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Zee Releases David Bowie, AC/DC Puzzles

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Zee Productions will release eight AC/DC album covers jigsaw puzzles and seven David Bowie album covers as puzzles in Sept. and Oct. 2020 on Zee Productions imprint Rock Saws.

Puzzles will come in 500- and 1000-piece sizes. Each puzzles will come in a vinyl box set sized box, to allow rock fans to fit puzzles alongside their vinyl collection.

The Bowie puzzles follow on last year’s launch of a Barbie-themed doll inspired by the rocker.

Rubik’s Goes for Guinness World Record

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Rubik’s has invited fans to participate in the world’s ‘most viewers for a Rubik's Cube solving lesson live stream on YouTube. 

The free-to-enter digital event will be hosted by speedcuber Keaton Ellis on Rubik’s YouTube channel.

“While the Rubik’s Cube is phenomenally popular, played by more than one billion people, we know that many struggle to solve the puzzle, so we want to change this conundrum,” says Christoph Bettin, chief executive officer, Rubik’s. “What better than to have a top speedcuber give a live lesson online where anyone can participate.  The fact that we are likely to break a Guinness World Records title too is an added bonus.”

The live digital event takes place at 8:00 PM U.K.-time on June 25. Participants can register on the Rubik's website for an event reminder.

Rubik’s announcement comes following the news that the company relaunched Rubik’s Revolution earlier this year.

Product Lines Expand for ‘It’s A Southern Thing’

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Media channel and lifestyle brand “It’s a Southern Thing” has expanded its product lines. 

“Just Like Mama Used to Say,” a phrase-making card game for the entire family, which allows three or more players to build Southern sayings is available in Target stores now and coming soon to Target.com.

Also new is a Southern take on popular children’s ABC books, “It's a Southern Thing:  Y is for Y'all.” “Written for It’s a Southern Thing” by Alabama journalist Kelly Kazek, the picture book features words and poems from Southern culture. The book, the first in a planned series, is now available online at “It’s a Southern Thing” website and will be rolling out in major book retailers this fall. 

“The South has some of the greatest people and places anywhere and we bring people together by sharing the hospitality and fun of our rich, one-of-a-kind culture with the world,” says Cynthia Money, chief brand officer, Red Clay Media. “Since launching just three years ago, our audience has grown rapidly, not only in the South, but across the U.S.  As the ‘It’s a Southern Thing’ brand has continued to expand, our upbeat programming –from sketch comedy to cultural content – and unique line of merchandise offer something for everyone. We are excited to further broaden our reach through our partner Excell Marketing with a major retailer like Target.”

It’s a Southern Thing is a division of Red Clay Media, part of Advance, which owns and operates Conde NastVanity FairArchitectural Digest and GQ, among others.   

Guru Studio Taps bRAND-WARD to Rep ‘True and the Rainbow Kingdom’

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Guru Studio has announced it has appointed bRAND-WARD as its exclusive licensing agent for its preschool series “True and the Rainbow Kingdom.” 

bRAND-WARD will represent the brand in the U.K. and Ireland across all consumer products and L&M including toy and games, apparel, publishing, housewares, accessories, food and drink and live events.
“We’re seeing tremendous demand for ‘True and the Rainbow Kingdom’ products from boys and girls all over the world.” says Jonathan Abraham, vice president sales and business development, GuruStudio. “We’re excited to have the experienced team at bRAND-WARD lead the charge for our consumer products program in the U.K. and Ireland and continue to build upon the love people have for the show.” 
“True and the Rainbow Kingdom” first launched on Netflix in 2017 and is now debuting on linear TV around the world. Following the launch on Tiny Pop in the U.K. earlier this year, the demand for the preschool series continues to grow. On AVOD platforms such as YouTube and YouTube Kids, the series has amassed more than 300 million views.

 “’True and The Rainbow Kingdom’ is a brand with great appeal, which has inspired award winning and top-rated content, widely available on many platforms, including pay TV, FTA, SVOD & digital media,” says Trudi Hayward, co-founder, bRAND-WARD Services. “Securing multiple platforms is a prerequisite nowadays if you want to achieve the necessary exposure. We are delighted to be working with Guru on this stunning property.”

