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.

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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.”

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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.

source: https://www.licensing.org/inside-licensing/social-media-key-to-brand-owners-leveraging-properties-birthdays/

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.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/food-beverage/jelly-belly-sally-hansen-spring-polish-collab

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 RhsShop.co.uk. 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.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/publishing/vhc-makes-home-rhs-garden

Dr. Zeus prepares for grad season

Dr. Seuss Enterprises is partnering with a slew of companies to pay homage to the classic book, Oh! The Places You’ll Go for graduation season.

New products include:

  • An Oh! The Places You’ll Go book with Random House;
  • Dr. Seuss graduation gift line with Hallmark featuring an umbrella, a metal water bottle, a tote bag, a passport holder, a picture frame, a mug, a luggage tag and a zip-up pouch;
  • A 2019 Walgreens program with Vandor featuring a journal, a pen with charm, a picture frame, a mug, a travel cup and a stainless steel tumbler and
  • Stainless steel tumblers from Tervis.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/publishing/dr-seuss-prepares-grad-season

Gillette, Twitch form Gaming Bond

Gillette and gaming service Twitch have announced the Gillette Gaming Alliance, a team of 11 Twitch streamers from 11 countries selected to represent the brand and create content for viewers.

Starting this month, the Gillette Gaming Alliance will support a “Bits for Blades” promotion, as well as a fan experience at TwitchCon Europe in Berlin on April 13-14.

The 2019 Gillette Gaming Alliance is comprised of the following:

  • USA – CourageJD
  • Italy – CiccioGamer89
  • Poland – IzakOOO
  • Japan – Daigothebeastv
  • Brazil – Jovirone
  • Russia – Dendi
  • UK – b0aty
  • Spain – MarkiLokurasY
  • South Korea – Yapyap30
  • Turkey – Mithrain
  • Germany – Papaplatte

“With our history of partnering with the best in class in sports and entertainment around the world, and as an early non-endemic brand playing in the gaming and Esports space, Gillette is proud to take this next step with Twitch and align with the best streamers from around the world,” says Jaweria Ali, global marketing director, Gillette. “We also can’t wait to give fans the ultimate experience at the first TwitchCon outside of the U.S. in April!”

“The Twitch community thrives on being able to directly support their favorite streamers both emotionally and financially, and seeing that support show up on screen is an added bonus,” says Nathan Lindberg, senior director, global sponsorship, Twitch. “Through ‘Bits for Blades,’ Gillette is empowering fans to completely support their favorite streamers and be recognized for it by their peers, all because of their affinity for Gillette products. That’s a win-win for everyone!”

At TwitchCon Europe, fans can expect giveaways from Gillette, meet-and-greets with the Gillette Gaming Alliance and top Twitch personalities and other activities.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/games/gillette-twitch-form-gaming-bond

PUMA teams up with City football group

Puma has signed a long-term global partnership with City Football Group including Manchester City and sister clubs in Australia, Spain, Uruguay and China.

Starting in July, Puma will become the official partner of Manchester City FC, Melbourne City FC, Girona FC, Club Atlético Torque and Sichuan Jiuniu FC, supplying all representative teams including men’s, women’s and youth football.
“Puma’s partnership with City Football Group is the largest deal that we have ever done–both in scope and ambition,” says Bjørn Gulden, chief executive officer, Puma. “We are very excited to partner with City Football Group, whose success, ambition and drive for innovation has seen them setting new standards, on and off the field. We look forward to building the most innovative partnership in football by redefining the sports partnership model both on and off the pitch. We want to maximize on-field performance as well as football culture in areas such as music, gaming and fashion to connect and inspire the fan base of each team.”

“This announcement marks the start of an exciting new chapter for City Football Group,” says Ferran Soriano, chief executive officer, City Football Group. “Our relationship with Puma, covering five City Football Group clubs across four continents, will reset the model for sports partnerships on a truly global scale while being locally relevant and authentic for fans around the world. Puma shares our vision for challenging expectations, and we are looking forward to what we believe will be a groundbreaking partnership.”

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/sports/puma-teams-city-football-group

Hello Kitty gets in the dentist’s chair

Sanrio has partnered with Los Angeles-based Parklane Dental to become the first dental office in the U.S. to feature Hello Kitty and friends.

