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Spin Master to Acquire Rubik’s Cube

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Spin Master has announced it has reached an agreement to acquire London-based Rubik's Brand, owner of the Rubik's Cube.  

"It is really exciting that Spin Master will continue the legacy of the Rubik's Cube and fulfill my vision of nurturing smarter, future generations through play," says Ernő Rubik, inventor of the Rubik’s Cube. "We chose Spin Master because of their long-term lens and character."

Invented by Ernő Rubik in 1974 and launched globally in 1980, the Rubik's Cube sold hundreds of millions of units and has inspired and challenged both young and old ever since. As a STEM-accredited puzzle, the Rubik's Cube supports brain development and cognitive skills by allowing children and adults to use their creativity, while developing and encouraging intelligence.

"The Rubik's Cube is an iconic puzzle that has permeated pop culture and captivated fans for more than 40 years," says Elizabeth LoVecchio, vice president marketing, games, Spin Master. "We are excited for the opportunity to put our marquee innovation on the entire Rubik's portfolio and expand distribution through our global footprint."  

Spin Master has been expanding its position within the Games category through acquisitions of new titles and partnerships and collaborations. Today, Spin Master is the third largest games company in the United States.

"There are many growth opportunities for Spin Master with the Rubik's brand as we transition to a blended model of direct sales in combination with existing partners globally," says Anton Rabie, chairman and co-chief executive officer, chairman and co-chief executive officer, Spin Master. "Our games division has continuously grown over the past decade and is a cornerstone of Spin Master's diversified portfolio. The addition of the legendary Rubik's Cube to our roster of games is a historic moment and we are honored to continue the legacy." 

The transaction is expected to close on Jan. 4, 2021.  

Licensing Leadership Summit: Key Executives to Highlight the Future of Licensing

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Licensing Leadership Summit brings together C-level executives from the world’s largest players across manufacturing, retail and brands to discuss, debate and collaborate on the future of consumer products licensing and shape the strategic direction of the industry in 2021 and 2022. The conference is the culmination of the month-long Festival of Licensing virtual event and offers global brand licensing decision-makers insights and thought leadership panels that will help shape their strategic direction in the future.

The two-day conference, taking place Oct. 28-29, is packed with industry-led thought leadership and online conversations about the opportunities ahead. The event will virtually unite the licensing industry to form connections, share knowledge and secure licensing deals, and is brought to you by the organizers of Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe.

Each day of the program will include insightful keynotes on the retail and licensing trends shaping the market. Following each keynote, attendees will have the opportunity to tune into an array of sessions covering a wide range of topics, issues and strategic opportunities facing the world of brand licensing such as TikTok, esports and gaming to evergreens like museum licensing, as well as hear from industry thought leaders including NPD, MoMA, NFLPA, Sesame Workshop, Hallmark, Trend Bible, Fashion Snoops, Redbubble, Legendary Entertainment, Funko, Zynga, Nickelodeon, BBC, Wildbrain CPLG, Kantar, FlowHaven and many more.

“This year, perhaps more than ever, leaders and decision-makers from around the world must come together to connect and work toward our future beyond the pandemic,” says Anna Knight, vice president, global licensing group, Informa Markets. “As 2020 is the first year Licensing Leadership Summit will be held virtually, the event is now more accessible than ever, with more diversity of speakers, and more opportunities to connect and engage with content that, in the end, brings us all closer together.”

This year’s agenda is highlighted by keynotes from Coded Futures/ASOS Ventures, Google and JPatton. From the future of retail to the challenges protecting your brand in a digital world, this year’s keynotes shed light on the diverse trends shaping the industry’s future.

The Retail Revolution: Planning Ahead for Digital Disruption

Speaker: Marcus East, technical director, Office of the CTO, Google

Overview: How are brands going to need to behave to interact with the retail customer of the future? This keynote will look deeply at customer intimacy in a digital age and explore how consumer-facing brands and their core audience will be shaped in the next decade.

Revolutionizing Brand Protection

Speaker: Dr. Wes Wang, chief scientific officer, JPatton

Overview: One of the toughest issues for brand licensors and their licensees is the issue of counterfeit products posing as real items. It robs revenue for both the licensors and licensees and hurts brand value. In 2019, a new technology became available to help protect brand licensors, licensees and retailers. This technology provides the licensing supply chain with the ability to protect revenue as well as the consumer, without changing anything. This session will explore how utilizing scannable forensic security technology can solve counterfeiting issues.

Time to Play: Supercharging Retail Through Gamification

Speaker: Daniel Bobroff, co-founder, ASOS Ventures, and founder and chief executive officer, Coded Futures

Overview: We have all played our part in how technology has disrupted the traditional world of retail. But in the shadow of the recent pandemic, technology has emerged as retail's savior. And as retailers scramble to accelerate their digital capability, a superpower exists that most know, yet few have mastered. It is the art of gamification.

