Walmart launches kids decor line from Drew Barrymore

Walmart Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore has added to her Walmart home décor line with the launch of a new kids’ furniture and accessories collection.

The Drew Barrymore Flower Kids collection combines bespoke design and quality materials to bring Barrymore’s vision for kids’ furniture and décor to life. Barrymore worked in close collaboration with the’s design team. Her first-ever kids’ home collection, the line features more than 100 matched items.

“It’s so fun to be colorful, so nice to be cozy, and a real treat if you can be stylish and functional at the same time,” says Barrymore. “I’ve always loved creating joyful spaces for my children, and now I’m so excited to share my line of kids’ décor with you. So, let’s play house!”

The line is exclusively available now on Walmart’s family of sites, including,, and An assortment of kids’ items will also be available in select U.S. Walmart stores.


The NBA is on its way!

Basketball fans in India are in for a treat later this year. The NBA is bringing two of its hottest teams from the league – the Indiana Pacers & the Sacramento Kings for a series of pre-season matches at the NSCI Dome, Mumbai on 4th & 5th Oct.

Tickets will be available on 13 Aug onwards and will be priced Rs. 4500/- up. One of the unique features is that once a user signs up, s/he can log into the BMS platform and view a 360 degree view from the chosen seat.

“It’s a strategic partnership with NBA which will bring an international league’s pre-match to India for the first time. The game will be played in India and will be telecasted live in 200 other countries. We are putting together various packages which will be bundled with and without food and beverages ensuring a carnival-like experience for the fans,” said Albert Almeida, chief operating officer – live entertainment, BookMyShow.

Though basketball contributes a very small share to the national sports industry which was valued at Rs. 7,762 Crore in 2018 after cricket, kabbadi & football, it enjoys a very loyal following amongst those who do follow the sport.

“The league has been working very closely with the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers to bring the authentic NBA experience to fans in India this October,” said Diane Gotua, NBA India Managing Director to the Mint.

“Our first-ever NBA games in India will celebrate the continued growth of basketball in India and the passionate fans across the country who support basketball and the NBA year-round,” she added.

The death of the department store?

This week, luxury retailer Barneys New York announced that it had filed Chapter 11 and planned to close most of its stores (Reuters), leaving retail analysts and consumers wondering: Are we witnessing the death of department stores as we know it?

On Tuesday, Sears Holdings announced it would close 21 Sears stores by late October (CNN)–adding to the long list of Sears and Kmart store closures that have taken place since Sears Holdings Corporation’s October 2018 Chapter 11 filing.

But, wait, there’s more. On Wednesday, women’s fashion retailer A’Gaci filed Chapter 11 with plans to close all brick-and-mortar locations.

Though the economic implications behind what’s happening at retail are too nuanced and complicated to package into a neat sound bite, it’s clear that department stores are in trouble. Whether it’s because of convenience, competitive pricing or an increase in free-and-fast shipping— think Amazon Prime— more consumers have turned away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores and towards e-commerce to make their purchases.

In today’s retail landscape, options abound, which means high-end luxury retailers must compete with a seemingly limitless pool of competitors, who opt to offer the best possible deal to lock in the price-conscious, coupon-code-wielding consumer of today.

Even consumers who are attracted to luxury items want a good deal–and are willing to shop around for it. If you’re a Millennial mom strapped for time, why leave the comfort of your home to scour the aisles of a department store only to see whatever happens to be in-stock at the particular time when you can set advance search functions of a site like

In 2019, it’s almost an antiquated idea go to a department store. Furniture? There are several furniture e-commerce sites and retailers to choose from. Clothing? Just scroll down your Instagram feed and you’ll happen upon a barrage of ads from clothing retailers–high-end and fast fashion­–cleverly promoting their products to you via incredibly targeted ads that happen to know exactly what you’re poised to purchase. Cosmetics? Why not head to Sephora’s snazzy website, where you rack-up points toward your next Givenchy lipstick purchase and get free samples of product or search Amazon’s endless supply of products. Appliances­–again, Amazon.

