Sign Up for [Virtual] Camp!

This time last year, most parents were prepping their kids to attend their favorite sleepaway camp or planning a family vacation. But with COVID-19, most summer plans have been scrapped and while the quarantine boredom-busting activities of the spring – such as baking and board games – were fine to fill up the time between Zoom classes… there’s only so much banana bread one can make.

Depending on where you live, sleepaway and day camps are running with a focus on small groups and social distancing. However, more broadly, virtual camps are now in session. Here are a handful of companies hosting virtual camps for pre-K and preteens.

  • This week, Camp by Walmart launched its free virtual camp with interactive video platform Eko. Activity videos featuring celebrity councilors such as actors Neil Patrick Harris, Idina Menzel, Drew Barrymore, and athlete LeBron James are uploaded to the platform every week.
  • On Monday, July 14, The Wiggles and Rascal + Friends will host a two-week virtual summer camp for toddlers and their parents. Hosted by Emma Wiggle and Captain Feathersword, the program includes arts, crafts, singing, dancing and prizes.
  • Camp PBS Kids now offer the preschool set free, downloadable activity books and reading lists, as well as how-to videos ranging from art to science featuring PBS Kids characters Daniel Tiger, Dinosaur Train and more.
  • The activities at Girl Scouts Adventures at Home marketplace change weekly, but topics include STEM, cooking and wildlife, grouped by grade level. Campers can do several Girl Scout-approved activities off-screen and outside (with supervision). While the virtual camp marketplace has a weekly membership fee for the courses, there are free activities available on the Girl Scouts’ website.

Inevitably, kids are going to complain about having “nothing to do” as summer goes on. Yet, in this unprecedented year, parents now have these new projects in their arsenal to combat kids’ boredom – from home.

And for parents, how will they spend their newfound freetime while the kids are at virtual camp? Well, there’s always Club Quarantine.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/live-events/sign-virtual-camp

Manchester City, FAZE Clan Kick-Off Fashion Collab

Manchester City Football Club has unveiled a new limited-edition product collaboration with esports organization FaZe Clan.

After formally announcing a strategic partnership at the start of the current season, City and FaZe Clan will extend their relationship into a second year with plans already in place for the 2020/21 season.

“Manchester City’s partnership with FaZe Clan has strengthened our extensive esports offering and allowed us to further explore how fans are experiencing football beyond the pitch,” says Nuria Tarre, chief marketing officer, City Football Group. “Fans have embraced this partnership as it has allowed them to combine their passions for football and gaming in ways that have never been seen before in football. We have ambitious plans for the next year of our partnership, and we can’t wait to reveal these to fans in the coming months.”

The capsule collection merges Manchester City and FaZe Clan’s branding and crests and includes a t-shirt, hoodie, shorts and a collectable half-and-half scarf. FaZe and City have also teamed up with FaZe’s partner SCUF to create limited-edition FaZe x Manchester City-themed game controllers that will be given away to fans.

“Going into year two of our relationship with Manchester City, we expect great things ahead as we bring new opportunities and experiences for our collective communities of passionate fans,” says Lee Trink, chief executive officer, FaZe Clan.

The limited-edition product range is available now via www.FazeClan.com.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/fashion/manchester-city-faze-clan-kick-fashion-collab

Consumers, Brands and Retailers: Adapting in the New Reality

Licensing Week Virtual kicked off Monday, June 15, offering a host of informative talks and seminars.

Allison Ames, president and chief executive officer, Beanstalk, led a dynamic discussion, “Consumers, Brands and Retailers: Adapting in the New Reality,” about the present and future state of retail, branding and consumer behavior. Panelists included Michael Stone, chairman and co-founder, Beanstalk; Stephanie Wissink, managing director, Jefferies; and Rob Gaige, managing partner, Q, Sparks & Honey.

The group dissected the complicated yet unavoidable trend of brands taking a position with respect to social causes.

“Today, during the pandemic, consumers are expecting even more from brands,” said Stone. “For a long time now, there’s been a trend of consumers wanting their brands to take a positions on social or cultural or political issues of the day, and that trend has been growing… consumers now are really requiring that brands not only take positions on the health crisis today, but actually take action.”

Gaige identified the following three key trends among brands:

  • Brand as civil servant;
  • Brand activist; and
  • Digital immortality.

Wissink highlighted the increase in ways consumers could use their wallets to support their activism and the trend of companies rising up to take a clear stance on today’s most-pressing social issues.

Gaige noted consumers are turning back to reliance on experts in a trend he called, “The Rise of the Expert.” He also presented data that noted a shift from “community to castle,” where consumers are spending and investing in all things home.

