Whether it’s a theme park or a social media initiative, entertainment has become a key link to consumers for all types of licensors, from movie franchises to fashion brands.

April 6, 2018

4 Min Read


Tony Lisanti, Global Editorial Director

From expansive theme parks to single-focused event sponsorships or exhibitions, entertainment has become an increasingly important component of many brand licensing strategies as licensors look for new and innovative ways to leverage their IP, enhance brand awareness and connect with fans and followers.

This so-called entertainment factor is no longer just about a franchise or character heading to the big screen or TV series, as was the norm in past years, but now encompasses anything and everything associated with the concept of fan
engagement–from mega theme parks and attractions to museum exhibitions, branded content and social media.

The underlying trend that has fueled the integrationof various business disciplines is the intersection of entertainment, lifestyle and sports heavily influenced by personalities, celebrities and global brands and how social media has created a more definitive and readily accessible base of loyal fans. And these fans are not only ready to proclaim their interest in a particular brand, but also eager to participate in various events, surveys, contests and, of course, purchase products.

Today's consumers (especially the coveted Millennials) are looking to be part of a brand's DNA in ways that weren't conceivable a few short years ago, and licensors
are now aggressively developing true 360-degree strategies worldwide along with new forms of fan engagement.

The popularity of theme parks, fan events, social media and e-commerce are evident in almost every measurable statistic, from ticket sales to "likes," clicks and in retail sales. It's about creating a touch point with consumers every day that offers various aspects of value and product information, or simply the latest buzz about the brand.

The biggest and perhaps most lucrative and longterm touch point initiative for licensors are theme parks, rides and various other types of attractions. Certainly the recent success of the Harry Potter attractions at Universal Studios resorts, along with the aggressive plans announced by The Walt Disney Company for Star Wars, Frozen and Toy Story lands, may have partly influenced the numerous deals announced over the
past several months. They include the following:

Fox Consumer Products partered with Al Ahli HoldingGroup to develop a second Fox-branded theme park and first themed resort in Dubai. The deal with AAHG also allows for the development of up to threeadditional Fox-branded resorts in other territories.

Ubisoft, in partnership with RSG, is developing anext generation theme park in Malaysia that will feature its portfolio of gaming brands including "Assassin's Creed," "Just Dance" and "Rabbids."

The Moomin brand is planning a new theme parkcalled Mesta that will open in Japan in 2017.

Lionsgate is partnering with Dubai Parks and Resorts to bring a studio zone to the Motiongate Dubai theme park. It will include The Hunger Games attractions as well as a live stage show based on the company's Step Up franchise.

Aardman Animations is creating the first internatinal"Shaun the Sheep" land at the Skånes Djurpark animal park in Sweden, slated to open in summer 2016.

Ferrari Land theme park is being developed at the Port Aventura Resort in Salou, Spain, and is scheduled to open at the end of 2016.

Universal Partnerships & Licensing is partnering with Imagine Exhibitions to create a global touring exhibit "Jurassic World: The Exhibition," which is scheduled to open in March 2016 at the Melbourne Museum in Australia.

CBS Consumer Products is partnering with EMS Entertainment for "Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience," an interactive exhibit that is scheduled to debut at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa in May 2016.

LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya recently joined forces with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create the world's largest collection of DC Comicsinspired LEGO artwork, which debuted this fall at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia.

Universal Studios Orlando is planning a simulated ride starring "Tonight Show" host Jmmy Fallon called "Race Through New York." With similar new deals on the horizon, major theme park and entertainment initiatives will continue to be a driving factor worldwide as licensors expand their brand franchises. More importantly, however,
licensors are developing more non-traditional forms of customer and fan engagement or alternative forms of entertainment that extend their brands 24/7 through social media and e-commerce in ways that are onlybeginning to emerge as viable business models. ©

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