If you were a child of the 80’s or 90’s in India, chances are you were exchanging Archies comics with your friends during school periods.
Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead & Big Moose were not fictional characters but gradually became real life friends you could go to, to get your broken heart mended or laugh out loud with. Created by Jon Goldwater & Bob Montana, they were in many ways the original F-R-I-E-N-D-S.
Kate Spade is counting on this nostalgia to drive up sales for their special collaboration with Archie Comics Publications. However for this collection they have chosen just the ladies Betty & Veronica. “When you think of best friends, the first people that come to mind are Betty and Veronica,” says Jon Goldwater, chief executive officer and publisher, Archie Comics. “Having the chance to partner with Kate Spade for this amazing collaboration is a dream, and Betty and Veronica are a perfect match for the Kate Spade New York brand.” The collection includes classic tote bags, hand bags, laptop accessories. We are not sure about delivery to India, but we are sure die hard Betty & Veronica fans will find friends in New York to score them some of the booty. Check out katespade.com
This time last year, most parents were prepping their kids to attend their favorite sleepaway camp or planning a family vacation. But with COVID-19, most summer plans have been scrapped and while the quarantine boredom-busting activities of the spring – such as baking and board games – were fine to fill up the time between Zoom classes… there’s only so much banana bread one can make.
Depending on where you live, sleepaway and day camps are running with a focus on small groups and social distancing. However, more broadly, virtual camps are now in session. Here are a handful of companies hosting virtual camps for pre-K and preteens.
This week, Camp by Walmart launched its free virtual camp with interactive video platform Eko. Activity videos featuring celebrity councilors such as actors Neil Patrick Harris, Idina Menzel, Drew Barrymore, and athlete LeBron James are uploaded to the platform every week.
On Monday, July 14, The Wiggles and Rascal + Friends will host a two-week virtual summer camp for toddlers and their parents. Hosted by Emma Wiggle and Captain Feathersword, the program includes arts, crafts, singing, dancing and prizes.
Camp PBS Kids now offer the preschool set free, downloadable activity books and reading lists, as well as how-to videos ranging from art to science featuring PBS Kids characters Daniel Tiger, Dinosaur Train and more.
The activities at Girl Scouts Adventures at Home marketplace change weekly, but topics include STEM, cooking and wildlife, grouped by grade level. Campers can do several Girl Scout-approved activities off-screen and outside (with supervision). While the virtual camp marketplace has a weekly membership fee for the courses, there are free activities available on the Girl Scouts’ website.
Inevitably, kids are going to complain about having “nothing to do” as summer goes on. Yet, in this unprecedented year, parents now have these new projects in their arsenal to combat kids’ boredom – from home.
And for parents, how will they spend their newfound freetime while the kids are at virtual camp? Well, there’s always Club Quarantine.
LicenseSource.Net reports on a groovy retro collab between youth culture brands, Champion (HanesBrands) and MTV to celebrate the 90’s.
The range includes crew necks shirts, tanks and jackets for men and women’s bodycon and onesies in bright colors and retro prints.
Sharing his views on the collab, David Robertson, director of global brand marketing at Champion said, “In partnering with MTV, the ambition was to create a dynamic collection that embraces the authenticity of our brands and our mutual respect and admiration for hip-hop culture. We felt it made perfect sense for these two brands to partner on a nostalgic collection that highlights the intersection of fashion and music.”
Both companies decided to rope in rapper Jadakiss to front the collab.
David added: “Both Champion and MTV defined a generation with key influences on street style, and we wanted to pay homage to that while continuing to influence a new generation of consumers.
“We designed the collection to pay tribute to both Champion and MTV with retro looks, bright colors and iconic prints. We hope this partnership brings joy to those inspired by the Nineties while bringing modern looks that introduce an essential piece of fashion and music history to today’s consumer.”
There are 850,000 podcasts in the U.S. and 40 million episodes, up from 550,000 and 18.5 million, two years earlier. And 51% of the U.S. population — 62 million — have listened to a podcast; 22% do it at least weekly. Some of the programs are little more than radio and TV show replays, but there’s also a huge universe of original content with devoted followings.
Does all this content constitute a merchandise licensing business opportunity?
Some in the licensing world have been sniffing around the category. Evolution USA is close to signing a book deal for Popular Science’s “The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week,” which has 30,000 weekly listeners with product potentially for 2021, says CEO Travis Rutherford. What makes podcasts potential fodder for licensing is their shear breadth from sports and cooking to DIY, politics and everything in between. And with a relatively low cost of entry and in many cases, very targeted audiences, potential opportunities abound.