Using game techniques and methodologies, there is an urgent need for retail to deliver compelling digital experiences that are human-focused rather than merely task-obsessed. And, as we build the next incarnation of retail theater, let's make sure to satisfy a new generation of highly creative, multitasking customers, who have simply become impatient with a world that appears too slow.

This practical keynote will provide the latest thinking in how gamification is changing the world of retail, across its entire value chain, and reshaping organizations. Learn how to use simple techniques for your customers today and leverage gamification as the winning strategy for your business, culture and bottom line.

Different by Design: MoMA’s Modern Approach to Museum Licensing

Speaker: Robin Sayetta, head, business development, retail, The Museum of Modern Art

The Athlete Influencer Difference

Speakers: Terése Whitehead, senior manager, sponsorship and operations, NFL Player's Association, Inc.; Isaac Rochell, American Football Player

What Do Licensees Want?

Speakers: Connie Chang, director, licensing, C-Life Group; Tonya Kirby, director, licensing, Retro Brands; and Rick Lowe, managing director, Brands In

Moderator: James Dohnert, content editor, License Global

How Games Ate the Licensing World 

Speakers: Chris Petrovic, senior vice president and head, corporate strategy, M&A and business development, Zynga, and Shaan Akbar, digital media executive and consultant

How to Combat the Explosion of Print On-Demand Whack-A-Mole on Social Media

Speakers: Rachel Aronson, head, business development, CounterFind, and Jamie Gerson, head, strategic partnerships, CounterFind

Thinking Beyond Revenue: A Holistic Licensing Approach in the Post-Normal

Speakers: Kalle Törmä, FlowHaven, and Anita Castellar, chief executive officer, FanGirl Consulting and Brand Management

Digital Talent: The Future

Speaker: Sid Kaufman, licensing agent, UTA

Moderator: Amanda Cioletti, event and content Director, Global Licensing Group, Informa Markets

Product as Solutions

Speakers: Lilly Berelovich, president and chief creative officer, Fashion Snoops; Jenna Guarascio, director, content strategy, Fashion Snoops; and Carrera Kurnik, culture editor and consumer strategist, Fashion Snoops   

Something Old, Something New: How to Plan for Changing Consumer Behaviors 

Speakers: James Foti, Worldpanel Division, consumer insight director, entertainment, Kantar, and Glen Tooke, Worldpanel Division, consumer insight director, fashion, Kantar

Licensing and the Toy Industry: A Changing Landscape                                           

Speaker: Juli Lennet, vice president and industry advisor, U.S. Toys, The NPD Group

I Want It Now!: Using the Fan to Expand Distribution

Speaker: Lauren Winarski, senior manager, brand and licensing, Funko

Knowledge Is Power: Throw Away Your Crystal Ball

Speakers: Frank Masterson, formerly of Hallmark, and Tony Scott, senior promotions manager, Edgewell Personal Care

Moderator: Marty Malysz, president, Dependable Rights

New Directions at Retail

Speaker: Robin Lewis, founder and chief executive officer, The Robin Report

Moderator: Maura Regan, president, Licensing International

Finding Opportunity in the Overwhelm: Key Trends in Consumerism 

Speakers: Maxwell Luthy, Evangelist at Large, TrendWatching

How the World’s Best Brands use Trends to Succeed

Speaker: Joanna Feeley, founder and chief executive officer, Trend Bible

COVID-19: What Happens Next?

Speaker: Bibi Wardak, Content Editor, License Global

YouTube and You: Insights to Drive Retail and Consumer Product Strategies

Speakers: Steve Manners, vice president, Business Development, WildBrain CPLG and WildBrain Spark, and Jon Gisby, managing director, WildBrain Spark

Esports: The Hottest New Licensing Category in Latin America

Speakers: Maca Rotter, president and chief executive officer, La Panaderia, and Habacuc Guzmán, co-founder and director, Arena Esports GG

Forging a Sustainable Future      

Speakers: Mart Drake-Knight, owner, Teemill; Rikesh Desai, licensing director, merchandise and gaming, BBC Studios; Anita Manju, senior licensing manager, softlines, BBC Studios; and Helena Stopher, founder, Products of Change

Moderator: Ben Roberts, Content Editor, EMEA, License Global

Orchestrating Speed-to-Market: How to Make Everything Hum in Concert

Speaker: Gabriela Arenas, vice president, licensing, North America, Sesame Workshop

Moderator: Amanda Cioletti, Event and Content Director, Licensing, Informa Markets

