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Selfridges, Zion Rootswear Jam for Bob Marley Collection

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Zion Rootswear and Selfridges have announced the launch of an exclusive 14-piece collection inspired by the spirit and ethos of reggae legend and cultural icon, Bob Marley, during U.K. Black History Month.

The collection is comprised of five t-shirts, two long sleeve tees, three hoodies, a denim jacket, a pair of jeans, a cap and a beanie. Each item in the collection features images of Marley including a picture of the artist-activist being stopped by the police, and his words “Stand Up For Your Rights,” a slogan drawn from his track “Get Up, Stand Up.”

“Daddy’s message of love, courage and unity is so relevant right now,” says Cedella Marley, Jamaican singer and daughter of Bob Marley. “A moment in time that to this day seems unthinkable yet is so real. This collection is something special and to have it launch during Black History Month, makes it that bit more important to us, a perfect time to reiterate the essence of my father’s legacy.”

The collaboration was brought together by Bravado, Universal Music Group’s merchandise and brand management company.

“Bob’s legacy extends far beyond his timeless music,” says Daved Bridges, creative development and special projects manager, Bravado. “We’re honored to continue to play a part in delivering his message to the world through inspired, meaningful and stand-out ways.”

The limited edition collection is available now in store and online at www.selfridges.com and www.bobmarley.com.

KISS Unleashes Black Diamond Rum

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Rock band KISS has unleashed their first dark rum release under the new portfolio KISS Rum Kollection.

Black Diamond marks the first time KISS has ventured into the drinks market. The rum is named after the closing song on the bands eponymous debut-album and immortalized on the live album “KISS Alive.”

Taking its name and character from the rock monolith, Black Diamond Premium Dark Rum is a blend of Caribbean cask rums aged up to 15 years. The label draws inspiration from the band’s early days, referencing both costumes and their iconic make-up.

“It’s an amazing match for a band who were pioneers both musically and visually in the world of rock ’n’ roll,” says Sari H. Wilholm, marketing and public relations manager, Brands For Fans, who helped create the KISS rum brand. “When I look at the bottle, we have created a label that embodies everything I associate with KISS: the attitude, the costumes, the songs and the make-up we all grew up with. Listening to Black Diamond still gives me the chills and the rum makes me just as excited!”

KISS Black Diamond Premium Dark Rum is bottled at 40 percent abv in 50cl and is available now in Sweden.

Heelys Rolls into Partnership with Reebok

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Heelys, which is owned by Sequential Brands Group, has announced a new collection with lifestyle and footwear brand Reebok.

The collaboration features ten signature Reebok styles, with the added Heelys wheel technology. Amongst a number of different collabs that Heelys has recently worked on, this marks the first time that the brand has teamed up with another sneaker brand. The Reebok styles will range in colors, patterns and shapes but all have Heely’s ability to go from a sneaker to a skate by shifting weight on to the heel.

The Reebok x Heelys collab comes in ten skus with ranging sizes:

  • Kids Size 13-8; and
  • Mens Size 9-13.

“We are so excited to be teaming up with a global, timeless brand like Reebok,” says Arta Isovski, senior vice president, lifestyle division, Sequential Brands Group. “Reebok was born from sport, and Heelys from adventure. Together we make a shoe that’s ready to take on the world. We are especially proud to offer this collection in adult sizes, as many of our consumers grew up with both of these brands. Now they get to experience the merging of the two worlds to create one awesome collection.”

The Reebok x Heelys collection is available for purchase for $55-$60 on Heelys.com and retailers in global markets.

New ‘World of Warcraft’ Merch Launched

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Multiple products have been released ahead of the launch of the the eighth expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.”

Fans can get prepared to enter the “Shadowlands” with a wide range of all new-licensing programs and partnerships offering books, gear, collectibles and more.

Products released include the new Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition USB microphone available at Best Buy. The new professional microphone developed by Blue Microphones and Blizzard Entertainment allows players to alter their voices to sound like denizens of Azeroth using voice modulation effects. Gamers can celebrate victories, communicate with their raid groups and entertain streaming audiences using hundreds of HD samples from “World of Warcraft: Shadowlands” and the Warcraft universe.

In addition, Secretlab has teamed up with Blizzard Entertainment to create official Alliance & Horde gaming chairs. These chairs are available for pre-order now and will allow gamers to immerse themselves in the land of Azeroth and pledge loyalty to their chosen faction. Both editions will provide comfort and support to players as they prepare to explore the expansion’s world.

The “World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: Eastern Kingdoms” will also take fans from the towers of Silvermoon to the Blackrock Mountain to the white stone castles of Stormwind as they embark on an adventure through the Eastern Kingdoms. Penned by New York Times best-seller Christie Golden, the brand-new compendium releases in November and is available now for pre-orders. Also by author Christie Golden is the “World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde & Lord of the Clans” novel, which is available now.

