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Warner Bros., ISlide Team for Blockbuster Collection

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ISlide has partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create slides inspired by more than 100 blockbuster franchises.

Just in time for Halloween, the slides inspired by Warner Bros. horror movies such as “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Friday the 13th,” “The Exorcist” and “The Shining” will kick things off. On Nov. 5, additional slides inspired by DC Superheroes including “Batman,” “Superman” and “Wonder Woman” will be available for purchase.

“Warner Bros. has created some of the most iconic movies to date and we’re excited to be able to bring a new take on the characters through our slides,” says Justin Kittredge, president and chief executive officer, ISlide. “Whether you’re a fan of ‘Batman’ or ‘Friday the 13th,’ we’ll have a new slide for anyone who loves these properties as much as we do.” 

Slides will retail starting at $44.99 and be available on islideusa.com. Fans should also keep an eye out for more releases from ISlide and Warner Bros. including “Caddyshack,” “Elf,” “Rick & Morty” and “Friends” in the near future.

‘Munchkin’ Card Game Gets Disney Makeover

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Steve Jackson Games’ classic role-playing card game “Munchkin” has gotten a Disney makeover.

“Munchkin: Disney” is a game for 3-6 players, ages 10 and up. The 168-card collection has multiple fan favorite characters from Disney stories. “Munchkin’s” new edition includes Mickey Mouse and his classic cast of friends as well as a host of favorites from the House of Mouse’s movies.

Players can choose from a selection of roles such as the Heroine, Villain, Sidekick, Adventurer, Dreamer and Animal Friend. These Character cards track levels in the game and determine special abilities.

From there, fans can equip themselves with a mix of items like Robin Hood’s Bow or Wasabi’s Gloves to prepare for battle and invite allies like Baymax or Judy Hopps to help on the quest to be the first to reach Level 10 for the win.

Fans can get it now from their local game store or at The Op’s online shop.

Smeg Celebrates Peanuts 70th Anniversary

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WildBrain CPLG has secured a deal with Italian domestic appliance brand Smeg for a limited-edition refrigerator to mark the 70thanniversary of the Peanuts brand.

Smeg will produce 70 Peanuts commemorative refrigerators in its 1950s family mini fridge FAB10 model. The refrigerator will feature an illustration taken from the Peanuts comic strip, with Snoopy depicted alongside his cherished doghouse and friend Woodstock. Each one will be decorated with a silver plaque showing its unique product number. 

“With Smeg known as one of the most popular names in home appliances thanks to the brand’s iconic retro style, colorful designs and reputation for quality, they are an excellent company to create a memorable product for Peanuts’ 70th anniversary milestone,” says Tara Botwick, senior director, territory management, Peanuts Worldwide. “We look forward to seeing this eye-catching refrigerator take pride of place in the homes of Peanuts fans across Europe.”  

The Peanuts refrigerator will be available at Smeg’s stores and subsidiaries across Europe starting in November, with a retail price of €1299. Smeg will support the launch through window displays, social media and influencer activity. 

Meredith Picks Evolution USA to Rep LIFE

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Meredith Corporation has named Evolution USA as their North AmericaAustralia and New Zealand licensing and brand management agency for the LIFE brand and The LIFE Picture Collection.

Evolution will actively seek new licensing and brand expansion opportunities for LIFE and its photo archive in a variety of product classifications and consumer experiences. Categories for the brand include apparel, accessories, home furnishings, housewares, gifts and collectibles, food and beverage, stationery and paper goods, brand and artist collaborations, hospitality, location-based entertainment experiences, gaming and promotions. 

"We're excited to partner with Evolution to bring our iconic brand to new audiences,” says Jill Golden, director, The LIFE Picture Collection. “There's enormous potential in these images and we can't wait to share them with the public in creative and innovative ways.”

Themed collections for LIFE include topics spanning Americana, History, Hollywood, Innovations in Photography, Sports, Science and Tech, Fashion and Music.

"The LIFE Picture Collection contains so many stunning visuals, relevant themes and genres,” says Travis J. Rutherford, co-founder and chief revenue officer, Evolution. “We realized that nothing captures the zeitgeist of the 20th century like LIFE, and as such we see huge potential for consumer products at multiple levels of the market. The entire team at Evolution is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the very talented executives at Meredith to deliver upon their corporate brand expansion vision.”

