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Exclusive: Q&A with Debra Restler of Beanstalk


Beanstalk was one of many companies that participated in this year’s Festival of Licensing. After participating as an exhibitor for Europe, Asia and The Americas, Beanstalk has unveiled multiple new deals that will push Beanstalk forward in 2021.

License Global chatted with Debra Restler, senior vice president, business development and marketing about all things Beanstalk, licensing trends and more.


License Global: Beanstalk participated in Festival of Licensing for The Americas, Europe and Asia. Can you tell us about some exciting news in each of these territories?

Restler: While the pandemic is an unprecedented event that is impacting every aspect of our lives and our business, the Beanstalk team has persevered and pivoted to the new normal, signing new clients to our roster and expanding our clients’ licensing programs around the world. Here are some recent highlights:

U.S.: In North America, Beanstalk recently welcomed new clients, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Bush’s Best, to our roster and in both North America and LATAM, Beanstalk has been growing the Diageo and Morton Salt licensing programs.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of New York City’s most important and beloved cultural institutions, which garners over seven million visits annually by art enthusiasts from around the world, has partnered with Beanstalk to bring the Museum’s unparalleled collection and educational content to an even wider audience. Beanstalk will serve as The Met’s licensing agency for the U.S. and Japan, and the new licensing program will include a range of product categories including home furnishings and decor, gifts, paper goods, apparel and fashion accessories and beauty and personal care.

Bush Brothers & Company, maker of Bush’s, the leader in branded bean-based food, has partnered with Beanstalk to extend the brand into complementary food categories as part of its commitment to providing consumers with healthy and great tasting food options. Categories available for licensing include refrigerated entrees, side dishes and dips; hummus; burritos; and chili, among others.

Across North America, Beanstalk has helped Diageo further expand its brands into a range of food categories, providing consumers with new and indulgent ways to experience their favorite spirits. With a focus on indulgence and celebration, Baileys continues to be the brand for adult treating with the delicious and versatile Clabbergirl baking chips which launched at Walmart last year and ready-to-drink coffee by Kraft available at retailers across the U.S. as well as on Amazon. Captain Morgan, the number one selling spiced rum, has launched a line of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum-infused delectable sausages by partnering with 3 Little Pigs. These premium sausages are now available at grocers across North America.

Halloween 2020 just got a whole lot sweeter and saltier! Morton Salt has partnered with the leader in the costume category,, to bring consumers the opportunity to dress as their favorite ad icon with the launch of the Morton Girl costume for both adults and children in North America. The ensemble includes the renowned yellow dress and umbrella. More accessories, such as a handbag in the shape of the Morton Girl’s notable salt canister, will be available for Halloween 2021.

Latin America: In Mexico, Beanstalk continues to expand the Diageo licensing program with ice cream and cakes. Iced Baileys by Helados Nestle is an indulgent, premium ice cream pop that leverages the premiumization trend and supports the Baileys Mexico social media campaign #Culpable (#guilty/guilty pleasure). In addition, Baileys cakes launched at Walmart Mexico earlier in 2020, achieving strong sales.

In December, Marco Polo is set to launch Baileys gifting and confectionery in Mexico. Whether it be for cakes, drinks or cocktails, the Baileys gift sets include all you need to bring the Baileys experience home, including baking accessories and cocktail ingredients.  

In Brazil, Globimport is helping consumers build the ultimate at-home bar experience through Tanqueray glassware and bar accessories such as cocktail shakers and spices to top off their drinks. The glassware will be available at mass supermarkets and through ecommerce.

Europe: In Europe, Beanstalk continues to extend our clients’ brands in the food and beverage and gaming sectors.

Part cake, part booze, Baileys continues to delight consumers’ taste buds through a variety of sweet treats. Bahlsen, the German family-owned biscuit company, has launched two new biscuits – Bahlsen Choco Leibniz Baileys and Bahlsen Baileys Squares – across supermarkets in the U.K. Additionally, Baileys and Finsbury Food Group have partnered to launch the new Baileys Marbled Cake that brings a new twist to the classic chocolate, marbled sponge cake with Baileys flavored frosting filling and a modern, stylish marble effect blended around the outside. The cake is available in supermarkets across the U.K.