So, what place do department stores have in today’s retail landscape? Who will choose Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom or JCPenney over an online shop? Or, maybe the better question is, how can department stores compete (and beat) the e-commerce giants and today’s easily-accessible myriad of retailers? What is the strategy? Who is the ideal target demographic? And what is the point of differentiation?

The natural solution might appear to be to target the older consumer who doesn’t shop online but prefers a more tactile approach to shopping; someone who grew up going to Macy’s sales event. But catering to this group is only putting a temporary Band-Aid on the problem.

You’ve got to play the long game like establish brands such as Nordstrom have done. In recent years, the luxury retailer has been lauded by organizations like the National Retail Federationfor leveraging the latest technology and training to provide quality customer service. Nordstrom’s use of mobile apps combined with their focus on personal service has seen the store survive the changing tides of retail and see modest growth over the last few years(GeekWire).

Stores must evolve and embrace the inevitable societal and technological changes that are irreversibly affecting consumer trends. Traditional department stores must aim younger and cooler and leverage all available technology and social network platforms. Macy’s, for example, gets it. The retailer announced this week that its back-to-school promotion would include shoppable commercials on the “Snapchat” app. Macy’s will also launch a video-sharing challenge on the “TikTok” app dubbed “All Brand-New Challenge,” encouraging teens to record videos that showcase their new school outfits and share them via social media. This clever call-to-action speaks to younger consumers in their language–snap and share. Macy’s has also launched campaigns for pop-ups that featured “Pinterest” Pincodes for visitors to scan, which revealed a board with curated outfits based on each location. For the 2018 holiday season, Macy’s also offered shoppable Instagram stories based on personalized gift guides.

Though Macy’s faces an uphill battle (the retailer reported a decline in Q1 revenue, year-over-year), it’s on the right track and launching clever marketing campaigns that highlight its own brand name and cool narrative-driven retail concepts, such as STORY. Department stores should follow suit and implement fresh marketing campaigns that tackle all consumer touchpoints and authentically attract a younger customer base to ensure longevity. Offering free shipping is a must, and meeting consumers where they are–online–is no longer an option but a necessity.

The stakes are high, and department stores who don’t adapt will face the same fate as Barneys, Sears, et al.


WWE Superstars to battle in ‘Brawlhalla’

Ubisoft has announced that WWE Superstars will join “Brawlhalla” as part of its epic crossover partnerships.

The special SummerSlam themed in-game event will see former and current WWE Superstars join the game as playable characters. “Brawlhalla’s” Epic crossovers will be available as a downloaded purchase for 300 mammoth coins.

Epic crossovers see existing “Brawlhalla” characters get reskinned to mirror characters not initially available in the game. The limited-edition crossover characters also receive unique fighting moves as part of the partnership. WWE’s crossover coincides with the upcoming SummerSlam event happening this year.

Superstars available for download include:

  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as an Epic Crossover for Sentinel;
  • John Cena as an Epic Crossover for Hattori;
  • Becky Lynch as an Epic Crossover for Gnash and
  • Xavier Woods as an Epic Crossover for Bodvar.

The “Brawlhalla” news follows a long line of in-game licensing deals that are providing licensors new avenues for partnerships


Viacom acquires Garfield brand for Nick portfolio

Viacom has announced plans to acquire Paws Inc., the global rights owner of the Garfield and the U.S. Acres franchises.

Following the completion of the acquisition, Viacom subsidiary Nickelodeon will develop a new Garfield animated television series. Global merchandising rights for Garfield will be managed by Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products, including the property’s existing portfolio of licensees. Garfield creator Jim Davis will continue to produce the Garfieldsyndicated comic strip.

The acquisition of Garfield will expand Nickelodeon’s growing portfolio of properties that already includes “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “PAW Patrol,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Blue’s Clues & You!” and an all-new animated “Star Trek” series.