Consumer products for “True and the Rainbow Kingdom” including a line of plush, Halloween costumes, activity books and storybooks are also now available across North America. New “True and the Rainbow Kingdom” content also is continuing to roll out on Netflix throughout 2020.

BBC Studios Expands ‘Hey Duggee’ Apparel Lines

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BBC Studios announced that its “Hey Duggee” soft lines portfolio is expanding in the U.K.

Existing nightwear and essentials licensees Aykroyd & Sons and TDP Textiles have recently signed daywear rights for “Hey Duggee” and Amscan International is on board to create dress up and partyware for the animated preschool brand. 

Aykroyd & Son’s and TDP Textiles’ “Hey Duggee” nightwear is stocked by TU, Asda, Tesco, Character.com, Morrisons and Matalan. Their new licensed daywear range is expected to hit retail in autumn/winter 2020. 

 “As an existing licensee, we know how important ‘Hey Duggee’ is in the preschool market,” says Dean Greasley, licensing director, TDP Textiles. “To add daywear to our existing product range is a significant strategic move for TDP and Aykroyds. Our relationship with BBC Studios goes from strength to strength and we are all delighted.”

Amscan International’s partyware range is expected to be available for customers to buy from autumn/winter 2020 and their dress up range is scheduled to follow in spring/summer 2021.

“We are thrilled to have Amscan on board, with their partyware and dress up range a ‘Hey Duggee’ themed kids parties will be sewn up,” says Anita Majhu, senior licensing and brand partnerships manager, BBC Studios. “It’s always great to expand existing deals with valued licensees as well as welcome new partners. Consequently, I am delighted our relationship with Aykroyd & Sons and TDP Textiles has expanded for ‘Hey Duggee.’”

The expansion of BBC Studios’ existing deal with Aykroyd & Sons and TDP Textiles, and signing Amscan, further enhances “Hey Duggee’s” soft lines portfolio. Current partners include Roy Lowe & Sons for socks, William Lamb for footwear and bags, Blues Clothing and Fashion U.K. for daywear and ING Designs for art, stationery and activity products. 

Brand new episodes of “Hey Duggee” season 3 are currently airing weekdays on CBeebies and are available on BBC iPlayer. BBC Studios also recently launched an official Pinterest page earlier this year.

Loewe Drops Smiley Capsule Through Paula’s Ibiza Line

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Spanish fashion house Loewe has teamed with Smiley for an apparel and accessories line through Paula’s Ibiza.

For Summer 2020, Paula’s has dropped a selection of clothing and accessories in shades of yellow, green and orange to create a summer collection with long-sleeved tops, sunglasses, jewelry and other items. Pieces with Smiley iconography include:

  • Mosaics on t-shirts tie-dyed in pastels or contrasted against black and white;
  • An oversized jumper with the Smiley logo dripping down in threads; and
  • A pattern on a shirt with matching swimming shorts or as buttons on a formal white shirt.

“This colorful capsule is all about optimism, elevated to an nth and captured in immediate objects,” says Jonathan Anderson, creative director, Loewe. “It is about sharing values as a community – most of all: an invitation to look together to brighter days ahead.” 

The collection also features a Smiley in marguerite lace, with the symbol woven into the sleeves of an asymmetric shirt and throughout a sleeveless maxi-dress. Multiple accessories get the smiley treatment as well. 

 “This collection brings a timely reminder that we need more freedom and love today,” says Michaela Fass, senior vice president, fashion, Smiley. “The Paula’s drop is an authentic reflection of Loewe’s roots in artisanal craftsmanship, a nod towards the enduring hotbed of Ibiza subcultures and a joyous, luminous and uplifting range to increase positivity in these times.” 

Smiley has featured front and center for the launch, with a full-scale retail activation, major digital support and a PR and influencers campaign.

The campaign and partnership continue Smiley’s work in the fashion vertical. Earlier this year, the brand teamed with Lyfcycle for an eco-friendly apparel line.

Manscaped, San Francisco 49ers Ink Multi-Year Partnership

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Manscaped and the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers have announced an exclusive multi-year partnership.

As part of the deal, Manscaped will become the official ‘Below-The-Waist Grooming Partner of the San Francisco 49ers.’ The sponsorship entails curated brand integrations as well as surprise and delight elements that aim to enhance the fan experience.

