Cartoon Network’s ‘Ben 10’ Lands at ‘Brawlhalla’

ben10 (1).png

Ubisoft has announced an extraterrestrial twist to “Brawlhalla” as Cartoon Network’s “Ben 10” arrives in his alien forms Diamondhead, Four Arms and Heatblast as Epic Crossovers.

The in-game event brings features such as the new Morph game mode, Galvan Prime map, Omnitrix podium and KO Effect featuring Vilgax as well as a main menu takeover and bonus daily login gold. 

The “Ben 10” Epic Crossovers mirror existing “Brawlhalla” Legends, with visual designs that include a new style for their signature powers and new custom select animations.

In this brand-new “Ben 10” game mode, players are transported to Galvan Prime, the center of alien DNA research in the universe, to take part in the three-stock transforming battle.

Diamondhead, Four Arms and Heatblast are available for purchase via the in-game store for 300 Mammoth Coins each, and the “Ben 10” Epic Crossovers, Galvan Prime map, Morph game mode, KO Effect featuring Vilgax and Omnitrix Podium will all remain available in “Brawlhalla” after the event ends.

The free-to-play platform supports cross-platform play between the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch system, PlayStation 4 and PC, where players are able to play custom games and queue together for all online matchmaking.

 

BBC Studios, Moose Toys Play with ‘Bluey’

blueytoys.png

BBC Studios has revealed the range of toys inspired by Australia’s “Bluey,” a popular series on Disney Junior and Disney+. The new collection from Australian-based toy company Moose Toys includes a range of plush, figures, playsets and games.

“‘Bluey’ has been winning over audiences everywhere, and we’re so excited that kids and families in the U.S. will soon have the chance to ‘play along’ with Bluey, Bingo, Bandit and Chilli beyond the screen,” says Suzy Raia, vice president, consumer products and business development, BBC Studios. “The new range from Moose Toys perfectly captures the imaginative play and family-centered essence of the show, elements that have helped make it a standout with kids and parents alike.”

After success in Australia, “Bluey” arrived stateside and reached 16 million total views across Disney Channel and Disney Junior in Q4 2019. Q1 2020 marked “Bluey” as a Top 6 Disney Junior series among kids and girls ages 2-5, and a Top 5 series with boys ages 2-5. Across Disney Junior and Disney Channel in Q1 2020, “Bluey” reportedly reached 15.6 million viewers over the age of 2, reaching 21 percent of all kids ages 2-5.

“‘Bluey’ was a runaway hit in Australia, and as fellow Aussies, Moose Toys is in a unique position to bring the magic of the show directly to U.S. fans with this special collection,” says Paul Solomon, co-owner, Moose Toys. “Through the television series, the loveable pup has already captured the hearts of more than 15 million fans in the U.S., and our toys will help to kids bring ‘Bluey’s’ adventures into their own homes.”

The toys are set to launch in the U.S. this month.

Universal Games Inks a Huuuge Deal for ‘Trolls’

trollspop.png

Huuuge Games, in collaboration with Universal Games and Digital Platforms, has announced the expansion of its portfolio and first foray into the bubble shooter genre with the launch of “DreamWorks Trolls Pop,” available now on the App Store and Google Play

As ‘Trolls World Tour’ continues to entertain fans around the world, our goal is to provide an extension of the ‘Trolls’ experience that resonates with and engages a broad range of players,” says Jim Molinets, senior vice president, production, Universal Games and Digital Platforms. “‘Trolls Pop’ brings together a diverse collection of characters and is infused with upbeat music and high energy that offers countless hours of entertainment for every member of the family.”

“Trolls Pop” lets players blast through bubble clusters, complete puzzles, play through immersive missions and collect more than 15 “Trolls” characters at launch, including Poppy and Branch.

To coincide with the global rollout of “Trolls World Tour,” “Trolls Pop” gives fans the opportunity to continue their engagement with new adventures, such as baby bug rescues and reuniting lost stars with the moon.

