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Articles from 2020 In January

YooHoo Kids’ Magazine to Launch in Poland

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Aurora World, owner of the YooHoo brand, has announced plans to launch a new YooHoo kids’ magazine in the Polish market, in partnership with Media Service Zawada.

The magazine will include puzzles, games, crafts and coloring-in pages to help children develop creativity and manual skills. Each issue will also include four different YooHoo 3D figurines. There will be a total of 12 collectible 3D figurines based on YooHoo characters.

The announcement comes after Aurora World revealed the appointment of Retro Development as the licensing agency for its YooHoo brand in Southeast Asia.

The three-year deal will see Retro Development manage the brand’s licensing across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei.

Call of Duty League Stitches Deal with Outerstuff


Call of Duty League has announced branded apparel company Outerstuff will be the developer of official player kits and fan apparel for its 2020 season. In addition, Call of Duty League has signed Mitchell & Ness for authentic, league-licensed headwear across all teams in the league.

Call of Duty League fans worldwide can now access all of their favorite team gear from Outerstuff and Mitchell & Ness, and other league licensees, through the official Call of Duty League Store at both domestically and internationally.

VIZ Media Europe, Crunchyroll Ups EMEA Exec


VIZ Media Europe, which Crunchyroll recently acquired a majority stake in, has promoted Waell Oueslati to serve as director, acquisitions and licensing, reporting to John Easum, head, Crunchyroll EMEA.

Already handling the contents acquisitions, Waell will be in charge of developing the licensing-out strategies of the company through EMEA. He will add to his scope the TV, theatrical and consumer products licensing businesses, taking over the acquisitions and licensing department.

“We are delighted to name Waell as acquisitions and licensing director to support us at the forefront of the industry, as he is an accomplished and strategically-minded executive with extensive entertainment experience throughout EMEA,” says Easum. “This position strengthens our European team and allows Waell to be close to our clients in the rapidly growing EMEA region.”

Waell joined VIZ Media Europe 10 years ago and has significant experience in Japanese content licensing management.

“I’m very honored and excited to lead the acquisitions and licensing team of this new project initiated by Crunchyroll,” says Waell. “Our IP’s portfolio is strong, and I look forward to continuing to develop the company’s dynamic entertainment properties to fans.”

ViacomCBS to Transition Leadership of CBS


ViacomCBS has announced that George Cheeks has been appointed president and chief executive officer of CBS Entertainment Group, effective March 23. He succeeds Joe Ianniello, chairman and chief executive officer, CBS, who will be leaving the company. Ianniello will work with ViacomCBS to ensure a smooth transition.

“I am incredibly honored to join the stellar CBS team and help lead these incredible brands forward,” says Cheeks. “From news to sports to entertainment, CBS sets the standard, and I look forward to building on this tremendous foundation as we find new and innovative ways to deliver CBS to audiences worldwide.”

Cheeks joins ViacomCBS from NBCUniversal, where he most recently served as vice chairman, NBCUniversal Content Studios. Previously, he served as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment, where he was jointly responsible for the network’s primetime, late night and scripted daytime programming. Cheeks will report to Bob Bakish, president and chief executive officer, ViacomCBS.

“I am thrilled to welcome George back to the family at this exciting moment for ViacomCBS,” says Bakish. “Throughout his career, George has built broad experience in broadcast and studio operations and brings a unique mix of skills – combining deep commercial expertise and industry relationships with strong creative and programming capabilities. With his finger on the pulse of culture and change and his strong grasp of strategy, brands, audiences and content monetization, George will help CBS build on its position as the most-watched broadcast network and drive results across the entire CBS portfolio. I’m grateful to Joe for his many contributions to CBS and for the meaningful role he has played in bringing the CBS and Viacom teams together. Thanks in no small part to his efforts, the CBS brand has a strong and loyal following across a variety of platforms – positioning it well for this important next chapter. The Board and I wish Joe every success in his future endeavors.”

