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Articles from 2020 In December


Licensing 2020: Year in Review

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Suffice say, 2020 has been a year to remember. License Global takes a look back at the biggest news in licensing during this unique time, broken down by month. This overview covers the most clicked licensing stories in 2020, highlighting the biggest changes this year had to offer and what trends and deals will expand for years to come.

January: TikTok Influencers Sign with UTA

Social media influencers Charli and Dixie D’Amelio signed a licensing deal with UTA. The deal would see the sisters represented n more digital content, podcasts, live touring, books and TV and licensing endorsements. Their parents, Heidi and Marc, signed with the agency as well.

February: Mr. Men Little Miss Nab McDonald’s Deal

Mr. Men Little Miss worked with McDonald’s for a Happy Meal promotion across the U.K. and Ireland. The Happy Meal Box included a reusable character cup featuring characters Mr. Tickle, Little Miss Sunshine and Mr. Bump.

March: DreamWorks Makes a Splash with Water Park Debut

American Dream, the shopping experience in East Rutherford, New Jersey, was announced as the home to the world’s first and only DreamWorks Animation Water Park. The park’s opening was delayed from March to October.

April: Licensing Helps Combat COVID-19

As COVID impacted the world, several companies pivoted from its usual production to lend its help to those in need.

May: ‘Tiger King’s’ Carole Baskin Ventures into Licensing

Carole Baskin of the Netflix series “Tiger King” released licensed product with Represent. The deal, consisting of a limited-run Big Cat Rescue t-shirt bearing Baskin’s viral catch phrase, “Hey, you cool cats and kittens,” was brokered by Buchwald, with proceeds benefiting Big Cat Rescue.

June: Crayola, SchoolMaskPack Team for Masks

As school reopening efforts progressed during the summer, Crayola and SchoolMaskPack introduced Monday-through-Friday reus-able cloth face masks, with some of the proceeds going to #KidsHelpingKids, a charity that aids those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

July: Luke Combs, Crocs Slide into New Collab

Country music star Luke Combs teamed with Crocs for the Bootlegger slides. The shoes come with Bootlegger-themed Jibbitz charms, including a real guitar pick and holder.

August: Kenshi Yonezu Hosts Digital Concert in ‘Fortnite’

Japanese singer/songwriter Kenshi Yonezu took the virtual main stage for a digital concert in “Fortnite.” Yonezu’s online concert saw him join other musical acts who performed in the game, such as Major Lazer and Travis Scott.

September: Jazwares Debuts First ‘CoComelon’ Toy Line

Moonbug and Jazwares teamed up to create a line of toys inspired by the animated video series “CoComelon.” The line from Jazwares spanned several categories including plush, vehicles, figurines and roleplay.

October: Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block Appears on License Global’s Podcast

As one of the inadvertent pioneers of music merchandise licensing, Wood shared how he and the group currently steer each aspect of their sophisticated, fan-driven consumer products offerings and more on “The Licensing Mixtape.”

November: Casetify Releases More Pokémon Gear

Casetify and Pokémon’s second collection, under the “Past, Present, and Future” theme, features accessories, including new case styles and returning favorites.

December: Kraft Heinz Gets Delicious Partnerships

The Kraft Heinz Company, together with its exclusive licensing agency Brand Central, expanded into new merchandise categories as it scales its consumer products program.

 

Want to see more of the top stories of the year? Read License Global’s December 2020 issue now!

Toei Animation Kicks Off “World Trigger” New Worldwide Premiere

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Toei Animation has announced that season two of “World Trigger” will stream on the leading streaming platforms Crunchyroll and Anime Digital Network in France. Leveraging their collective presence, “World Trigger” season two will be accessible to anime fans around the globe.

In addition, Toei Animation also revealed that Season 2 will launch as a simultaneous premiere with Japan on Jan. 9, 2021. “World Trigger” Season 2 will be on several streaming services with a shared simulcast window. All subtitled episodes will stream day and date with the TV broadcast in Japan. In addition, Toei Animations in Japan surprised fans with confirmation that it will be producing a third season of the sci-fi action series. 

“We’re excited to partner with Crunchyroll and Anime Digital Network to bring ’World Trigger’ season to fans on their streaming services,” says Masayuki Endo, president and chief executive officer, Toei Animation. “We’re thrilled the new season is accessible to fans around the world and look forward to the simultaneous premiere of season two together with Japan on January 9.”

JINS Reveals Pokémon Eyewear

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JINS Eyewear, in collaboration with The Pokémon Company, has designed the new JINS Pokémon Model, inspired by poularPokémon creatures. 

JINS Pokémon Model is on sale beginning now at the JINSonline store (www.jins.com/us/).

Riki Group, PPW Ink ‘The Fixies’ Deal

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Riki Group is strengthening the position of “The Fixies” andannounces a cooperation with Chinese leading agency PPW (Promotional Partners Worldwide) for promotion and licensing.