“Huuuge Games has done an amazing job in bringing beloved ‘Trolls’ characters to life in a new and exciting way by adding challenging puzzle elements and the expected variety and surprise that is unique to DreamWorks’Trolls,’” says Alexis Gresoviac, general manager, Studio-X, Huuuge Games. “With our impressive collection and customization of ‘Trolls’ characters with numerous costumes, we believe that there is no other game that will give players a deep dive into this colorful, wondrous and lovable world, and is the perfect addition to Huuuge’s growing casual games lineup.”

“Trolls Pop” is now available to download for free, with in-app purchases, on the App Store and Google Play.

2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards to Take Place in August

excellenceawards (1).png

Licensing International has announced that the 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards will take place virtually on Thursday, Aug. 13 from 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT. Typically held in conjunction with Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., the awards ceremony, this year, will recognize the unique circumstances of the moment by shifting to an online event designed to bring together the global licensing community for a moment of celebration and connection.

“Now more than ever, we need reasons to come together, and what better reason than to celebrate the amazing work of our industry,” says Maura Regan, president, Licensing International. “Even though we can’t be together in person, we look forward to recognizing the prestigious work of our nominees and our winners virtually.”

This year’s awards feature 175 nominees across 23 categories, including the brand-new Best Agency Award. Nominees were selected from more than 600 submissions from 20 countries and judged by a global panel of 150 experts from all areas of the industry. A full list of the nominees can be accessed here.

Marshall Mizrahi, president, Handcraft Manufacturing and stand-up comedian, has agreed to host the event, which will also include the official induction of Martha Stewart into the Licensing Hall of Fame along with a celebration of this year’s Rising Stars. Additionally, this year will see the debut of a new trophy design set to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, 2020 fundraising efforts will look a little different than usual. All funds raised through donations and ads in the Awards Program will be used to support the licensing community with small business grants available to companies that are members of Licensing International and have been impacted by COVID-19, regardless of location. Qualifying members are invited to apply on the Licensing International website beginning July 1.

Designing the Deal: You’re Invited to a Special Licensing Week Virtual Chat

bioworldlwv.png

Licensing Week Virtual is only days away, taking place June 15-19. The industry’s best and brightest will gather – online – to learn best-practices, exchange ideas and strike deals!

In addition to a bevy of resourceful panel discussions with an elite group of expert speakers, the virtual event has much more to offer.

With retro and nostalgia all the rage, License Global is taking it back to the chatroom era!

Get your keyboard fingers ready, and come join us for a fun, insightful virtual chatroom session that will cover apparel and lifestyle licensing.

Our guest, Jason Mayes, director of marketing, intellectual property, Bioworld Merchandising, will answer your questions and spotlight current best-practices for licensing within the apparel and lifestyle categories.

Bring your questions ­– and flex your typing skills! 

Join us for Designing the Deal: Bioworld’s Jason Mayes Talks Apparel and Lifestyle Licensing on Wednesday, June 17 at 10 a.m. PT.

To take part in this exciting chat, you must be registered for Licensing Week Virtual. The virtual chatroom is hosted and only accessible via the Licensing Week Virtual platform.

And before you log into Wednesday’s chat, visit License Global’s Instagram account @licenseglobal on Tuesday to take our 10-question quiz to test your knowledge of licensing in the apparel vertical. Just click on our Instagram story to take the quiz, which will be available for 24 hours. 

For more information on Licensing Week Virtual and to register to attend, click here.

10 Minutes with Stu Seltzer, Seltzer Licensing

seltzer.png

Stu Seltzer, president, Seltzer Licensing, is a licensing expert who heads his own company and teaches a course on brand licensing at New York University, where he is an adjunct professor. Seltzer is teaming up with the Global Licensing Group and Licensing International for Licensing Week Virtual, where he will host a panel titled, “From Digital to Physical… Bridging Online Brands to On-Shelf Success.”