"With dozens of diehard 49ers fans at our company, and as a lifelong fan myself, it is safe to say that we couldn't be more excited about this partnership," says Ryan Fiore, vice president marketing, Mascaped. "Manscaped and the 49ers share the same passion for connecting with fans in an authentic, memorable and lasting way. We look forward to further exploring this like-minded vision together."

The center of the collaboration will come to life at Levi's Stadium, the home of the 49ers. Levi's Stadium will provide a platform for an array of Manscaped brand integrations with the football team. Additional information on in-stadium placements and other promotional initiatives will be announced in conjunction with the team's marketing plans for the upcoming NFL season.

"Anybody who followed our thrilling run to the Super Bowl last year knows that the 49ers are comfortable with close shaves so Manscaped will be a welcome addition to the 49ers family," says Kevin Hilton, vice president, corporate partnerships, San Francisco 29ers. "Manscaped is changing the game of personal hygiene for men everywhere, and we are proud to partner together to highlight their brand with relevant connections to our fanbase."

This partnership follows Manscaped's recent announcement of the brand's multi-year exclusive sponsorship with UFC.

For the NFL and teams like the 49ers, the deal follows on the league’s recent partnership with H&M that was announced earlier this year.

SEGA, G Fuel Race Ahead with Sonic the Hedgehog Energy Drink

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G Fuel has teamed up with SEGA of America to launch a new kind of power-up for Sonic fans: the new SEGA and G Fuel crossover flavor, Sonic’s Peach Rings.

On Aug.12, 16 oz cans of the energy drink and a powdered form version in 40-serving tubs will be available on the G Fuel website. For collectors, G Fuel’s Sonic’s Peach Rings energy drink will also be for sale in a limited-edition collector’s boxes, which includes one 40-serving tub and one 16 oz shaker cup. The collector’s boxes will retail on the G Fuel website on Aug. 19.

“We’re ecstatic to partner with such an established energy drink company in the gaming community to bring Sonic’s Peach Rings to market,” says Michael Cisneros, licensing manager, SEGA of America. “Sonic the Hedgehog has always been a character that embodies perseverance and endurance, which are qualities that are central to G Fuel’s product. We can’t wait for Sonic fans to enjoy it.”

The classic video game character, Sonic the Hedgehog, found new fans earlier this year with the launch of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie and accompanying licensing partnerships for the film.

"When I think about some of the classic icons in gaming, nothing comes to mind faster than Sonic the Hedgehog," says Cliff Morgan, founder and chief executive officer, G Fuel. "That’s why we’re thrilled to team up with SEGA and introduce our fans to the winning combination of the world’s fastest hedgehog and the world’s best energy drink for gamers."

Play Time for All: Inclusivity in Licensing

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June is Pride month, an annual month-long celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and equality. Through the years, the way people talk about gender has fundamentally shifted. More people in younger demographics have reported seeing gender as a spectrum compared to the more black-and-white binary view of gender held by older generations. Today’s Millennials and Gen Zers, in particular, have shown a more open-minded approach to the discussion compared to older generations.

According to a 2019 Pew Research study, roughly five-in-10 Millennials said they believe forms or online profiles that ask about a person’s gender should include options other than “man” or

“woman.” That belief contrasts to the four-in-10 or fewer Gen Xers and older groups who agree with the sentiment. Millennials’ views on gender also extend past forms and into the real world. About 25 percent of Millennials said in the Pew study that they know someone who prefers that others use gender-neutral pronouns to refer to them. Roughly 35 percent of the even younger demographic of Gen Zers reported knowing someone who preferred to use gender-neutral pronouns as well.

As more consumers begin to share expanded views on gender roles and dynamics, companies around the world are beginning to reassess how to market products and create new types of products. One particular industry seeing a dynamic shift in how it approaches the topic of gender in its merchandise is the toys vertical. Since toys can influence how children develop and interact with the world, the toy market can play a vital role in how families…

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Read the Licensing Week Virtual 2020 Trend Report Now!

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Learn about the biggest trends from Licensing Week Virtual 2020!

Held June 15-19, Licensing Week Virtual was an online event that brought together the licensing industry for five days of exhibits, education, webinars and panels, networking, matchmaking and so much more. License Global was on the virtual expo floor to highlight the biggest trends impacting the business of brand licensing, insights from speakers and takeaways from the inaugural event. 

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