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

05.12 Overwatch 300x200

Fanatics to create Overwatch fan gear

The Overwatch League has signed a multi-year deal with sports retailer Fanatics to bring its fans an omnichannel retail experience and a new assortment of branded merchandise. The partnership is Fanatics’ first deal with an eSports entity.

Through the deal, Fanatics has obtained the U.S. and international rights to produce Overwatch League fan gear, jerseys, headwear and hard goods across all wholesale and retail points, leveraging its on-demand manufacturing capabilities and supply chain. The deal will see the debut of gear for Overwatch League’s new expansion teams–Atlanta Reign, Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, Paris Eternal, Toronto Defiant, Vancouver Titans and the Washington Justice.

The two companies will also come together to identify new opportunities for the brand in the consumer products space. Fanatics will set up a new worldwide e-commerce and mobile shopping platform and oversee all on-site retail operations for all league events. Fanatics will also operate on-site stores for all Overwatch League regular-season matches at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and other league events.

License Global sat down with Daniel Siegel, head, licensing, Overwatch League to learn more about the deal.

Why is this deal important to the e-sports community?

This is the first partnership between the first ever global city-based e-sports league and the global leader in licensed sports merchandise, so we couldn’t be any happier.

How does the deal with Fanatics benefit Overwatch League?

Fanatics will allow us to broaden our access to our Overwatch League fan-base—not only in terms of access but also to deliver high-quality merchandise in the United States and internationally. We think that Fanatics can do this for us because they are an omnichannel solution, they have retail capabilities that are best in class that can service our fans whether they’re shopping online, on their phones, or attending our league events.

What should the licensing industry know about e-sports and its fans?

Everyone’s heard about e-sports it’s not just a fad it’s a trend that is here to stay. E-sports to me is a generational shift between traditional sports and new sports. Our consumer is that ever elusive millennial and gen-z person We know that licensees are eager to market to that fan base it’s important for the licensing community to understand this. At this point in time, the Overwatch League license does include the league rights, the rights to use all 20 teams and the players. Which is something that is untraditional in the sports space to have all of those rights under one umbrella.

Is the Overwatch merchandise only for fans of Overwatch League?

Not only will our core Overwatch fans be coming to the site,, which debuts before the start of our regular season, we will also be attracting other types of sports fans because of Fanatics relationships with the other sports leagues. We feel that there is a lot of cross-marketing community.

What does the release of official Overwatch League gear mean to the fans?

The idea of Overwatch League is to give our fans something they couldn’t get anywhere else. For a lot of our fans this is going to be the first time they’ve ever bought a jersey. So the fact that that first jersey can be an overwatch jersey is super important to us. We’re working hard with fanatics on fan gear as well and we want to make our fan gear distinct from what Fanatics has been doing with the traditional sports leagues.”

What is the plan for Overwatch licensing program in the next 5 years?

Global expansion is a huge part of what we hope to accomplish with Fanatics, they have international rights so well be able to service our teams in international territories. To have that kind of global coverage is certainly very exciting for us. We also look forward to partnering with Fanatics to bring other companies into our ecosystem, such as companies can produce goods partnership with both Overwatch League and Fanatics to create categories of merchandise that Fanatics won’t do on its own.

The partnership will be finalized before the start of the 2019 Overwatch League season, which is set to begin Feb. 14. Additional details will roll out soon


04.01 Michael Stone 300x200

The Power of Licensing: Harnessing Brand Equity

Author : Michael StoneChairman at Beanstalk – Brand Licensing Agency

There are many new paths for delivering a brand message to consumers, engaging and connecting with them, and motivating them to make a purchase.  Brand owners are experimenting, and often struggling, to determine the best paths for their particular brand.  Brand messaging today is a stew of consumer experiences and reaching consumers where, when and how they shop has created a “shopping battlefield”.