One attractive statistic: the lucrative 12-34-year-old age group accounts for 49% of the audience. It’s more of a thing in the U.S. than anywhere else, though there are pockets of popularity across the globe.
Many of podcasts are viewed by those who are scoping out the category as niche licensing opportunities better suited to specialty than mass.
That’s not to say they have small fan bases. For example, podcast personality Joe Rogan and “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which had 190 million downloads in 2019, is taking the show and 11 seasons of content exclusively to Spotify starting in September in a deal valued at $100 million. The high-profile podcast is being sought by some retailers more for its logo for apparel than for its content, say licensees.
And then there are other top-ranked podcasts that are prime for licensing. such as Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” and “Fake Doctors, Real Friends Zach and Donald,” which features “Scrubs” actors Zach Bratt and Donald Faison recapping the series that ran for nine seasons on NBC between 2001-2010.
Some podcast publishers such as Barstool Sports and Crooked Media (publishers of Pod Save America and others) sell merch off their websites, with goods featuring logos and catchphrases.
“Podcasts are another online platform that consumers have a connection to, similar to those forged with TikTok, YouTube and other influencers, and many of them could fill a niche and do quite well,” said one licensing agency executive whose firm has been evaluating the category.
But licensing might be “extremely limited to logos, so the longevity might not be there,” says Mad Engine’s Dean Allen, who has fielded requests from retailers for Joe Rogan. And since podcasts, unlike films and TV and streaming series, don’t have visual content, it makes them better suited for categories such as publishing, board games and food products.
“The content is definitely licensable, and while the IP might be limited there is an opportunity and white space to grow,” says Bioworld’s Jason Mayes.
Manchester City Football Club has unveiled a new limited-edition product collaboration with esports organization FaZe Clan.
After formally announcing a strategic partnership at the start of the current season, City and FaZe Clan will extend their relationship into a second year with plans already in place for the 2020/21 season.
“Manchester City’s partnership with FaZe Clan has strengthened our extensive esports offering and allowed us to further explore how fans are experiencing football beyond the pitch,” says Nuria Tarre, chief marketing officer, City Football Group. “Fans have embraced this partnership as it has allowed them to combine their passions for football and gaming in ways that have never been seen before in football. We have ambitious plans for the next year of our partnership, and we can’t wait to reveal these to fans in the coming months.”
The capsule collection merges Manchester City and FaZe Clan’s branding and crests and includes a t-shirt, hoodie, shorts and a collectable half-and-half scarf. FaZe and City have also teamed up with FaZe’s partner SCUF to create limited-edition FaZe x Manchester City-themed game controllers that will be given away to fans.
“Going into year two of our relationship with Manchester City, we expect great things ahead as we bring new opportunities and experiences for our collective communities of passionate fans,” says Lee Trink, chief executive officer, FaZe Clan.
Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and ceo of The Pokémon Company, unveiled Pokémon UNITE during a Pokémon Presents video presentation on June 24.
The game is headed to Nintendo’s Switch platform which should make its 57 million strong users very happy.
The new cross platform title is being developed in partnership with Tencent Games’ TiMi Studios
Pokémon UNITE will be the first strategic Pokémon team battle game. Players face off against each other in five-on-five team battles. During these battles, players will cooperate with teammates to catch wild Pokémon, level up and evolve their own Pokémon. They will need to defeat their opponents’ Pokémon while trying to earn more points than the opposing team within the allotted time. Pokémon UNITE will be free-to-start reports LicensingSource.Net
LicensingSource.Net reports that after selling 1 million masks in the US, Trevco the company known for producing fashion accessories, has launched MaskClub in the UK.
The company which launched Maskclub.com as soon as the Covid-19 virus was getting a grip in the US, set up the site in a record 4 days, is now set to serve the UK market with its model of delivering masks as a standalone product or as part of a subscription plan. The company boasts of a wide selection of masks from the 800+ brands it does business with from Popeye and Power Puff Girls for adults to Care Bears and Teen Titans Go! for kids.
“These are confusing times,” said Trevor George, founder of MaskClub. “We want to help families make the situation a little better, and hopefully brighter, by featuring beloved brands that resonate with children and making the act of mask-wearing less intimidating.
“By outfitting the whole household, children will hopefully find the act of mask-wearing less scary when seeing their parents wear it.”