TGI Fridays, America’s most iconic bar and grill, is moving into the aisles of the U.K.’s leading frozen food retailer, Iceland Foods, with a range of frozen appetizers and desserts. The line includes some of TGI Fridays fan favorites like Chili Beef Fries, Fridays Wings and Fridays BBQ Ribs, New York Cheesecake, and many more.

Tinderbox, Beanstalk’s digital media representation division, has grown in the gaming category with new deals for current clients as well as adding a new client to our roster. Microsoft and Finsbury Food Group have teamed up for an Xbox-themed controller cake – a Victoria sponge cake with a buttercream and strawberry jam filling is a delicious way for an Xbox fan to celebrate any special occasion. The cake is available now at Tesco and Asda in the U.K.

Additionally, Tinderbox has signed new gaming sensation, “Tell Me Why,” the latest narrative adventure game from DONTNOD Entertainment, the studio behind the beloved franchise, “Life Is Strange.” The global licensing program is expected to launch end of 2020 with Insert Coin, who will be producing replica apparel and pin badges based on iconography from the game. These products will be available Q4 2020 from the Insert Coin webstore.

Asia: In Asia, Beanstalk has extended into CPG and beauty categories with clients including P&G and Paris Hilton.

We are seeing tremendous growth for our Braun Global Healthcare Licensee, Helen of Troy, this year. Fueled by the pandemic, global demand for thermometers has reached new heights and consumers are turning to market leader, Braun, for its trusted accuracy. In addition, value-add thermometer launches with premium features continue to position Braun as the thermometer leader across key markets. Activity accelerated in Asia Pacific, with China leading the explosive growth after launching five new thermometers and a nasal aspirator via online platforms, coupled with brick and mortar distribution of flagship ear thermometer and forehead thermometer products.

One of the most photographed women in modern society, Paris Hilton has partnered with Chinese licensee Guang Zhou Ao Yi Mei Trading Co., Ltd to launch eyewear across Asia, including sunglasses, optical frames and contact lenses. The line is available at retail in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan with plans to roll out further across Asia and Australia.


What trends can we look forward to in licensing in 2021 and beyond?

Consumer priorities, shopping habits and expectations have shifted during the pandemic, in some cases, permanently. We believe the following key categories will continue to perform well and be top of mind for consumers:

Home: The home has become more than where we live, but also the office, school, gym, bar, restaurant and cinema. Consumers will continue to look for products that can enhance their homes, whether it be furniture for the work-from-home office, exercise equipment for the at-home gym, or outdoor décor for the backyard oasis. Additionally, tech for the home will continue to grow, from consumer electronics to streaming platforms. As consumers transform their homes into the ‘cinema’ or ‘sports arena,’ they will continue to turn to tech for entertainment and to connect with friends and family.

Gaming: Console manufacturers and game publishers have seen record-breaking sales, downloads and engagement during lockdown. With consumers spending more time at home, gaming has now truly become mainstream, allowing gaming brands to reach new audiences and grow their fanbase. From computer accessories to gaming apparel and even food, gaming brands have become even more a part of the fan experience. We also expect to see major consumer products programs centered on influencers and streamers.

Food & Beverage: For many of us, working from home and home schooling means more meal prep and cooking at home. Consumers will continue to seek healthy, convenient and affordable options for meals and snacking. Frozen food has an advantage, as consumers can stock up and not stress about another trip to the grocery store. Restaurant brands are seeing sales of their licensed food and beverage products soar, leveraging licensing as way to remain relevant, top-of-mind and engaged with consumers.

Health & Safety: As the global population places a higher value on the critical importance of sanitization and hygiene practices, health and safety products will continue to perform well. From thermometers to UV sanitization, to PPE products such as masks, gloves, and goggles, these essentials will continue to be in demand, and licensees will seek brands to provide consumers with confidence that there’s efficacy in those products.


Given the tremendous upheaval caused by the pandemic, as well as the increased awareness of racial injustice, do today’s consumers expect brands to help, or to take a stand?

Consumers understand the power and influence brands have on society. They expect brands to take a stand and take action to address the social, environmental and political issues of our time. Brand must have a Purpose, express a position on current issues, execute Purpose-driven marketing strategies and give back to the community. Both the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have shined a light on the challenges we are facing globally, and consumers are paying close attention to those brands that are responding and giving back during this time. They will remember these actions – or inaction – when making purchase decisions for years to come.

