The Clock Is Ticking: It’s Time to Look at ‘TikTok’

Why brands, marketers and licensing programs should get on board with “TikTok.”

Bibi Wardak | Dec 10, 2019


It’s been touted as the next “Instagram” by media experts including entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, and it was the third most-downloaded app outside of gaming in 2019. “TikTok” is the short-form mobile video app every business, social influencer, digital marketer – and licensing professional – should focus on in 2020.

Did you jump on the “Instagram” bandwagon too late? Miss lucrative early-adopter opportunities on “YouTube?” Climb aboard the “Twitter” train three stops too late? If so, don’t hit the snooze button on “TikTok.” (The inane time analogies will end here, I promise.)

With roughly 1.5 billion downloads to date, “TikTok,” formerly known as “,” is spreading like wildfire. But despite its established pervasiveness, you’re not too late. You can still create an account, hit a content homerun and go viral. Because of the app’s algorithm-populated feed, “TikTok” users can go viral without even having a single follower. They just have to implement the right trending hashtag at the right time ­– and submit the right content – to become “TikTok” famous.

If your target demographic is the youth, you couldn’t find a better platform to use than “TikTok.” If you’re a digital marketer aiming to exploit all opportunities, you can’t afford to ignore this platform. And for those of us in licensing, the party is just beginning.

Just last month, The Joester Loria Group inked a deal to represent WeWearCute, leading “TikTok” lifestyle and product influencers for kids ages 6-13. Sisters Ashley and Emma, who post three-to-four videos daily, have amassed 3 million followers and have nabbed a whopping 250 million monthly views. The sibling duo has featured a vast array of heavyweight brands within its video content including the likes of Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Mattel, Cra-Z-Art and Lipsmackers, as well as retail giant Walmart. JLG will represent the WeWearCute brand across bath and beauty, apparel, fashion accessories, home, publishing and other related categories.

“We are delighted to represent WeWearCute in building Emma and Ashley’s brand in fashion, beauty and related categories,” says Debra Joester, president and chief executive officer, The Joester Loria Group. “‘TikTok’ is a window into youth culture, and Emma and Ashley bring an innate ability to create engaging content that resonates with today’s youth.”

We are undoubtedly in the golden era of social influencers, a pivotal time for internet stars, such as eight-year-old Ryan Kaji from “YouTube” channel RyansToyReview, who has exploded into a full-blown licensing champion. Kaji inspired his very own toy line in 2018 dubbed Ryan’s World, available at Walmart. He even landed his own Nick. Jr. series, “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate,” produced by And just this week, Egmont Publishing announced the launch of the Ryan’s World magazine, expanding the brand into publishing. Kaji ­and his “YouTube”-famous counterparts have laid out the blueprint for the rising stars of “TikTok” and the endless in-video promotional opportunities they provide for brands, as well as the unlimited licensing opportunities they can exploit themselves as bonafide brands in their own right.

“TikTok” recently released a year-end recap, the “TikTok” Top 100, in which the app ranks its top videos, creators and memes for 2019 across content genres spanning sports, beauty and style, pets and dance trends. The list accounts for views, shares, likes and trends.

According to “TikTok,” 2019’s top viral video was a science experiment from a famed YouTube star, “David Dobrik’s (@daviddobrik) and Nick Uhas’ crazy take on Elephant Toothpaste.” The year’s top brand creators were @zachking (No. 1), @noeneubanks (No. 2) and @jamescharles (No. 3). The No. 1 dance trend in 2019 was “The Woah.” The year’s top celebrity user was Will Smith (No. 1), followed by Miley Cyrus (No. 2) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (No. 3). 2019’s top artists on the app include Lil Nas X (No. 1) followed by Mariah Carey (No. 2) and Lizzo (No. 3). The year’s top memes include the hashtags #POV (No. 1) and #Area51 (No. 4).

“Creators are such an important part of our ecosystem, and monetization is something we hear often,” Vanessa Pappas, general manager, “TikTok” North America and Australia, told The New York Times. “We’re at the beginning stages of exploring different models and ways we can connect creators with brands and opportunities. We recently rolled out ‘TikTok’’s creator marketplace that connects creators to brands. We’re definitely in that exploratory phase, but we’re focused on what ways we can best serve our creative community.”

“TikTok” will continue to lead the pack in 2020 among social platforms, and while its content creator-brand connection processes are still in their infancy stage, now is the time (ok, one more cliché time reference… sorry!), to leverage “TikTok” for brand promotions and licensing opportunities.

