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Home | RaugustOnLicensing

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.

Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
Capturing the Brazilian Lifestyle, From Beaches to Boxing
By Karen Raugust
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 11:45
Of the BRIC countries, Brazil is by far the most diverse when it comes to the property types that are licensed. One strong sector is comprised of sportswear and sporting goods brands, especially those tied to surfing and extreme sports:

• Naja Extreme is a mixed martial arts and boxing brand encompassing apparel and equipment, which sponsors the Extreme Fighting Championships (XFC) in Brazil. It has 32 licensees.

• Mormaii is a surf lifestyle brand that originated in the 1970s. Its 45 licensees market products from wetsuits, fashion bags, and t-shirts to watches, sunglasses, and sports equipment.

• FICO is another surf-related brand that has been around for more than 30 years, with 300 products available at retail, from electronics to apparel and accessories.

• Red Nose is an extreme sports and fight brand with 40 licensees making school supplies, electronic accessories, exercise equipment, footwear, and more.

Merchandise typically runs the gamut from technical and performance products for core enthusiasts to lifestyle items for the more casual fan.

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Monday, Aug 25, 2014
So Sweet
By Karen Raugust
Monday, Aug 25, 2014 11:59
Chocolates, especially higher-end artisan varieties, are known for their sophisticated packaging, often involving surface designs or other artwork. Not surprisingly, licensing deals with artists and lifestyle brands are part of the mix, with their imagery being used on packaging as well as, sometimes, on greeting cards that accompany the sweets.

The PRAIM Group is a key player. It acquired rights to French Bull, the colorful lifestyle brand, in February, and has deals with other artists and estates, including The Andy Warhol Foundation, Anne Taintor, Mary Phillips Design, and Erin Condren, all for premium chocolates.

Other examples of art and lifestyle properties that have signed chocolate deals in the past couple of years include So So Happy with Frankford Candy (for chocolate and non-chocolate confections), Paul Frank with Nestlé for limited-edition Crunch bars, and Tokidoki with Sweet! Hollywood (which also has a deal with jewelry designer Onch Movement).

Note that most of these examples center on art, lifestyle, and design brands that integrate or feature characters. Character licensing, of course, has long been a staple in the world of chocolate.

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Thursday, Aug 21, 2014
The Most Important Meal of the Day
By Karen Raugust
Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 11:51
While the health and wellness segment is top-of-mind among many licensors and licensees doing business in food and beverages, there is still room for sugary licensed product deals.

One area where this is true is in products that have a connection to breakfast, as the following alliances, many of them recent, suggest:

• Cereal. Kellogg's Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Chocolatey Almond Cereal became a permanent fixture on store shelves this past April after a successful limited-edition run that began in 2013. Also in 2013, General Mills launched Hershey's Cookies 'N' Creme cereal, part of a broader, multi-category license with the candy brand; it has marketed cereal tied to Hershey's Reese's Pieces since the mid-1990s.

• Coffee creamers. Nestlé's Coffee-Mate brand launched Girl Scouts Thin Mints and Coconut and Caramel flavors in 2013, and WhiteWave Foods introduced Dunkin' Donuts creamers, in mostly sweet flavors made with real sugar, in January 2014. Meanwhile, H.P. Hood holds the Bailey's license for coffee creamers.

• Milk and milkshakes. Rivermill's line of Jelly Belly-branded milkshakes, introduced in late 2013, comes in dark chocolate, French vanilla, and banana flavors, with buttered popcorn and cotton candy among potential future additions. H.P. Hood also produces licensed sweet milks, milkshakes, and milk substitutes under the Hershey's and Blue Diamond brands, while Gossner Foods offers shelf-stable Hershey's milk.

While many of these products--and others like them, both licensed and non--are not strictly intended for morning consumption, they are likely finding a place at breakfast tables across the country.

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Monday, Aug 18, 2014
A Good Fit
By Karen Raugust
Monday, Aug 18, 2014 06:45
Licensing deals in the growing health and fitness category extend from yoga mats, exercise videos, and fitness apps to wearable trackers, gym bags, and supplements. One area that has seen less activity is in fitness equipment such as barbells, weight benches, and heavy fitness machines.

While there have been several examples of strong licensed fitness equipment brands over the years--Gold's Gym, IronMan, Schwinn, and Greg LeMond are among the properties with a presence--the category can be a challenge. The high prices and expected longevity of the products mean properties must have staying power, as well as a clear connection with strength and fitness.

That said, there has been some activity of late. Cirrus Fitness, which markets workout products including stability and medicine balls, jump ropes, and yoga mats, announced earlier this year that it had secured rights to the National Basketball Association and WNBA, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer. These products are added to its collegiate line of fitness equipment, which incorporates the logos of 110 universities.

And last year, FremantleMedia signed Cap Barbell for a line of fitness equipment under the SELF magazine name, including hand weights, weighted balls, fitness hoops, yoga mats, and jump ropes. Note that both Cirrus and Cap's licensed lines skew toward the smaller, less expensive end of the fitness spectrum, rather than toward the heavy equipment end.

Licensing can drive significant sales in fitness equipment. When retailer Dick's Sporting Goods announced it would cut ties with Livestrong in 2013 due to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal--it started carrying the equipment, manufactured by licensee Johnson Health Tech, in 2009--it noted that the brand represented 50% of its sales of treadmills and ellipticals.

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Thursday, Aug 14, 2014
Where There's Smoke…
By Karen Raugust
Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 02:18
To date, 23 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, with two of those also allowing recreational use. The emerging industry has created a number of opportunities for licensing.

Several properties with thematic links to marijuana are increasing their licensing activity, for example:

• The 40-year-old magazine High Times licensed Sherry Manufacturing division StickyStash.com for a line of apparel featuring phrases such as "Hanging with my Buds."

• Cheech and Chong, who also are on StickyStash.com's roster, licensed BeBevCo and its subsidiary Relaxation Solutions for a line of hemp- and supplement-infused Relaxation Ice Cream tied to their classic film Cheech and Chong's Nice Dreams.

• Back in 2012, Leon Hendrix, Jimi's brother, and his company Rockin Artwork granted co-branding rights to Cannabis Science, a developer of medical marijuana, to feature Jimi Hendrix imagery in its branding and marketing.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurial growers of pot are starting to use brand-management techniques to establish and differentiate their names in this crowded market, and are licensing growers to use their brands in other states (since pot cannot legally cross state lines).

They also are forging licensing deals with makers of pot-smoking accessories and cannabis-containing products such as skincare, food and beverages, child-proof packaging, dispensers, and the like. For example, Corr Products licensed its marijuana brand Green Rush to ID Global Corp. to make nutraceutical ground coffee and energy drinks under its name, while Green and Hill Industry signed West Coast Gifts to sell smoking accessories, pipes, and vaporizers in Canada under its Ross' Gold brand.

In other smoking-related news, the relatively new and fast-growing e-cigarette/vaping industry also is starting to see some licensing and endorsement activity, as reported last month in The New York Times. Musicians are particularly active in brand collaborations, including Snoop Dogg and Trash Talk with Grenco Science and 2 Chainz and Juicy J with Trippy Stix. Artists, fashion designers, and lifestyle brands also are becoming involved in designing e-cigs.

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