Betty Boop gets personal

King Features Syndicate, a division of Hearst, and Betty Boop proprietor Fleischer Studios, have announced that Toxicfox, a character personalization company in the U.K., has developed a unique line of product featuring Betty Boop.

The Betty Boop Personalized Character Collection allows users to transform their likeness into Betty Boop character art that can be printed onto items including mugs, suitcases, tote bags, apparel and more. Personalization options include hair and eye color, to facial expression, body type and outfit styles.

“We are constantly looking for new opportunities and categories that will grow and enrich consumers’ brand experiences,” says Carla Silva, vice president and general manager, global head, licensing, King Features. “And Toxicfox’s innovative approach to personalized character products and utilization of new technology presents fans with an entirely new way to engage with Betty Boop.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with such a beloved and influential character,” says Clinton Njie, director, Toxicfox. “Betty Boop is a true icon, and we’re delighted to have created a full slate of products which places her fans at the heart of the brand experience.”

The Betty Boop Personalized Character Collection is available in the U.K. and Ireland at and will come to the U.S this fall.


DKNY scores with Major League Baseball

Sport-inspired collection for women launches ahead of Opening Day 2019.

DKNY is launching a new partnership with Major League Baseball.

The new sport-inspired collection – launching in time for Opening Day 2019 (which this year takes place on March 28) – promises a ‘modern, feminine edge’ and features all 30 MLB teams.

The range includes DKNY Sport favourites such as the sneaker dress, coach’s jacket, cropped hoodie and leggings, all co-branded with MLB teams.

To bring the collaboration to life, DKNY will host a VIP launch event in partnership with MLB on March 28.


The Entertainer Posts 31% Profit Increase

The Entertainer, riding a sharp increase in its e-commerce business and expansion of its private label Addo brand, reported a 31% profit increase to $19.8 million in the year ended Jan. 28 as revenue rose 21.7% to $310.1 million.

The 163-store UK chain’s e-commerce revenue through The rose 39%. Same-store sales increased by 12.3%.

E-commerce accounts for about 20% of the company’s annual revenue.

The Entertainer is targeting having 200 stores by year-end —  a combination of company-owned and franchised locations.

It has 15 franchised stores across nine Central European, Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

The chain also earlier this month purchased UK retailer Mothercare’s Early Learning Centre business for $17.6 million, which includes toy brands such as Happyland. Early Learning Centre has 400 franchised stores in international markets and 80 inside Mothercare’s UK locations. It also purchased the 57-store Spanish toy retailer Poly late last year.

In addition to opening new stores, The Entertainer will “further strengthen” its private label Pitter Patter Pets and Addo business, says Buying Director Stuart Grant. The latter including licenses for Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. brands. Sales of private label products are about 33% of The Entertainer’s annual revenue.

Kidz Bop & AIC expand partnership in Mexico

Kidz Bop and AIC Hotel Group will expand their partnership with the Kidz Bop Experience at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Mexico.

The Kidz Bop Experience at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya will open this summer, following the debut at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana.

As part of the experience, kids will be able to create red carpet-worthy looks, come up with a custom band name with Instaband, write songs with Hit Maker, learn dance moves with Step It Up and design an album cover at the Creation Station. The Kidz Bop Experience will also allow kids to star in their favorite Kidz Bop music video and belt out Kidz Bop Karaoke tunes.

“Kidz Bop has been such a perfect fit with our Hard Rock brand that it is only natural for us to bring the concept to Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya,” says Adele Kozlowski, director, marketing, AIC Hotel Group. “This partnership has proven to be a strong asset for us in the all-inclusive market, and we are very excited to see the success it will bring to Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.”

“We’re excited to expand the Kidz Bop Experience to Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya,” says Sasha Junk, senior vice president, marketing, Kidz Bop. “AIC Hotel Group has been an ideal partner to help provide the opportunity for kids to feel like a Kidz Bop Kid for the day, ensuring they have the best vacation ever.”

To celebrate the new expansion, the Kidz Bop Kids will visit the resort Aug. 12-16 as part of the “Ultimate Kidz Bop Live Fan Experience” and will bring the Kidz Bop World Tour to Riviera Maya on Aug. 14.


Saucony signs sweet deal with Dunkin’

Boston-based brands Saucony and Dunkin’ have partnered to celebrate their hometown marathon with a limited-edition running shoe.