Brand licensing fits perfectly into this new messaging, communications and retail landscape.  Licensing provides a vehicle for brand owners to achieve their communication goals and engage with consumers.  It should be viewed in the context of all of the varying ways that brand owners can now communicate their brand message and brand promise to consumers. Considering it in this manner reveals how important licensing can be as a tool to engage the consumer: create, redefine or strengthen brand connection; and navigate the consumer’s connected shopping journey.

That’s the overriding premise of The Power of Licensing:  Harnessing Brand Equity, by Michael Stone, Chairman/Co-Founder of Beanstalk.  Following is the introduction to Chapter 4, “A Strategy, Not a Tactic”. For the full chapter and Table of Contents,click here.

The Power of Licensing: Harnessing Brand Equity is available on Amazon and


A Strategy, Not a Tactic

You would be surprised to learn how many companies fail to think strategically about licensing opportunities. It’s surprising on many levels, not the least of which is that licensing is about allowing a third party to use a company’s most valuable asset—its brand. When licensing is reactive and tactical, it’s implemented in a vacuum—objectives haven’t been determined,product categories haven’t been vetted, and management is not in place to oversee the process, among other shortcomings.

Would an iconic brand launch a new product without well- thought-out goals and a strategy to achieve them? Probably not. Organizations will fail to take advantage of licensing’s marketing power if they treat it as a tactic, as an opportunity to which they can react. Being proactive, strategic, creative, and managerial (i.e., operationally ready) are requirements for any licensing program. To meet these requirements, best practices and processes must be used to develop an executable strategy. Those as well as illustrative examples will be discussed next.

Every company has its variables that need to be addressed in a licensing plan, but certain elements are critical to establishing and then executing any plan,including:

  • Licensing Goals and Objectives
  • Description of Brand Equities
  • Licensing Positioning Statement
  • Target Consumers
  • Distribution Channel Strategy
  • Market Dynamics and Trends
  • Product Categories and Competitive Landscape
  • Design Guidelines
  • Financial Forecasting
  • Program Management and Support (addressed in the next chapter)

The majority of these elements involve a comprehensive evaluation of the brand—the identification of the brand’s equities and the brand’s marketing and licensing goals. Without a clear understanding of the brand’s equities and what the brand wants to accomplish through licensing, a company is essentially licensing in the dark.Following a comprehensive analysis of equities, goals, and objectives with which licensing must be aligned, the brand needs to evaluate appropriate product categories through a variety of filters—for example, distribution channel strategy and market dynamics—before finalizing the plan and moving forward. And to ensure that licensed products meet the quality expectations of the brand, the company must be operationally ready to handle oversight of product design, development, and production.

Several brands will be used as examples in this chapter— mostly Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and content provider HGTV, although other examples will be sprinkled throughout.

The Power of Licensing:  Harnessing Brand Equity, Copyright © 2018 Michael Stone


11.23 assasins creed 300x200

‘Assasins Creed’ crushes wine deal

Ubisoft has signed a deal with winemaker Lot18 to release a limited-edition collection of wine that celebrates its gaming franchise “Assassin’s Creed.”

Each bottle sports a specially-designed label with graphics inspired by the game or the character associated with the wine. The wine selection includes a 2017 Aveline de Grandpré Appellation Côtes du Rhône Contrôlée; 2017 Arno Dorian Qualitätswein Niederösterreich Zweigelt; 2017 Altaïr Ibn-La’ahad Loire Valley IGP Cabernet Fran; 2015 Bayek of Siwa Spanish Tempranillo; 2016 Connor Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon; and a 2015 Ezio Auditore Super Tuscan.

Each product features the name of a character from the game and incorporates elements of their personality traits.