World of Warcraft players and fans can also head to the Blizzard Gear Store to build out their command center with home and office products, add to their wardrobe with additional apparel offerings, enjoy tabletop action with the the Small World of Warcraft board game complete their showcase with a line-up of collectibles.

Exclusive: Licensing Leadership Summit Q&A with Anna Knight, Vice President, the Global Licensing Group

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With a shifting retail landscape worldwide, a new consumer has emerged alongside ever-evolving needs from the brands they follow and trust. Notably, these new consumers are beginning to interact with brands much differently than ever before, even more so with entertainment streaming reaching a new high.     

As brands continue to navigate these turbulent times, it is more critical than ever that brand owners understand how consumers are responding to brands and how they can continue to grow their business through licensing.

To help support brand licensing leaders during these uncertain times, Licensing Leadership Summit is the only virtual global conference bringing together C-level executives from the world’s largest players across manufacturing, retail, and brands to discuss, debate, and collaborate on the future of brand licensing.

Taking place in the final week of Festival of Licensing, 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 hundreds of global industry peers.

Register for the Licensing Leadership Summit here.

License Global connected with Anna Knight, vice president, the Global Licensing Group and one of the many event organizers behind the premier Summit, who shared her recommendations on what to tune into and how to best prepare to network and collaborate with the top leading licensing professionals in the industry today.

LG: Licensing Leadership Summit is taking place during the final week of Festival of Licensing. How will the Summit differ from the previous weeks and what can attendees expect?

Anna: Festival of Licensing was produced to appeal and help those who may be interested in learning more about brand licensing and brand extension overall, as well as mid-level professionals continuing to build their business portfolio.

Whereas Licensing Leadership Summit was designed for C-level executives and generally those who are in charge of finalizing licensing deals and leading overall brand strategy and direction. Hence, the content will reflect topics that will be more relevant for those leading a brand and the business such as looking at where the consumers trends are globally and how to manage a business and generate revenue during a worldwide crisis.

Moreover, this Summit will feature more discussion amongst colleagues via roundtable discussions versus Festival of Licensing, which mirrors a tradeshow-like experience with its virtual expo hall.

LG:  What sessions do you recommend attendees tune into?

Anna: Every attendee should schedule the three live keynotes into their planner, however we have a wide variety of on-demand sessions available touching upon nearly every important issue and topic the brand licensing industry is looking for answers and guidance on.

Daniel Bobroff, the co-founder of ASOS Ventures, and founder/CEO of Coded Futures is going to kick off the Summit with an excellent address on how to utilize game techniques and methodologies to “gamify” retail to deliver compelling digital experiences that are human-focused rather than merely task-oriented. JPatton scientist, Dr. Wes Wang, follows with a session exploring how utilizing scannable forensic security technology can solve counterfeiting issues, a large issue for brand licensors and licensees. Finally, we are excited to host Marcus East, technical director, office of the CTO at Google, to delve into the digital disruption of retail, and how consumer-facing brands and their core audience will be shaped in the next decade.

In addition to these keynotes, we’re proud of the variety of on-demand sessions that represent the licensing industry’s reach across a variety of sectors including entertainment, gaming, sports, retail, manufacturing and much more. Michael Stone, chairman and co-founder of noted brand extension agency, Beanstalk, will host a session speaking to his decades of experience in licensing and share his candid thoughts on  where brand licensing is headed as well as in cutting-edge areas such as digitally native brands, influencers, eSports and gaming, among others. If you’re interested in the rise of digital talent Hollywood talent agency UTA, which has been at the forefront of representing new, digitally native talent, will explore the future of both kids’ entertainment as well as digitally native celebrity licensing, and CPLG Wildbrain will dive deep on how to make YouTube work for you. I’ve only scratched the surface in the amount of content available at the Summit, I recommend you take a good look at the entire agenda here.

LG: What networking opportunities will there be?

Anna: Plenty! We produced this Summit to give ample time and opportunity for attendees to network amongst one another during and post-sessions. Additionally, this is a great event to speak with the best of the best in licensing with confirmed executives from Activision, Buzzfeed, Crayola, eOne, ViacomCBS, and among more in attendance. Beanstalk and their client Diageo (which includes Guinness, Bailey’s and Smirnoff in its portfolio, among many others) will also be hosting craft cocktail sessions during the Summit that attendees should take advantage of. This is a fantastic opportunity to connect with other licensing executives and could always lead to another opportunity.

There's still time to sign up to attend Licensing Leadership Summit. Click here to register!

Like a Boss: Women Find Empowerment in the Board Room, Thanks to Elle x BossBabe

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Anyone could benefit from a helping hand in 2020, and it’s no secret that the business world is facing some challenging times. And with uphill battles facing women in particular – everything from compounding gendered household roles and expectations to inherent bias in the board room – it’s refreshing and revitalizing to see programs exist that leverage their own power to the benefit of others.