Mattel, Raycom-Legacy Launch Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru


Mattel and Raycom-Legacy Content Company have announced the all-new Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru, debuting at Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif. on Dec. 3.

The experience, which will run through Jan. 2, will showcase more than a mile of life-size Hot Wheels vehicles and Monster Trucks. It will offer experiences including photo ops for more than 50 vehicles.

“The Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru was a natural fit for us,” says Ken Hudgens, president and chief executive officer, Raycom-Legacy Content Company. “We are always trying to think of how to best engage Hot Wheels fans – and because we can’t tour the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live show right now, we wanted to create something new. This Drive-Thru will be a safe way to do something new, unexpected, creative and fun. This attraction will capture the Challenger spirit of Hot Wheels – both in theme with Hot Wheels Monster Trucks and legendary Hot Wheels cars, and the way the whole experience is presented.”

The kid-focused drive-thru experience offers fans an opportunity to travel through the largest life-size collection of Hot Wheels vehicles ever including Hot Wheels Deora II, Twin Mill, Rip Rod, Loop Coupe and Bone Shaker.

Also starring in the lineup will be the original Monster Truck, Bigfoot, and its fleet featuring Bigfoot #5 which is the world’s tallest and heaviest monster truck. Other fan favorites include Tiger Shark, Demo Derby and V8 Bomber.

As guests travel through in the comfort of their own vehicle, they will drive into the world of Hot Wheels with vehicles displayed in epic ways while listening to an exciting and educational audio companion, plus a special in-car photo experience. 

 “We are always looking for new ways for fans of all ages to engage with our portfolio of iconic brands,” says Julie Freeland, senior director, Mattel Global Location Based Entertainment. “With our new Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru, we were committed to finding a completely new way for fans to experience our vehicles from the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live arena show, from the safety of their cars. This will be an amazing attraction for families this holiday season, especially the kids!”

Crayola, Running Press Color in Publishing Partnership


Running Press and Crayola have announced a new partnership to publish a range of products across Running Press imprints Black Dog & Leventhal, RP Studio and Running Press Miniature Editions,

The partnership will include the creation of children’s activity books, stationery products and mini-kits.

“We are thrilled to partner with Crayola, one of the most trusted and beloved American brands, on a wide range of books and ancillary product that will delight people of all ages,” says Kristin Kiser, publisher, Running Press. “From parents searching for engaging activities for their kids to adults looking to express their own creativity, Running Press has a format that will allow everyone to connect with this remarkable brand.”

The partnership will launch this fall with “Crayola Create It Yourself” which includes 52 colorful DIY crafts organized seasonally, like melted crayon ornaments, flower pencil toppers, haunted Halloween decorations and turkey bowling and an introduction from fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.

The 64 Colors Journal” is a nostalgic celebration of the classic 64 colors box, while the customizable “Crayola: You Color My World” fill-in-book offers a unique way to craft a personal gift.

Finally, the “Crayola Enamel Pin Set,” available in Running Press’ exclusive mini-kit format, allows fans to display their love for Crayola on their backpack or jacket.

“At Crayola, we inspire creativity through color and innovative crafting experiences, and our partnership with Running Press will showcase the splendid Create It Yourself content and DIY experiences that celebrate our mission,” says Warren Shorr, vice president, business development and global licensing. “We know that parents’ value creative and imaginative play, which we can enable and enhance by offering the best products with the best partners.”

New releases will continue to publish across Running Press imprints through 2021.

Hearst U.K. Inks Homebase Deal


Homebase has secured a three-year partnership with Hearst U.K.

As part of the deal, Homebase will work with Hearst U.K.’s magazine brands House Beautiful, Country Living and Good Housekeeping to create a new range of household and lifestyle licensed products. 

“We’re excited to be working with Hearst U.K. and creating a range of new products for our homes and gardens that help customers recreate the latest style trends in their homes,” says Dave Elliott, commercial director, Homebase. “This partnership will give customers even more options to purchase quality products from Homebase knowing they’ve been created with the innovation and inspiration from the stylist teams at House Beautiful, Country Living and Good Housekeeping.”