Panelists also discussed how the Food and Beverage segment has been affected (both positively and negatively) by the pandemic, as well as the other categories that have seen a significant change, such as beauty, automotive and travel.

“Between restaurant licensed products that you could buy at the grocery store and alcoholic beverage licensed products that you could buy at the grocery store, these brands are learning how consumers can become entangled with the brand and engaged with the brand in ways that perhaps they didn’t realize before the pandemic,” Stone said.

“This crisis has absolutely challenged the status quo,” Ames added. “It’s empowered us to reevaluate things and come up with creative solutions and new opportunities, and I am certain together we are all going to rise to the challenge and emerge stronger.”

To learn more about the changes in digital, shopping behaviors and what brands should do to succeed in the post-COVID-19 climate, watch the full session after you have registered for Licensing Week Virtual.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/licensing-101/consumers-brands-and-retailers-adapting-new-reality

PUMA, Cara Delevingne Unleash Pride Collab

According to License Global to celebrate Pride Month this June, PUMA is spreading the message of love and unity alongside PUMA ambassador and LGBTQ+ activist Cara Delevingne with the launch of the ‘From PUMA with Love’ pack.

Pic courtesy License Global

The 13-piece pack features vibrant colors, rainbow designs and bold graphics. PUMA reports that 20 percent of the proceeds from the collection will be donated to The Cara Delevingne Foundation, a project of the Giving Back Fund which supports LGBTQ+ charities including GLAAD, The Trevor Project and Mind Out.

“We are proud to team up with Cara to celebrate Pride Month through this meaningful collection that will benefit LGBTQ+ organizations across the globe,” says Adam Petrick, global director, brand and marketing, PUMA. “Cara’s active voice as a leader and a member of LGBTQ+ community made her a perfect partner to collaborate with on this pride-inspired project. It’s more important now than ever to support each other and through this collection. It reminds us that we’re always stronger together.”

The ‘From PUMA with Love’ styles include colorful graphic tees and hoodies, Leadcat Slides, Pride waistbags and more. Items in the collection are currently retailing from $20-$45.

“This collection was designed and created with so much love,” says Delevingne. “I was really looking forward to wearing it at this year’s Pride celebrations that I was planning to attend but, given the circumstances, I can’t wait to wear it and celebrate Pride month from my home via Zoom and FaceTime. Through my foundation, I am looking forward to making donations to LGBTQ+ organizations around the world who are making such a difference every single day. The LGBTQ+ community deserves to be celebrated and I’m so grateful PUMA partnered with me to create such a prideful collection.”

‘Angry Birds on the Run’ Returns for Season 2

Rovio Entertainment has announced that “Angry Birds on the Run,” the live action series starring the Angry Birds as plush toys, will return for a second season.

“Season 2 of ‘Angry Birds’ on the Run is a whirlwind of fun,” says Baker Terry, writer and director, “Angry Birds on the Run.” “It promises to be bigger and wilder than ever before! We’ve got more twists and turns, more locations, original songs and more characters. More of everything really, except smarts. It was great to spend some more time with our three lead characters from the first series and get to know a whole bunch of new Angry Birds, and piggies of course.”

Season two will premiere on the “Angry Birds” YouTube channel on June 6, with a new episode added every Saturday. Wider distribution will be handled by CAKE, with the new season coming to more platforms this October.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/streaming-and-tv/angry-birds-run-returns-season-2

Dolly Parton, American Greetings Ink E-Card Deal

Country music icon Dolly Parton has unveiled the first new product in her collaboration with American Greetings, according to a report by Music Row. A birthday e-card set to the tune of her hit “9 to 5” has been created through the company’s SmashUp digital initiative.

Users can send a birthday e-card set to the tune of Parton’s hit and can customize the card with one of 1,200 different names available on SmashUp.

“We’re so excited to share the ‘Birthday Time’ SmashUp with our members, Dolly’s fans and anyone looking for ways to make someone feel special on their birthday,” says Rob Matousek, executive director and general manager, direct to consumer business, American Greetings. “We felt that the Country Music Hall of Fame theater was the perfect venue for Dolly to deliver an extra special birthday wish and it made a great backdrop for her incredible talent. She makes everything sparkle and hearing her say your name and seeing your name in lights next to Dolly on stage is sure to be magical for lucky recipients.”

Earlier this year, American Greetings announced a multi-partnership deal with Parton. The deal includes both physical and digital products that integrate her songs. Parton-themed greeting cards are set to hit shelves at Walmart later this summer.

