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Genius Brands Appoints Global Brands President and CMO

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Genius Brands International has announced that Marc Rosenberg has been appointed president, global brands and chief marketing officer.  

“I have known Marc for 20 years and have witnessed his extraordinary achievements and energy firsthand,” says Andy Heyward, chairman and chief executive officer, Genius Brands. “He is one of the most respected executives in the kids’ licensing industry and joins a team of proven achievers at Genius Brands now, who are known for their successes over and over again, across the entertainment food chain. With ‘Rainbow Rangers,’ ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,’ ‘Llama Llama,’ ‘Stan Lee Universe’ and new properties shortly to be announced, Marc’s pedigree and leadership will ensure that we maximize revenue generation from the powerful brands we will be bringing to market. His reputation is that of an innovator in the product and marketing arenas. In putting our marketing and global revenue under Marc’s remit, I know we will see all of these important properties flourish. He brings not only his marketing and sales expertise to the company, but also relationships across retail, entertainment, consumer products and more, all of which Genius Brands will showcase across the company’s growing portfolio of brands.”

Former head of marketing at Hasbro Toys and Tiger Electronics, Rosenberg is best known for his role in leading global marketing teams for brands such as Furby, GigaPets and Hit Clips. More recently, Marc Rosenberg was the chief marketing officer at Zizzle, where he helped lead product launches for several extremely successful licensed toy lines, including Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Disney’s “High School Musical” and a number of extremely successful licensed toy lines. 

“I have been fortunate to be a part of and lead teams with both tremendous products and incredible people,” says Rosenberg. “The central theme of everything that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of is directly related to the story for each brand and creating a dialogue with each audience in timely and relevant ways. That is particularly the case at Genius Brands where there is a cross-company commitment to bring positive enriching stories for children, and we have so many incredible tools to work with to reach kids today, including our own recently launched Kartoon Channel!”

Rosenberg will continue to own his current Edge Desk business, with the current management operating the day-to-day business with his oversight. 

Crunchyroll Games Launches RPG Brawler ‘Grand Alliance’

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Crunchyroll has unleashed an anime-inspired RPG game called “Grand Alliance.”

Crunchyroll is exhibiting at Festival of Licensing, a month-long large-scale digital gathering that unites the global licensing industry to connect, learn, strike deals and do business on an international stage. The event takes place Oct. 6-29. Register for free now!

The story of “Grand Alliance” follows Amelia, the last surviving princess of the empire, as she aims to unite a nation torn apart by strife after her family’s assassination. The core gameplay revolves around squad-based combat where players can organize a team of three heroes with customization skills to fight hordes of enemies in real-time combat. 

“We’re extremely excited to be partnering with Crunchyroll and VIZ Media to get ‘Grand Alliance’ out to the world,” says Andrew Yang, chief executive officer, Gaudium. “The development team has poured their hearts into making this game fun and exciting for anime fans and mobile gamers alike. With Crunchyroll at the helm, we’re sure it will get into the hands of many passionate gamers who will fall in love with the world of ‘Grand Alliance.’”

The game is now available on iOS and Android devices. 

SPCP Knits ‘Outlander’ Book Deal

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Officially licensed with Sony Pictures Consumer Products and inspired by the series from STARZ based on Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novels, Outlander Knitting allows fans to recreate rustic knits worn on the show and imagined from the love story of Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp Randall.

With 20 projects for apparel, accessories, and home décor that relate to specific episodes, now knitters of all skill levels can recreate their favorite “Outlander” knits. From beginner-friendly chunky knits to more advanced Celtic cables, each project includes a clearly written pattern, gorgeous photography and scenes from the set.

“We are very excited to partner with Clarkson Potte Penguin Random House on Outlander Knitting,” says Jamie Stevens, executive vice president, worldwide consumer products, Sony Pictures Entertainment. “The book happens to be a passion project of mine because it not only rounds up and beautifully displays the unique pieces of knitwear seen on the show, but it also encourages fans to tap into their creativity to make their favorite ‘Outlander’-inspired knits that they can proudly say they created on their own. With projects for beginners to advanced knitters, Outlander Knitting is sure to keep fans entertained when they are watching the show and even when they are not.”

HEAT, FaZe Clan Team for Fashion

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Following in the footsteps of luxury labels including Valentino, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, HEAT is venturing into the world of video games, teaming up with esports organization FaZe Clan to offer a mystery drop of exclusive sold-out merchandise alongside HEAT’S most popular labels including Off-White, Casablanca and A-COLD-WALL.

Launching Sept. 25 for £225, the collaboration box guarantees a range of products to the value of at least £300 including exclusive sold-out FaZe Clan pieces from collaborations with ComplexCon, Champion, NFL, Lyrical Lemonade, Kappa, CLOT and LA Kings.

The collaboration has already gained a huge amount of interest across the globe.

Kathy Ireland Small Business Network to Offer Global Wealth Management

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Kathy Ireland Worldwide has announced that its Small Business Network clients will now receive access to UBS Global Wealth Management’s array of services.