11.19 300x200 mickey

Mickey Mouse’s 90th anniversary: Seven fashion brands honour big day in unique style

A host of ready-to-wear and accessories brands have joined Mickey Mouse’s 90th b’day celebrations, teaming up with Disney on all kinds of colourful, fantastical and fun-filled collaborations featuring Mickey.

mickey mouse

Mickey Mouse’s 90th anniversary: Seven fashion brands honour big day in unique style  |  Photo Credit: AFP

As a veritable pop culture icon, Mickey Mouse has been inspiring the fashion world for the best part of nine decades. With the Disney mascot set to celebrate his 90th birthday, November 18, a host of ready-to-wear and accessories brands have joined in the celebrations, teaming up with Disney on all kinds of colourful, fantastical and fun-filled collaborations featuring the world’s most famous mouse. Here’s a look at some of the limited-edition creations to snap up in honor of Mickey Mouse’s big day.

The crocodile brand is celebrating its 85th anniversary and Mickey Mouse’s 90th with a collection of men’s, women’s and kids’ creations. For the occasion, Mickey — or Minnie on certain pieces — steps into tennis gear and onto a series of polos shirts, T-shirts, sweatshirts, pullovers, a fleece dress, sneakers and leather goods. The collection lands in stores worldwide in November.

The Levi’s brand is joining in Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday celebrations with a limited-edition collection. The mouse features on various Levi’s classics, including the iconic Trucker Jacket and 501 jeans. The capsule also includes T-shirts, sweatshirts and accessories.

Rag & Bone
Rag & Bone is celebrating Mickey’s milestone with an entire ready-to-wear collection rich in references to the iconic mouse and his world. The limited-edition unisex drop includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, cotton shirts, cashmere sweaters, polo shirts, denim jackets and sneakers. It’s available in stores and online.

The Bershka fashion retailer is saluting Disney’s beloved mascot with a collection of men’s and women’s apparel with a streetwear flavor. Fans of the legendary mouse can shop pullovers and sweatshirts, T-shirts and even a padded jacket. The designs are available in stores and online.

Accessories brand Nixon has used various details from the world of Mickey Mouse to create a celebratory collection of watches. As well as working in the number 90 here and there in reference to the mouse’s landmark age, Nixon also puts Mikey’s limbs to work on its unique timepieces as watch hands. The collection also includes bags and small leather goods. The creations are available in stores and online.

From the Sk8-Hi, the Old Skool, the Authentic and the Slip-On to the Authentic Gore, some of the most iconic Vans sneaker styles land in the colours of Mickey Mouse for this 90th-anniversary celebration. The designs honor the Disney mascot and his world, as well as his onscreen career. The collection also includes backpacks, caps, clothing and socks, all steeped in Vans’ legendary California cool.

Havaianas celebrates the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse with a collection that tells a story. The Brazilian brand uses 10 pairs of flip-flops to highlight standout moments in the Disney character’s career. From his “Steamboat Willie” debut to a 90th-anniversary model to designs celebrating Mickey’s love of hip-hop and soccer, the collection puts the Mouse’s life in the spotlight. The collection is due out November 15.


It pays to be open minded

Start Licensing’s Ian Downes on why it is difficult to pigeonhole things in the current climate.

I am sure most of us that work in licensing have been asked to explain what our job entails. My stock answer is to say I work in a Mickey Mouse business and quickly explain how a Mickey Mouse t-shirt happens. This explanation is effective but is getting a little dated so I have been delighted to see how high street optician Specsavers has embraced licensing. I now use it as my go to example to explain the business of licensing.

Specsavers is a company that uses licensing across different product ranges and age profiles. Currently it is promoting a Disney Mickey Mouse range prominently in the windows. This is linked to Mickey’s 90th anniversary. This anniversary seems to have been leveraged well by Disney and it has pulled together a number of interesting partnerships. Anniversaries offer brand owners a good opportunity to shine a light on a brand, coupled with a chance to kickstart things. I am currently working with Aardman on Wallace and Gromit’s 30th anniversary which is next year.

A lot of planning has gone into it to deliver a range of activities, new design resources and opportunities for licensees. Anniversaries are opportunities but ones that need to be proactively managed.