The Saucony x Dunkin’ Kinvara 10 marks the duo’s second collaboration.

The running shoe features bold graphics inspired by Dunkin’s brand new packaging and the innovative Everun cushioning. The shoe is designed with strawberry-frosted donut medallions, Dunkin’ coffee cups and the word “Boston” across on a reflective strip.

The shoe comes in a shoebox modeled after Dunkin’s donut box.

The Kinvara 10 comes in men’s sizes 7 to 13, 14 and 15, and women’s sizes 5 to 12 ($120), as well as a kids edition in big kids’ sizes 10.5 to 6 ($65).

“Marathons bring out the best of the human spirit, and the collective good that surrounds our hometown race is remarkable, inspirational and contagious,” says Don Lane, chief marketing officer, Saucony. “We’re proud to partner with fellow Boston brand-icon Dunkin’ in the creation of the Saucony x Dunkin’ Kinvara 10, delivering even more goodness to our running community.”

“The new Saucony x Dunkin’ Kinvara 10 represents the speed for which our brand is recognized and the deep Boston heritage and support for marathoners that we share with Saucony,” says Justin Unger, director of strategic partnerships, Dunkin’ Brands. “We are proud to once again collaborate with Saucony to celebrate the love of Dunkin’ and literally keep people running throughout marathon season and all year-round.”

The Saucony x Dunkin’ Kinvara 10 is available at and at Marathon Sports stores: Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Wellesley and

Marathon runners can purchase the shoe at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center at 900 Boylston Street, Boston on April 12-14.


Shemaroo Entertainment’s Yedaz merchandise now available at Imagica!

Bollywood Merchandise from Yedaz now available across Imagica stores!

Shemaroo Entertainment’s licensing and merchandising brand, Yedaz – Bollywood Madness, has associated with India’s favourite theme park, Imagica. Yedaz offers Bollywood fans at Imagica a chance to take home official Bollywood themed merchandise from the stores located inside the theme park.

Yedaz has a wide array of interesting merchandise that spreads across 15 categories like funky t-shirts with iconic Bollywood dialogues, coffee mugs, coasters, beer mugs and much more. Imagica already is home to Bollywood attractions like Mr. India and House of Stars and Yedaz merchandise is a perfect complement to the overall Bollywood experience.

Commenting on the association, Smita Maroo, Sr. VP – Licensing & Merchandising, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd said, “Bollywood dialogues and movies have a special connect with the Indian audiences and now they can own a piece of Bollywood. Our focus at Yedaz is to create fun and quirky official Bollywood merchandise and make it available to every die-hard fan. Our association with Adlabs Imagica will help us reach out to all these Bollywood fans.”

Excited on having Yedaz merchandise at Imagica, Dhimant Bakshi, Jt.CEO, says, “Imagica is a completely themed entertainment destination with one of the themes being Bollywood. With an entire ride conceptualized and dedicated to Mr. India the movie and House of Stars – a Bollywood park featuring iconic movie sets, the association with Yedaz is an exciting extension of the Bollywood centric theme in terms of yesteryear movie merchandise offerings. The exquisite merchandise is the perfect memorabilia for our guests to take home along with bagful of memories.”

Yedaz Merchandise is already up in the stores and customers visiting Imagica can get their hands on their favourite Bollywood product on their next visit. You can now flaunt your Bollywood attitude with Yedaz T-shirts or add a filmy touch to your parties with beer mugs.

Cadbury Bournvita partners with Doraemon to beat exam stress!

With the exam season kicking in, Doraemon along with Cadbury Bournvita joins it’s fans in the preparation to win.

Cadbury Bournvita is known to provide kids with great inner strength formula with strong bones, muscles, and an active brain. This exam season the partnership with Doraemon is providing kids with a complete exam starter pack.

Cadbury has come out with 2 sizes for its Bournvita pack, 1 kg, and 500gms. Kids get a cool looking writing pad free with a 1 kg pack and a trendy pencil box free with a 500gms pack. These packs are now available in your nearest stores.


Social Media Key To Brand Owners Leveraging Properties’ Birthdays

Happy Anniversary! Now what?

It seems to many (or at least to us) that this year has brought a larger number than usual of entertainment-based “birthday commemorations, with others waiting in the wings for 2020. It’s difficult to determine whether there indeed are more anniversaries than usual being marketed, or whether ubiquitous social media campaigns that highlight marketing activations are just bringing them to a wider audience.