The Importance of Licensing to Brand Owners in these Turbulent Times

Speaker: Michael Stone, co-founder and chairman, Beanstalk

UGC Marketplaces and Brand Licensing

Speakers: Christina Lima, vice president, Global Franchise Management and Creative Services, ITV Studios; Eric Morse, senior vice president, Content Partnerships, Redbubble; and James Ngo, executive vice president, Franchise Management, Legendary Entertainment

From Screen to Shelves

Speakers: Nina Hahn, senior vice president, Nickelodeon; Veronica Hart, executive vice president, Franchise Planning, ViacomCBS; Mark Kingston, senior vice president, International Licensing, ViacomCBS Consumer Products

Moderator: Rachel Sandler, vice president, communications, Consumer Products, ViacomCBS

 

All sessions will be available on-demand throughout both live event days and for four weeks after the conference ends. We’ve provided a snapshot of the agenda below and you can view the complete program here.

Create a Colorful Partnership with Crayola

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Crayola is an iconic brand that is relevant to a wide range of audiences.

Kids enjoy Crayola because we ignite the “what if?” and help color their imaginations. 

Parents love Crayola for engaging products that inspire creativity.

Teachers trust Crayola for reliable creative tools to encourage and support learning. 

Partners prefer Crayola as we deliver winning ROI time and time again.

Please contact April Heeren at [email protected] to inquire about partnership opportunities.

Disguise Announces ‘Halo,’ ‘Minecraft’ Contract Extensions

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Disguise, the Halloween costume division of leading toy and consumer products manufacturer, JAKKS Pacific, has announced a partnership renewal with Microsoft as costume partner for both gaming brands, “Halo” and “Minecraft.”

This gives Disguise Worldwide rights to design, market, manufacture and distribute Halloween costumes and costume accessories for “Halo” for an additional three years and “Minecraft” an additional three years commencing in 2021.  

“Fan engagement in video games continues to rise as gamers are exposed to these brands on a daily basis versus tent pole films which have struggled this year with theaters being closed,” says Tara Hefter, executive vice president and general manager, Disguise. “We are proud to be the sole global costume partner for these Triple-A games from Microsoft. Gamers expect quality, and Disguise has extensive experience in developing top quality costumes and accessories for video game brands, enriching the fantasy element of dressing up as your favorite character. The amazing characters Microsoft brings to the table and our expertise are the perfect combination for success.  We look forward to further expanding both businesses domestically and internationally over the contract term.” 

Disguise’s “Minecraft” and “Halo” lines of Halloween costumes and accessories are available online, at major retailers and Halloween specialty stores now.

Colourpop Reveals ‘The Child’ Palette

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“The Mandalorian’s” The Child, known as Baby Yoda by fans, has officially joined the beauty industry thanks to Colourpop cosmetics.

A new eyeshadow palette inspired by The Child, full of olive greens and warm browns, was revealed by the makeup company on Oct. 26.

The palette, complete with cartoon Baby Yoda packaging, is set to launch on Oct. 29.

A Bathing Ape Unleashes Pokémon Collection

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BAPE has teamed up with Pokémon for an all-new collection.

In this collection, Pokémon such as Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Eevee, Snorlax and Mankey are newly drawn with a MILO touch.

In addition, an item that allows you to dress up like Pikachu will be released: a hoodie with Pikachu ear-like motifs, will be available for men, ladies and kids.

The Pokémon collection with BAPE will be available on Oct. 31 at A Bathing Ape.

‘The Mandalorian’ Kicks Off Mando Mondays CP Program

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 “Star Wars” fans across the globe tuned into a special “Mando Mondays” digital event on Oct. 26 where talent from “The Mandalorian,” including Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito, revealed the latest products and digital content inspired by the series.

Mando Mondays is an all-new global consumer products, games and publishing program that will debut new goods inspired by the Disney+ program every Monday from now until Dec. 21.

Products now available for pre-order include the “Star Wars” Retro Collection from Hasbro, the The Child Real Moves Plush from Mattel, a Mandalorian Flying with Blaster bobblehead from Funko and “The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian” from ABRAMS. Plus, a new line of skateboards, accessories and apparel inspired by “The Mandalorian” are available now from Element. In addition, new themed content is coming to multiple “Star Wars” games such as the recently launched “Star Wars: Squadrons” from Motive.

“Today’s global digital event celebrates the first of many Mando Mondays to come,” says Paul Southern, senior vice president, licensing and franchise, Lucasfilm. “Over the course of the next eight weeks, we look forward to unveiling the widest assortment yet of highly anticipated products and digital content inspired by beloved characters and moments from ‘The Mandalorian.’”

Fans can check out the full list of products revealed on MandoMondays.com and catch a replay of the event on "Star Wars" YouTube. Fans can stay tuned to MandoMondays.com each Monday through Dec. 21 for the latest new reveals, interviews, videos and more.

