Sanrio, Igloo Packs a Lunch with Hello Kitty

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Sanrio has teamed with Igloo to launch limited-edition Hello Kitty Playmate cooler. 

The partnership leads to the debut of a Playmate Pal(7-quart and Playmate Mini 4-quart cooler. Each cooler has custom artwork inspired by the Hello Kitty brand. 

“Teaming up with Sanrio is a truly fun experience,” says Brian Garofalow, chief marketing officer, Igloo. “Hello Kitty is an international icon known for making friends around the world. While at Igloo, our goal is to deliver coolness to the world—it only seemed fitting that our iconic Playmate cooler would become a part of her summer crew for all her fans to enjoy.”   

The Hello Kitty Playmate coolers start at $29.99, and exclusively sold on the Igloo website

“At Sanrio, we believe everything is better when we enjoy it together,” said Susan Tran, director of brand marketing, Sanrio, “This is why we’re excited to launch this exclusive collection with Igloo and everyone’s best friend, Hello Kitty, so that every gathering is that much more memorable.”

Earlier this year, Sanrio teamed with Schick for a collection of branded razors. Igloo recently announced a cooler partnership with celebrity chef Guy Fieri earlier this year.

Licensing Essentials Course to Take Place (Virtually) Next Month


Licensing International has announced that the annual U.K. Licensing Essentials Course will take place virtually Wednesday, July 29 and Thursday, July 30. 

For the first time, there will be no cost to attend the event. 

The U.K. Licensing Essentials Course is a one-stop-shop for all aspects of brand licensing. The event is targeted to all brand licensing professionals with a focus on retail executives and other professionals looking to break into or expand their profile in this $293 billion industry.

The program will take place over two, half days from 13:30 – 16:00 GMT. It will feature both live and pre-recorded sessions broken up by a series of networking activities, including virtual roundtables and a happy hour at the “Virtual Licensing Bar.”  

Sessions will cover best practices, basic licensing know-how and new industry standards in light of recent global events. Among the topics to be covered are: 

  • “It All Starts Here: How IP Comes to Life” – a deep dive into the path new IP follows to make it to store shelves 
  • “Reality Check: License Agreements for Non-Lawyers” 
  • “Who’s Shopping? A Profile of the Children’s Market” 
  • “The New Normal for Licensing” – a look at how COVID-19 has impacted licensing and how to take advantage of new opportunities  

Confirmed speakers include Susan Bolsover, Penguin Ventures (part of Penguin Random House); Andrew Carley, TILT Global Brand & Licensing Solutions; Dave Collins, PowerStation Studios; Rob Corney, Bulldog Licensing; Louise French, Beanstalk; consultant Aysha Kidwai; Adrienne Mirviss, Wildbrain CPLG; Holly Oldham, Rubie’s UK; Gary Pope, Kids Industries; Claire Potter, Metrostar Media; Julia Redman, Buyers Eye; consultant Graham Saltmarsh; commercial strategist Pete Selby; Will Stewart, The Point.1888 and Steven Ekstract, brand director, Global Licensing Group at Informa Markets. 

“The decision to host Licensing Essentials Course online this year has allowed us to open it to a global audience, but also make it free to attend for the first time,” says Maura Regan, president, Licensing International. “This event is a must-attend for anyone looking to expand their understanding of the brand licensing industry, especially retail executives who may be exploring new ways to adapt or enhance their business models in light of the disruption we’re currently seeing.” 

The U.K. Licensing Essentials Course continues Licensing Internationals educational initiatives. The group recently wrapped up its Licensing University sessions at Licensing Week Virtual. 

Licensees Insights Report 2020

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2020 ushered in a new decade marked by major business mergers, the launch of game-changing streaming platforms and flourishing verticals such as esports that cultivated a host of consumer products opportunities and unprecedented growth for the licensing industry. With the world’s leading licensor, Disney, reporting its consumer products business was up 25 percent in Q4 2019, the role of licensees proved more pivotal than ever.

As businesses continue to evolve and pivot to overcome the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, licensees will continue executing their vital role as the pillars of the licensing industry.

“Licensees are the lifeblood of our industry and need our acknowledgment and support,” says Steven Ekstract, brand director, Global Licensing Group, Informa Markets. “Their expertise in design, manufacturing, packaging, marketing, distribution and sales is what drives this almost $300 billion business.”

Licensees are a crucial piece of the licensing puzzle, creating product across all categories including apparel, collectibles, toys, publishing, health and beauty and more. According to the 2019 Licensing International Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey, licensees reported a rise in the licensing of sports brands and sports leagues. Some respondents of the report noted the rise of licensing among influencers, commenting, “It’s been a whirlwind of influencers coming up every day wanting to offer their services and get a slice of the licensing pie.”

Whether you’re a social influencer, a major brand like Disney, a thriving sports team or a hit television show – to be impactful in business, you’ll need a licensee to produce prod- ucts and get them onto store shelves. License Global takes a look at the impact and importance of licensees in modern industry.