Continue reading “The Clock Is Ticking: It’s Time to Look at ‘TikTok’”

Disney set to pass $10bn at global box office for 2019

If you haven’t already made time to bow to Queen Elsa & Princess Anna at the nearest Box Office, you might be in danger of committing Disney-styled-harakiri by your child (yes, there is such a thing!). For us here at though its ALWAYS been #Allaboutthenumbers. So let’s see how those stack up, shall we?

Firstly, Disney is on track to cross the $10 billion barrier at the global box office today (December 9) with its combined releases of 2019.

According to Screen Daily, the estimated results for Frozen 2 this weekend take the global box office for The Walt Disney Studios for the year to $9.997 billion worldwide. Even Sven the reindeer can tell you that’s kissing distance from the BIG TEN!

Yes, we knew you’d ask for a breakdown, so here goes….this comprises $6.717bn from international markets and $3.28bn in North America.

Once the results from Fox films this year have been added in, the tally rises to $11.94bn ($8.14bn international/$3.8bn North America). Disney set the previous record for global box office in a calendar year in 2016 when its releases delivered $7.6bn.

The result follows another weekend of dominance from Frozen 2 – it added an estimated $124.9m to reach $919.7m and become the eighth highest release of the year to date.

Internationally, it added $90.2m for a $582.1m running total and $34.7m in North America for $337.6m to rank as the seventh highest release of the year after 17 days.

And, we are still we are still TWO WEEKS away from Christmas! The Grinch ain’t gonna steal this Christmas for sure! #SpoilerAlert this one’s a tear-jerker in the BEST way possible + a Male gets to sing (No, its not “Let It Go”)

Original words by Samantha Loveday courtesy LicenseSource.Net

Minor edits by Team ILP 0:0)

Hello Kitty readies for 45 with London and Paris activity

Celebrations for milestone birthday kick start with activity in two major cities.

Sanrio has kicked off the 45th-anniversary activity for Hello Kitty with two activations taking place in London and Paris.

With the character marking the milestone on November 1, she began the celebrations by greeting fans on London’s Southbank on Saturday (October 26), with visitors invited to take the ultimate cute selfie in an immersive plush experience and take home a giveaway.

Visitors were also in with the chance of winning a UK-only prize by posting an image or video of the experience on Facebook or Instagram using #hellokitty45 and tagging @hellokittyeu.

On top of this activity, bubble tea giant Chatime will be creating a selection of exclusive drinks to celebrate Hello Kitty’s birthday from November 8, with the character appearing at the Chinatown restaurant on launch day.

Japan Centre will also launch its limited edition collection of exclusive merchandise at its pop-up at Ichiba, Europe’s largest Japanese food hall in Westfield London for one month from November 4.

Meanwhile, over in Paris, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussman has also thrown itself into the celebrations.

For the first time, a Hello Kitty café will treat visitors to Franco-Japanese delicacies, in association with Hana Bento (which is the leader in Japanese cuisine in the French capital).

Also available at the pop-up – which opened on October 25 until Monday November 18 – is a range of limited edition Hello Kitty 45th anniversary merchandise, from designer berets and luxe luggage to stationery and plush toys.

In addition, a second Hello Kitty pop-up store will open at the fully revamped Galeries Lafayette Champs Elysees from Monday November 4 to Tuesday December 24.

Further events are also planned in London, Paris, Milan and Berlin to mark Hello Kitty’s anniversary.


Indian Superstar & Fan Favourite Yuvraj SIngh blasts into the Abu Dhabi T10

Legendary Indian all-rounder, Yuvraj Singh, is set to smash his way onto the scene of the Abu Dhabi T10 having been acquired by the Maratha Arabians.

The former Indian master blaster who is regarded as one of the greatest limited over cricketers to ever play for his country, was signed as an ‘Arabian’ and will square off against the formidable T10 defending champions, the Northern Warriors, on the opening night of the tournament on 15thNovember.

“Playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 is a double joy for me because it will be my world T10 debut and because I always enjoy the warmth and support of the passionate cricket fans there,” said Singh.

“T10 suits my character and style of play. With such short matches, every ball, every over is important and you’re facing world-class competition every night so you’ve got to be ultra-focussed. I hope Maratha Arabians fans and Indian cricket fans have already got their tickets because we’re going to put on a show.”

Singh’s inclusion on the Maratha Arabians side is one of the final player selections ahead of the tournament, with 120 players recently drawn at the Abu Dhabi T10 Draft. With such big names joining Singh as Eoin Morgan, Shane Watson, Muhammed Amir, Moeen Ali, Andre Russell, Lasith Malinga and Darren Sammy, the short form format is set to burst its way onto the global stage once again this November.