The House Beautiful and Country Living ranges will include designer kitchens, furniture, home furnishings, a decorative paint range, outdoor living garden products, and new tiling ranges. The Good Housekeeping ranges will include kitchen and cookware products.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Homebase on this licensing partnership,” says Sharon Douglas, chief brand officer, lifestyle, homes and weeklies, Hearst U.K. “We know that our highly engaged audiences across Country Living, House Beautiful and Good Housekeeping turn to us when they want to create or get inspiration for their dream home. They trust our experts when it comes to what to buy, so a partnership with an iconic retailer like Homebase makes complete sense.”

Partnership will see Hearst U.K. promoting the ranges, which will be exclusive to Homebase, to its audiences. The first launch will occur this December. The other ranges will be developed and rolled out throughout 2021.

Festival of Licensing Kicks off Week 4 with Licensing Leadership Summit


As the Global Licensing Group at Informa Markets wraps up a successful first three weeks of its inaugural Festival of Licensing, which covered Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America, festival producers now look forward to hosting the month-long event’s culmination, Licensing Leadership Summit.

Taking place Oct. 28 and 29, this two-day virtual conference offers the opportunity to form connections, share knowledge and gather insight on the future of licensing alongside top leading licensing professionals in the industry today.

Designed for C-level executives – and generally those who are in charge of finalizing licensing deals and leading overall brand strategy and direction – Licensing Leadership Summit content will reflect relevant topics for those leading a brand and the business with a wide variety of on-demand sessions available that touch upon nearly every important issue and topic the brand licensing industry is looking for answers and guidance on. Licensing Leadership Summit is truly a great event to network and learn from the best of the best in licensing. Confirmed executives from Activision, Buzzfeed, Crayola, eOne, ViacomCBS and more will be in attendance.

Registration is available here.


Wednesday, October 28

  • Keynote - Time to Play: Supercharging Retail Through Gamification (9am PST/12pm EST)
  • Speaker: Daniel Bobroff, Co-Founder, ASOS Ventures, and Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Coded Futures
  • Keynote - Revolutionizing Brand Protection (12pm PST/3pm EST)
  • Speaker: Dr. Wes Wang, Scientist, JPatton

Thursday, October 29

  • Keynote - The Retail Revolution: Planning Ahead for Digital Disruption (9am PST/12pm EST)
  • Speaker: Marcus East, Technical Director, Office of the CTO, Google


How the Digital Revolution in Retail has Impacted Licensing


According to an EMarketer report from earlier this year, e-commerce sales in the U.S. rose 18 percent. The company expects U.S. click-and-collect ecommerce sales to grow to $58.52 billion, up 60.4 percent from their initial forecast of 38.6 percent growth. 

Consumers' push towards e-commerce is also an international trend. In China, McKinsey reported that the territory earned over $1.5 trillion in ecommerce revenue in 2019 and early reports look for growth this year. In the U.K., behaviors such as home hub shopping have increased by 20 percent in 2020 as well.

For this year, gains for the sector were spurred on by consumers moving online as stores around the globe temporarily shut down due to COVID-19. As consumers now readjust to this 'new normal' and make plans for life post-COVID, it's also become clear that consumers' newfound digital shopping experiences are here to stay. The convenience of online retail and the new comfortability that consumers feel when shopping online has shown a retail pathway.

Shoppers have recently reported to believing they feel they will receive better deals through online shopping via Prime Days than through traditional Black Friday deals. The NPD recently reported that 57 percent of consumers to do at least some, if not all, of their 2020 holiday shopping during the online event. The increased demand speaks to NPD's belief that Prime Day could outpace all other big shopping days this year.

"Consumers are already entering this earlier-than-ever start to the holiday season with a different shopping mindset and this is retail's chance to emphasize the notion that early is better when making holiday purchases – when it comes to inventory, shipping and deals," says Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, retail, The NPD Group.

The trends we see today illuminate the truth that online retail is here to stay and the metaphorical Pandora's Box that has opened due to the pandemic shows no signs of closing.


Hear about more of the latest retail trends by registering for the Licensing Leadership Summit now! The all-virtual event will showcase some of the industry's biggest thought leaders and highlight what they see as the future of the licensing and retail business. 

