Tony Lisanti, Editor-in-Chief
The special Brand Licensing Europe issue, which including the Show Dailies totals 276 pages, presents not only all the top news and deals during the expo, but also exclusive anniversary tributes to Sanrio and Nickelodeon in recognition of Hello Kitty's 40th and SpongeBob's 15th anniversary, respectively.
While Hello Kitty has garnered widespread success based on the social communication philosophy and the artwork of this cute girl with the red bow created by artist Yuko Shimizu in 1974, SpongeBob has been among one of the top animated TV series, which was created by Stephen Hillenburg and debuted in 1999. In addition, while Hello Kitty has yet to enter the entertainment sector, SpongeBob is gearing up for its second movie
Sponge Out of Water
Both properties do in fact share several strategic factors that reflect their strength and status as global brands. Consider the following:
Both Sanrio and Nickelodeon are pushing the parameters on co-branding, teaming up with such brands as Major League Baseball and Vans and the U.S. Postal Service and Toyota, respectively.
Both licensors are pursuing various high-end partners while maintaining a strong mass market fashion presence as well–Hello Kitty recently partnered with Jeffrey Campbell footwear, while SpongeBob hit the runway during Fashion Week with Moschino.
Hello Kitty and SpongeBob have both built multi-generational audiences, enabling each licensor to create specific merchandise and maximize its demographics. For example, Hello Kitty is expanding into the baby category with diaper bags from Ju-Ju-Be and strollers from Baby Trends. Nickelodeon, with one-third of its audience comprised of adult fans has been able to tailor its product assortment accordingly with an infants line from Monnalisa, various collectibles and a collab with singer Pharrell Williams.
Both licensors use all platforms to communicate with fans about new products, events, etc. For example, SpongeBob boasts 58 million likes on Facebook.
On the international front, Viacom opened Nickelodeon retail stores in Mexico this year and will expand to various countries including Saudi Arabia and Russia. Sanrio, which operates more than 400 stores internationally, recently signed a deal to create a new store prototype that will debut in Southern California in 2015.
Viacom will continue to expand with Nickelodeon SpongeBob-themed shows, cruises and resorts, while Hello Kitty is launching its first fan convention this month.
In addition, other global licensors featured in this issue also share many of the attributes that have contributed to the success of Hello Kitty and SpongeBob. To remain well-informed of the new initiatives and direction of top licensors, check out the articles on Cartoon Network, DHX Brands, DreamWorks Animation, Studio 100, Universal Partnerships & Licensing, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, to name a few. And for the latest on gaming, read the special report "Five Keys to the Future of Gaming Brands" to get the latest trends on the sector's continued commitment to licensing as well as diversification and new properties.
This special issue exemplifies the truly global nature of brand licensing and the scope of strategic initiatives beyond the basics as well as the perspective and insight that
delivers daily year-round.
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