Kathy Ireland Small Business Network clients will be working with UBS financial advisors experienced in the needs of small businesses, supported by UBS’s Business Owners segment team. This includes cash management, financial education programs for owners and employees, risk management, business lending and expense control.  
“As a world-leader in wealth management, we felt that UBS’ suite of services enable entrepreneurs at every level, from small family-owned businesses to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, to continue to adapt and innovate in these unusual times,” says Kathy Ireland. “Equally important to us is the tremendous focus UBS has on philanthropy and financial literacy. We are incredibly inspired by UBS and their best-in-class, financial products and services, and it is a privilege that we are able to suggest these services to our clients.”

The Kathy Ireland Small Business Network was formed specifically to help owners of small businesses strategize and implement individual marketing plans, seek growth potential, and give back to colleagues and communities.

Creating a Method to Navigate the Ever-Changing World of Retail

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Retail and licensing are ever-evolving industries. From new consumer tastes to the latest business technologies, even the most successful professionals in the field can have trouble navigating the constantly fluctuating tides. However, the true standouts in the industry are able to spot the trends ahead of everyone else to build new strategies that maximize future movements.

Maxwell Luthy, director, trends and insights, TrendWatching, is one industry observer who has leveraged his company’s unique methodology to help businesses around the world traverse changing consumer tastes. From Disney to Vans, some of the biggest names in retail and licensing have worked with TrendWatching to get ahead of the curve.

Luthy will be discussing TrendWatching’s methodology and key trends on the horizon at this year’s Festival of Licensing. License Global caught up with him to learn more about his upcoming presentation, some of the unexpected trends he sees coming down the pike and what he would do if he could go back in time.

Festival of Licensing is a month-long large-scale digital gathering that unites the global licensing industry to connect, learn, strike deals and do business on an international stage. The event takes place Oct. 6-29. Register for free now!

 

License Global: What are you hoping people will get out of your talk at the Licensing Leadership Summit and Festival of Licensing? 

Luthy: My main goal for every audience is simple: give them a new way of seeing the world! In all seriousness, I will share a powerful approach for making sense of change. It’s a methodology that’s been used by everyone from Mattel, to Vans, to Disney. Everyone from lawyers to long-distance truckers are overwhelmed and threatened by the pace of change today. Yet in the world of licensing and retail, in 2020, as it always has done, a winning strategy comes back to understanding the fundamental human needs of your customers. Those needs are remarkably consistent, and the trends that I will share will each be anchored in a core human need.

What has been the biggest change you’ve seen in the licensing and retail business over the last five years?   

It’s so hard to choose one, but I certainly think the boom of digital as a channel, including the explosion of social commerce, and the success of DTC entrants in so many categories has been really exciting. With lower barriers to entry and so many tools at hand for small players, it has forced large incumbent and established professionals in licensing and retail to reinvent their strategies to keep up. There is so much creativity out there, it’s truly inspiring. 

Another massive change in the last few years has been the tipping point we’ve reached with sustainability. In the ensuing decade, every single attendee at this summit will be impacted by consumers asking themselves: should I really be buying more stuff? What is the true cost of producing this? Is there a less harmful alternative? 

What is the biggest trend or industry disruption that you see on the horizon that not enough people are taking about?

I think the rise of digital as a space for experiences and even digital products is really exciting. Far too many professionals see the worlds of gaming and esports as a new channel or new vertical, as opposed to an entirely new realm for businesses and brands in every category to exist. I will be diving into the Virtual Experience Economy in my session, and the need for “brand avatars.” The level of interactivity and the scale of reach a brand can have with customers is so exciting. Epic’s work to build a metaverse within “Fortnite” and creative partnerships with brands is one of the more powerful examples of it today, but there is so much left to unfold.

How do you see the wellness space evolving over the next few years?

I think one of the big shifts we’ve seen is away from “wellness as a status symbol” and toward wellness truly treating real issues impacting consumers’ quality of life. Essentially, wellness as a form of preventative care. Anxiety, stress and burnout are growing problems impacting an array of demographics, not just Gen Y/Z. So, the rise of CBD in the last 24 months isn’t a flash in the pan fad around a newly regulated ingredient, it’s simply evidence of this epic shift toward treating burnout. Wellness will be heavily directed at relief from the pressures of modern life and 24/7 work.

What do you think the future holds for brick-and-mortar retail?

We believe brick-and-mortar will continue to split into two categories, where stores are either optimized for in-and-out efficiency, or they are crafted for education, congregation, experiences and even self-actualization. There will be some locations that manage to meet both needs under one roof, a strategy Starbucks, Target and others experiment with. But those will be the two objectives, seize time and attention, or save time and attention so that shoppers can spend their most precious resource elsewhere.

American Girl, How to Cake It Throw ‘80s-Themed Virtual Party

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American Girl has teamed with How to Cake It to throw an '80s-themed virtual party for the newest American Girl historical doll, Courtney Moore.

The exclusive "Party Like It's 1986" event will feature '80s-themed baking, crafts and giveaways. It is open only to American Girl fans who are Gold and Berry AG Rewards members. American Girl's virtual bash will be hosted by How to Cake It's Yolanda Gampp on Sept. 26.