Register to access this resource

Gain free access to exclusive reports, whitepapers, insights and more by becoming a License Global member today, and receive the latest industry updates directly to your inbox.

J&M Brands to Rep ‘Care Bears’ in Benelux

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J&M Brands will manage all licensing initiatives for Care Bears, focusing on the relaunch of Care Bears toys from Basic Fun! The deal followed the announcement on a new “Care Bears” series last year.

Cloudco introduced “Care Bears: Unlock the Magic,” a 2D animated series featuring a new look and mission for the bears. The series launched on Tiny Pop in the U.K, Noggin and Nickelodeon in Latin America, and Boomerang and Cartoon Network in the U.S.

“We are honored to represent such an incredible and well-loved brand, and thrilled to be working with Cloudco Entertainment,” says Jannienke Mulder, chief executive officer and co-founder, J&M Brands. “The Care Bears are a very famous brand for many decades in our territory. Benelux consumers love the comeback of the ‘80s and this fun retro brand will be a great success in our territory,”

Introduced in 1982, Care Bears has become one of the most popular children’s properties in the world. The Care Bears are known for using their belly badge powers to spread messages of sharing, caring, friendship and courage while making sure to have lots of laughs along the way. 

“With the new look and a growing interest in Care Bears, now is the perfect time to build Cloudco’s licensing program with the most respected agencies in each of the big markets,” adds Roubina Tchoboian, vice president, international licensing, Cloudco Entertainment. “J&M Brands, with its deep understanding of the Benelux market and experience of working with many major international brands, is an ideal partner to launch the next phase of the Care Bears brand in Benelux.”

Nickelodeon Announces 'The Smurfs’ Product Line and Animated Series


Nickelodeon has licensed the global rights to “The Smurfs” for a new consumer product line and animated series.

The deal sees Nickelodeon teaming with the worldwide licensors for “The Smurfs,” LAFIG Belgium and IMPS. As licensing partners, the trio will launch a new original CG-animated series based on the property in 2021. The series will debut in the U.S., followed by Nickelodeon channels internationally.

ViacomCBS Consumer Products has begun seeking new merchandising and promotional partners in select categories and territories for the classic brand. The company is launching a new product line for the upcoming animated series that will cover categories including toys, stationery, apparel, accessories and home and consumer packaged goods. The new products are expected to launch at retail in 2022.

“’ The Smurfs’ is an iconic global franchise that has resonated with audiences for decades,” says Pam Kaufman, president, ViacomCBS Consumer Products. “By partnering with LAFIG, we can join our creative forces to bring an all-new line of consumer products across multiple categories to consumers, along with a fresh and original animated series.”

“The Smurfs” brand has found continued success in the licensing field over the years. Having celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018, the brand has partnered with companies such as Emoji.

PlayMonster Names New President


PlayMonster has announced the appointment of Tim Kilpin as president of the toy company, effective immediately.  

Kilpin is an executive in the toy and children’s entertainment industry for more than 35 years. He has set brand strategies and creative direction for brands including Monster High, Hot Wheels, Disney Princess, Winnie the Pooh, Barbie and Mickey Mouse, having served in senior roles at MattelDisney and Activision Blizzard.  

Reporting to chief executive officer Bob Wann, and based in the company’s corporate headquarters in Beloit, WI, Kilpin will focus on expanding and accelerating PlayMonster’s business with an emphasis on sales, marketing, design, and business development. In addition to continuing strategic and operational oversight, Wann will increase focus on international growth and acquisition.  

“Tim is one of the most experienced, highly accomplished and respected executives in the industry,” says Wann. “His tremendous stature and knowledge in the industry, along with his complementary skill sets make Tim the perfect fit, at the perfect time, to further PlayMonster’s growth and evolution towards becoming one of the industry’s top toy companies.”  

“The PlayMonster team is an outstanding, experienced, talented group of people with a strong vision, who love what they do and love working together,” says Kilpin. “I fundamentally believe that finding ways to build brands that offer quality play experiences for families and kids today is more important than ever and I am excited to be part of that.”  

KFC China Teams with the National Gallery and Pets Rock


The National Gallery Company with master licensee Alfilo Brands is continuing to raise awareness and expand their reach to new audiences in China with a new licensing collaboration with KFC. 

As part of a new promotional licensing collaboration, the brands have launched a limited-edition family buckets ad ice creams with Impressionist-themed packaging designs. The promotion comes along with other activities for the license that include Impressionists-themed dessert stores and promotional accessories. KFC’s campaign runs from March to August 2020. 

“We are continuing to expand significantly to new audiences in China,” says Judith Mather, buying and merchandising director, National Gallery Company. “Through this collaboration we are able to raise awareness of how relevant and flexible images of our world-famous painting can be for youth and young adult markets that also have such a wide reaching and dedicated loyal base.” 

In addition, KFC has partnered with U.K. brand Pets Rock to promote their ‘Messy Cola’ drinks launch.  Tapped by advertising agency Normcore, Pets Rock characters will feature in a major campaign, launching with a series of online marketing activities and themed KFC restaurants to bring Pets Rock across the country this summer. 