Parklane Dental’s Hello Kitty and Friends-themed office is located in Temple City, Calif. The dental office features Sanrio characters including Hello Kitty, Gudetama, My Melody, Chococat, Badtz Maru, Little Twin Stars, Keroppi, Pochacco and Pompompurin as dentists and hygienists with toothbrushes, dental floss and more.

Individual Hello Kitty & Gudetama treatment rooms are decorated with the characters appearing throughout the room to help soothe patients. Treatment rooms are available to patients on a first-come, first- serve basis and are based on scheduling availability for the day.

“Sanrio’s mission is to build authentic connections with our consumers through our characters and experiences,” says Maureen Bergmueller, senior vice president, marketing and brand management, Sanrio. “The expansion of our experiential licensing initiatives allows us to provide meaningful touchpoints for the brand. We look forward to launching our partnership with Parklane Dental for the first-ever Sanrio-themed dental office in the U.S. market with services that can be offered to fans of all ages.”

“Welcoming Sanrio to our family, Parklane Dental strives to bring an exciting yet comfortable dental experience to our patients,” says Dr. Eric To, founder, Parklane Dental. “With Hello Kitty and her friends, our team hopes to foster a community where our patients of all ages can enjoy their stay here as a part of an educational and memorable experience. Our goal is to create a fun and relaxing environment where patients can visit Hello Kitty and her friends to learn how to brush with My Melody, to floss with Little Twin Stars and to rinse with Keroppi.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/character/hello-kitty-gets-dentists-chair

Adidas drops second “Beavis & Butt-head” collection

Adidas Skateboarding and MTV have reunited to deliver a second capsule collection inspired by animated series “Beavis and Butt-head” this spring.

The new collection pays homage to ‘90s skateboarding and the pop culture surrounding it.

The Adidas x “Beavis and Butt-head” footwear offering includes a 3MC and Matchcourt High RX, each designed with a lightweight breathable canvas upper and vulcanized rubber outsole. Featuring exclusive artwork, the 3MC receives an all-over graphic while the March court High RX sees a minimalist “Beavis and Butt-Head” character design.

The drop also carries two Climalite crew neck tees, a short-sleeved “Cornholio” jersey, a ‘90s-inspired water-repellent jacket and a cotton flat-brim strap-back hat.

The Adidas x Beavis and Butt-Head collection will be available starting March 15 on the Adidas Skateboarding website, as well as at Adidas Skateboarding retailers worldwide.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel-accessories/adidas-drops-second-beavis-and-butt-head-collection

Carmen Sandiego spotted on Google Earth

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media’s Carmen Sandiego can be found on Google Earth in a series of adventures inspired by the original educational games.

The first game, “The Crown Jewels Caper,” was released Wednesday with two additional capers to follow in May and June.

The games will be available in Google Earth for Chrome, Android and iOS—complete with a Sandiego version of the app’s Pegman.

Just like the classic games, the Google Earth series will let players interact with dozens of “witness” characters in cities worldwide, who will offer clues about Sandiego’s whereabouts. Players then track Sandiego across the globe to try and catch the elusive heroine. Chromosphere, the designer of the “Carmen Sandiego” series on Netflix, has created custom characters for the Google Earth game.

“Given Carmen Sandiego’s computer game roots, Google Earth is the perfect place to track down this super-thief in her new, 21st-century incarnation, no matter where on the globe she goes,” says Caroline Fraser, head, HMH Productions, and executive producer, “Carmen Sandiego” on Netflix.

“Many of us on the Google Earth team grew up with Carmen Sandiego–she was a big part of our geography education,” says Vanessa Schneider, program manager, Google Earth. “It has been so special for us to collaborate with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to bring the magic of this game to Google Earth, to global explorers of all ages.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/online/carmen-sandiego-spotted-google-earth

PVM to bring Fruit-tella to freezers

Belgium-based ice cream company Ijsboerke has collaborated with Perfetti Van Melle on a Fruit-tella ice cream flavor.

The ice cream is inspired by Fruit-tella sweets, a combination of Fruit-tella’s strawberry candy with fresh and fruity ice cream.

The new ice cream will be available as of mid-March in Belgian and Dutch supermarkets in a six pack as well as with Ijsboerke’s horeca clients.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/food-beverage/pvm-bring-fruit-tella-freezers