Bravado, Alibaba’s Tmall Global Team for Music Merch in China

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Alibaba Group has announced a partnership with Bravado, Universal Music Group’s merchandising and brand management division, to help bring artists’ merchandise and exclusive collaborations to Chinese consumers.

The Bravado store has launched on Tmall Global and will showcase merchandise from a roster of international recording artists including Tupac, Guns N’ Roses, The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley and Taylor Swift – who will be the store’s first featured artist. Other artist collections and collaborations will be added each month.

“We’re extremely pleased to partner with Bravado to give fans in China the opportunity to connect with these remarkable musicians,” says Emma Lee, fashion head, Tmall Global and Kaola, Alibaba Group. “Through this partnership, Chinese consumers will be able to access exclusive merchandise from their favorite international recording artists that we know they will enjoy.”

The store launch will be the first time that merchandise from Taylor Swift’s most recent album, folklore, will be available in China. In addition, Swift will debut her newest collection exclusively on Tmall Global during Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival which gives Chinese shoppers access to the collection two full weeks ahead of the global launch.

Following the launch, the store will showcase a different featured artist each month and offer a specially curated range of products inspired by each featured act. These will include new and exclusive products and seasonal ranges, to coincide with album releases, tours, classic catalogues and other product innovations.

“At Bravado our mission is to amplify artist initiatives and create moments and experiences beyond music,” says John Habbouch, general manager and chief financial officer, Bravado. “This partnership with Tmall Global, in conjunction with our colleagues at Universal Music China, will provide both international and domestic artists with opportunities to engage more deeply with fans in China, and to continue to reach new consumers and audiences around the world.”

10 Minutes with Glen Tooke of Kantar

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Glen Tooke, director, consumer insight, worldwide division, fashion, Kantar, and his entertainment counterpart, James Foti, are presenting a session called “Something Old, Something New: How to Plan for Changing Consumer Behaviors” at the Licensing Leadership Summit.

During the on-demand session, Tooke and Foti will explore how our shopping patterns have been changed in 2020 as a result of COVID-19. From our collective push towards online shopping to the product categories we are focused on, the presentation will investigate the impact ‘the new normal’ has had on the entertainment and fashion markets, and how this translates into license growth areas.

To prepare for Tooke’s session, License Global had a chat about what to expect at his presentation and the greater industry trends shaping the holiday season and more.

License Global: Your session synopsis says ‘as consumers re-evaluate brand choices and household budgets fall, entirely new behaviors are emerging’; tell us more about these trends.

Tooke: There have been so many behaviors, both old and new, to observe and it’s been fascinating. Some behaviors have changed depending on permissions – what we are ‘allowed’ to do. So, when DIY stores opened after lockdown, queues snaked around the car parks and customer volumes were at higher levels than pre-lockdown. People were so bored of being at home they just wanted something, anything, different to do. In that instance, it was browsing round B&Q, but we saw a similar trend in the fashion industry when that reopened – huge pent-up demand led to massive first week queues for stores like Primark.

We also saw the emergence of entirely new behaviors – microtrends – like the growth in loungewear. With nowhere to go, we all just wanted to be comfy at home. There has been so much communication about mindfulness and mental health, too, and the importance of taking a drawing a line between work and evening. Our natural transition from workwear into casualwear at the end of the day, switched to casualwear into loungewear.

We have also seen a move towards needs-based spending – so buying to satisfy a need rather than a want. This is due to two big factors: our budgets are falling, so we are self-justifying every purchase and the pace of change. Things are changing on a daily basis, so we are reluctant to buy ahead. Why buy a Christmas outfit when we don’t know if we’ll even be allowed to celebrate? We’ve become more agile in our spending, and retailers need to adapt to these changing customer needs equally quickly while remaining true to their brand and purpose.

You talk about the acceleration of digital streaming and online shopping, how is this likely to affect brands and also retail over the next 6-18 months? 

This is really interesting because there was a massive shift to online spending over April and May when just 20 percent off all fashion spending was in store. As stores reopened, this rose to 60 percent, compared to 70 percent pre-lockdown.