Smiley, Lyfcycle Team for Eco-Friendly Fashion


Eco-conscious fashion brand Lyfcycle has partnered with Smiley to develop a sustainable fashion line.

“Lyfcycle specializes in sustainable garment sourcing and has developed a new technology that allows them to recycle and reuse all waste fabric from production,” says Michaela Fass, senior vice president, Smiley fashion division. “With Smiley’s authentic position at the forefront of peace, protest and activism, it’s a natural progression for us to start developing a wave of new sustainable products. All Smiley x Lyfcycle products will be made from recycled cotton, which has been blended with organic cotton to ensure Zero-Waste from source, while all waste fabric from production is recycled and reused.”

The partnership includes the use of recycled fabrics, and all product packaging and labeling will be recycled and recyclable. Lyfcycle has even innovated a mobile app that will allow consumers to monitor traceability of garments via QR codes, which will launch next month.

“It’s no secret that the apparel and footwear industry continues to have a substantial negative carbon impact and is a major contributor to the worsening state of climate change,” says Adriana Batty, co-founder, Lyfcycle. “At Lyfcycle, we’re driven by the need to implement positive changes in the way clothing is sourced and manufactured, and it’s through partnerships with counter-culture brands like Smiley that we stand a chance of delivering sustainable clothing on a large scale. Only with far-reaching collaborations and transparency across the industry, can we hope to make a positive impact.” 

Smiley’s partnership with Lyfcycle is earmarked to hit major retail stores from summer 2020.

‘Simon’s Cat’ Paws New Game Deals


Endemol Shine Group has announced the latest range of games inspired by the animated series “Simon’s Cat.”

Coming to market in 2020 are a number of new products including a game deal with board games specialist Alley Cat Games; three new family card games from MDR Games, which are available on Amazon stores in the U.K. and Germany and in stores in Poland; and a puzzle deal with leading publisher Athesia Kalenderverlag. 

“These new deals build on an already successful licensing program for ‘Simon’s Cat’ across Europe,” says Jane Smith, group director, brand licensing and gaming, Endemol Shine Group. “The humor and warmth of the brand appeals to a broad fan base of cat lovers around the world who can relate to these charming and cheeky characters and expanding our digital business into physical products is testament to this.”

These latest deals build on the extensions of the “Simon’s Cat” brand in the mobile games space, with titles such as “Simon’s Cat” pop time, “Simon’s Cat” crunch time and “Simon’s Cat” dash, which have generated in excess of 16 million mobile gaming downloads.


Macy’s to Open Standalone Concept Store


Macy’s will open a new standalone concept store in Texas, according to a report from Women’s Wear Daily. The Southlake, Texas store will focus on selling apothecary beauty and hair-care items, with plans to have a café inside the space as well.

According to WWD, the project will be spearheaded by STORY founder Rachel Shechtman. STORY was acquired by Macy’s in 2018, and Macy’s has added STORY pop-ups in more than a dozen of its stores.

The news comes after Macy’s announced the shutdown of 28 Macy’s locations and one Bloomingdale’s store, according to a report from Retail Dive.

In addition to the new concept store, Macy’s has also recently amped up its experiential shopping offering for customers with exclusive events and products.

Hasbro Teams with Maxx Group for EMEA


Hasbro has announced a multi-year agreement granting Maxx Group rights to a number of its brands. Driving for deeper consumer engagement, the deal includes licenses such as My Little Pony, Power Rangers, Transformers, NERF, Mr. Potato Head, Monopoly and more.

“Hasbro has a variety of intellectual properties that are loved on an international scale, and we look forward to putting premium products across numerous top brands in the hands of children and fans across Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” says Michael Kwan, chief executive officer, Maxx Group.

Maxx, via its toy brand YuMe Toys, will act as Hasbro’s plush toy sourcing partner, providing turnkey solutions that span the design, development, manufacturing and distribution of product lines to retail partners across the EMEA region. Maxx will also assist in filling white space opportunities for feature toys, advent calendars, collectibles, stationery items and other licensed products. The collaboration is designed to increase consumer engagement and revenue for both companies.

