline?
Aside from the prominent digital revolution, for us, we are seeing purpose-led brands that are contributing to a better society by gaining significant market share globally. We believe that Gen Z consumers will ensure that this positive trend is here to stay.
What is the current biggest trend of industry disruption you see due to the pandemic?
Blockchain technologies and all things metaverse is, without doubt, the significant trend disruptor to the industry since the pandemic.
You’re a prominent returning exhibitor at Licensing Expo. What are you excited about for this year’s edition that will differ from years past?
We are looking forward to presenting the Paul Frank brand with a different approach at this year’s Licensing Expo. Rather than showcasing the IP as only a success story of the ’90s, we will be engaging our global partners with a strategic presentation on addressing the Gen Z audience.
What challenges have you faced in the absence of in-person exhibitions and what do you hope to achieve at Licensing Expo?
The most challenging part of only digital interactions over the last two years has been the lack of a 360-degree approach to solving geographical issues and taking on new global opportunities. The industry network has always been about physical touchpoints through travel and global events where licensors and licensees engage and unite. We hope that the new normal will give us that sorely missed human platform to create new partnerships and experiences.
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