Deadline to Enter the 2019 LIMA Awards extended to March 8 ?

Submit Now for the 2019 LIMA Awards
New Deadline: Wednesday, March 8

Did you do something in 2018 that tested limits, set records, got people talking or was just plain awesome? Then you have a chance at winning a coveted LIMA International Licensing Award. There’s only one thing you have to do – submit your entry (or entries) by this Friday, March 8th.

The LIMA International Licensing Awards are the only global recognition of excellence in brand licensing, spanning borders and languages. And this year, both submissions and judging will take place online through the new LIMA Awards website. It’s never been easier for anyone, no matter where they are in the world, to throw their hat in the ring.

No more excuses, because time is running out. Everything you need to know is at





A dream come true – Angry Birds Dream Blast now available worldwide!

Rovio Entertainment introduced the global launch of Angry Birds Dream Blast – a fun and casual tap-to-match puzzle game in which players join the young and sleepy (and ok – adorable) Angry Birds flock to blast Dream Bubbles and overcome a number of different bubble popping challenges. Angry Birds Dream Blast introduces an all-new gameplay style for the Angry Birds, and promises some extra accessible puzzle solving fun – perfect for anyone looking to spend a few idle moments with their favorite Angry Birds characters.

After billions of downloads across the Angry Birds catalog, fans have had plenty of time to get acquainted with the trademark temper of Rovio’s famous flock, but until now, we have been left to wonder what the trio was like before their first run-in with their piggy nemeses. Now with the global launch of Angry Birds Dream Blast, players around the world can take a first-ever peek into the early lives of the Angry Birds flock. As it turns out, life for the young birds was more about taking the perfect nap than exacting revenge on their enemies.

Angry Birds Dream Blast takes a place among Rovio’s other fantastic puzzle offerings as the most instantly accessible game of the bunch. It has never been easier to get a dose of the kind of gameplay and attitude that has launched other Angry Birds titles to phenomenon status.

Time-to-fun is incredibly important to us,” says head of Rovio’s Puzzle Studio, Heini Kaihu. “We want players to be having fun in our games within seconds of opening them. This is something I feel the team has done a great job implementing in Angry Birds Dream Blast. We’re extremely excited for players around the world to pick up the game and start popping Dream Bubbles right away.”

In addition to instant fun, classic Angry Birds characters, Red, Chuck, and Bomb, will be popping up during gameplay as well. The birds join the game as powerful boosters. Blasting four or more Dream Bubbles will make Red appear, combining two Reds to creates a Chuck, and combining two Chucks makes a Bomb. Each character has their own ability when tapped, each of which amounts to blasting even more bubbles. They’re powerful on their own, but when the birds work together, they’re unstoppable!

For fans of Angry Birds, or anyone looking for the perfect way to relax and spend a few idle moments, Dream Blast is a dream come true, but for those looking for some competition, Dream Events provide a great way to test your Dream Bubble popping skills against players around the globe. These limited-time events present players with various in-game challenges. Completing challenges earns the player a better spot on the global leaderboard and better rewards when the Dream Event concludes. Players can expect new Dream Events to be added periodically.

Find a comfy spot and settle in for some relaxing fun in Angry Birds Dream Blast – now free to download worldwide via the App Store and Google Play.

Ironman to flex in India

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LicenseWorks will oversee the development of Ironman, a Wanda Sports Holdings company, in India.

The deal will see LicenseWorks develop a comprehensive strategy to expand the Ironman, Iron Girl and Iron Kids brands across the country. The group will arrange agreements with manufacturers and retailers across all categories including apparel, footwear, fitness equipment and healthy food alternatives for athletes and casual fans.

LicenseWorks will work to launch products aimed at fitness enthusiasts through the Ironsport powered by the Ironman brand, which debuted in 2018

Ironman is the 93rd largest licensor, according to License Global’s Top 150  Global Licensor’s report.

“Ironman is excited to begin working with the team at LicenseWorks, who are known for their out-of-the-box thinking and strong connections in the Indian market,” says Nathalie Wolderling Bishman, senior director, global licensing, Ironman. “As we continue to expand our brands globally and across product categories, we are looking for new and innovative ways to bring our brands to consumers across all athletic levels.”

Ironman recently announced its expansion into India with the inaugural Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Goa. The competition will take place on Oct. 20.


Penguin to flip for “Where’s Spot?” 40th anniversary

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Penguin Ventures, part of Penguin Random House, and Puffin, a division of Penguin Random House Children’s, are gearing up to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Eric Hill’s classic picture book Where’s Spot? in 2020.