Industry Leaders Highlight their Vision for Licensing's Future

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Licensing Leadership Summit is the culmination of the month-long Festival of Licensing virtual event, and offers global brand licensing decision makers insight and thought leadership panels that will help shape their strategic direction for 2021.

The two-day conference, taking place Oct. 28-29, is packed with industry-led thought leadership and online conversations about the opportunities ahead. It will virtually unite the whole 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 Entertaiment, Funko, Zynga, Nickelodeon, BBC, CPLG Wildbrain, Kantar, FlowHaven and many more.

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.

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

Speaker: Robin Sayetta, Head of Business Development, Retail, The Museum of Modern Art

The Athlete Influencer Difference

Speakers: Terése Whitehead, Senior Manager of Sponsorship and Operations, NFL Player's Association, Inc.; Isaac Rochell, American Football Player

What Do Licensees Want?

Speakers: Connie Chang, Director of Licensing, C-Life Group; Tonya Kirby, Director of 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 of Corporate Strategy, M&A and Business Development, Zynga, Inc., 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 of Business Development, CounterFind, and Jamie Gerson, Head of 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 of 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

Pete Reyes of JPatton Details the Impact E-commerce and Analytics have had on Licensing

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2020 saw a massive increase in online retail. Due to temporary shutdowns of brick-and-mortar retailers due to COVID-19, consumers around the world turned to e-commerce to shop from the comfort of their homes. The increase in online shopping as provided both opportunities and challenges for companies looking to find an edge in the market.

To better understand the internet’s role in shaping consumer habits today and in the years to come, License Global recently spoke to Pete Reyes, vice president and managing director, JPatton. During the conversation, Reyes highlighted how digital data is helping company’s make informed decisions and shared how companies can better protect their IP from counterfeiting in the digital age.

He chats with us ahead of JPatton’s upcoming keynote at the Licensing Leadership Summit. The presentation will explore how utilizing scannable forensic security technology can solve counterfeiting issues.

JPatton's Dr. Wes Wang will keynote Licensing Leadership Summit on Oct. 28. Register to attend by clicking here.

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

Reyes: The growing consumer use of the internet for retail or retail research – and the increase in the use of consolidated retail portals and social media for retail – has changed the way brands market products, as well as how companies must protect their brands. Additionally, new brands are popping up every day as a result of brand collaborations or as a result of content generation across various media platforms. 

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

The convergence of the all things internet, data analytics, and artificial intelligence is creating new opportunities for embedded intelligence, making products and business applications smarter than ever before. Also, the rise of digital currency and peer-to-peer payment platforms is dramatically increasing the use of digital commerce between individuals and across businesses. These “disruptors” will create new opportunities but can also pose big threats for anyone with a business-as-usual approach.

How has new technology impacted the challenges of counterfeiting?

Technology has made it easier for counterfeiters to make and sell product in ways that appear remarkably legitimate, cheaper, and faster, increasing the need for better, faster enforcement tools. The increased ability to process images through phones has given enforcement personnel and consumers the ability to authenticate products in the marketplace in an instant. The introduction of new, lower cost, anti-counterfeiting technologies like JP Forensics is making it nearly impossible to counterfeit while giving consumers and enforcement teams instantaneous authentication of products and allowing those products to be removed from the marketplace.

What are you hoping people get out of your talk at the Licensing Leadership Summit? 

We want to reinforce the importance of innovation in the anti-counterfeiting space. Counterfeiters are making advances in their technology, and it’s important for brand owners to stay ahead of the game. For example, we have a new authentication technology called JP Forensics that can be added directly to your logo, packaging, or products without disruption of your manufacturing process and removing the need for an additional label.

Get Ready for Licensing Leadership Summit

All sessions will be available on-demand throughout both live event days and for four weeks after the conference ends. The full agenda can be viewed here.

Add these live keynote and on-demand sessions to your schedule now by registering for the Licensing Leadership Summit now!

Mark Kingston of ViacomCBS Highlights the Power of Content During Our ‘New Normal’

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Media became a comforting space for consumers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and at-home schooling challenges. From edutainment content to licensed face masks, the category provides vital support for people trying to navigate the unprecedented year we've all faced. 