“Celebrating who you are and why you are special is something I have always encouraged and have known is important for my own identity,” says Parton. “God made us all unique in our own ways, and I love the fact that I was able to offer something special for everyone. In a time like now, when we do not get the chance to share special moments like birthdays with each other in-person, I am so happy to know my ‘Birthday Time’ SmashUp ecard is now available to share with those you love.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/greetings-stationery/dolly-parton-american-greetings-ink-e-card-deal

‘Mondays with Michelle Obama’ Releases New Story Time Episodes

Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children’s Books and PBS KIDS have announced that “Mondays with Michelle Obama,” its collaboration with the former First Lady of the U.S., will be extended with four new story times on May 18 and May 25.

On each of the new dates, two videos from “Mondays with Michelle Obama” will live-stream back-to-back on Facebook and YouTube, with the former First Lady being joined by surprise guests for one of the two children’s books she will read aloud.

The story times “Mondays with Michelle Obama” began on April 20 on Facebook and YouTube, in support of Penguin Random House’s recently launched “Read Together, Be Together“ literacy initiative and PBS KIDS’s “Read-Along” effort.

“Mondays with Michelle Obama” are livestreamed simultaneously at 12:00PM EDT on PBS KIDS’ Facebook page and YouTube channel, and on Penguin Random House’s Facebook page. It will be available for viewing on-demand on all of those platforms immediately thereafter.

The additional episodes of “Mondays with Michelle Obama” will feature Obama reading aloud from four children’s books:

May 18:

  • “Giraffe Problems” written by Jory John; illustrated by Lane Smith; and
  • “The Bear Ate Your Sandwich” with a surprise guest, written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach.

May 25:

  • “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss; and
  • “Can I Be Your Dog?” with a surprise guest, written and illustrated by Troy Cummings.

A suite of activities, tips, and resources for each of the books that Obama will read are available at readtogetherbetogether.com, and companion literacy resources are available on pbskidsforparents.org.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/publishing/mondays-michelle-obama-releases-new-story-time-episodes

Leomil, Baby Shark Swim into Footwear Deal

Leomil, part of The Cortina Group, is expanding its footwear portfolio with Baby Shark. Nickelodeon and Pinkfong, the brands behind “Baby Shark,” have partnered with Leomil, to present a Baby Shark-branded collection following a deal brokered by WildBrain CPLG. This first collection will be available for back-to-school 2020 in Europe and the Middle East.

“We are delighted to be working with a best-in-class partner such as Leomil on Baby Shark,” says Matt Tobia, senior licensing manager, WildBrain CPLG Benelux. “Leomil has created a bold, colorful and fun collection, which really encapsulates what makes Baby Shark so popular. We look forward to seeing the products launch at retail for the back-to-school period.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/footwear/leomil-baby-shark-swim-footwear-deal

How AMGI Animation is Adapting to COVID-19 Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the entertainment industry. From production shutdowns to the rise in at-home streaming, the toll on people and businesses has caused studios across the spectrum to reexamine how they work. From Zoom meetings to direct-to-streaming film debuts, the industry is trying new things to be more adaptable and prepared for the pace that is sure to arrive when things open back up again.

Now, as a light at the end of the tunnel slowly begins to emerge, companies are looking to become more efficient and flexible than ever before. While this paradigm shift can be a challenge, some studios are finding their inherent nature is giving them the advantage to get up-to-speed faster than they even realized was possible.

One such studio is AMGI Animation. The self-described ‘IP factory,’ based in South Pasadena, Calif., has been able to quickly adapt to the new normal by leveraging the vision and expediency inherent in its DNA. AMGI’s unique advantage comes from its technology, business mission and its experienced team of animators that help bring each project to life.

“In a strange sort of way, this shutdown has kind of accelerated our production,” Colin Brady, co-founder, AMGI, tells License Global. “We were already a digitally based studio, so the transition to working from home wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be. We can still create the characters just as fast as we did before, and all our animators are working remotely, so we are perfectly suited for this.”

The group includes alums from Disney and Pixar who leverage real-time rendering technology based on the Unreal Engine to create animations quickly. Using Unreal technology, the team can render projects rapidly from their home workstations in real-time, in an industry that isn’t always based on speed to market.

The studio’s unique business model also allows AMGI to be flexible and quick to react to the market. After just one year in business, the company has developed eight properties for each demographic of kids’ entertainment. Characters range from the young adult music-themed IP “Zeppelin Reign” to the younger-focused “Little Kaiju” property. AMGI is looking to leverage those digital-first characters by extending them into episodic streaming content and licensing across verticals.