The 40th-anniversary celebration will include new publishing for Spot including a new lift-the-flap book from Puffin. Penguin Ventures is now proactively seeking outstanding new licensees for their successful Spot consumer products line. In separate deals, Rainbow recently signed on for plush, while Dennicci has secured a contract for infant apparel.

Where’s Spot? was first published in 1980 and gained popularity as one of the first lift-the-flap storybooks.

Where’s Spot? has been translated into 60 languages and has sold 65 million books worldwide, according to a company statement. “We’re delighted to be celebrating another important milestone for one of our much-loved brands,” says Susan Bolsover, director, licensing and consumer products, Penguin Ventures.

“Spot feels as fresh and relevant to parents and children today as when Eric Hill first created him in 1980. There is already significant interest shown by licensees for Spot, and I’m excited about the opportunities that the anniversary will offer to further elevate this classic character both in the U.K. and globally.”

A live stage show from CDP Kids will kick off later this year in The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand that will bring the series to life through puppets, stage actors and songs. The show will tour Australia this year and will head to New Zealand in 2020.


CBS folds film dept. to focus on streaming

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Films will be folded into CBS Entertainment Group over the next 12 months, according to Variety.

In the meantime, the company will release its next four scheduled films in theaters: Five Feet Apart, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Pavarotti and Lexi. Several of these movies are being distributed through the company’s partnership with Lionsgate.

After the last of these films debuts in cinemas, CBS will shift toward finding content for the company’s streaming services. These platforms could include CBS All Access, the media conglomerate’s initial entry into the streaming space, but there is no official statement.

Terry Press, president, CBS Films, is expected to continue to lead the division. CBS Films’ name will stay on CBS Films releases.

“As part of our ongoing optimization of CBS operations, CBS Films will be folded into the larger CBS Entertainment Group throughout 2019,” says CBS Corporation via statement. “This will allow the company to further focus its entertainment resources on its television, digital and streaming businesses. We are grateful for the continued leadership of Press and the passionate efforts of everyone at CBS Films.”


You Can Help Shape the Licensing Industry

Apply for the LIMA Board of Directors
Deadline February 8, 2019

Are you passionate about brands and consumer products?   Would you like to share your skills and expertise with a group of other leading licensing professionals who are shaping the industry for future generations?  We’re looking for diverse new voices to fill several openings on the LIMA Board of Directors. Board Members have an opportunity to:

  • Engage with other industry thought leaders who want to make a difference
  • Help drive the decision making that affects the overall industry
  • Have a stronger voice and increased visibility in the licensing industry
  • Give back to the community while growing your professional network

If you wish to be considered for nomination or know someone who would make an excellent candidate for a Board position, we encourage you to submit an application. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a current active LIMA member and been involved in the licensing industry for at least five years
  • Have participated in at least one LIMA activity during the past three years (for example, serving on a Committee or as a speaker/panelist at a LIMA-produced event)

To apply, send an email to Maura Regan, President, detailing your qualifications, areas of interest, and what you feel you can contribute to LIMA and the larger industry as a Board Member.

Applications must be received by February 8, 2019.

Thank you for your interest, and Happy New Year!


Ciarán Coyle, Chairman
LIMA Nominating Committee

Rubik’s sells minority stake


Rubik’s Brand, the London-based brand that holds the rights to the Rubik’s cube, has sold a minority stake to European private equity firm Bancroft Investment.

RBL was created by the founding families of the original Rubik’s brand in 2013.

In the last five years, RBL has rolled out a licensing program that has led to collaborations with companies including Google, Red Bull and McDonald’s.

Bancroft’s investment will help the group to further the global awareness of the Rubik’s brand through new channels, products and markets. Christoph Bettin will serve as the company’s new chief executive officer.


ManU opens clubs in China

Manchester United, in partnership with Chinese property developer Harves, will open a series of club-themed entertainment and experience centers throughout China.


The first Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Centers are scheduled to open in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang by the end of 2020. They will use interactive attractions and exhibitions to bring the excitement of Manchester United and its Old Trafford stadium to the iconic club’s 100 million followers in China, giving fans a place to celebrate the team.

The Beijing center will be located within the Beijing FUN development, in the historic Qianmen Dashilan area right next to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

Each venue will feature interactive and immersive experiences, using state-of-the-art technology to bring Manchester United to life. Visiting fans will be able to experience the thrill of a matchday at Old Trafford as well as learn the history and heritage of ManU.

Each Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Center will offer visitors a different experience and will include restaurants, along with a club retail store.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Harves on the Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Centers concept, offering our millions of Chinese fans the chance to experience the club in a new and innovative way,” says Richard Arnold, managing director, Manchester United. “We first visited China in 1975, and we’re proud to have seen our fan base in the region grow and develop their passion for United over the years. This new concept will allow them to get closer to the club they love.”