In the short to mid-term, we will still have that in-store/online mix of spending habits and most customers will do both. That’s a big challenge for retailers: how do you think about each individual customer as an online and in-store shopper, rather than online and in-store shoppers as two distinct demographics.

Our research showed that around 75 percent of consumers actively state they are trying to minimize trips out of the house. On paper, this sounds like bad news for in-store, however, it provides its own challenges for ecommerce because ‘out of the house’ doesn’t just mean going to the shops, it can also means avoiding long Post Office queues to return orders. Online retailers need to be aware of that and provide excellent end-to-end service.

We have been so inconvenienced over the last seven months that reliability is high on our list of needs. We don’t just want free next-day delivery, we went our goods to actually turn up when we’re told they will.

Competition online can also be fiercer. It’s much easier for customers to compare products, brands, prices and service online than in-store, where retailers benefit from pretty much a captive audience.

What is the biggest impact we are going to see when it comes to Holiday consumer habits and how should retail respond to negate/maximize any behavioral changes?

What we’ve seen in the data is that it’s those retailers who are most nimble that are doing best. If government guidance changes mid-December to say we can go to the pub and bubble in 12s, which stores will be first out of the blocks with Santa jumpers and partywear? And if we are allowed to celebrate New Year’s Eve beyond 9:59PM, who’s got the sequins ready to ring up at the tills?

What’s the kick-back on the licensing sector – what does it mean for brands? 

Consumers view the licensing sector as an element of their [clothing] spend (it’s an unconscious purchase). So it’s more important than ever to understand your customers and to sell them the products they want and not the ones you’d like them to buy. You need to differentiate yourself. With licensed childrenswear, for example, featuring the right character may not enough. Some parents will want to see value, good workmanship and sustainable credentials, too. Offer all of these things, and customers – even when they are short of cash – will find it much easier to justify their spend.

Learn More

See the full session to learn even more. Registered Licensing Leadership Summit attendees can watch the presentation on-demand now. Those interested in attending the Summit can also still register for the event online.

Licensing Leadership Summit: Revolutionizing Brand Protection

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Licensing Leadership Summit continued its keynote presentations with a discussion about the revolutionization of technology that will allow brands to protect themselves from counterfeiting.

Dr. Wes Wang, chief science officer, JPatton, led the keynote to highlight the issue of merchandise counterfeiting and share details on the technologies that are available to help brands fight back.

The sale of counterfeit products internationally has grown consistently over the last several years. According to a report released last year by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Union's Intellectual Property Office, trade in counterfeit and pirated goods makes up about 3.3 percent of global trade. From footwear to electronics, the rise of counterfeiting affects nearly every product vertical. It robs revenue for both the licensors and licensees and hurts brand value overall.

Dr. Wang discussed new advances that are helping protect brand licensors, licensees and retailers facing the threat of counterfeiting. His keynote explored how utilizing technology, such as scannable forensic security in the supply chain, can solve counterfeiting issues for brands around the world.

According to Dr. Wang, JPatton’s latest counterfeiting technology isn’t meant to replace similar offerings already on the market such as holograms. Instead, it aims to be a smart alternative and an addition to those products. JPatton’s solution zeroes in on the source of counterfeiting issues by using big data-based algorithms and machine learning based techniques. It also doesn’t require any additional equipment or steps in the manufacturing process.

The program takes information from such as location, category and more, then creates a personalized solution for users. It then monitors anomalies in the market that could skew results or allow counterfeiting to take place so companies can quickly identify issues.

“With this information, we can construct various mathematical models that can monitor the state of the entire market and detect anomalies using off-the-shelf algorithms,” says Dr. Wang. “For example, an abnormal event could be a product that was supposed to be sold once but is somehow appearing to be purchased over and over again. This kind of behavior would be easily detected by algorithms that are trained on nominal purchasing patterns.”

Learn More

See Wang's full keynote to understand the technology in more detail. Registered Licensing Leadership Summit attendees can watch the presentation on-demand now. Those interested in attending the Summit can also still register for the event online.

Licensing Leadership Summit: How Gamification is Leveling Up Retail

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The rise of video games has fundamentally shifted what consumers expect from entertainment. Interactivity has become a crucial aspect of media as brands compete in an ever-crowding marketplace by the day. That demand for interaction has also expanded beyond media and into retail with the growing use of gamification.