Seltzer tells License Global about his upcoming panel, shares advice as a teacher of brand licensing and discusses the industry as a whole and more.

License Global: Can you share an overview of the panel you are moderating and sponsoring? 

Seltzer: The session will explore some of the most popular online brands such as BuzzFeed’s Tasty brand and Group 9’s Thrillist, The Dodo and Popsugar brands. We’ll explore case studies showing their success and hear about their future vision.

 

How do you think Licensing Week Virtual will help those in the licensing industry during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

I believe it will be a great online gathering and provide comfort and opportunity to connect with everyone. 

 

What role have trade shows played in your strategy for licensees/licensors? 

BuzzFeed had one of the largest booths at Licensing Expo in 2018. In 2019, they sat out, but they were planning a massive booth in 2020, so trade shows are an important part of their strategy.

 

How do you see the licensing industry changing in the next five years? 

It continues to get more sophisticated. As you may know, I teach a three-credit undergrad class at NYU and just finished my 17th year as an adjunct there. I teach a class I created on brand licensing. As these students learn more about the industry, there continues to be more innovations as the entire industry becomes more strategic and sophisticated. 

 

What would you say is the next biggest trend in brand licensing, and how can licensees and licensors prepare for that trend? 

These online brands will continue to grow and replace the old media brands.

 

What do you see as the most beneficial habit those in the licensing industry should implement while working from home? 

I think the most beneficial habit is working out and family meal time, not really related to the licensing industry, but open to every industry. Maybe the licensing industry should set up some hashtags on Peloton. 

 

How important is continued education in licensing in order to keep up with the industry? What advice would you give someone entering the industry for the first time?  

As an educator, I feel strongly about this question. I encourage my students to learn the business as it almost always comes in handy. Whether it’s the retail math, legal contract terms or brand valuation techniques, a strong licensing education can provide valuable knowledge for all your future business endeavors.

Understanding Retail 2.0

gFjGZ2qRZOo.png

While global retail activity differs across each region, lockdown is a concurrent theme. Since March, national lock-downs have kept people at home and cost a forecasted $2.1 trillion in losses for global retail sales.

“COVID–19 is significantly impacting the global retail landscape,” says Michael O’Grady, principal forecast analyst, Forrester, in a recent report. “Retail categories like grocery and essential consumables are performing well, while other categories like fashion, beauty and cosmetics are seeing a marked decline in consumer spend. In 2020, there will be a significant decline in global retail sales, particularly with non-essential items sold offline. Online sales, however, will be more resilient.”

Lockdown measures cemented the fall of retail stores such as Debenhams, Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston, JCPenney, Neiman Marcus and more, while forcing other brands to diversify, work almost entirely from home and supercharge their e-commerce offerings.

The shift toward online services is the core of Retail 2.0, and as companies place emphasis on curbside pickups, click and collect, enhanced delivery systems and future-proofing brick-and-mortar with e-commerce, necessity continues to breed innovation...

Read the Full Column in the Latest Issue of License Global Magazine

10 Minutes with The Brand Liaison: A Home for Fashion and Apparel Licensing

brandliaisonopeningdoors.png

Despite all of the changes in today’s retail environment, recognized brand names remain an important factor driving sales of products – especially when it comes to fashion and apparel.  From the highest couture brands, all the way down to mass and even dollar channels, consumers continue to purchase brands that they know and appreciate.   

Fashion brand licensing remains the leading licensing sector for adults, teen and children’s manufacturers looking for an alternative to character licensing. The Brand Liaison is a leading licensing agency for popular fashion brands including Gloria Vanderbilt, Laura Ashley, Bill Blass, FUBU from Daymond John, Lauren Moshi, BUM Equipment, and now, The Comfy brand. 

License Global caught up with The Brand Liaison’s Steven Heller and Karen Diamond to discuss what they are doing in fashion and corporate brand licensing.

License Global: Could you share a little bit of background on The Brand Liaison’s approach to licensing?