Garfield is a global evergreen franchise that is a natural fit with Nickelodeon and our portfolio of iconic properties,” says Pam Kaufman, president, VNCP. “With fans around the globe that span both kids and adults, we are excited to ignite Garfield into a multigenerational consumer products juggernaut and further deliver on VNCP’s ‘Every Age, Every Aisle’ mission.”

Originated by cartoonist Jim Davis, Garfield has spawned movies, TV shows, stage shows, and various consumer merchandise. Last year, the character celebrated its 40th anniversary with a variety of licensing deals.


Roblox crosses 100 million active monthly users

If you haven’t heard of Roblox, you need to up your digital quotient and spend some more time with millennials real quick!

Roblox is a massively multiplayer online and game creation system platform that allows users to design their own games and play a wide variety of different types of games created by other users.

The platform is highly immersive and allows gamers a chance to create avataars, trade in currency (called Robucks – which is currently priced at Rs. 30 for 40 Robuck in India)

Brands like FC Barcelona, Netflix’s Stranger Things, Nike, Disney & the like have all partnered with Roblox in the past to run various campaigns to drive engagement and visibility for their brands.

Hasbro, Super Heroic blast into nerf fashion line

Hasbro and Super Heroic have announced a licensing agreement to launch NERF-branded kids’ apparel and footwear this August.

Designed for active play, the NERF x Super Heroic collection is an update to its lead footwear. The TMBLR v2 will launch with two new colors, and the collection will also introduce a brand-new silhouette titled the JMPR v2 in two colors featuring a new alternative closure with elastic laces and a toggle system.

The footwear styles are rounded out by an apparel collection featuring gender-neutral tops, joggers and t-shirts. The products will feature collaborative branding and individual pockets and compartments designed to hold NERF products.

“The power of this collaboration rests solely in the alignment of our shared values and the importance of our collective missions,” says Jason Mayden, chief executive officer, and co-founder, Super Heroic. “As a child of the ‘90s, NERF represents the apex of immersive, active play. It represents the freedom and wonderment of childhood that imbues us all with a sense of unrestricted creativity and limitless potential. We are honored and excited to partner with NERF to launch a collection that reminds us all, that if we can play together, we can live together.”

Super Heroic’s line will be available at select Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker stores and online.


In Between Jobs? Licensing International’s Newest Benefit is Here to Support You

As the industry’s leading trade association, there is nothing more important to Licensing International than the health of the business and the valuable talent that make it a creative, inspiring and dynamic industry to work in. One of our core goals is to support the members of our brand licensing community at all stages of their careers. To that end, we are offering a free, 6-month membership to licensing industry executives who find themselves in between positions and looking for their next move.

Our industry, like so many, experiences regular shifts and changes that an impact a career trajectory. That’s why we want to make sure those who need it, have full access to a broad slate of tools and services that will help them through career transitions.

Specifically, Licensing International is proud to offer complete access to our member resources and benefits including networking events and tools, our job search portal, research data, educational resources for continuing skill development including webinars, and business and travel discounts. Additionally, we are offering a flat rate ticket price of $25 for all networking and educational events exclusively to those who qualify for this temporary membership benefit.

So how do you know if you’re eligible? Any licensing executive who is not currently affiliated with a company, but is looking to find a new position and remain in the licensing industry qualifies. The benefit applies globally and does not require executives to have been a Licensing International member previously. Please note, the benefit does not apply to consultants or sole proprietors who operate their own businesses.

We’ve all worked hard to ensure our industry is also a tight knit community, and we place great importance on taking care of one another, not only in times of great success, but also when extra support is needed. We’re delighted to be able to offer this benefit and hope those of you eligible and interested will take advantage. Please reach out to to get your 6-month free membership started.


Levi’s Sanrio debut Hello Kitty apparel line

Levi’s has announced a partnership with Sanrio that will see the creation of a limited-edition apparel line inspired by the Hello Kitty character.