The news comes shortly after Hasbro expanded its deal with WildBrain CPLG to serve as its sub-representative in the Benelux region, which includes The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

That deal sees WildBrain CPLG represent Hasbro's merchandise, publishing, promotions and short-term location-based entertainment business across the region.

Licensing Leadership Summit: How Amazon and Google Are Changing the Future of E-Commerce


E-commerce has fundamentally changed consumers' relationships with brands. The rise of Amazon and Google Shopping has made a profound impact on how people buy things, what they buy and how they discover new products. According to a 2018 NPR and Marist survey, nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers have purchased something online. The study found that of those two-thirds, nearly 92 percent of online consumers bought something from Amazon.

Few people understand the impact of e-commerce better than Trevor George, chief executive officer, Trevco, and John Kennard, strategic partnerships, Google Shopping. George has built a career in the space with Trevco and his other company, digital marketing agency Blue Wheel. Through his two companies, George has quickly become one of the largest third-party sellers on Amazon in the U.S.

Kennard has established a career at Google, where he leads the team responsible for recruiting U.S. marketplace sellers to Shopping Actions, a transaction fabric that allows shoppers to buy products across Google properties.

The Global Licensing Group welcomes George and Kennard to this year's Licensing Leadership Summit, where they will share more about how they have found success in e-retail and discuss their views on its future.

Their session will highlight how marketplaces like Amazon and Google are changing licensing and retail – and how the space will evolve over the next five years due to the rapid expansion of e-retail.

Join George and Kennard for the "How Marketplaces like Amazon and Google are Changing E-Retail's Future" session at this year's Licensing Leadership Summit, taking place March 16–17 at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York, NY.

The Licensing Leadership Summit is an executive-level conference and networking event that brings together 300-plus brand licensing and retail executives for two days of thought leadership and educational seminars. Attendees will gain critical insight into licensing strategies, emerging categories, retail and consumer trends, leadership, trend forecasting and business innovation that will drive business not only in 2020 but into 2025.

Hear from Leading Licensing Industry Voices 

Register today for the Licensing Leadership Summit to hear thought leaders such as:

Register Today!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Ventures into AR


Wimpy Kid and Bare Tree Media have expanded their digital partnership with the introduction of augmented reality social media effects and a global expansion of their stickers within keyboard mobile applications.

“I’ve loved seeing fans around the globe engage with the Wimpy Kid brand using our existing emoji-style stickers,” says Jeff Kinney, author, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. “This year, we wanted to expand the Wimpy Kid universe, and I’m thrilled to have the brand-new augmented reality and sticker formats on major global platforms. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Greg can go with his fans in 2020!” 

Bare Tree Media designed and released three augmented reality effects themed around the latest installment in the middle-grade series Diary of a Wimpy Kid 14: Wrecking Ball. The AR effects offer users the ability to insert a swinging virtual wrecking ball into their camera scene and then wreck, record and share a real-world scene of their choice. The AR filters are available to engage Wimpy Kid fans on “Facebook and “Instagram” and as an AR lens on Snapchat.

“Augmented reality is a great marketing platform for brands to engage audiences, and a perfect fit for the Wimpy Kid fan base to create and share their special moments with a wrecking ball,” says Bob Ferrari, chief executive officer, Bare Tree Media. “We are also very excited to expand sticker distribution through Baidu in key markets around the world.” 

Bare Tree Media also expanded their Wimpy Kid-branded digital presence to include digital stickers released within Baidu’s keyboard apps worldwide, including Facemoji Keyboard in the United States, Simeji in Japan and Baidu IME in China.

“We are delighted to be kicking off 2020 by launching these stickers with Bare Tree Media and Wimpy Kid, Inc.,” says Josh Fenn, senior marketing manager, Baidu. “Now, our keyboard app users around the world can all enjoy Wimpy Kid’s uniquely charming brand of humor when they chat with their friends online.”