Gamification is defined as using gaming techniques to deliver compelling user experiences outside of traditional video games. It has established a new shopping paradigm for retailers in an era where digital connections are more crucial for revenue than ever before.

During a recent keynote at the Licensing Leadership Summit, Daniel Bobroff, founder and chief executive officer of Coded Futures, and formerly co-founder, ASOS Ventures, highlighted how gamification has become a 'superpower' for retailers.

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"Video games are now bigger than movies and music combined," says Bobroff. "Interactivity, it turns out, has this magical ability to suspend disbelief and we can't get enough of it – whether we're a sporting superstar, a hero saving the planet, or a magical character in a fantasy land. We don't just consume the experience we become part of it."

For modern retailers, gamification provides a template for reaching consumers in a clogged shopping landscape. The popularity of platforms such as Amazon has led e-commerce to become a setting of infinite possibilities and never-ending shelf space. However, according to Bobroff, the massive opportunities in the space requires retailers to use creative thinking to cut through the noise and understand the consumer in a real way.

"For today's retailers, the world has shifted from scarcity to abundance," adds Bobroff. "Amazon trailblazed this idea when Jeff Bezos declared it the 'everything store' in 1997. Today, we're surrounded by a mass of niches and we've moved beyond an age of information to an age of recommendation. For today's retailer to succeed, they must be the source of that recommendation."

Bobroff's keynote highlighted how gamification could cut through that noise and deliver compelling experiences that drive real results. From the pillars of gamified experiences to reaching consumers who are now task-focused, gamification provides a basis for getting shoppers repeatedly and in a fully connected way.

"For a number of years, we've been talking about an omnichannel world where it was possible to take various paths from inspiration to purchase," continues Bobroff. "I think we've now moved from that omnichannel world to something that I would probably describe as a 'responsive retail world' where these channels can no longer exist in isolation – they must enrich, interact and react to one another."

Learn More

See Bobroff's full keynote to understand the practical steps needed to build a gamification strategy for your business. Registered Licensing Leadership Summit attendees can watch the presentation on-demand now. Those interested in attending the Summit can also still register for the event online.

Igloo Releases Spider-Man Cooler Collection

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Igloo and Marvel present the Spider-Man Cooler Collection.

Complete with a backpack cooler and a variety of Playmate coolers, all featuring custom Spider-Man graphics, this new, special-edition collaboration is inspired by the superhero’s iconic look, powers and long-running comic book legacy.

“It’s been really exciting collaborating with Marvel to bring the amazing Spider-Man to life on these special-edition Igloo coolers,” says Brian Garofalow, chief marketing officer, Igloo. “While Spider-Man is famous for his superhuman strength and spider-abilities, Igloo coolers are known for their fun designs and super-cooling abilities. This collection is a dream come true for Spider-Man fans who love to take adventures of their own with a cooler packed full of cold refreshments.”

The all-new Igloo Spider-Man Cooler Collection, each product sold separately, is available now. All four products can be found at igloocoolers.com/spider-man while supplies last.

Shaq to Produce, Star in Genius Brands Animated Show

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Genius Brands International and ABG Entertainment, a division of Authentic Brands Group, has announced an all-new animated comedy, action-adventure series for kids, “Shaq’s Garage,” starring Shaquille O'Neal. The series will be executive produced by Shaquille O’Neal, Genius Brands, PRP and ABG Entertainment. Through the partnership, O’Neal is also becoming a shareholder in Genius Brands.

“Shaq’s Garage” will depict the secret adventures of Shaq’s collection of animated cars, trucks and automobiles.  

“Ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated by cars,” says O’Neal. “I’m so excited to bring this series to life with Genius Brands. We plan to showcase the most amazing, tricked out assortment of vehicles that can only be found in my garage. They will all have larger than life personalities, larger than life missions and of course, larger than life sound systems. One of our cars is a vehicle missing a wheel, but she is as strong, fast and smart as any other vehicle. This will be a kid’s show which will highlight inclusivity for all.” 

“Shaq’s Garage” is slated to premiere in early 2022 on the new free digital Kartoon Channel!