His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “Yuvraj Singh is one of the game’s undisputed superstars, and the confirmation he is joining the Abu Dhabi T10 is indicative of our city’s status as a world-class sporting destination that attracts the best.”

Singh’s inclusion adds yet another impressive dimension to the showpiece tournament which is being hosted in Abu Dhabi for the first time and will be beamed to Sony Network’s enormous Indian viewer base of 700 million on Sony Six and Sony Ten 3 channels.

Maratha Arabians Co-owner, Parvez Khan commented: “We felt confident after the draft that we had a powerful line-up that would challenge for the title. But now adding Yuvraj to a team with Lynn, Bravo, Zadran and Malinga really puts Maratha Arabians on another level in terms of competitiveness and fan appeal.”

Co-owner Sohail Khan, actor and brother of superstar Salman Khan, added: “It’s terrific to have a world-class player like Yuvi in our squad. We have seen his exploits for India in various formats. He is a champion cricketer and has been one of the greats of the white ball format. It’s a huge honor to have him in our squad.”

Ali Tumbi, Maratha Arabians co-owner, added: “If you have the chance to add a player of Yuvraj Singh’s caliber to your team, you do whatever it takes. We are delighted he will be playing for Maratha Arabians and I’m confident the fans will be pleased to watch him play against the other elite talent assembled for the Abu Dhabi T10.”

The opening ceremony concert of the Abu Dhabi T10 will take place on November 14, with the first match kicking off on November 15. For further information about tickets and hospitality information, please visit:

Merchantwise to rep ‘MINECRAFT’ in OZ

Australia’s Merchantwise Licensing has been tapped as the licensing agency for the “Minecraft” video game covering Australia and New Zealand.

Merchantwise will develop retail events and forge licensing and merchandising partnerships to stimulate engagement among the “Minecraft” community in the region. This marks the first time “Minecraft” has had local representation in Australia and New Zealand.

The agency appointment comes ahead of two major “Minecraft” game launches: “Minecraft Earth,” an augmented reality mobile game, and “Minecraft Dungeons,” a multiplayer dungeon-crawler style action game for gaming consoles and PCs.

“We are honored to be working with Microsoft and Mojang on this unique and exciting brand, which both entertains and promotes positive values,” says Alan Schauder, managing director, Merchantwise. “Celebrating its 10th birthday in 2019, ‘Minecraft’ is more popular than ever, with new games, film and TV entertainment all planned over the next few years. Above all, ‘Minecraft’ is a brand that parents and educators love because it encourages creativity, problem-solving, collaboration and other life skills.”


Barbie puts Malibu Dream House on AIRBNB

Airbnb has partnered with Barbie to put a fully-realized recreation of the Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse on the vacation rental market.

Located in the heart of Malibu, Calif., the life-size home is available for booking for a one-time, two-night stay on Oct. 23. The rental is priced at $60 a night to commemorate Barbie’s 60th anniversary. The oceanfront villa features Barbie-inspired touches throughout including a walk-in closet with memorabilia from the iconic doll’s backlog.

Barbie’s Dreamhouse design includes:

  • An infinity pool with views of the California coast;
  • A waterslide;
  • A personal cinema;
  • A hobby studio;
  • A sport court;
  • A meditation space;
  • An outdoor dining patio; and
  • A fully stocked kitchen.

Guests at the villa are treated to:

  • A meet-and-greet with celebrity hairstylist and girl boss Jen Atkin;
  • A one-on-one fencing lesson with medalist and Barbie inspiration Ibtihaj Muhammad;
  • A cooking lesson with Gina Clarke-Helm, chef, Malibu Seaside;
  • A tour of Columbia Memorial Space Center with Jill Meyers; and
  • A gallery wall and mementos that celebrate Barbie’s notable accomplishments.

To celebrate the unique partnership, Airbnb will also make a donation to the Barbie Dream Gap Project GoFundMe initiative, which provides grants to charities that support mentorship and education for girls.


Youtube partners with MerchBar to sell music swag

In what is certainly likely to provide an added fillip to the music industry – TechCrunch reports that YouTube has decided to jump headfirst into the music merchandising business by enabling its community of artists & influencers to offer a range of premium merchandise to their fans from “a shelf just below the video”.

The story goes on to report that “Merchbar today carries more than 1 million items from 35,000 artists, making it one of the largest music merchandise aggregators worldwide.”

Marshmello x merchbar
Pic courtesy TechCrunch

When there’s an opportunity for innovation, can Marshmellow be far behind?

Earlier in the year, we had reported on his groundbreaking collab with Fortnite to host a concert from his bedroom!






