Netflix’s Money Heist inspires Persol

Global eyewear brand launches collection inspired by Spanish heist crime drama series.

Global eyewear specialist, Persol has become the latest brand to team with Netflix, with the company revealing a new range inspired by Spanish heist crime drama, Money Heist (La Casa De Papel).

The limited collection of 350 numbered pairs features a style with 24-carat gold-plated lenses named after the drama, reported Fashion United.

In addition, there is also the El Professor Original and El Professor Sergio, an optical and sunglasses style inspired by the show’s main character.

Filmed in Madrid, Money Heist became one of the most watched series on Netflix and the most watched non-English language series in 2018. It follows the story of a criminal mastermind who goes by the name ‘The Professor’ who has a plan to pull off the biggest heist in recorded history – to print billions of Euros in the Royal Mint of Spain.

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/netflixs-money-heist-inspires-persol/

Happy Socks Debuts ‘Spongebob SquarePants’ Collection

For spring/summer 2020, Happy Socks has announced it will debut its first “SpongeBob SquarePants” collection. Designed for fans of all ages, the Swedish lifestyle brand’s new collection features swimwear, their signature crew socks in tropical prints and a pair of tribute socks that emulate SpongeBob’s signature knee-highs from the TV show.

“We are so excited to partner with ViacomCBS to bring ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ to life,” says Laura Frisk, marketing head, Happy Socks. “This enthusiastic, optimistic Sponge has become a symbol of happiness and the perfect character to help us bring happiness and color to every corner of the world.”

The Happy Socks x SpongeBob collection is available now online at happysocks.com.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/footwear/happy-socks-debuts-spongebob-squarepants-collection

How Beanstalk is Navigating its New Normal

As the licensing industry continues to do its part to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are adjusting to a new normal that includes working from home. License Global has continued to highlight the ways that the business community has adapted to the evolving nature of the industry on the fly. From Brainbase’s new technology stack to Vida Brands’ community outreach, our ongoing series shares the licensing community’s best-practices of working during such unprecedented circumstances.

In today’s continuation of our series, we take a look at Beanstalk. The licensing agency revealed its new virtual initiatives and shares how its partners are doing their part to help in this crisis, as well as the following inspiring note to the broader licensing community:

“COVID-19 has changed all of our lives so suddenly, from the way we work, socialize, travel, communicate and much more. While there is some relative comfort knowing that we are all in this together, the next months are going to be especially challenging as we adjust, remain calm and find new ways to stay healthy, work effectively and be virtually together. We will come together in unexpected and comforting ways. Creativity will be unleashed that will be enlightening. And we will have a new appreciation for the simpler things in life — nature, family, friends and even slowing down from the day-to-day frenzy of the urban jungle. While we may not have expected that this situation would have unified us, it has. And it has forced us to be resilient. Resilience is a powerful and empowering trait. It gives us courage and some sense of control. Once this is behind us, we will emerge even stronger knowing that we endured the most difficult of setbacks.”

Thinking of all of you and wishing wellness and safety,

Allison Ames, President & CEO of Beanstalk

Virtual Happy Hour Bonding

Beanstalk’s digital working initiatives include a weekly virtual happy hour when team members from its New York, Cincinnati and Miami offices come together to share cocktail recipes, binge-worthy show recommendations, tips for working from home and stories of gratitude with one another

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/industry-news/how-beanstalk-navigating-its-new-normal

Sales of Games & Puzzles Rise Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The top ten toys are:

 

  • Monopoly Class;
  • L.O.L. Surprise! Hairvibes;
  • Dobble;
  • L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Lights;
  • Technic Bugatti Chiron Construction Kit 1:5;
  • Scrabble Original;
  • Technic Land Rover Defender 2573 Pieces;
  • Cluedo;
  • L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Doll Asst;
  • and Uno Original.

The biggest selling toy category in the first official week of lockdown was games and puzzles, which earned a 21 percent share of weekly spend across the entire toy sector. The categories spending shared marked a nine percent increase from the same week in 2019. Outdoor and sports also saw growth with 18 percent of all sector spend, up from 12 percent last year.

“Our figures clearly show that consumers are preparing for the coming weeks of isolation with a selection of family board games, outdoor and seasonal summer toys, craft kits and building sets,” says Frederique Tutt, global toy market expert, The NPD Group. “It’s interesting to see the classic games of Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo and Uno on this list. These ‘standards’ have shown us over and again that they can stand the test of time when reinvented and so it looks like they’ll continue entertaining generations of Britons as householders look to release stress and tighten family ties during these challenging times.
In the U.K., Brits are also buying some of the toughest building sets available. With their price points at around £233 for the Technic Bugatti Chiron Construction Kit and approximately £153 for the Technic Land Rover Defender kit, these sets are not just for kids.