Returning to Specsavers, it uses a variety of marketing techniques to engage with consumers and licensing is intertwined with this. It is well known for its TV commercials and strap line, but it invests in window displays and also produces a couple of customer magazines. One is Specsavers for Kids. This combines some product information with activity pages and competitions for children.

The current issue highlights a new range of products featuring the Transformers movie Bumblebee and the issue is themed around this. Here Specsavers is making the most of a high profile movie adding some new dynamics to the product offering. I imagine it manages the inventory carefully and it is a time limited range.

For the film, this partnership has created a fresh communication platform and opened up some new retail space. Other children’s brands that Specsavers currently sells include JCB, a perfect brand for tough and durable spectacle frames. It also sells Mulan, Winnie the Poohand The Gruffalo.


Specsavers also publishes a magazine aimed at adults. The cover star of the current issue is Zoe Ball. A good example of how it uses celebrity spectacle wearers to promote the products. Other personalities it features in specific promotions about particular topics include Eamonn Holmes, Louise Redknapp and Hairy Biker Dave Myers. This is an example of how brands are tapping into the celebrity market and using celebrities as voices for specific campaigns.

Specsavers has recognised that spectacle frames can be fashion wear and trend driven. With this in mind it has a track record of working with designers and brands.

Current brands featured include Red or Dead – this product is interchangeable whereby the arms and frames of the spectacles can be changed allowing the wearer to mix up colourways and designs. It also has strong links with celebrities like Kylie Minogue and who have curated and designed collections. The celebrities talk about their designs and collections adding gravitas to the partnerships. Other featured brands include fashion brands Lyle & Scott, Karen Millen and Balmain. This theme extends to ranges with Tommy Hilfiger, Hackett, Quiksilver and Cath Kidston.

Fashion licensing is obviously a good route for Specsavers. I think it licences a lot of things directly, but I imagine it also tops up the offer by stocking product from licensees. The latter approach would allow it to respond to new trends and styles.

Specsavers is a really good example of how licensing is playing a role in different types of businesses and products. A reminder to us all that new business can be developed in genuinely new ways.


As we approach Remembrance Sunday, there have been more examples of licensed products and partnerships between brands and the Royal British Legion featuring the iconic poppy. One clever and timely product are pin badges produced in partnership with football clubs. I think this official programme will reassure fans that they are buying official merchandise with money flowing back to the Legion.

I bought my Millwall Poppy badge directly off the Legion website although they were on sale in the club shop as well. Apparently they sold out on the first day in-store so more were ordered. One aspect of official licensing campaigns we can overlook is illustrated by this example. Officially licensed or produced products can be a great reassurance to consumers.

I think these football club Poppy badges are a very smart move by the Legion, not least as there seems to be a plethora of pun badges on the market.

The other Royal British Legion Poppy product I thought stood out was a half pint mug from Emma Bridgewater. £5 from purchase of the mug goes to the Royal British Legion. The design features poppies designed in the signature Emma Bridgewater style. It is a lovely product that has a real keepsake quality to it and one that befits the brand it features.

It is hard for organisations like the Legion to strike a balance between raising funds and quality controlling the use of their brand. In this case I think it is a really effective partnership and it has created a product that works really well in a unique retail channel.


Finally, I think we are all finding the retail market challenging and confusing at the moment. One piece of activity I spotted this week added to my confusion but is probably a sign of the times – the times being that retailers need to find new ways of engaging with consumers and achieve cut through.

I saw online retailer Not on the High Street not quite on the high street, but on the station concourse. It had a pop up retail unit at Waterloo Station. I think this shows that retail is rapidly changing and it is difficult to pigeonhole things.

An open minded approach to selling and reaching consumers is probably the right mindset at the moment and remembering retail examples like Specsavers which show that licensing can be a valuable tool in a confused retail market if used wisely.

Ian Downes runs Start Licensing, an independent brand licensing agency. His Twitter handle is @startlicensing – he would welcome your suggestions for what to look out for.