A key player in the media space in 2020 has been ViacomCBS.

The entertainment powerhouse has been an essential partner for families as they adjust to their new normal. License Global recently spoke with Mark Kingston, senior vice president, international licensing, ViacomCBS Consumer Products, to understand the measures and actions that the company has taken over the course of this unprecedented year. Kingston shared how ViacomCBS – and licensing broadly – has adjusted and discusses what he sees on the horizon as the industry adapts to our post-COVID future.

We caught up with Kingston ahead of his upcoming on-demand presentation at Licensing Leadership Summit. He will be presenting as part of ViacomCBS’s “From Screen to Shelves” session which highlights how the company’s top brands are going from the content we watch to the products we buy.

Register to attend Licensing Leadership Summit by clicking here.

License Global: Aside from the shift due to the global pandemic, what has been the most significant change you've seen in the licensing business over the last five years, and where do you see the licensing business heading in the next five? 

Kingston: Over the last five years, competition for shelf space has soared. Licensed products are coming from more sources than ever before including gaming, social media influencers, streaming platforms and the expansion of online and omnichannel strategies. 

Within the next five years, we'll see the rise of social commerce and e-commerce, as well as the ability for streaming platforms to launch new IP that will expand into licensing. That will also lead to an increase in seamless consumer interaction and consumption between content to commerce.

What are some of the ways that ViacomCBS has reached out to the broader community during the challenges of COVID-19?  

ViacomCBS has used its platforms and programming to raise awareness and provide resources during these challenging times. For example, campaigns were launched to promote emotional wellbeing, plus health and safety, content was created on outlets like "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" to support charitable causes. BET ran a special to bring awareness to the serious issues pertaining to their audience, and Nickelodeon ran a special with the goal of explaining what seems like the unexplainable to their audience as well. 

Additionally, we are so proud of the face mask program we are doing in partnership with Save The Children. We have entered into multiple licensing agreements to create facemasks with iconic Nickelodeon characters including "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "PAW Patrol" with all of the ViacomCBS royalties to be donated to Save the Children.  

How has streaming impacted the way you think about content?

Steaming provides a great opportunity to allow our fans to consume our library of content. It's another important way for fans to connect to our content. 

As children adjust to the unique schooling challenges of 2020, what role do you think media plays in helping families during this time? 

Media provides an outlet for families to relax and de-stress from all the pressures and can also provide edutainment. We are fortunate to have a strong roster of Nick Jr shows that provide both a level of fun but also help educate at the same time.

What qualities do you look for in a licensing partner and why? 

We are looking for partners where we can align on innovation, integrity, authenticity… and a stable balance sheet! We are consistently excited about partners who challenge the status quo and push the boundaries on innovation. We want to bring truly unique products to market that our fans will enjoy and appreciate.

When looking for new markets for products, what should licensees and licensors be looking for and how can they tell what sectors could be right for them? How can you tell what's right for you?

It all begins with research – it's about following the consumer and matching product categories with the needs of the consumer and how your brand(s) can fit into that category and deliver upon these needs. At ViacomCBS Consumer Products, we are always in lockstep with our consumer research team to make sure we are driven by data and strategic alignment.

What is the current biggest trend primed for industry disruption that you see on the horizon for the toy industry that not enough people are talking about? 

Content consumption to product purchases. There is so much being done in this area and we'll continue to see advancement as the ability to activate purchasing from consumption of content becomes even more seamless.

Get Ready for Licensing Leadership Summit

All sessions will be available on-demand throughout both live event days and for four weeks after the conference ends. The full agenda can be viewed here.

Add on-demand sessions like this to your schedule now by registering for the Licensing Leadership Summit now!

Guinness at Home: How Guinness Thrived While Socially Distanced


Some of the best places in the world to have a drink were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As people around the world were asked to stick closer to home, bars and restaurants were shuttered as we adjusted to a “new normal.” Yet, despite social distancing precautions, people around the world found novel ways to connect while apart.

One great example of the unique ways people stay connected in 2020 came from Diageo and Guinness. The beloved drink brand launched its Guinness at Home social media campaign this year as a way to let consumers have a drink together from their own homes. Guinness’s campaign featured signature licensed merchandise for the brand and encouraged consumers to bring the bar into their own homes.