The collection is comprised of tees, tops, hoodies and denim that highlight the cartoon kitty and her signature art style. Anticipated pieces include white denim Levi’s baggy overalls with an all-over Hello Kitty print, an oversized dad trucker jacket with Hello Kitty patches and an unbasic hoodie featuring Hello Kitty on top of Levi’s batwing logo.

“Hello Kitty and Levi’s are both global lifestyle brands with impact on culture and fashion,” says Jill Koch, senior vice president, sales and business development, Sanrio. “Our limited-edition collection merges Hello Kitty’s iconic imagery with Levi’s signature styles, offering a super cute twist on their classics.”

The collaboration comes during Hello Kitty’s 45th anniversary year. Sanrio’s iconic character has already been licensed with Keio Electric Railway and Mattel to celebrate the milestone.


As seen on TV: What licensing & product placement mean at Netflix

Have you watched the third season of Netflix original series “Stranger Things?”

That was a question you were bound to hear quite a bit over the last month. The instantly digestible series follows the lives of a band of teens as they battle alternative universe baddies in 1980s Indiana.

Season three of the streaming show garnered more than 26 million unique viewers in the U.S. over its first two days online, according to a Nielsen report covered by Variety. That’s a ton of viewers for brands interested in advertising, and a lot of them are taking notice. The third season of “Stranger Things” saw brand placement from companies such as Coca-Cola, Mongoose and Baskin-Robbins.

Product placement deals were unique in that Netflix says they didn’t cost anything. Instead, they are creator-driven licensing deals, in which the brand benefits from the added boost of appearing in one of the most-watched shows of 2019.

Here is a breakdown on how the “Stranger Things” licensing and promotional deals are upending traditional product promotion deals and creating better content because of it.

Your Money Is No Good Here

Netflix has repeatedly said it won’t run ads on its shows and has been opposed to traditional pay-to-play product placement deals. Speaking with publications like Vox and CBS News in the lead-up to the “Stranger Things” debut, the streaming giant shared the same canned spokesperson statement:

“None of the brands and products that appear in ‘Stranger Things 3’ were paid for or placed by third parties,” says a rep. “They’re all part of the Duffer Brothers’ [series creators’] storytelling, which references 1980s consumer and popular culture.”

So, if these product placements are not paid, what are they? To answer that we need to widen our scope into the licensing world. In the case of “Stranger Things” season three, all of the products in the show had counterparts in the real world.

Life Imitating Art, Imitating Life

The show’s 1980s setting offered brands ample opportunities to create unique nostalgia-laden products that fit with the show’s world. Coca-Cola relaunched a limited-edition run of “New Coke” to coincide with the show’s storyline. Mongoose recreated a character’s bike on the series to sell to fans. Baskin-Robbins retrofitted some of its stores to look like the ice cream shop that played a significant role in the latest season, and those are just a few of the co-branded deals that Netflix developed for “Stranger Things.”

All of these co-branded product partnerships illustrate Netflix’s unique model when it comes to licensing for original content. From bikes to cola, the streaming company is betting on creative licensing that fits into the storytelling of its series, while giving other brands a boost with free advertising.

What Licensing Means to Netflix

Late last year, Netflix hired its first head of global consumer products, Christie Fleischer. In her new role, the former Disney executive oversees retail and licensee partnerships for the streaming giant.

The hire was interesting because it signaled a new era for Netflix where licensees play a role in its original content push. Since Fleischer’s hire, the streaming king has inked licensing deals for properties like “Disenchantment” and the upcoming “Dark Crystal” franchise. Coupled with the “Stranger Things” slate of partnerships, it is clear Netflix has plans to move further into licensing in the future.

Binge-Mode Changes Everything

If you look at some of its recent product placement and licensing moves as a whole, it’s clear the company understands that the future of streaming will require some clever thinking. It will need crafty brand marketing and partnerships that are more than just a Super Bowl ad buy.

As DisneyCBS and WarnerMedia get into the streaming world, it’s time to find ways to use licensing and brand management in a novel way. From the looks of the “Stranger Things” deals, Netflix has found something to latch on to moving forward.