Steven Heller: The cornerstone to almost all successful licensing programs is apparel. So, we focus on licensing of famous apparel brands. On both the brand side and the manufacturer side, we have created a strong niche in the licensing industry for licensing fashion and apparel brands.

What makes a successful fashion or corporate brand for licensing?  

Heller: For us, and for most licensees, it’s generally a three-prong approach: First and foremost, we need to look at brand recognition. Is it a recognized name, either nationally recognized or, at least, within the niche of its target market segment? We really look for some level of quality and a deep-seeded trust with its consumers. Second, we look at the brand-DNA and consider how that brand would translate into other apparel items and other consumer products. Some unique personality and voice to the brand always helps. And the third consideration is, “does the brand have a logical retail home, maybe even already have a strong retail anchor?” And that could be higher-end like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom or Macy’s, or could be a Kohls, Target or Walmart, or one or more of the off-price or specialty retailers. The expression we often use  and licensee’s first question is, “where does the brand live at retail?”

Can you explain that retail home concept and give us a few examples of brands with ‘retail homes’?

Karen Diamond: In today’s marketplace, manufacturers and retailers are looking for an edge. Recognizable fashion brand names provide that unique edge. Whether we are representing the brand and speaking with a potential licensing partner, or working on behalf of a manufacturer to acquire a fashion brand license, the conversation inevitably comes down to, “where does the brand live at retail?”  So, we are always looking to match the brand, product and retail home – whether it’s departments store, specialty, off-price, mass or even clubs.

For example, take our Gloria Vanderbilt. The iconic denim brand remains very strong today at retailers including Kohls, Costco and many regional department stores. So, it has a very strong retail support in those key channels. On the higher end of the spectrum, we have very trendy contemporary brand Lauren Moshi, found at better department channels and their own stores in LA and Miami, and also Laura Ashley continues to be strong in both apparel and home fashions including a recent collaboration with Urban Outfitters. And on the lower end of the spectrum, we have the juniors denim brand l.e.i., which has enjoyed huge success at Walmart and now even Family Dollar. So, it’s the lower end of the spectrum, but still has retailer support.

Steven, you also mentioned recognition and deep-seeded trust, at least within the niche of the target market segment. What did you mean by that?

Heller:  Well, sometimes you have world-famous or nationally-famous brands. Of course, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and when we represent manufacturers, we’ve done licensing with famous brands like those, and we work with the licensing people at other major fashion brands, say Steve Madden or Betsey Johnson, Nicole Miller, BCBG or Juicy Couture, but sometimes you might have a brand that has a much-smaller niche but super-strong brand loyalty in that segment.  

For example, look at Lauren Moshi, our contemporary brand that Karen mentioned earlier.  Much less recognizable than the brands I just referenced, but the people who know this brand are extremely brand loyal and support the brand in such a way that makes licensing very viable.   Same with FUBU. Very strong brand DNA and a message that resonates with its target customers. The followers and customers of the FUBU brand support the brand cross category.

Speaking of cross-category, how do successful fashion brands expand into new categories while staying relevant to their brand identity?

Diamond: That’s what we mentioned earlier about “brand DNA.” In fact, we just had this conversation with the FUBU team. Brands have to be clear on their brand vision and mission and seamlessly weave it throughout all product extensions to ensure brand authenticity at every turn. Even though the messaging can change over the years, FUBU has very clear brand messaging, and that’s why it has remained so relevant. 

What advice do you have for licensees looking to most effectively work with fashion and corporate licensors?

Diamond: This is a very important part of our business. We are on the licensee/manufacturer side of deals just as often as we are on the brand side. And we do the same three-part analysis Steven described earlier, just from the licensee perspective. The right licensed brand should offer strong recognition, brand DNA and point of view and distribution – that retail home with existing channels of distribution is a key.

Heller: And I would add in today’s world, having a strong coordinated marketing plan in place.  If I can compliment another one of my competitors, Marquee Brands does this so well. Every one of their brands has a strong coordinated marketing plan. To be honest, that’s why we love doing deals with them when we represent the licensee. They are a licensor that supports their brands.

