Rocket Licensing to Rep Bob Ross in U.K. and Eire

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Rocket Licensing has been appointed as licensing agent for the Bob Ross brand in the U.K. and Eire.

Rocket Licensing will be discussing licensing oppurtunities across categories including apparel, dress-up, gifting and homewares, arts and crafts, stationery and social stationery, accessories and publishing. The agency will work on behalf of Bob Ross’ U.S. agent Firefly Brand Management.

“Bob Ross is a real heritage brand with unique charm, which brings the relaxed, slower pace of the 80s to busy modern lives and as such, has gained a pop culture status among millennials and students,” says Charlie Donaldson, joint managing director, Rocket Licensing. “There is an enormous asset bank for licensees to tap into in order to capture the essence of the iconic heritage of the property, and a wealth of opportunities for partners to leverage the popularity in the U.K. market.”

Firefly Brand Management has already established a consumer products program in the U.S., with products from more than 60 licensees over a range of categories including games and puzzles, collectables, partyware, homewares, apparel, along with direct to retail deals and major retail placement.

IMG Raises a Glass to Jim Beam Brand

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Beam Suntory has signed IMG to help extend the James B. Beam Distilling Company's portfolio of brands through strategic licensing partnerships.  

IMG will be tasked with developing products that celebrate the company's history, style and flavor profile. Targeted categories for the brands will include experiential, fashion, home, gift, memorabilia, grilling and bourbon-flavored foods.

"It's an honor for us to join the first family of bourbon,” says Bruno Maglione, president, licensing, IMG. “This is a beloved quintessentially American brand and a time-venerated quality product that is all about family values, shared experiences and accessibility. Through the Jim Beam licensing program, we will develop products that place an accent on each of those attributes."   

The James B. Beam Distilling Company is best known for its Jim Beam Bourbon, which celebrates its 225th anniversary this year. IMG will develop strategies and pursue licensing opportunities for many of the other distinctive brands in the James B. Beam Distilling Company's portfolio including Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, Booker's, Legent and Little Book.  

“As we celebrate our 225th year, this is the perfect time to extend our iconic brands to products and experiences that create new platforms and occasions to welcome consumers, old and new, to our product and personality,” says Tom Bufalino, director, James B. Beam Distilling Company. “With their deep experience and resources, there is no better partner than IMG to accompany us on that journey."

For IMG, the partnership continues its strong ties to the spirits space. The licensing agency also signed AB InBev as a client earlier this year.

Queen Crowned with Official British Stamp Collection

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Royal Mail has announced it is issuing a set of 13 stamps to celebrate one of the U.K.’s most influential rock groups of all time, Queen.

The eight stamps collection will feature images of some of the band’s most popular album covers including Queen II (1974), Sheer Heart Attack (1974), A Night at the Opera (1975), News of the World (1977), The Game (1980), Greatest Hits (1981), The Works (1984) and Innuendo (1991).

Completing the collection is a miniature stamp sheet celebrating Queen’s live performances with images from Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium (1986), Roger Taylor at Hyde Park (1976), John Deacon at Hammersmith Odeon (1975) and Brian May in Budapest (1986). The centrepiece of the miniature-sheet also includes the group’s first-ever studio photoshoot at Primrose Hill. 

“With their truly original, theatrical sound and effortless ability to mix musical styles, Queen are rock royalty,” says Philip Parker, stamp strategy head, Royal Mail. “We pay tribute to one of the most loved bands of all time with these stunning stamps.” 

Celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2021, Queen becomes only the third music group to have a dedicated stamp issue. The group follows musical stables such as the Beatles in 2007 and Pink Floyd in 2016.

"It’s hard to put into words what I feel when looking at these beautiful stamps,” says Brian May, guitarist, Queen.  “Since we four precocious boys started out on our quest 50 years ago, our lives have been devoted to making our impossible dream come true.  Sometimes it’s strange to wake up and realise the position in which we are now held – we have become a national institution! And nothing brings this home more than this incredible tribute from Royal Mail. It’s particularly poignant to look at this collection of images now - now that we are all in a world dominated by a coronavirus, in which none of this could have happened.  I just know that I feel an overwhelming desire to own one of these sets!  Somehow it will be a way of persuading myself that it really did all happen!"

Queen’s stamps retail at £16.00 and are available to pre-order on the Royal Mail’s website. The stamps will go on sale starting July 9.

The new stamp collection follows on Queen’s growing licensing portfolio. Earlier this year, the rock band inked a deal with Happy Socks for a line of socks.

West Ham United Football Give and Go with Tech Deal

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Affinity Brand Partners has announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with West Ham United F.C. to produce wearable and hearable technology accessories. 