In some cases, the campaigns bring with them a range of specially developed merchandise, often collectibles that will appeal to the nostalgic fans of yesteryear. In other cases, the anniversaries serve more as marketing hooks to more broadly focus attention on the property as a whole.


Funko’s 80th Anniversary Batman Figures

Some numbers are seen as more meaningful milestones than others. This year, for example, we’re seeing Sesame Street and the Woodstock Music Festival both reaching the half-century mark. But there are lots of others, too. The list includes Popeye (90), Batman (80), Barbie (60), Scooby-Doo (50), Hello Kitty (45), Ghostbusters, Tetris, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sixteen Candles (all 35), Little Mermaid (30), SpongeBob SquarePants (20) and Peppa Pig (15). And Peanuts (70) and Rubik’s Cube (45) are priming the pump for 2020.

Much of the buzz is being built on social media, where targeted efforts can reach specific segments of a property’s dedicated fan base. For its anniversary, Sesame Workshop uses Instagram and Snapchat to alert younger fans of upcoming product releases and events, and Facebook to reach an older consumer. And Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products’ licensee Alpha Group will have specially developed product, some aimed at collectors (with the “Best Year Ever SpongeBob 20” tagline) and others targeting younger, current fans.

“Social media in general has made anniversaries more of a business, because there are themes every day and with that comes brands trying to have a conversation with their fans,” says Trevco CEO Trevor George, whose company is developing anniversary apparel for Woodstock, Sixteen Candles, Scooby-Doo, Popeye and Creature from the Black Lagoon. “Anniversaries are part of the rise of social media in that they give brands a means for speaking with their fans every day. It wasn’t like that 5-10 years ago, when we typically only reached them when a new season came out on TV.”

It’s a great accelerant, especially when used in conjunction with events and activations whose effect can be multiplied through exposure on multiple platforms. For example, Dutch fashion designer Marlou Breals recently launched the “Icon Collection” with Viacom Nickeolodeon during Amsterdam Fashion Week to mark SpongeBob’s 20th with 30 designs featuring eight characters. And Sesame Workshop is increasing the number of fashion collaborations during its anniversary year to 20 from 4-5 last year, with Zara and H&M DTRs and a tour that starts June 1 and will feature community events in 10 U.S. cities.

“It is a brand requirement that you need to be on all the platforms” around an anniversary. “That is what is expected for a consumer to engage with a brand,” says Sesame Workshop VP Gabriela Arenas. “The touchpoints for the brands have evolved and you have to evolve with it because otherwise you will lose the customers.”

Indeed, social media has provided licensors not only with a less expensive means for reaching their fans, but for priming the marketing pump that typically accompanies an anniversary.

For example, was Sony Pictures Consumer Products was “surprised” by the response it received when it posted plans for a 35thanniversary of the original release of Ghostbusters, says Sony VP Stacey Kerr. The anniversary plans also

Sony/Hasbro Ghostbusters Collaboration

include consumer products – Hasbro and Sony collaborated on a Transformers/Ghostbusters Ecto-1 vehicle that transforms into a robot and marks the 35th anniversary of both brands. A Ghostbusters fan fest is scheduled for June on its

film lot in Culver City, CA. The anniversary also is being used to prime fans for a new film being released in 2020.

As part of its celebration, Sesame Workshop introduced #ThisIsMyStreet on Twitter in February as a means for celebrities who have appeared on the show and fans to share their memories of it. And Mattel launched a “Finding Your Voice” video blog on YouTube earlier this month as part of Barbie’s 60thanniversary, featuring videos designed to inspire and empower young girls.

In some cases, these birthday bashes include specially developed product; in others, it’s a just a marketing hook that may be denoted on its platforms and packaging.

In most cases, anniversary licensing programs remain most popular with collectors, unless it’s a really meaningful number attached to an tentpole brand, says Beanstalk Chairman Michael Stone, Chairman of Beanstalk, which developed the 100thanniversary campaign for Harley-Davidson.

“Anniversaries are promotional tool. In terms of licensing, they are a non-starter, unless it is an iconic property with a serious collector base,” says Stone. “Collectors care, but do kids care? I don’t think so. If you have some good products they will care, but they are not going to care about it just because it is an anniversary.”