Mad Beauty Creates Minnie Magic Christmas Collection for Superdrug

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Following the success of the Disney Mulan collection earlier in the year, Superdrug have once again partnered with Mad Beauty to launch an exclusive Minnie Magic collection of beauty essentials, bath products & lifestyle accessories.

The “Bring the Gift of Minnie Magic this Christmas range includes:

  • Minnie Mouse 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar;
  • Minnie Lip Scrub & Balm;
  • Minnie Hair Slides;
  • Minnie Hairbrush Set;
  • Minnie Hand Cream Set;
  • Minnie Mouse Sheet Mask;
  • Minnie Bath Fizzer;
  • Minnie Head band & Mask Set;
  • Minnie Make Up Brush Set; and
  • Minnie Eyeshadow Palette.

“We are very proud & excited as a creative team to launch this beautiful Minnie Mouse inspired Disney Christmas collection with such a valued partner as Superdrug,” says Julia Cash, owner and creative director, Mad Beauty. “We have introduced new season gifts such as hair slides, make up brushes and lip scrub and balm sets. As a brand we have to stay fresh and on trend whilst maintaining the Mad Beauty fully compliant quality to give retailers and shoppers something different, which they expect from us.”

The collection is available online and in store now.

Antstream Arcade, Interplay Entertainment Ink Partnership

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Antstream Arcade has expanded its global partnerships ecosystem by signing a licensing deal with Interplay Entertainment.

Following a recent deal with Bandai Namco, this collaboration will see popular titles such as “Earthworm Jim” and “Descent” now available for streaming on the Antstream platform.  

“Interplay is one of the most iconic and well- respected games publishers and developers, so this deal is hugely important for Antstream,” says Steve Cottam, chief executive officer, Antstream. “Following other high-profile partnerships we have signed, and with more deals in the pipeline, we are clearly demonstrating the strength of our position in the gaming market and the huge growth potential that cloud-based streaming services creates.”

For a monthly subscription, not only will gamers be able to play Antstream’s vast and ever-expanding library of fully licensed classics, but they will be able to participate in a wide range of global tournaments and leaderboards.  

“It is always great to partner with a company which is clearly leading the way in gaming and, in this instance, retro gaming,” says Herve Caen, chief executive officer, Interplay Entertainment. “Antstream Arcade is on track to doing just that, substantiated by its strong vision and having a solid understanding and passion for the industry. We are very much looking forward to what this collaboration will deliver.”

Egeez Aims to Be the Amazon of Licensing

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E-commerce has evolved drastically in 2020. Many consumers are flocking to online retailers in place of traditional brick-and-mortar shops as COVID-19 has caused them to stick closer to home. In August, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that e-commerce sales grew 31.8 percent between the first and second quarter of 2020.

As consumers get more comfortable with online shopping, it has become vital for companies in the licensing space to identify ways to reach fans around the world online creatively. To help meet the demand for more e-commerce retail opportunities, entrepreneurs Nathen Mazri and Pascal Haider have announced Egeez. 

The global online shopping platform and mobile app is aimed at connecting fans with the brands and merchandise they love. Touted as an Amazon.com equivalent for the licensing space, the online marketplace offers a place for those in the licensing industry to sell branded products across categories internationally. 

Egeez leverages AI technology and digital analytics to provide licensors with insight into the products that the consumer is most looking for based on their location. The platform is designed to provide relevant IP data that can be leveraged to help companies manage overstock, hit sales targets and connect fans with their favorite products. 

"It will start learning," says Mazri in an interview with License Global. "There's a predictive engine and machine learning that it uses to learn about fans and customers. So, it learns by what buttons they click, what orders they've made [and] what they can filter by."

The platform also has happiness account managers on every continent to assist companies with the onboarding process in their time zone. Egeez provides digital sales strategy support for licensees managing their products online as well.

Mazri and Haider devised Egeez based on their personal experience as a licensee for the Garfield brand. After launching the GarfieldEats app and restaurant, the partners saw an opportunity to provide a digital platform for licensing players worldwide. 

"We promoted [partners] on our app – we have an app for GarfieldEats and website – [and then] I thought you know what, I need to think bigger," adds Mazri. "There's an industry problem here."

Egeez is currently in the onboarding process. The company reports that it is already onboarding significant companies and brands such as Nickelodeon, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, WWE, Endemol Shine, Smurfs, and Penguin Random House. 

The platform is set to launch before Christmas of this year. Once live, fans can log into the marketplace by going to egeez.com or download the app in Google Play or the Apple Store to browse Egeez's online shops. Companies in the licensing industry can also sign-up for the onboarding process now.