Originally appeared on:


Final Nominees of LIMA Asian Licensing Awards 2018

The LIMA ASIAN Licensing Awards are widely recognized as the highest level of achievement in the industry and is dedicated to identifying the outstanding achievements in the Asian licensing markets. Winners will be announced during the Hong Kong International Licensing Show at the Opening Night Cocktail Reception on January 7, 2019:

This year, we have received nominations from 11 countries for 11 award categories and the number of nominations has increased by 30%.  The award judging mechanism is composed of 2 stages. At stage 1, the Awards judging panel gathered in October to shortlist final nominees. The 5 nominations with the highest total scores from each category will enter stage 2 where they will be placed online for a ballot by worldwide licensing industry players. Each voter (by company) will vote for one nomination in each category.

Asian Property of the Year

Property – Owner/Agent
Super Wings – ALPHA GROUP CO., LTD
Boonie Bears – Fantawild Animation Inc.

Corporate Brand / Lifestyle Property of the Year

Property – Owner/Agent
Coca-Cola – The Coca-Cola Company / CAA-GBG
Mickey Mouse – 90th Anniversary – The Walt Disney Company
Discovery Expedition – Discovery Communications, LLC / PPW Sports & Entertainment Limited
Pantone & Pantone Universe – Pantone LLC / PPW Sports & Entertainment Limited
Van Gogh Museum – Van Gogh Museum Enterprises B.V. / Shanghai Ruihe Culture & Art Development Co., Ltd

Digital Property of the Year

Property – Owner/Agent
Travel Frog – HIT-POINT / Alifish
Hatsune Miku – Crypton Future Media, Inc. / Shanghai Character Licensing Administrative Co., Ltd.

Entertainment Property of the Year – ANIMATED

Property – Owner/Agent
Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink – Fantawild Animation Inc.
PAW Patrol – Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products / Guangzhou Art-land Holding Co., Ltd.
Mickey Mouse – 90th Anniversary – The Walt Disney Company
Ejen Ali – Primeworks Studios and Wau Animation
Peppa Pig – Entertainment One

Entertainment Property of the Year – LIVE ACTION

Property – Owner/Agent
Avengers: Infinity War – The Walt Disney Company
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom – Universal Pictures
Monster Hunt 2 – Edko Films Ltd.

Licensed Promotion of the Year

Promotion Name – Owner/ Promotion Licensee
Doraemon Selfie Contest – Fujiko Pro / ITC Limited
Super Wings X Yili QQ Star 2018 Summer Joint Promotion Project – ALPHA GROUP CO., LTD / INNER MONGOLIA YILI INDUSTRIAL GROUP CO., LTD.
PETS ROCK X Starbucks “Lets Rock” (China and Taiwan) – Polyblank Designs LTD (t / a Takkoda) / Starbucks
China Merchants Bank (CMB)”Angry Birds” Debit Cards – Rovio Entertainment Corp. / China Merchants Bank

Location-Based or Experiential Initiative of the Year

Name – Owner/Venue Partner
Miffy meets Kumoya – Mercis BV / Bakemono Pte Ltd
Angry Birds Play Center (ABPC) – Rovio Entertainment Corp. / Kidgoland International (Shanghai) Company Limited
Changi Loves Kids: Sesame Street has Arrived!- Sesame Workshop / Singapore Changi Airport
Frozen Carnival in Taiwan – The Walt Disney Company / Taipei 101
MTR Malls x Garfield G40 – Paws Inc. / MTR Corporation Limited

Retailer of the Year

Retailer – Property
Tmall – Avengers: Infinity War
Watsons – B.Duck
Baskin-Robbins – Despicable Me Franchise (Minions)
MINISO – Teddy Bear Collection

Licensee of the Year – Apparel & Accessory

Company – Property
Nautica – The Rap Of China
Li Ning – Mickey Mouse – 90th Anniversary
Hyungji Fashion Group Korea (Castelbajac) – Despicable Me Franchise (Minions)