“We’re seeing a clear ‘kidult’ and adult trend here,” adds Tutt. “Perhaps some of the buyers are grabbing the opportunity to use their newly found spare time to achieve a long-term dream to build one of these cars in LEGO.”

Other top sellers include playhouses, slides and swingball sets. Also, to keep the kids occupied, sales in the Arts & Crafts category almost doubled (up 97 percent) with slime, dough and craft kits all making it into shopping baskets.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/toys-games/sales-games-puzzles-rise-amid-covid-19-pandemic

Homebound ‘Kidults’ Helping to Drive Construction, Game, Puzzle Boom

The sharp rise in sales of puzzles, games and building sets ( widely publicized and extremely logical in these “shelter in place” times) has seen the continued emergence of “kidults” — grownups filled with nostalgia and perhaps seeking out new activities – as a driving force in those categories that was underway even before the pandemic struck.

Adding fuel

The crisis has only added fuel to the fire. “In my opinion, some of this growth [in games, puzzles and construction sets] is coming from adult sales,” says Julie Lennett, NPD Group’s leading toy authority. “We’re seeing strong growth in adult puzzles, expensive and more complex LEGO sets, and ‘adult’ games like Cards Against Humanity and Settlers of Catan. Even adults are looking for a way to escape the chaos in their lives and toys can be a great distraction.”

For example, in the UK and Australia, Lego’s Technic Bugatti Chiron and Land Rover Defender construction kits – both of which have more than 2,000 pieces and are priced around the equivalent of US$280 —  were among the Top 10 selling products in the games/puzzles/building sets category in the weeks ended March 21 and 29, respectively, according to NPD. And the UK’s John Lewis department store chain said sales of puzzles in the week ended March 29 were higher than during the Christmas holidays and that more than half its stock – including all 1,000-piece versions, which are mostly aimed well beyond younger age groups —  was sold.

“Kidults is something that applies to puzzles, because it is something that reminds you of your childhood. In the current situation, it is definitely helping to drive sales,” says Melissa Dragonas, a Product Manager at Ravensburger USA. Indeed, the company’s sales of puzzles rose 370% during the past few weeks, and while children’s products led the category — Disney Collector’s Edition, Villainous, Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4 puzzles were top sellers — adult puzzles “weren’t far behind,” says Dragonas.

The rise in games, puzzles, and building set sales wasn’t limited to one global market. While sales of games and puzzles were up 228% in the U.S. in the week ended March 21, they also skyrocketed in the UK (240%), France (122% for puzzles; 83% for games), and Australia (417%), according to NPD. In the UK, games and puzzles also more than doubled to 21% its share of toys sales in the week ended March 21. In the case of building sets, sales soared in the U.S. (76%), UK (59%) and Australia (155%).

The increase in sales hasn’t been limited to mass merchants and toy stores. Etsy’s sales of puzzles and games were “more stable” in March along with those of bath and beauty and self-care, CEO Josh Silverman told investors. Those sales offset a sharp decline more typical top sellers in March such as jewelry and wedding-related items, the purchases of which were delayed as weddings were postponed, Silverman said.

“We have some games that are moving up in the ranks like Monopoly and Uno for obvious reasons, because these are like comfort food,” says NPD’s Lennett. But whether that trend continues after the coronavirus outbreak abates, “remains to be seen. There is the potential that families rediscover (or discover) the joy that playing family games has on the family. I hope that happens, but we’re in unusual times and I don’t think anyone can predict what families will be doing in a month or six months.”

Source: https://licensinginternational.org/news/homebound-kidults-helping-to-drive-construction-game-puzzle-boom/

Your New BFF: The Importance of Pets and Pet Product Licensing During Quarantine

According to the U.S. government, 90 percent of Americans are under local or state orders to stay at home in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. They join the millions more around the world who are staying indoors to flatten the curve of the pandemic.

The excess of time people are spending at home has led to increases in things ranging from watching streaming content to playing board games. It has also seen an uptick in pet fostering and adoption. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recently reported seeing a substantial increase in foster care for pets in locked-down areas such as New York and Los Angeles.

“We saw a nearly 70 percent increase in animals going into foster care through our NYC and Los Angeles foster programs, compared to the same time period in 2019,” says the ASPCA in a statement provided to ABC News. “In addition, since March 15, more than 600 people completed online foster applications for our New York City and Los Angeles foster programs, representing a 200 percent increase when compared to traditional application numbers during this period.”

The reason for having a pet during these isolated times isn’t just to have a friendly tail on your next Zoom video call. Dogs and cats have proven to play a helping role in reducing stress and anxiety in people. A recent study from the Anxiety and Depression Society of America found that 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership. The ADAA findings are backed up by scientific studies that show a correlation between decreases in feelings of loneliness and social isolation for pet owners.