“One of the things that struck me when I attended Toy Fair this year was the preponderance of toys that were built on digital influencer initiatives,” says Tony Diioia, co-founder, AMGI. “The sheer number of eyeballs that are watching content on these online platforms is really enough to kickstart a full-blown licensing program.”

AMGI’s fast-acting approach and potential to quickly develop streaming content for new character IP may end up being a significant opportunity for the studio, as distributors look to launch new material following the production stoppage. The company’s quick to market model is also powering how it works with licensees and retailers.

AMGI sees the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown as affecting how the industry does business even after companies can begin to reopen. With that in mind, the studio is looking to work with partners who can adapt to whatever the future may bring. Potential partners for the company include retailers and licensees with a robust e-commerce and digital presence.

“Eventually, we are going to come back, but I don’t think we are going to come back to exactly how it used to be,” adds Diioia. “We think that e-commerce is going to be an accelerator based on what is happening today.”

Overall, AMGI believes that it will come out of the COVID-19 shutdown with a business model that has been accelerated, as major industry players look for companies that fit the quick-to-adapt mold.

As everyone learns to readjust to a fundamentally shifted work environment, companies such as AMGI will prove vital for an industry landscape looking to offset the challenges of the shutdown rapidly.

“I think when we look back at this time, we are going to see it as we got a shot of adrenaline when everyone slowed down,” adds Roger Paglia, chief executive officer, AMGI. “We are one of the few independent studios still standing, and our whole crew is churning out properties.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/streaming-and-tv/how-amgi-animation-adapting-covid-19-challenges

Quibi and Peacock: Two Very Different Streaming Services Launch During a Pandemic

Streaming giants, such as Netflix and Disney+, have seen huge numbers, as people around the world are asked to stay home and help stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic. Netflix saw record-high traffic in March. Disney, meanwhile, has leveraged its streaming platform to bring new releases into people’s homes as movie theaters are shuttered.

While consumers continue streaming film and television while stuck indoors, the streaming ecosystem will become even more prominent over the summer. Both Quibi and NBCU’s Peacock platforms are launching this year. The platforms have been in development for years, but their arrival during the pandemic is both a blessing and a curse.

Peacock: NBC’s Streaming Play to Arrive Early Amid Pandemic

Peacock is scheduled to officially hit the market in July. However, in a bid to capitalize on the streaming uptick during quarantine, NBCU announced that some Comcast customers would get a sneak peek of the streamer’s content. Early-access users will be able to watch a limited amount of content, including classic shows like “30 Rock” and “The Office,” according to Reuters.

“With the majority of the country at home, the demand for news and entertainment is truly at an all-time high,” says Matt Strauss, chairman, Peacock, in a conference call covered by the Los Angeles Times. “Many viewers are seeking out programming that is comforting, familiar and even nostalgic.”

The Peacock streaming service’s early access offering won’t be the same as the full product expected to launch later this year. Peacock’s full slate will include live sports and original content that have been delayed due to the pandemic. In a letter to employees covered by Variety, Strauss said that original content, including a reboot of “Saved by the Bell” would be delayed until 2021.

“This is a marathon and not a sprint,” Strauss said in the letter. “While we are launching with a strong array of news and entertainment offerings, much more content will be on the platform down the road, including our original productions and many more sporting events. The product itself is in its beginning phase and will undergo continuous updates and enhancements.”

Quibi: Mobile-First Streaming Content Faces New Consumer Paradigm 

Quibi is a short-form, mobile-friendly streaming platform from former Disney boss Jeffrey Katzenberg and ex-chief executive officer of H.P., Meg Whitman. The platform launched last month to substantial numbers, with 1.7 million app downloads during its debut week. As a platform, Quibi leaned into the market with a 90-day free trial for all interested consumers.

While off to a hot start, the streaming platform has already seen some potential attrition with the app downloads falling out of the top 70 on the App Store charts. According to App Annie, the Quibi app trailed competitors such as Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu in its second week. The potential reason for the decrease in downloads may be attributable to the quarantine.

As a mobile-first platform, Quibi did not launch with TV casting abilities. While the feature is in the works, the lack of viewing options on the big screen may be a negative for consumers spending more time than ever on the couch.

More Streaming to Come

Streaming is more crowded than ever before, and it looks to get more crowded into 2020. Along with Quibi and Peacock, WarnerMedia is debuting HBO Max in May. As nearly everyone turns to the TV or consumes virtual content, for the time being, it looks like they will at least have a slate of new streaming platforms to try if they are interested.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/analysis/quibi-and-peacock-two-very-different-streaming-services-launch-during-pandemic