Enter the latest collaboration from fashion and lifestyle bible ELLE and BossBabe, a 2.3 million and growing platform for female entrepreneurs and career-minded individuals, to promote women’s empowerment and career development that dovetails with ELLE’s 75th anniversary.

Together, the two powerhouses have joined forces for Pitch the Biz, a contest that called businesswomen to practice their pitching skills, receive feedback from professionals and network with fellow entrepreneurs.

“The question was, ‘How do we celebrate ELLE’s 75th anniversary milestone while actually empowering women?,’” says Eva Platini, director, licensing, Americas, ELLE and ELLE Décor, Lagardère Active Enterprises Americas. “We did not want to do another product, rather we wanted to bring real value to our customer and women in general. So, we then asked ourselves, ‘What do women want?’ They want to be educated and fulfill their dreams of being their own boss. And this is how we came on this partnership with BossBabe – it was very logical and organic.”

Echoes Danielle Canty, co-creator and chief operating officer, BossBabe: “We’re not here to be empty. We are here to empower women and to give them education, knowledge and community. Partnering with ELLE was a dream come true for us as it has allowed us to extend our reach and include more women in our mission.”

“We strongly believe that women are those that are shaping the future,” continues Platini. “It’s more than a trend, female entrepreneurship is a real movement. Feminism is not about women working against men – it’s really about lifting women up, making them the boss of their own lives and fulfilling their dreams.”

From the more than 4,000 entrants, 10 finalists were selected and invited to pitch their business initiatives to mega-watt professional powerhouses including fashion apparel and accessory maven Rebecca Minkoff; award-wining brand marketing professional and founder Babba C. Rivera; Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder and chief executive officer of The ActOne Group; Beatrice Dixon, founder of The Honey Pot Company; and Natalie Ellis, co-founder and chief executive officer, BossBabe.

“We always say at BossBabe that we believe in collaboration over competition,” says Canty. “And I think when you collaborate with like-minded businesses, like-minded companies and like-minded people, that's when the real magic happens.”

Finalists are:

• Becca Berelsonn, founder and CEO of Kaali, which provides free feminine hygiene products via their network of innovative and intuitive period product dispensers;

• Latosha Ward, creator of a software solution that will assist in the eradication of domestic violence financial and litigation abuse;

• Mandi Vance of Kakadu Dream, a facial mist serving as a modern digital detox for skin;

• Jessica Bonilla, founder of The Breasties, a 501(c)3 organization that hosts free wellness retreats and events for those effected by breast and reproductive cancers;

• Partners Angel Lenise, Montré Moore and Phyllicia Phillips, who created AMP Beauty LA, a tech-forward online retailer providing a one-stop-shop solution for women of color to buy and discover beauty products;

• Chandra Adusei, senior managing partner of The Fempreneur Consultant, which partners with “mompreneurs” and shows up to their community;

• Nana Meriwether, who is the founder of Cale, a wellness company focusing on alcohol alternatives;

• Alyssa Petersel, founder and chief executive officer of MyWellbeing, which matches people to the right therapist;

• Partners Bambii Nzinga and Serife Niyazi, who created a lingerie line, Lady Floraison, specifically geared toward pregnant women; and

• Jance Manivasagan, who started an affordable online tutoring business.

But what do the winners receive? A lot, it turns out.

The crowning glory is a $15,000 grand prize intended to fund the winner’s business initiative. Other awards include 40 hours of business courses via ELLE Education, an online business program from BossBabe and a home office makeover outfitted in the ELLE x BossBabe ultimate work-from-home collection that includes furniture, accessories and planners.

The collaboration between ELLE and BossBabe is not limited to the contest, either. On Nov. 1, a limited-edition capsule collection of apparel endorsed by BossBabe will launch at Kohl’s. The ultimate work-from-home kit products are also available individually at BossBabe.com/Elle, Office Depot and other retailers.

“The Kohl’s capsule collection is perfect for social feeds today, and the female entrepreneur,” says Platini. “It is at the same time elegant and super comfortable. You can wear it to a meeting, but it is also super easy to wear working from home, with pieces that are easy to mix-and-match.”

The winner will be announced today via ELLE and BossBabe’s social channels at 10 a.m. EST. Check out the results here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWInhpX9OPfTl1zM8JMDMNA/featured

Festival of Licensing: OpSec Helps You Prepare for the Evolution of E-Commerce

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In a revealing presentation, Nancy Merritt, senior manager, global relationships, OpSec Security, dives deep into the new e-commerce landscape born out of the global events of 2020.

In her address, Merritt highlights notable changes and upticks in social media, e-commerce spending behavior and significant changes affecting spending, which points to a predicted $6.5 billon in e-commerce sales by 2023. In 2019, global third-party marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Etsy accounted for 50 percent of online retail sales, according to Merritt.