Licensee of the Year – Houseware

Company – Property 
Menred Group Ltd. – Electrolux
Chengdu Fast Horse – KUNGFOOD
P&G(Olay) – Alice in Wonderland/Frozen/Mickey Mouse
A.S. Watsons Group Limited – Miffy
Shanghai M&G Stationery Company – Miffy

Licensee of the Year – Toy

Company – Property
Kai Shu Story – Super Wings
ledafood(Dongguan)Co., Ltd. – Peppa Pig
Hot Toys – Disney/Marvel/Star Wars
Uni-Fun – B.Duck
Mattel Inc. – Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

The Snowman stars for Barbour in Christmas drive

New film uses real-life people to depict the impact that The Snowman has had on one family.

Heritage and lifestyle brand Barbour has launched its 2018 Christmas campaign which this year has once again been inspired by The Snowman.

In partnership with Snowman Enterprises and in conjunction with Penguin Ventures, Barbour has created a 110-second bespoke film.

It uses real life people to depict the impact that The Snowman has had on one family. Like the original film, it focuses on actions rather than words.

The film features the cast wearing a mix of Barbour product including classic styles alongside Barbour x The Snowman licensed product, exclusively produced in partnership with Penguin for this Christmas season.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Penguin Ventures to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Snowman,” said Paul Wilkinson, global marketing and commercial director at Barbour. “It is a classic and much loved story which has become an established part of family Christmas traditions.

“In our film, Evie’s enthusiasm and magical imagination really brings this story to life. It captures both the innocence of children and the nostalgia of adults. Everyone wants to believe that ‘Maybe just Maybe’, magic can happen.”

Thomas Merrington, creative director at Penguin Ventures, added: “It was a pleasure to work with Barbour again this year for the 40th anniversary of The Snowman. In this film, the team have beautifully captured the wonder and excitement that both children and adults alike experience when snow falls and that Raymond so eloquently conveyed in his timeless picture book The Snowman.

“The film is both a celebration of a much-loved story and a reminder that magic is still possible. We’re thrilled with the care and creativity that Barbour has shown in their execution of this entire campaign.”

The Barbour x The Snowman Christmas collection is available to purchase from Harrods, House of Fraser, Fenwick, and selected Barbour stores nationwide.

A special limited edition The Snowman pin will be given away with every Barbour purchase in-store and online.


Oh boy! A Mickey Mouse X Lacoste collab

The Walt Disney Co. has inked a deal with lifestyle brand Lacoste for a new collection of apparel and accessories that fete both Mickey Mouse’s 90th anniversary and Lacoste’s 85th year.

The new collection features both Mickey and Minnie Mouse across about 30 pieces including sneakers, leather goods, polos, tees, sweatshirts and accessories for kids and adults.

The new Mickey and Minnie range is set to debut at Lacoste stores on Nov. 1 in the U.S., with worldwide rollout set for Nov. 14.


Playstation and PBTEEN TEAM to design ultimate gaming room

Sony Interactive Entertainment has paired with PBteen, a Williams-Sonoma company, for a new line of officially-licensed PlayStation home furniture and décor.

playstation gaming room

The new collection is inspired by classic PlayStation symbols as well as the look and feel of the current PlayStation 4 gaming system and offers furniture, decorative accessories, lighting, functional storage and organization solutions for PlayStation systems and accessories.

Key items include a black suede and charcoal tweed bean bag chair with symbols and an acrylic light with multi-colored display and geometric shapes based on the game’s controller.

“This partnership with PBteen, a company known for its stylish design that resonates with the youth market, is a perfect complement to the PlayStation brand,” says Asad Qizilbash, vice president, marketing, SIE. “There’s impeccable attention to detail within each piece of the collection that PlayStation fans will truly appreciate, delivering fun and personal ways to decorate their gaming space.”

The PBteen Collection Inspired by PlayStation is available now at