The three-year, non-exclusive deal is to produce branded watchbands for smartwatches, including Apple Watches, Fitbit, Garmin and Samsung products, as well as AirPods and covers both the team and players rights in the U.K. and North American markets. 

This agreement is the first wearable technology licensing agreement for West Ham and the most recent for Affinity Brands with a European soccer club. The watchbands are available in three substrates — silicone, leather and stainless steel — and many of the bands also fit traditional watches. 

“Apple Watches and the entire wearable and hearable technology sector are one of the fastest technology retail sectors in the world,” says Dave Schowalter, owner, Affinity Brand Partners. “We’re pleased that a global brand like West Ham United can see this and the value of partnering with Affinity to bridge together the world’s most recognized sports franchises with the people utilizing this technology.” 

West Ham United has been the winners of the F.A. cup three times and celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. Late last year, the club announced a collaboration with rock band Iron Maidan for unique kits inspired by the group.

Church & Dwight Picks BrandComply as Licensing Tech Partner

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Octane5’s licensing enterprise platform, BrandComply, was recently selected by Church & Dwight to manage its portfolio.

BrandComply is a licensing enterprise platform that provides brand compliance and protection through a fully integrated suite of software and security products. The licensing system allows Church & Dwight to operate and integrate its global licensing program on a common platform. 

“We sought a solution that would streamline our processes and adapt to our unique licensing model,” says Tammy Talerico-Payne, director, licensing, Church & Dwight. “Our licensing program, led by our flagship brand Arm & Hammer, had specific requirements. We surveyed the market, and BrandComply fit the bill. Their configurable solution met our stringent requirements, and their hands-on launch approach has ensured that those requirements are translated into BrandComply. The entire process has been incredibly smooth and exceeded our high expectations.”

The announcement continues Church & Dwight’s recent slate of partnerships. Last year, the brand announced MemBrain as its brand licensing partner for new digital physical product categories, services, informational products and other brand extensions.

Rob Dyrdek Debuts Sock ‘Ridiculounsness’

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Host of MTV’s “Ridiculounsness” Rob Dyrdek and Taylor Shupe, co-founder, Stance, has launched the BooSocki sock company.

The sock collection offers an advanced sharing service (aka a “Boo”), with art, pop culture and playfulness as inspiration. Each sock in the BooSocki collection is a collaboration between a hand-selected artist and the BooSocki design team. BooSocki’s mission is to give artists the freedom to express their artistic style on a pair of socks, ultimately delivering a variety of art from different perspectives.

After co-founding FutureStitch, Shupe started InStitches with Dyrdek. InStitches is the media arm of FutureStitch and focuses on high-quality, artistic, comedic content and products to generate laughter and build friendships. BooSocki, a subsidiary of InStitches, aims to lift spirits and elevate social sharing, through pop culture moments, (e.g., Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s infamous denim-on-denim red carpet outfit, Tiger King fandom and Quarantine woes).

Pop Group Now United Signs with Redibra

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International pop group Now United has signed with Brazilian licensing agency Redibra.

As part of the deal, Redibra will manage the groups licensing efforts in Brazil. Redibra will bring the group closer to its Brazilian fans by offering exclusive and official Now United products and apparel that reflect the spirit and values of the brand.  

Now United was created by Simon Fuller, creator of “American Idol.” The group includes 15 singers and dancers, each representing a different country. The group has developed an immersive and interactive relationship with fans. Now United’s official social media pages and the individual profiles of its members add up to more than 80 million followers and subscribers. Brazilian member Any Gabrielly has more than seven million fans across Instagram and TikTok.   

The group has found sustained success in Brazil. Now United held four concerts across the country in 2019 with tickets selling out in less than 24 hours. The group also won the Fandom do Ano at the 2019 Meus Premios Nick Brasil Awards.

Semaphore Licensing Solutions Adds YouTube Stars to Portfolio

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YouTube sensations Trinity and Madison, known for their wholesome videos that capture scavenger hunts, poolside pranks and quarantine activities on their YouTube channel Trinity and Beyond, have signed with Semaphore Licensing Solutions.

“Our team focuses on bringing product lines to life that both expand and enhance the emotional connection between our talent and their loyal fans,” says Michael Bienstock, founder and chief executive officer, Semaphore Licensing Solutions.

With more than 2.4 billion lifetime views and five million subscribers, Trinity and Beyond’s YouTube channel showcases activities and entertainment, which will soon include on-trend products from a collaboration with Fashion Angels Enterprises. Products will consist of arts and crafts kits such as bracelet making sets, backpacks, stickers and stationery.