“Because people are sheltered in place, have been home more and are spending more time online, it’s only increased that engagement, visibility and accessibility,” says Merritt. “People are buying things that they normally wouldn’t buy online.”

To learn more about the nuance of e-commerce in a post-pandemic climate and learn how to get ahead of the curve with the popularity of social media, please visit the content-rich Festival of Licensing platform for to find all on-demand sessions here.

The Sleep Charity Gets Cozy with ‘Shaun the Sheep’ Plush

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The Sleep Charity has teamed up with its sheepy sleep ambassador of more than two years, Shaun the Sheep, to launch a brand-new plush toy as part of its annual awareness campaign, Better Sleep Week, which runs from Oct. 19-25.

We are proud of our partnership with The Sleep Charity and are delighted that the exclusive Shaun the Sheep plush toy is now available for fans to buy,” says Rachael Peacock, senior brand manager, Aardman. “We developed the Sheep Dreams initiative to encourage an understanding of the importance of a good night’s sleep. Shaun is known for his fun adventures, but sleep has always been a prevalent theme in the series. It’s great to be able to use our brand as a force for good.” 

The Shaun the Sheep plush toy features a pillow with the campaign slogan ‘Sheep Dreams’ and will retail at £25 plus P&P with 15 percent of the proceeds going to The Sleep Charity. It can be bought exclusively online at www.sheepdreamswithshaun.com beginning Oct. 23.

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TOMY Awarded Toy License for ‘Plants vs. Zombies’

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TOMY International, a global designer, producer and marketer of a broad range of innovative, high-quality toys, has signed a deal with Electronic Arts brokered by licensing agent Retail Monster, to bring the “Plants vs. Zombies” video game characters to life via plush. 

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

“‘Plants vs. Zombies’ is a wildly popular video game franchise, and we’re thrilled to be the licensed partner that gets to bring its characters to life in plush,” says Morgan Weyl, global brands director, TOMY. “Many of Club Mocchi- Mocchi-’s most popular plush toys are characters and accessories from beloved video games, so we’re excited to bring a little piece of ‘Plants vs. Zombies’ into gamers’ homes around the world.”

Developed by TOMY’s Club Mocchi- Mocchi- brand, the line will include a variety of super soft, super squeezable and super huggable plush. 

“TOMY’s Club Mocchi- Mocchi- brand is renowned for its bespoke plush format, and we’re thrilled to delight ‘Plants vs. Zombies’ fans with what will surely be an in-demand range of iconic plush characters,” says Michael Connolly, founder and chief executive officer, Retail Monster.

To learn more about TOMY and its range of innovative, high-quality toys, visit www.tomy.com. For news, updates and product information, follow TOMY on Facebook and Instagram.

Want to learn more? This company is an exhibitor at Festival of Licensing. For more news like this or to experience the event, click here.

Blippi to Become a Magazine

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The Point.1888 is working alongside publisher DJ Murphy for Blippi, a brand of client Moonbug Entertainment, to bring a magazine to the U.K. audience.

With more than 12 billion content views worldwide, Blippi educates and entertains 2-6 year olds across the world, teaching them about everything from colors and shapes to fire trucks and space. 

Capitalizing on the show’s popularity with young children and inspired to keep them busy with educational activities, The Point.1888 signed a deal with DJ Murphy to take the show’s best elements and turn them into an interactive magazine. 

Issued monthly, the 36-page fun-zine is designed with activities, games and puzzles while Blippi helps fans to understand the world. 

“From the moment we saw how engaged Blippi’s fans are with his shows, we wanted to work with the brand,” says Zoe Cannon, managing director, DJ Murphy. “His passion and excitement for discovery and curiosity is contagious, and we desperately wanted to make a magazine that would be as immersive, educational and fun. Working with our existing contacts at The Point.1888 and with new licensing partner Moonbug, has been great. Moonbug’s creative team are so excited and passionate about the brand that it’s really contagious. There is such a wealth of assets for Blippi that literally anything is possible in the magazine!”

This is not the first time that The Point.1888 and DJ Murphy have collaborated, having enjoyed a working relationship for many years with client L.O.L. Due to the publishing group’s rich history of working with YouTube brands including Shopkins and equestrian This Esme, as well as its strong retail relationships, The Point.1888 was eager to secure them as Blippi’s publishing partner from day one. 

“Alongside the monthly magazines for 2021, there is so much more in the pipeline for this brand with partners secured across apparel, bedding, toy, arts and crafts and more,” says Bethan Garton, commercial director, The Point.1888. “We’re thrilled to be working with the industry’s best people to make it all happen.” 

The magazine is now in stores and available to buy in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, WH Smith, Asda, Waitrose, Co-op and all good newsagents, or online from ponymag.com/shop.

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