On the pet products and licensing side, the increase in animal ownership has led to an influx of people looking to buy their new furry friends’ food and toys. In the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security has deemed pet stores an essential business in its official guidance. That means that despite widespread temporary closures of retailers, most U.S. cities are allowing pet stores to stay open.

Early signs point to panic buying from both new and old animal owners as sales of pet supplies rose 24 percent year-over-year last week, according to the Nielsen data reported on by CNN Business. The increase in supply purchases was coupled with a 54 percent spike in dog food buying and a 52 percent growth in cat food sales.

The increase in pet product buying has also led to more consumers moving online to purchase items for their pets. Online pet supply retailer Chewy recently reported that it expects to see as much as a 37 percent increase in first-quarter sales year-over-year due to increased demand. Sumit Singh, chief executive officer, Chewy, thanked the calming power of pets as the reason the company saw such results during the current economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

“How soothing a simple act like a game of fetch with your dog or curling up on the couch with your cat can be,” says Singh during a recent quarterly earnings investors call. “We devote ourselves every day to supporting these special relationships. We are here for our pet parents and their pets working 24/7 to meet their needs while caring for the safety and well-being of our team members. Our shop-at-home business is proving resilient amid the current economic disruption.”

Both economically and perhaps more importantly, societally, the rise in pet ownership is a good thing. According to the ASPCA, nearly 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. That means pets continue to need homes at a very high rate. Now, as we all are asked to take a step back in the isolation of our homes, perhaps more people than ever before will consider pet companionship something that they can fit into their daily lives

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/analysis/your-new-bff-importance-pets-and-pet-product-licensing-during-quarantine

Funko Furloughs Employees, Cuts Salaries

Everett, WA — Funko is furloughing employees effective Sunday and cutting salaries to give it financial flexibility in the wake of  the coronavirus outbreak.

Funko also is:

  • Executing reductions in operating expenses and non-product development capital expenditures; and
  • Proactively managing working capital, including reducing incoming inventory to align with anticipated sales.

In addition to these actions, Funko is evaluating further options to increase flexibility and retain liquidity. Since December 31, 2019, the Company repaid all outstanding borrowings on its $75 million revolving credit facility and subsequently drew down approximately $29 million. As of March 31, 2020, the Company expects to have over $50 million of cash on hand and $46 million of availability on its revolving credit facility.

“During this uncertain and unprecedented time, it is essential we take actions to best position Funko for our employees, partners and shareholders,” stated Brian Mariotti, Chief Executive Officer. “We are making difficult decisions that we believe will put us in a position of strength to navigate this crisis and support the long-term health of our Company.”

About Funko

Headquartered in Everett, Washington, Funko is a leading pop culture consumer products company. Funko designs, sources and distributes licensed pop culture products across multiple categories, including vinyl figures, action toys, plush, apparel, housewares and accessories for consumers who seek tangible ways to connect with their favorite pop culture brands and characters. Learn more at https://funko.com/, and follow us on Twitter (@OriginalFunko) and Instagram (@OriginalFunko).

Source: https://licensinginternational.org/news/funko-furloughs-employees-cuts-salaries/

H&M, Netflix Team for ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ Line

Netflix has teamed with fast-fashion retailer H&M for its latest collaboration. A new collection based on “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” a hit teen movie franchise on the streaming service, has been launched on H&M’s online store.

The collection is reportedly inspired by lead character Lara Jean and includes six pieces: slogan tees, a pink puff shoulder dress, crop tops and floral prints.

“This new spring collection is our celebration of the rom-coms, channeling the fashion, charm and inclusive message of the two films,” says Emily Björkeheim, head, H&M’s Design Divided.

Fans can also go on Instagram to step inside Lara Jean’s room via a 360-degree virtual experience filter. Fans can use this to see closeup details from the films.

The collection is available now.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/apparel/hm-netflix-team-all-boys-ive-loved-line

The ‘Harry Potter at Home’ Digital Hub is Here

J.K. Rowling has unveiled a digital hub for children staying safe at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The hub, called “Harry Potter at Home,” is full of treats to keep kids occupied during lockdown.

The hub, according to Variety, includes contributions from publishing houses Bloomsbury and Scholastic and includes craft videos, articles, quizzes, puzzles and more. Both first-time readers and those familiar with the Wizarding World are offered this series free of charge, with the website declaring, “We’re casting a Banishing Charm on boredom!”

Partnerships with Audible and library book supplier OverDrive will bring the first title of the “Harry Potter” series to homes for free during the month of April. The audiobook can be streamed for free through the Audible Stories platform, and both the eBook and audiobook can be borrowed in more than 20 different languages via OverDrive’s worldwide library service.

Rowling introduced the world to “Harry Potter at Home” via Twitter on April 1.