“Harves is honored to partner with Manchester United and bring our property development expertise in the creation of these centers,” says Bo Zhang, chief executive officer, Harves. “They were the first club to broadcast games in China, and I can remember setting my alarm to watch the best players in the world play. Manchester United was also the first to tour China and the first to host fan events in the country. But they are so much more than a football club. They are always striving for excellence in the way they approach life. We are excited to bring the rituals and emotions of the Manchester United experience to the youth in China, capturing what it feels like to be a member of this elite club. Rooted in its unique approach to training, its storied legacy and leadership and its status as the most successful club in the world, we will create a fully immersive experience that entertains, educates and inspires the next generation of football fans.”


Holiday sales top $850 billion!

Holiday sales increased 5.1 percent to more than $850 billion in 2018, according to Mastercard’s latest Mastercard SpendingPulse report.

According to the report, which tracks retail spending trends across all payment types including cash and check, the uptick was the most substantial growth in six years.

Online shopping increased by 19.1 percent year over year.

“From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail,” says Steve Sadove, senior advisor, Mastercard and former chief economic officer and chairman, Saks Incorporated. “By combining the right inventory with the right mix of online versus in-store, many retailers were able to give consumers what they wanted via the right shopping channels.”

Holiday retail highlights include:

  • Apparel performed well with a growth rate of 7.9 percent over 2017, the category’s best growth rate since 2010. Apparel sales experienced strong momentum from the back-to-school season through Christmas.
  • Home improvement spending grew across the U.S. and increased 9 percent over the holiday season. The trend started before the holiday period and continued through the end of 2018.
  • The amount spent on electronics and appliances fell 0.7 percent.
  • The home furniture and furnishing categories grew by 2.3 percent.
  • Department stores saw a 1.3 percent decline year over year, which follows two years of gains under 2 percent. Online growth for department stores measured at 10.2 percent.

Weather impacted some shoppers. On Black Friday, cold weather struck the East Coast, and wet weather affected both the West and East Coasts on the weekend of Dec. 15-16. Storms also impacted the East Coast on Dec. 21, potentially affecting sales.

LIMA to Induct Michael Stone and Pam Lifford into Licensing Hall of Fame

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The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) today announced that Michael Stone, Chairman and Co-founder of Beanstalk, and Pam Lifford, President of Warner Bros. Global Brands & Experiences, are the 2019 inductees to the LIMA Licensing Hall of Fame. This year’s Hall of Fame Induction will take place on June 4, at the LIMA Licensing Awards Ceremony during Licensing Expo 2019 in Las Vegas.

“LIMA is proud to celebrate these two widely respected licensing veterans who have dedicated their careers to driving the success of licensing among the broader business community,” said LIMA President, Maura Regan. “Michael has been instrumental in the evolution of brand extension licensing as a highly effective corporate strategy and Pam is responsible for the domestic and international licensing of some of the most highly regarded entertainment franchises in the world. Their recognition in the Licensing Hall of Fame is well-deserved.”

Headshot ColorMichael Stone

Michael Stone is the chairman and co-founder of Beanstalk, an Omnicom-owned, global brand extension licensing agency and consultancy. Beanstalk is the recipient of 23 LIMA Awards and is responsible for some of the most successful licensing programs of all time, including programs for Procter & Gamble, Stanley Black & Decker, Harley-Davidson, The Coca-Cola Company, HGTV, Diageo, and Mary-Kate and Ashley, among others. In addition to teaching the first graduate course in the country specifically on trademark licensing as an adjunct professor for Baruch University, as well as an undergraduate course at Long Island University Post, Stone is an authority on licensing and frequently contributes to Advertising Age, Adweek, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and other media outlets. Michael has recently authored his first book “The Power of Licensing: Harnessing Brand Equity”.

Untitled design (1) copyPam Lifford

Pam Lifford is president of Warner Bros. Global Brands & Experiences where she leads the alignment of large-scale brand and franchise strategies across the studio’s world-class characters and brands as well as overseeing Warner Bros. Consumer Products, DC, Themed Entertainment and a new Global Franchise team. Lifford’s vision for next-level development of fan-engagement drives the creation of business opportunities designed to reshape how Warner Bros. delivers fan-focused activities. Working in partnership with all divisions of the Studio, Lifford’s team ensures that every touchpoint for cross-company collaboration is maximized. Lifford joined Warner Bros. in 2016 as president of its Consumer Products division where she refocused the Division’s priorities and put strategies in place that increased the business by 47 percent in her first year alone. Prior to Warner Bros., Lifford held an executive leadership position at Disney and Quicksilver, Inc. as well as key roles at Road Runner Sports and Nike.