PPW has been appointed as the licensing agent for the brand in China. The agency will support “The Fixies’s” development onthe territory, further expanding by launching wide-ranginglicensing and branding programs.

The Fixies have expanded their footprint in China recently and the release of a fourth season is planned, which is produced inco-production with Tencent Video. The series reached 13 billion views on Chinese platforms. In addition, Tencent commissionedHebei TV to create a new TV sci-fi game show for kids – “FixieLab.” It is expected that the TV show will support the release ofthe series in early 2021.

Based on the brand’s success, PPW will host new licensedmerchandise and bring consumer products in high-profile publishing, creativity crafts categories, as well as in the keycategories such as apparel, cosmetics and food. 

“We believe that working closely with PPW gives us a greatopportunity to create locally relevant products, style guides,andmake sure that our storytelling is converted to the right Licensing program and commercial success for licensees,” says Maya Moskvicheva, chief executive officer, Marmelad Media, RikiGroup’s licensing agency. “Due to PPW knowledge andexperience in the market we will be able to give our partnersbetter creative solutions. [The] educational nature of ‘TheFixies’ fits perfectly to market trends.” 

Tiki Tonga Named Global Licensee for Guinness 232

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After the Rugby World Cup, specialty coffee roasters Tiki Tonga announce the comeback of Guinness 232 Coffee.

Tiki Tonga have announced that they will be the official coffee roaster and partner of Guinness 232 Coffee, a partnership brokered by Beanstalk, Diageo’s global brand extension licensing agency.

The coffee is now available in beans, ground and new capsule formats online through Tiki Tonga.

Topps Digital Celebrates ‘The Mandalorian’ Finale

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The Topps Company is celebrating the season finale of “The Mandalorian” with Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano signature cards, as well as another weekly exclusive “Mando Mondays” collectible release, giving fans the chance to collect exclusive cards chronicling memorable moments from each episode, all available in its digital collectibles app, “Star Wars: Card Trader by Topps.”

The Pascal signature cards are available now, and the  Carano set will be available December 27, both in bronze, white, gold, black and both through the feature called “Workbench,” which allows users to trade-in/combine cards to get a rarer card as a reward. To make it even more exciting for collectors, on December 27, users can craft Pedro and Gina signature cards to receive Dual Signature card variants.

This week’s exclusive release features cards chronicling moments from the season two finale – The Mandalorian and his allies attempt a daring rescue to save The Child from the grip of Moff Gideon. Cards will be available in the pack store through Dec. 28 and comes in a 12-card set and unlock a special award card.

Fans can download “Star Wars: Card Trader by Topps” free in the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.

Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells Welcomes Winter Holidays

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Zynga has rolled out its recently released mobile game, “Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells.” Officially licensed from Warner Bros. Games and published under the Portkey Games label, players will get a series of seasonal festivities throughout December, from limited-time collection events to a host of holiday decor and surprises. 

“As any fan of the Harry Potter books and films knows, Christmas at Hogwarts is a very special time,” says YaronLeyvand, senior vice president, games, Zynga. “For the first winter holiday for Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, we wanted to treat players to a range of new content and seasonal rewards, released throughout December. We’re excited to celebrate the season with players, and also have many more magical Match-3 events and activities in store for next year.” 

In the game, players can collect cards to complete the new, limited-time ‘Christmas in the Wizarding World’ album, to earn a mythical Unicorn as their companion magical creature. Later in the month, holiday decor and weather will turn Hogwarts into a wintry, wizarding wonderland, as players encounter falling snowflakes on their gameboard that can be collected to earn rewards. Bringing a bang to the festivities, brightly colored ‘Wizard Cracker’ boosts will drop into the puzzles unexpectedly, giving players the gift of an extra gem-clearing blast as they complete puzzles in this magical, Match-3 game.

Bringing style to the season, international artist and known Harry Potter fan Zayn Malik has worked closely with the Zynga team to create new customization elements for the magical Match-3 title. To replicate more life-like features for his avatar in “Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells,” Zayn worked to create new eyebrow, earring, beard and eye customizations which will be available in-game to all players in the new year. Malik has shared artwork of his in-game avatar on his own social channels in December, with an invitation for his fans and fellow gamers to share images of their own. 

“I enjoyed working with the Zynga team coming up with new elements to the avatar creator,” says Malik. “I feel like seeing the animated version of myself in the game made it way more fun and with these new customizations that are coming soon, all players will have the opportunity to feel more connected to the game and make their character look more like themselves!” 
Additionally, as the calendar arrives at Christmas Eve, players can also visit the “Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells” social channels for more surprises during the last week of the year. 

 

Rainbow: A TV Empire Celebrates 25 Colorful Years

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It’s a truth widely acknowledged that a year in television is no time at all. Shows take time to produce, audiences take years to grow and licensing, well, that comes long after properties bed-in with crowds.