SBSP SP19 -- Masterpiece Memes Imaginaaation SpongeBob -prod-angle-2_og

Alpha Toys’ SpongeBob SquarePants Meme-Based Figure

For a licensing program to carry some meaning other than marking the passage of time, brands need to have product and events both for collectors and fans that remember the anniversary and for those that do not. In the case of SpongeBob, there will be a one-hour special on Nickelodeon on July 12 and a series of pop-up stores/events that will run into 2020, when Paramount Pictures’ The SpongeBob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge is scheduled to be released on May 22. Nickelodeon also launched a dedicated SpongeBob YouTube channel in February – a first for one its properties – to reach young children.

“We are not going to use anniversary messaging for children because they don’t care,” says Viacom Nickelodeon SVP Charlotte Castillo. “But they do care that the show they like is being seen everywhere.”

And some brands prefer to wait for what they consider to be a more meaningful number. Peanuts Worldwide next year will mark the 70th anniversary of the first publication of Charles Schulz’s comic strip with a relatively small program focused on apparel, but is gearing up for a larger effort around the 75th anniversary in 2025.

Peanuts will be “very select” in developing a program for next year’s 70th anniversary. “We definitely will be celebrating [the 70th], but we will be taking a select approach; it won’t be 20 partners, but maybe six or seven,” says EVP Roz Nowicki.

And the company is keeping busy with another big birthday this year; it has a collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that will mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 10 and 11 missions with new consumer products and STEM-based learning materials.


Jelly Belly, Salley Hansen spring into Polish collab

Jelly Belly has paired with Sally Hansen for a collection of nail polish.

The Sally Hansen X Jelly Belly Insta-Dri Collection features 11 shades inspired by best-selling beans: from a fruity cherry red to a sparkle-spangled violet.

“When it comes to color and innovation, Jelly Belly and Sally Hansen are a natural fit,” says Rob Swaigen, vice president, global marketing, Jelly Belly. “We are thrilled to work with them on this new collection, and we think cosmetics and candy connoisseurs alike are in for a treat with this lineup.”

“We are so excited to partner with Jelly Belly–a truly iconic jelly bean brand that celebrates color and creativity,” says Celia Tombalakian, vice president, global and U.S. marketing, Sally Hansen. “The collection is an emphasis on Jelly Belly’s wildly popular flavors that are translated into our quick-dry polish. The vibrant and juicy shades are a perfect way to welcome spring on your nails.”


VHC makes home in RHS garden

Rocket Licensing has announced a collaboration between The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Royal Horticultural Society this summer.

As part of The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s 50th anniversary, there will be VHC-related events running through the charity’s gardens and flower shows throughout the summer.

The RHS Flower Shows at Cardiff, Chatsworth, Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park will guide families around each show, starting with a giant walk-through sculpture of The Very Hungry Caterpillar created in willow. Other activities include storytelling sessions, have-a-go gardening projects and creative workshops. The RHS Schools competitions at each of the shows will also take on a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme, with pupils asked to design and create ideas for sensory planters, wildlife habits and gardens inspired by insects.

The four RHS Gardens–Wisley (Surrey), Harlow Carr (North Yorkshire), Hyde Hall (Essex) and Rosemoor (Devon)–will all take part in the Giant Wiggle during May, to launch The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s 50th birthday celebrations. In the summer, themed activities at the gardens are expected to include discovery maps and trails, themed picnics, craft activities, face painting, butterfly counts and costume character appearances. In addition, butterfly-friendly planting areas will demonstrate links between elements of the Very Hungry Caterpillar story and real garden wildlife.

At all the participating RHS Flower Shows and Gardens, table-top displays and hanging banners will point to a wide range ofVery Hungry Caterpillar merchandise for sale in the visitor shops. These will include an exclusive bespoke range of Very Hungry Caterpillar products, including a children’s gardening range by Robert Frederick and a backpack by William Lamb, only available from the RHS Shops and online at This collaboration will be supported by an extensive print and online marketing campaign.

“This partnership with the world’s leading gardening charity is a marvelous opportunity for both brands to extend their audience in a positive and appealing way,” says Charlie Donaldson, joint managing director, Rocket Licensing. “It’s also a chance for kids and families to have loads of summer fun in beautiful surroundings with a children’s character loved and admired worldwide for 50 years.”