The How to Cake It and American Girl relationship was facilitated by The Brand Liaison, licensing agent for How to Cake It. The Brand Liaison will be exhibiting at this year’s Festival of Licensing where the agency will be on hand to discuss potential deals for clients such as How to Cake It.

"Get your neon clothes, side ponies, bangle bracelets and, of course, your favorite American Girl dolls ready for this free '80s party with host Yolanda Gampp!" says Jamie Cygielman, general manager, American Girl. "We are thrilled to once again team up with How to Cake It and bring the magic of an American Girl party to life—this time in celebration of Courtney, our latest historical character from 1986." 

American Girl's Courtney Moore doll is highlighted by her '80s style and a story that reflects women's historical achievements that occurred in the decade. The American Girl and How to Cake It partnership is the second partnership for the brands this year. Both companies hosted a previous virtual party last May. 

"How to Cake It is always looking for new ways to provide real value to our customers in the form of inspiration, education, entertainment, and support through the intersection of content, consumer products and live, community-building experiences," adds Connie Contardi, co-founder and co-chief executive officer, How To Cake It. "Our brand mission is fully aligned with American Girl so this continued collaboration is a truly authentic partnership which will bring happiness and joy to our communities."

Aviv Cosmetics Appoints Prominent Brand + Talent for N.A. Representation

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Aviv Cosmetics, creators of Biopeptix, an award-winning line of evidence-based skin care products, has signed Prominent Brand + Talent to expand in North America.

Following the announcement, Prominent has already connected Biopeptix with top Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Sheri G. Feldman. Biopeptix is an innovative professional skin care line developed by Orli Borger, an Israeli medical esthetician and nurse, and now helmed by Orli and her daughter, Yael. The line is exclusively available through doctors and cosmetic professionals and contains novel active ingredients such as bio-peptides, growth factors and anti-glycation agents.

“In a short period of time, Biopeptix has become the go-to skin care product for celebrities and high-profile professionals in Israel and the surrounding area,” says Dan Levin, managing member, Prominent Brand + Talent. “Biopeptix truly offers an exceptional, innovative and effective collection of skin care products; and we believe there will be numerous opportunities for expansion of the brand in North America.”

Prominent will also develop a multi-media education platform to support the brand’s distributors and uncover additional licensing opportunities.

“As a dermatologist, I am impressed with Biopeptix. I am eager to incorporate the products into my practice,” says Dr. Feldman. “Many of our patients are in TV, film and music. In our office we do various procedures that leave the patient’s skin slightly traumatized for a short time. The exclusive Biopeptix method of ‘peel and heal,’ which focuses on rapid regeneration and recovery, leaves the patients looking radiant, glowing and essentially red carpet ready. These products are unique, they are novel, and they work!”

Biopeptix has already expanded across the Mediterranean to Spain, Italy, Portugal more.

“We are thrilled to be working with Prominent Brand + Talent,” says Orli Borger. “We believe that their expertise and guidance will help us increase our presence in North America by networking with trusted professionals but more importantly provide an innovative professional skin care program that is designed for a wide range of treatments to keep your skin look healthy and glowing.”

Nick Jr. Gets Colorful with ‘Rainbow Rangers’

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Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. will premiere all-new episodes of Genius Brands International’s hit animated children’s series “Rainbow Rangers” this fall.

The debut of the new “Rainbow Rangers” will kick off with a Halloween episode on Oct. 11.

A special Halloween-themed episode is planned for the kick-off, with subsequent episodes airing through Nov. 22. 

The premiere coincides with the Walmart retail launch of the “Rainbow Rangers” multi-figure action pack from Mattel’s Fisher-Price.

“In November, we will be heading into our third year of our broadcast partnership with Nick Jr. for this unique series that promotes empowerment, diversity, friendship and adventure,” said Jess Brinder, vice president, international Distribution. “The support from Nick Jr. since the launch of ‘Rainbow Rangers’ in 2018 has been amazing, and the upcoming October premiere dovetails nicely with the launch of our first toy line from Mattel in Walmart stores.”

“Rainbow Rangers” follows the adventures of seven girls who are Earth’s first responders, protecting people, animals, resources, and the natural beauty of our world. The series airs around the world including on Corus Entertainment’s Treehouse (Canada), Televisa and BLIM TV (Mexico), Nine Network  (Australia), CCTV and iQiyi (China), Nickelodeon and NOGGIN (Latin America), Cartoonito (Italy), TV2 (Hungary), NOGA (Israel), Mini Mini (Poland), Canal Panda (Portugal), Discovery Kids (Middle East), and Pikaboo (Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina).

Loot Crate Goes Dark with Shadows-Themed Crate

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Loot Crate’s October Shadows crate is going dark, filled with items inspired by superheroes Venom, Black Widow, The Crow and more. 

Items include Venom t-shirt, Black Widow standee, Crow bottle opener and more.

Loot Crates start at $24.99 plus shipping and handling. For more information, click to Lootcrate.com.