In Italy, Rainbow has brought numerous titles to the forefront of Italian television, gathered millions of fans under its own brands and has become one of the leading global production companies in just 25 years. Founded by Iginio Straffi, a former illustrator, author and animator, as an animation agency, Rainbow gained huge momentum after gathering enough funding for its own productions, growing alongside the rapidly fluctuating television industry to dynamically place its properties at the forefront.

“The proliferation of free-to-air channels, the launch of countless platforms and the progressive erosion of television viewers in favor of streaming on various platforms through other devices, has radically changed the system,” says Straffi, founder and president, Rainbow. “We live in a totally different world, where the old resists and the new is in continuous and rapid evolution. Rainbow sensed that change cannot be experienced passively, that’s why we’ve taken action to equip ourselves for this revolution thanks to our multi-tasking and synergy-driven corporate DNA.”  

Straffi is the visionary behind Italian TV mainstay Rainbow, with an approach that continues to drive Rainbow forward in terms of both content and consumer product.

“Rainbow’s mission has always been to create high quality entertainment content and develop it into 360° brands,” adds Straffi. “We develop each and every one of our properties with the aim of tapping into the wishes, affection and interest of our worldwide fans. When fans fall in love with our stories, they are passionate about our characters and want to know every-thing about them; they want to be part of that fantastic universe, and we know how to create it for them. That’s why licensing has been a natural extension of our storytelling ability from the very beginning, helping us establish a deeper bond with our audiences. Licensing is a way to get closer, but above all, the healthiest and best way to finance our art and enables us to continue to invest in the creation of new characters and stories. Licensing is the fuel that allows Rainbow’s engine to run all the time.”  

Broken into different companies, the Rainbow Group consists of Rainbow and Rainbow CGI, the group’s dedicated animation studios; Colorado, the recently acquired live-action entertainment brand; the Moviement Talent Agency; and Bardel, the in-house animation studio aiding third-party brand owners to launch their latest properties. Adding to the brand’s rapidly increasing momentum, ViacomCBS also bought a 30 percent stake in the company in 2011 to bring its creative capabilities and brands like “Winx Club” and “Club 57” to a worldwide audience.

“Viacom was excited about Rainbow’s creative capacity and was interested in producing brands for the licensing world,” says Straffi. “Ours was a fortunate encounter, and their choice to partner with us was an incredible confirmation of our worth in the industry. Collaborating with them, we have had the opportunity to grow further and reach even more audiences worldwide.”

But it’s not just content production that sets Rainbow apart, as its dedication to licensing and consumer products is woven into the brand’s DNA. 

To learn more about Rainbow’s licensing feats, read the Dec. 2020 issue now!

Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bruce Lee Unite for Collab

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has announced his partnership with the estate of his friend Bruce Lee. The partnership is done in collaboration with Iconomy.

“Iconomy, LLC is launching a ground-breaking partnership between Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bruce Lee Family Company,” says Deborah Morales, chief executive officer, Iconomy. “A collaboration of this caliber – fusing sports, culture and leadership – embodies the Iconomymission of helping icons go from success to significance, andwill open the door to more impactful partnerships.”

The collaboration between these two iconic athletes and advocates for social justice kicked off with the release of a limited-edition t-shirt on November 27- Bruce Lee’s 80th birthday.

“We had an unlikely friendship - a 7’2” basketball player and a 5’8” martial artist - but we had a shared interest in music, the arts, philosophy and improving the lives of people who looked like us,” says Abdul-Jabbar. “We believe that tackling systemic racism starts with making a friend who doesn’t look like you and creating empathy for others. That’s what we’re hoping to promote with our social justice champion/social justice warrior efforts.”

The tribute video can be seen at the link :https://bit.ly/32OqkUU. The limited edition social justice t-shirt is now on sale at kareemabduljabbar.com.

“My father made martial arts an international phenomenon and made millions of friends who didn’t look like him along the way,” says Shannon Lee, Bruce’s daughter. “This partnership is a tribute to his legacy and the inspiration he - and Kareem - continue to be when it comes to uniting our global community.”

Warner Bros., Biion Footwear Create Exclusive Wonder Woman Shoe

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Biion Footwear and Warner Bros. have announced that they have teamed up to create a one-of-a-kind performance and leisure shoe inspired by Wonder Woman’s iconic costume.  

The shoe, which is the official footwear of “Wonder Woman 1984,” will be made in the same style that Biion is known for: EVA footwear with a rubber sole that allows for comfort and performance. The Wonder Woman special edition will feature a ruby red body with the classic golden “W” emblem and star-spangled pattern across the toebox, white midsole and a yellow outsole. 

“Fiction though it may be, the story of Wonder Woman is an inspiration that fundamentally lives in all of us,” says Rick Buchanan, founder, Biion. “When the opportunity to partner with Warner Bros. to release an exclusive shoe featuring this legendary hero arose, we knew immediately our customers would love the chance to walk like a warrior.”

A pre-sale launch has begun, just in time for Warner Bros.’ global release of the new Wonder Woman movie, “Wonder Woman 1984.” The launch includes both unisex adults and kids sizes available for pre-order at www.biionfootwear.com.