Steven, you mentioned “in today’s world.” How has the fashion vertical evolved over the years? What trends do you see on the horizon for the sector?

Heller: First off, even long before COVID-19, we had witnessed a steady shrinking of the number of brick and mortar retailers. First, independents losing ground to big box. And within the big box world, whether its mergers and acquisitions, like Federated buying regional department stores and rebranding them all Macy’s, or reduction in number of doors, like we saw repeatedly with the likes of JC Penney and Sears, or complete bankruptcy and cessation of business (i.e., Sports Authority, Bonton, TRU).  

So, the shrinking number of retail doors leads to a simple conclusion: Brands become vitally important.  Why? Two very compelling reasons. First, brands can help you get into and stay in these retailers. We discussed that we look to brands that have that “retail home.” And second, maybe even more importantly, brands help tremendously with building your e-commerce. The search placement, marketing engines, coordinated brand sites and just the comfort of a recognition becomes paramount. 

Diamond: Having a brand is essential in building e-commerce sales, especially when the brand owner runs coordinated e-commerce sites for all of their licensees and when the licensees can take advantage of that brand following on Amazon and other searches.

We have a company we work with whose expertise is Amazon and digital retail. They streamline this whole process, and we have seen incredible results. We love working with this company because they know exactly how to build a brand on Amazon. It really is a science, and you need an expert to do that. 

Heller: Speaking of bringing on help, another trend we see is outsourcing of some basic services and consolidation for efficiencies. Karen mentioned the Amazon group, and we also have other companies we work with that handle logistics, warehousing and shipping, and we even have a source that provides financing. If any companies need financing or need to get lean and efficient, it makes sense to simply outsource these functions and make that a variable expense rather than fixed overhead. We have an entire section of our website listing resources who can help our clients. In this economy, we are here to help our clients. We have built great relationships over our career, and we aren’t slowing down now. We all can help each other. That’s why we added that resources section of our website – just to do our part to help.

One final question, how do you think Licensing Week Virtual will help those in the licensing industry during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Heller: The timing is good as we reinitiate business and can start to plan and look forward rather than be reactionary and in salvage mode.

Art Ask Agency Debuts IA London Product Line

Symptoms of gravity notebook + runway.jpg

Barcelona-based Art Ask Agency has announced that licensed products have debuted for IA London – The Art of Fashion.

A large collection of licensed art prints in partnership with Rosenstiels immediately placed in their Deluxe Collection range has been well received by buyers. There are more than 10 pieces of artworks in the collections from IA London’s AW 2019 and SS 2019 runway pieces.

Flame Tree Publishing has launched 2021 calendars and two deluxe foil notebooks from the Symptoms of Gravity line of the IA London license. Pre-sales have gone well and plans for the 2022 calendar are already underway.

"IA London’s vision is the one of clothing as a firsthand way for individuals to express their unique points of view through art,” says Ira Iceberg, founder and designer, IA London. “Looking to expand this vision beyond the world of fashion, we teamed up with internationally established licensing agency, Art Ask Agency. I'm confident that this partnership will globally establish IA London artworks' high value in its own right."

The Dodo, LX Team for ‘The Dodo Presents’

dodo.png

The Dodo and LX Network, NBCUniversal Owned TV Stations’ new TV and streaming network, has announced that The Dodo will produce a weekly show, The Dodo Presents.”

“As the number one animal brand on every major social platform globally with original TV series created for Animal Planet, Netflix and other networks, The Dodo has proven that its heartwarming, memorable stories deeply resonate with viewers across screens and the world,” says YuJung Kim, president, The Dodo. “Our partnership with LX comes at a time when Americans are looking for optimism and hope – and ‘The Dodo Presents will highlight the amazing animal stories from local communities around the country.”
Audiences can watch “The Dodo Presents” on broadcast, cable, OTT, 
LX.com and on NBC owned station websites and mobile apps.