From fashion brands woven into electronics gear and time-honored labels revived for gaming and notebook PCs to companies adopting new designs for their mascots and strategies for their products, there were ample changes being made in licensing at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Monster Products Adopts Licensing Strategy
Monster Products, long known for developing, designing and sourcing its own high-end speakers, cables and accessories, furniture and other products, is now licensing those categories Xtreme Cables/Jem Accessories will launch a full line of Monster HDMI cables, surge protectors, automotive accessories and other products starting this summer. The broad rollout of products follows a six-month exclusive Xtreme had at Walmart for Monster branded products (LED strips, automotive accessories had had last at Walmart, says Xtreme’s Elie Chemtob. Xtreme will position the Monster brand at a premium to its own Xtreme brand cables, surge protectors and other products, which are typically opening price point items, says Chemtob. Monster’s change in strategy follows several years of mounting losses and declining sales after the 2014 sale of Beats Electronics to Apple; Monster had designed and distributed. Beats headphones, speakers and other products, but Apple took that over.
Mascots Getting New Look
To meet a younger audience and the digital age, brand mascots Nipper and Chipper (for the RCA brand) and the Energizer Bunny are getting a make-over. The Energizer Bunny is being recast in an animated version and prepped for licensing, says Linda Morgenstern of Beanstalk, which handles licensing for Energizer. Licensee Funko is developing an Energizer vinyl figure and Beanstalk will seek agreements in apparel and other categories. The remake of the Energizer Bunny is part of redesigned packaging – the first makeover in a decade — for products to be rolled out this year. Nipper and Chipper also were redone for animation and the RCA logo has been redesigned to mark the brand’s 100th anniversary this year, says Claire Villeneuve of Technicolor, which owns the brand and is positioning the mascots for licensing in plush, t-shirts, bags and other products.
Fashion Brands Taking on New Style in Electronics
The fashion world gained some visibility at CES, with the brands of Hearst’s Elle and designer Isaac Mizrahi applied to electronic accessory ranges.
Sakar is readying Elle “Classy Chic” Bluetooth headphones and “All About the Ears” earbuds; beads that double as a cellphone charger cable; and a lipstick case and mirror that can serve as power banks. The Elle products are priced at a slight premium to similar products under Sakar’s own brands.
MiWorld’s Isaac Mizrahi line includes cellphone covers, headphones, ear buds and charger cables and will be targeted to department stores where Mizrahi apparel is sold, says MiWorld’s Judah Uziel. “If you look at Michael Kors, Coach and Fendi” all of which have higher priced electronics accessories, “smartphones and other items are part of everyone’s life and viewed as a fashion extension of the consumer,” says Uziel. MiWorld also fields Bebe headphones and cellphone cases.
What’s in a Name?
Technicolor and Curtis International were at odds over Technicolor’s display of the Thomson brand (marketed mostly outside the U.S. — at its booth. Curtis, which is a licensee for Technicolor’s RCA (TVs and appliances) and Proscan (TV and audio) brands, had also applied the Thomson label to a refrigerator and ice chest displayed at its booth and showed a Thomson sign alongside those for its other licensed brands. The only problem is, says Technicolor’s Claire Villeneuve, Curtis doesn’t yet have a license for the Thomson brand. A Curtis spokesman said product plans haven’t been set and declined further comment.