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Home | RaugustOnLicensing


Karen Raugust is Special Projects Editor of The Licensing Letter and author of The Licensing Business Handbook as well as numerous reports including International Licensing: A Status Report. RaugustOnLicensing will feature Karen's unique perspective on trends and news about licensing and merchandising.

Monday, Oct 13, 2014
Good Grooming
By Karen Raugust
Monday, Oct 13, 2014 12:30
Brands from the health and beauty aisles continue to launch and expand their brand-extension licensing efforts:

• Clorox licensed its Burt's Bees brand to Fetch…for Pets!, which is marketing Burt's Bees Natural Pet Care grooming and oral care products, and to Ayablu, which is selling Burt's Bees Baby apparel, accessories, bath linens, gift sets, and more.

• RetroBrands USA signed RJM Licensing to represent its 1980s dandruff shampoo brand Tegrin for licensing into the shampoo, body wash, soap, and lotion categories.

• Energizer Personal Care and its agent Brandgenuity authorized Morgan Home Fashions to develop Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat beach accessories, including towels, mats, and totes.

These examples join a long list of HBA brands, including the likes of Dr. Scholl's, Coppertone, Revlon, and Vick's, that have been involved in brand-extension licensing over the years.

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Thursday, Oct 09, 2014
From Polishing Prose to Creating Clothes
By Karen Raugust
Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 10:13
Not only has there been a significant increase in magazines actively licensing their brands in the last two to three years, but current and former magazine editors and creative directors around the world are also testing the licensing waters for themselves:

• Joe Zee, creative director of Elle in the U.S., partnered with QVC for a line of women's clothing under the Styled by Joe Zee label.

• Cobi Ladner, editor of Reno & Décor and former editor of House & Home, both Canadian publications, launched a housewares line called Cobistyle, which is licensed to a variety of manufacturers and available in Sears Canada.

• Anna Hewett and Lill Jenner, formerly fashion editors at Vogue Australia, launched Anna&Boy, a swimwear label, in 2005 and recently partnered with retailer General Pants Co. for an exclusive collection in their home country.

These are not the first examples of this phenomenon; Kate Spade, who founded her handbag label in 1993, was the editor of Mademoiselle. But the trend is accelerating. Of course, in these days of unscripted television, many magazine editors and creative directors have become TV personalities, achieving a level of fame far beyond what they would generate from their day job alone, which helps them become viable brands in their own right.

Meanwhile, magazine brand-extension programs give creative directors and editors a hand in licensing as well, since the publication's staff often has input into product development and approvals, as well as helping to promote the merchandise. Bon Appétit's editor-in-chief appeared on Home Shopping Network to sell that publication's line of kitchenware; the editors and stylists of the Australian magazine Real Living directed that publication's homewares line at Ozzie retailer Target; and Real Simple's fashion editors were involved in the entire development process for Cuyana's licensed Real Simple apparel line in the U.S.

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Monday, Oct 06, 2014
Staff Artists Spread Their Wings
By Karen Raugust
Monday, Oct 06, 2014 03:30
A handful of artists who made their names as part of the creative team at a major entertainment company are spinning off their own intellectual properties.

Some of the ventures are part of studio-led initiatives. Animators and writers at Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios are launching their own IP in the form of children's books through a partnership with Disney Worldwide Publishing. The first book in the series is "Over There," written and illustrated by Pixar's Steve Pilcher. The books will be marketed under two banners: the Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase and the Pixar Animation Studios Artist Showcase.

Similarly, Cartoon Network artists will have a chance to get their original ideas published through the new Cartoon Network Books imprint at Penguin Publishing, which also includes titles tied to the channel's TV shows.

Other spin-off programs are independent efforts. The estate of the late Mary Blair, a Disney artist from the 1940s through 1960s who worked on the films Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan and the It's a Small World theme park attraction, made Blair's imagery available for licensing at the end of 2013.

And Gayle Middleton, a toy designer who worked on Hasbro's redesigns of My Little Pony and The Littlest Pet Shop, has her own line of monster-baby characters marketed under the Vamplets brand. The program to date has included plush as well as graphic novels from Action Labs.

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Thursday, Oct 02, 2014
A Sense of Place
By Karen Raugust
Thursday, Oct 02, 2014 03:29
A growing number of licensing programs are tied to properties strongly associated with a particular location. Examples that have launched or expanded in the last couple of years include:

• Cities and states ranging from Malibu to South Dakota (celebrating the 125th anniversary of its statehood), as well as city-specific attractions such as the London Taxi Company.

• Famous clubs, bars, and restaurants extending from the Sunset Strip's Whiskey A Go-Go, Rainbow Bar & Grill, and The Laugh Factory to the former New York rock and punk club, CBGB.

• Locations with historical significance, from Woodstock to Britain's Historic Royal Palaces, the latter including the Tower of London and Kensington Palace, among others.

• Hospitality and travel destinations, including Nikki Beach resorts and beach clubs and MGM Resorts International's MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, and Bellagio hotels.

These ventures join a handful of long-running efforts, such as those for New York City, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (which oversees New York's subway system), and Hollywood and its famous sign. The state-owned "I Love New York" campaign generates more than $2 million in royalties per year, according to various published reports.

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Monday, Sep 29, 2014
Developing A Taste For Produce
By Karen Raugust
Monday, Sep 29, 2014 03:35
With an increasing societal focus on health and wellness and a desire to combat childhood obesity, entertainment/character licensors are interested in associating their properties with the produce category, and vice versa.

Some examples within the last year or so:

• Sesame Workshop, the Produce Marketing Association, and the Partnership for a Healthier America forged a deal allowing the Sesame Street characters to be used, royalty-free, on signage and packaging.

• Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar is starring in Produce for Kids' third annual Healthy Families, Helping Kids campaign, featured in Publix and Meijer stores this fall.

• Disney and Pinnacle Foods' Birds Eye brand teamed in a multiplatform effort to encourage more vegetable-eating, with Disney characters appearing on packaging, among other elements.

• The Florida Department of Citrus worked with Marvel Custom Solutions to integrate Florida's Captain Citrus character, along with Marvel's Avengers Assemble team, into a custom comic, teacher's guide, and lesson plan distributed to 1 million children in U.S. schools.

These ventures join a handful of ongoing licensing efforts in the produce aisle. Disney, to name one example, has a number of licensees for branded fruits and vegetables, including Chelan Fresh for bagged apples and cherries, Crunch Pak for fresh sliced apples, Dayka & Hackett for grapes, Freska for mangos, Naturipe for blueberry snacks, and SGS for stone fruit and table grapes, all featuring Disney and Marvel characters and brands. Warner Bros. also maintains a presence; a couple of its newer Looney Tunes licensees include Crunchies Foods for freeze-dried fruits and vegetables and Central West Produce for packaged strawberries in the U.S. and Canada.

And the trend is not limited to North America; Viacom International just licensed South African retailer Checkers for SpongeBob SquarePants seasonal fruits, including in kid-sized portions.

Most of the deals mentioned above lean more toward promotion than traditional licensing, although it should be noted that there are a lot of gray areas between the two in this category.

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