“We are super excited to join forces with Semaphore Licensing Solutions on the Trinity and Beyond brand,” says Jeffrey Fisher, president, Fashion Angels Enterprises. “This partnership 100 percent aligns with our companies’ strategic initiatives. Expanding our current product offerings by aligning with brands and talent that speak to core customers is a key component in our diversification plans.” 

The new partnership adds to Semaphore Licensing’s growing client portfolio. Earlier this month, the company signed fitness star Blogilates to a representation deal.

Animorphs Dives into Film

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Scholastic Entertainment, the media division of Scholastic, is joining forces with Picturestart to transform book series, Animorphs, into a feature film. 

The live-action production will bring Scholastic’s 54-book series by K.A. Applegate (Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant) to a new generation. The Animorphs series debuted in the 1990s and has more than 35 million copies in print to date.

The film adaptation will be produced and developed jointly by Iole Lucchese, president and chief strategy officer and Caitlin Friedman, senior vice president and general manager, Scholastic Entertainment and Erik Feig, founder and chief executive officer and Lucy Kitada, executive vice president, production. Picturestart. Friedman with Royce Reeves Darby, creative executive, PictureStart will supervise script development 

The collaboration between Scholastic Entertainment and Picturestart is focused on leveraging discovery-of-voice-themed I.P. in the Young Adult space, across film, T.V., digital, and publishing platforms. 

“The central themes of Animorphs have resonated strongly with kids for more than two decades, and the time is right for a feature film that takes this captivating sci-fi adventure to another level for audiences today,” says Lucchese. “Picturestart has an incredible track record of success, and Erik and his team are the perfect partners to help bring this exciting new series based on the adventure-packed books to movie screens.” 

In addition to the film, Scholastic will launch a graphic novel adaptation of the Animorphs series via its Scholastic Graphix imprint on Oct. 6. Eisner-Award-nominated artist Chris Gine (“Time Twisters.” “Chickenhare”) has adapted the first Animorphs novel, The Invasion

“We couldn’t be more excited to work with Scholastic to adapt Animorphs, an iconic book series with a wildly unique combination of exciting, witty, outlandish and grounded elements that feel all too relevant for our times,” says Feig. “These books have passionate fans—ourselves included—and we hope to make Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant proud as we bring Jake, Marco, Cassie, Rachel and Tobias to life for a new generation.” 

Scholastic will also introduce a Retro Box Tin this fall, featuring the first six books in the Animorphs series, all in their original ’90s covers. The titles in the collectible tin will include The InvasionThe VisitorThe EncounterThe MessageThe Predator, and The Capture

Animorphs was published by Scholastic from 1996 to 2001 and then partly re-issued between 2011 and 2012 with lenticular versions of the memorable covers featuring the main characters gradually morphing into animals or insects. 

For Scholastic, the deal continues the publishers push to get classic book series into new mediums. Earlier this year, the publisher announced it was working with Sony Pictures to develop a live-action series inspired by the Goosebumps series.

‘Hearts by Tiana’ Lands on the Newsstand

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Kennedy Publishingbased in the U.K., has launched a Totally magazine a special issue for YouTube star Tiana Wilson. 

The 36-page magazine is devoted to Tiana’s licensed brand, Hearts By Tiana, which debuted exclusively in ASDA. In this special issue of Totally, readers can find out all about Tiana and read what she has to say in her own words. Fans can take quizzes, solve puzzles, get involved with TT Squad pranks and make crafts. There will also be pull-out Tiana posters and an exclusive competition for Hearts By Tiana product.

Readers will receive a Squad Set gift, including gel pens, notepad, scrunchie and surprise collectible.

“We are excited to be working with Tiana for this new one-shot edition of Totally magazine,” says Sophie Rowlands, licensing director, Kennedy Publishing. “High-quality editorial, design and gifts combined with Tiana’s huge following will ensure the magazine is a great success at retail.”

With more than 16 million subscribers across her two YouTube channels and total video views of three billion, Wilson is one of the most popular girls on YouTube. The Hearts By Tiana range – which includes daywear, nightwear, bags, shoes, accessories and stationery – is now available at more than 1,000 retailers across the U.K. Readers can find an exclusive discount code inside the magazine to put towards Hearts By Tiana items.  

“It has opened up a new category of licensors injecting new opportunities into the retail space and demonstrated the power of licensing in a new, high profile and rapidly growing influencer industry,” says Ian Shepherd, founder and chief executive officer, The Social Store. “We are very proud to work with Kennedy Publishing on this landmark magazine and are sure it will be a huge success for kids looking to learn more about Tiana.”