“We are delighted to be partnering with KFC China on this fun promotional campaign.” says Kate Polyblank, managing director, Pets Rock. "KFC is one of Chinese consumers most popular dining experiences and has high visibility. We are looking forward to seeing Pets Rock brand 

awareness soar." 

The new deals continue KFC’s streak of novel partnerships. The chicken fast food chain launched a deal with Crocs earlier this year for a KFC-styled clog.  

Crayola Imagine Arts Academy Launches Online Programming


Crayola has launched online programming for Crayola Imagine Arts Academy to inspire children with art experiences that broaden their creative horizons. 

While these programs are typically offered in-school, at camp or via birthday parties, the franchise-based company’s programming is now offered online to provide families learning opportunities while schools are closed across North America. As part of the program, children aged five to 12 can virtually interact with instructors who guide them as they use Crayola art materials. 

“Our brand has always encouraged children to explore the colorful possibilities and with this online programming we’re now able to guide them through the journey, and help out parents at the same time,” says Warren Schorr, vice president, business development and global licensing, Crayola. “During this time of rapid change and uncertainty, parents and children can count on art as a creative and emotional outlet.” 

Children will learn about the world around them in three programs, each offering various classes: 

  • World of Design: Provides children a chance to discover design careers from animation to architecture. 
  • Artist’s Passport: Highlights a global adventure to so kids can uncover world cultures. 
  • Wild World: Examines the art of animal conservation. 

“We are thrilled to be able to continue offering our programming virtually during these challenging times, to help parents as they try to manage wearing many hats, including that of a teacher,” says Shafik Mina, president and chief operating officer, 2inspire, the parent company of Crayola Imagine Arts Academy. “Our art classes provide children with the perfect outlet to express themselves creatively during these unprecedented times, while also teaching them empathy for the world around them.”  

In addition, Crayola has embarked on licensing deals to aid families during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a mask line with SchoolMaskPack.

Sesame Workshop, LEGO to Premiere ‘Elmo’s World News’ Special


While children and families everywhere continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new “Sesame Street” special episode of “Elmo’s World News” from Sesame Workshop and the LEGO Foundation will bring learning and support in managing emotions to viewers across the world.  

The 25-minute special episode will air in more than 13 languages across the Middle East, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and more. Sesame’s episode comes as part of the Caring for Each Other initiative. The special, which was produced with creatives and puppeteers across multiple continents. It will model learning activities for families to do together at home and give children strategies to manage big feelings like frustration or sadness.  

“With so many children around the world navigating new routines, it’s more important than ever to give families the tools they need to cope with challenges and foster playful learning at home,” says Sherrie Westin, president, social impact and philanthropy, Sesame Workshop. “Play is critical to a child’s healthy development, and that’s especially true during times of uncertainty. Together with the LEGO Foundation, we can harness the power of play to meet the evolving needs of families everywhere and help them build the resilience that will carry them through these tough times and beyond.” 

In addition to “Elmo’s World News” Sesame Workshop will produce a series of short-form videos and digital activities and tips on staying healthy, learning at home through play and caring for yourself and others. The short-form content will be released over the coming months to help families through the different challenges and transitions they experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Play-based education is vital for children’s psychological, emotional, and cognitive health and development, and hones the resilience they need to overcome challenges like our current reality,” says John Goodwin, chief executive officer, the LEGO Foundation. “With more than 1.5 billion children displaced from traditional learning environments, the LEGO Foundation is committed to finding creative solutions to accelerate learning through play amid the pandemic. We are proud to collaborate with our partner, Sesame Workshop, to ensure that children have access to education and develop the critical skills needed to thrive in today’s constantly changing world, and in the future beyond the pandemic.” 

Sesame Workshop hosted a panel at Licensing Week Virtual about their efforts of doing well by doing good. You can read more about the panel here, and register for Licensing Week Virtual here.

Sophie la girafe, MDR Brand Management Team for European Programs


Sophie la girafe is partnering with MDR Brand Management to expand into new categories across the U.K., Germany and Austria. 

Building on Sophie la girafe’s strong brand equity and recognition, MDR Brand Management will lead on all aspects of the brand's strategic exploration and development into categories such as nursery, FMCG, apparel and textiles, dental, bath and body. Collaborations will come from handpicked partners, retailers and new distribution channels. 

"Sophie la girafe is such a trusted and cherished brand, associated with the expertise and high quality of its traditional manufacturing process, which has remained identical over the last 59 years,” says Daniel Avener, chief executive officer, MDR Brand Management. “Sophie has become timeless, global and multi-generational, and we see huge potential in bringing these features into new categories and products, working closely with the DELISO team." 

Currently, core products are broadly available across Europe, with retailers including Selfridges, John Lewis, Next, Ocado, JoJo Maman Bebe, Sainsburys, Smyths Toys and Baby Walz. The brand made headlines earlier this year when it announced a slate of new partnerships for 2020.