We reached out to a few stalwarts from the Indian Music space to get their take.

Mandar Thakur – Chief Operating Officer, at Times Music 

“Quite honestly I think this is a significant development. Merch has always been unavailable, or a bad retail business model; or not too much demand; or the fact that we were/are a song driven culture and not an artist-driven culture combined together to not have a viable merch business. Although now with the rise in non-film music; creators and artists who connect directly to their fans and don’t need a Shahrukh or Salman to sell their music – merch is, in my opinion, a valued opportunity and am glad YouTube is enhancing this opportunity”




Atul Churamani – Managing Director, at Turney Music & Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

“Its fantastic to learn about the association that is looking to promote sale of merchandise. In India the merch business never really took off despite some indie acts successfully selling T-shirts in particular. It needed a boost through marketing by a large entity and YouTube is the largest player in the music business! So this could be the start of the merchandising industry coming into its own which is definitely music to the ears!!”

Unfortunately, fans in India will have to wait a while since the feature is live only in the US. We have reached out to YouTube to get more details on the India launch date and shall keep you posted!

Adidas scores shoppable ‘Snapchat’ game

Adidas has partnered with AvatarLabs and Dick’s Sporting Goods to create an 8-bit “Snapchat” baseball title that unlocks access to purchase a pair of cleats in-game.

Called “Baseball’s Next Level,” the game is an old-school home run derby game that lets players swing away as some of Adidas’ MLB signed athletes. Playable characters include Aaron Judge (Yankees), Carlos Correa (Astros), Alex Bregman (Astros), Justin Turner (Dodgers) and Kiké Hernandez (Dodgers). According to Engadget, each of the athletes in the game have their own Adizero or Icon V cleats, which can be bought directly from the competition.

The Adidas partnership marks the first time “Snapchat” has sold real-life products inside a game. While the game is not considered a Snap Games title, such as the new “Subway Surfers” game from Sybo, Adidas has previously worked closely with “Snapchat” to create AR-based shopping experiences for its apparel and accessories. The AR experience lets users digitally try on the Adidas Ultraboost shoes directly in the “Snapchat” app.


Casio celebrates anniversary with Pokemon

To celebrate the 25thanniversary of the first women’s BABY-G shock-resistant watch, Casio has collaborated with The Pokémon Company – in particular Pokémon 025 in the Pokédex, Pikachu – to design a milestone watch.

Encapsulating 1996’s style, the BABY-G watch brings a polygon-style Pikachu, lightening marks and Poké Balls together for a bright new product for both kids and the original players of Pokémon Red and Blue.

Dubbed the BGD560PKC-1, the new brand licensing collaboration from Casio and Pokémon launches in November at select fashion boutiques, online at and at Macy’s.


BLE announces Fashion theme for 2020

Following a successful run in 2019, the organizers of Brand Licensing Europe have announced that fashion will be the sole theme for 2020.

This year’s event achieved record visitor numbers once again with a rise of 3 percent to 8,062 and exhibiting companies also increased from 264 to 268.

Next year’s event, which returns to ExCeL London on Oct. 6-8, 2020, will encompass all things fashion licensing: apparel, footwear, accessories and beauty. Early stage plans include a live catwalk, with dramatic-themed fashion shows beamed onto all digital screens throughout the venue.

“BLE has become infamous for its themes and we are so excited about next year’s, we’ve been planning it for months,” says Anna Knight, vice president of licensing, Informa Markets. “What I love about fashion in licensing is how inclusive it is. It’s accessible to every BLE exhibitor and its appeal is universal: it’s relevant to every demographic and is gender, race, age and generation neutral.

“We all have an emotional connection with fashion,” continues Knight. “For years, toys have traditionally been the gateway to consumer products for brands. But apparel is now helping to drive experiences and build brands, especially for categories like eSports, which have an older, hardcore, merch-driven, fanbase. At BLE 2020, we will be exploring fast fashion, haute couture collabs, sustainability, the economy and more. One of the reasons we moved BLE to ExCeL was the potential it offered to create a more experiential show. We proved that this year with our activations and Fresh off the Runway showcase. But next year, our fashion theme will highlight what BLE at ExCeL can offer exhibitors and visitors.”

BLE 2019’s activations included Beyond the Book (publishing), Arcade (gaming and eSports) and Heritage x Interiors.

“They were a huge hit with visitors: interactive, inspirational, bold and beautiful; a real testament to the impact creative, successful licensing programs can have at retail,” adds Knight.

BLE 2020 takes place at ExCeL London from Oct. 6-8, 2020. Find out more at