License Global recently spoke with Shane Grogan, senior licensing manager, Diageo, to learn more about the campaign and highlight the unique digital offering. Grogan shed light on how everything came together and how the Guinness brand has been able to manage during this unprecedented time.

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License Global: What is the Guinness At Home campaign?

Grogan: The Guinness At Home social media campaign inspires consumers to live the magic of having a beautiful Guinness from the comfort of their own homes. Featuring signature Guinness glassware, barware accessories, home décor accessories and bar furniture, this campaign encourages consumers to ‘bring the pub home’ during a time when many bars and restaurants have been closed due to the current crisis.

How did the campaign come about?

As with countless ideas of late, this campaign was born as a response to shifting consumer behaviors. St. Patrick’s Day 2020 coincided directly with the early stages of at-home mandates and shutdowns across the globe. For the first time in generations, we were unable to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the bar with friends and family.

The acclaimed Guinness "We’ll March Again" commercial served as the inspiration for the campaign. Featuring a powerful message of care and resilience, this heartfelt video showcases footage from St. Patrick’s Days past and reassures fans that Guinness will still be there for them through these unprecedented times. The pride, heritage and positivity encompassed in this commercial provided the perfect platform to present the collection of Guinness licensed products to help consumers feel just that bit closer to the bar, from the comfort of home.

What licensed product does the campaign feature?

GUINNESS_Perfect Pint.jpgThis campaign is centered around the idea of recreating the bar experience at home and within that setting, proposes several opportunities for many product categories across hundreds of products.

One of the most successful programs within the portfolio of licensed products is the Guinness-branded personalized glassware. The range includes the popular “Gravity Glass” as well as multi-packs, mugs and tankards. Consumers love the option to customize product and make it their own. No two Guinness lovers are the same, so why should the glass they drink out of be? The campaign features bright, cheerful imagery showcasing some of the best-sellers.

2008_GUINNESS_SOCIAL0355.jpgIn addition to glassware, the campaign also includes several decorative bar signs that set the stage for recreating one’s very own pub and adding a celebratory atmosphere to the home. Authentic, stylish and made to last, the range of wall art includes metal, wood and canvas options, as well as illuminated choices to give add some cheerful warmth and light to the space.

Lastly, the campaign includes functional bar tools and equipment for those looking to add a touch of magic to their favorite gathering. This includes bottle openers, cap catchers, bar towels, mats and coasters.

The options to bring the pub home are endless and cater to a wide variety of consumers. However big or small their spaces may be, there is truly something for everyone!

What are some other ways Diageo has shifted the overall licensing strategy in response to the evolution of retail and consumer behaviors?

While the focus on ecommerce is not a new phenomenon, 2020 is the year that has forced brands and retailers alike to devote enormous time and effort not only to expanding digital presence but also establishing deeper connections with consumers. Content is king and part of the Guinness licensing strategy is finding new and innovative ways to engage with consumers. The Guinness At Home campaign has already seen success, boasting over one million impressions in the first two weeks, as well as seeing a tremendous lift in traffic and conversion. Aside from concentrating on the GUINNESS webstore business and aligning the world of Guinness online, licensees are also exploring new ways to grow in existing trending categories, like food and baking. Looking forward to the 2020 holiday season and St. Patrick’s Day 2021, we anticipate the launch of new product, as well as elevated and interactive marketing campaigns to support distribution, grow brand awareness and of course, drive sales.

Do you envision the increase in at home cocktail making during the pandemic will carry over even when bars begin to open back up?

GUINNESS Bottle_.jpgAlthough we can’t wait to enjoy each other’s company safely in restaurants and bars, we believe that the current issues have shifted consumer behavior for the foreseeable future. In a troubling time when people had nothing to rely on but the comfort of their own homes, the importance of a cultivated, authentic and relaxing space is paramount. We expect to see the trends of at home experiences (cooking, baking, entertaining, drinking, redecorating and renovating) all continue to grow within the next few years. In true Guinness spirit, we intend to look at the glass half-full and echo sentiments of gratitude and positivity in the licensing program and coinciding marketing efforts.