“Parents, teachers and carers working to keep children amused and interested while we’re on lockdown might need a bit of magic, so I’m delighted to launch http://harrypotterathome.com,” she tweeted.

Along with Rowling’s tweet, a statement accompanied the launch, reading “The ‘Harry Potter at Home’ hub aims to help inspire you, your family, your friends and especially children all around the world to read for pleasure and enjoy the stories, as well as bring some magic-infused joy and entertainment to all the family.”

Rowling and her team had previously announced an open license for teachers to read the seven “Harry Potter” books aloud to students in virtual read-along session

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/books-magazines/harry-potter-home-digital-hub-here

Kids Insights: Why it’s time to reflect, reconsider and re-evaluate

Nick Richardson, founder and ceo, talks through some of the changes already being seen in its data due to COVID-19 measures.

If I had a £1 for every time, I used the word ‘unprecedented’ then I would be a rich man, but there really is no other word to describe the challenges we are all facing today.

While it may feel at times that the world is on ‘pause’, it is not the case when it comes to kids. They are experiencing this real-life adventure thriller first-hand and the impact this will have on their attitudes, behaviour and consumption will be truly significant.

In my opinion, history is going to very much remember this time in three periods… ‘BC’ Before Coronavirus, ‘DC’ During Coronavirus and ‘AC’ After Coronavirus.

Thankfully for us and our clients we are in a fortunate position – Coronavirus has had no impact on the actual delivery of our service. We continue to survey more than 3,000 children a week across nine countries (you will have hopefully seen our exciting announcement about Brazil & Mexico launching in March), which means that our real-time portal continues to update, and our amazing team of researchers continue to analyse our data, providing clients with the insight to inform their decision making.

However, 2020 is clearly not going to be the year we had all planned for; in many cases I see 2020 and 2021 merging from a budgeting and planning perspective. Not getting the chance to move our respective businesses as far forward as we may have wanted and planned for will be frustrating, but the positive is we can now take this time to consider if our strategies and plans are properly fit for purpose.

In my mind, the first part of planning is understanding, followed by audience definition but the problem is any data pre-Coronavirus is now out of date; even your regular retail sales data is probably proving less insightful than usual. So, if you are not currently working with us, I would encourage you to reach out. Our real-time data portal provides you with real-time data and information, enabling clients to gain valuable insight to help them plan and adapt to a constantly evolving world during and after Coronavirus.

Just wanted to share some of the significant changes we have seen in our data:

  • Anxiety levels among teens have understandably grown over the past month. In the UK, 62% of children are feeling anxious, up 35% on the last year’s average. In the US, 64% of teens say they are anxious and in Europe, these figures soar to 72% and 68% respectively in Spain and Italy; all countries registering higher rates than we were seeing a year ago.
  • Playing with board games has become an increasingly popular past-time over the last month; increasing as a favourite toy to play with across the US (+85%), UK (+67%), Germany (+82%), Italy (+62%), Spain (+57%) and India (+20%). While in France playing card games is up +29%.
  • In the UK, the Houseparty app has grown substantially in the last month, our data states that 150,000 kids aged 5-18 have used it to chat in the last month, up from an average across the last year of just 13,000!
  • In Italy, the number of kids using Netflix up from 39.5% to 48.5% since lockdown, and the number of kids using Netflix at least daily up from 26% to 40%.
Minecraft's popularity has soared as a game, app and toy across all markets.
Minecraft’s popularity has soared as a game, app and toy across all markets.
  • Minecraft’s popularity soars as a game, app and toy across all markets.
  • The growth of ‘in-game chat’ has also proved more popular this month as children increasingly seeking out opportunities to connect via a shared experience or interest. In the UK we have seen a 73% increase in this form of connection, while the US has seen a smaller yet significant +13% growth in this area.
  • The US overall has seen smaller, niche platforms breaking much more so than other countries across the last month. Although Instagram and Facebook Messenger remain the most used by around a quarter of all 5-18s, platforms like Discord, Telegram, Line Messenger and Meow Chat have all demonstrated substantial usage increases.
  • In the UK, esports has begun to open up to a younger demographic with 18.3% of 5-10s watching esports on screen in March v 13.6% across the previous three months.

We have also seen how these difficult times have provided Disney+with a far easier landing into the market. Despite only been released on March 24, our early data at the time of writing (March 27) suggest 8.1% of kids are already accessing the platform – which would be equivalent to 1 million children in the UK.

There is no doubt that there are going to be challenges over the coming days, weeks and months – but as you reflect, reconsider and revaluate your plans, be assured that we are here to help however we can. So please don’t hesitate in getting in contact if there is anything we can do to support you.

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/indepth/kids-insights-why-its-time-to-reflect-reconsider-and-re-evaluate/