The world’s most popular single toy (which boasts of a huge fan following in India as well), is celebrating 40 years since it became a global phenomenon. To enhance the festivities, it is inviting fans to participate in the world’s ‘most viewers for a Rubik’s Cube solving lesson live stream on YouTube’ on Thursday June 25 2020. The free to enter digital event will be hosted by the renowned speedcuber, Maryland USA-based Keaton Ellis, aged 22, who will host the event on Rubik’s YouTube channel.
Rubik’s brand CEO, Christoph Bettin, speaking from the London headquarters said, “While the Rubik’s Cube is phenomenally popular, played by more than one billion people, we know that many struggle to solve the puzzle, so we want to change this conundrum. What better than to have a top speedcuber give a live lesson online where anyone can participate. The fact that we are likely to break a Guinness World Records title too is an added bonus.”
Those wishing to join in the fun are encouraged to join the live stream on Rubik’s Youtube channel where they will see details of the live digital event taking place at 8:00 PM UK-time on Thursday June 25. Participants can register here for an event reminder.
The event is aimed at complete beginners but participants are encouraged to look at the solution guides that can also be downloaded from the Rubik’s website.
Christoph Bettin added, “There were 9,024 new ‘how to do the Rubik’s Cube’ tutorials posted on YouTube between June 12019 and May 31 2020. In addition, there has been exceptional interest in solving the cube during the lockdown period as the popularity in puzzles generally has soared.”
Join the live stream on Rubik’s YouTube Channel here.
If you would like a reminder, you can register here in advance. Please visit the Rubik’s website (www.rubiks.com) for further information.
The event will take place globally at 8:00PM (UK time) on Thursday June 25 2020 and is free for all participants.
Global Icon’s Jeff Lotman’s keynote at Licensing Week Virtual was a trip down memory lane. He summarized his journey in licensing from the early years when people thought it was about “dogs & marriages” to present day, when brands are waking up to the power of this “invisible marketing” force capable of delivering its bang for the buck. His key note was filled with anecdotal references and salutations for some of his favourite partnerships and licensing programs.
Riffing off his latest book release “Invisible Marketing – A hidden tool for connecting with customers through licensing” While some executions worked brilliantly for the brand, others left consumers confused and dis-satisfied. For example: California Pizza Kitchen’s frozen pizzas and Burger King venturing into frozen foods
His advice was that brand extensions need to deliver equal or better quality.
According to Lotman, sometimes you have to turn down opportunities to maintain the brands credibility in the marketplace. He shared an example of Wolfgang Puck who turned down a potentially very lucrative deal to do kitchen furniture as it didn’t fit in with his brand DNA and core proposition.
He gave examples of brands like Arm & Hammer, Caterpillar and Mustang who successfully managed to deliver brand extentions that re-inforced the core brand proposition and won the consumers heart & wallet.
He also talked about how Licensors should always be “Mining for Gold” or “Finding the White Space” to maximise return on their efforts. One such example which would be worth considering by Indian poultry brands is “diaper wrapping” of meat products and how branding the same could make so much of a difference.
Another great example of a product which found its winning formula was Crockpots which when it was released as a range of seasonings got displayed in a different place in the supermarket altogether and saw an impact on sales.
He stressed on the importance of finding the Right Partner to work with and create the right mix for the consumer. Its not about the short-term revenue but the long-term partnership. He implored licensors to support their licensees, as they were the ones doing the hard-work to build the brand.
Finally, he touched on the importance of having a proper contract in place to support the “hand-shakes” at coffee shops.
Netflix’s Director of Inclusion and author of The Fix, Michelle Kim’s no-holds-barred keynote at the Licensing Week Virtual sent out a clear message to leaders in corporates of all sizes, the time has come to ensure equality in offices. She talked about how companies can flourish if they encourage an open and transparent culture in the work place.
She cited many examples and case studies from her book “The Fix” to show how the future of work does not have to be tyrannical and a boss-employee type relationship but a more healthier one among equals. Given that the World Economic Forum predicts, post-Covid, 60% of all jobs will change on account of the introduction of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Internet of things, companies that do not adapt could face extinction. Even global brands like Netflix need to stay nimble and function like start-ups with active feedback loops and have their finger on the pulse of what employees are saying and feeling vis a vis their jobs. She said that it was unfair that women were still paying a “performance tax” and had to work much harder just to be considered equal to their male counterparts.
She advised leadership across organizations to live their principles and walk the talk. Ms. King highlighted the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s workstyle as one worth emulating. Her policy of practicing “kindness” has percolated down to all her team members which is an ideal outcome.
She ended on a cautionary note to senior male leadership that the time for equality had come and it was time to end the “Don Draper” style of leadership and embrace equality.