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Here, some of the latest representation and licensee deals, plus corporate branding initiatives.

Seems daily that License! editors learn of new licensing agreements signed for some of the most well-recognized consumer brand names. We'll bet there's more to come as Pepsi-Cola recently signed New York-based The Joester Loria Group as its licensing agency; and La Jolla, CA-based Equity Management Inc. (EMI) signed at press time General Electric and Tyson.

New York-based United Media is on board with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to create a licensing program that includes celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the New York City Subway. Collectibles will be a natural for New Yorkers and tourists. Also included in the deal are well-known symbols associated with the MTA such as subway cars, route indicators, maps, tokens, and Grand Central Terminal; all are available for licensing.

Los Angeles-based Brand Sense Marketing, LLC, will set the wheels in motion for Norton Motorsports, Inc. Norton Motorcyle Company was established in 1898, but has been absent from the U.S. market for some time. Now, Norton will introduce the new 952 Commando, the first new Norton Commando motorcycle in more than 25 years. Brand Sense currently seeks licensees for die-cast, ride-on toys and vehicles, radio-controlled toys and vehicles, and video games.

Outdoor enthusiasts now have a wealth of soft goods options from The Coleman Company, Inc. Lining up for its 2004 soft goods initiative is: Polyvantage (men's and boys' apparel), Glenoit Fabrics HG (home furnishings), Atlantic Luggage (travel gear), and Vision Products (sunglasses). These licensees round out the Coleman soft goods program that already exists with licensees Rain Shield (rainwear), Eastman (footwear), GSI (watches), and Moretz Sports (socks).

Miami-based licensing agency Nancy Bailey & Associates secured a deal with The Italia Collection for a line of Italian gold charm bracelets based on Hostess classic treats such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Snoballs, and Cup Cakes. Also, the agency now represents egg-coloring kit brand Paas from Signature Brands.

General Mills Trademark Licensing continues its onward movement in licensing. Available exclusively at Toys "R" Us is the Betty Crocker Pot and Pan set and Betty Crocker Bakery set allowing children to prepare pretend dinner and dessert. Retailing for $14.99, the sets feature items from Pillsbury, Green Giant, Bisquick, Hamburger Helper, and Old El Paso. For adults, General Mills launched the Betty Crocker Slow Cooker (licensed to Franklin Industries), which offers, among other features, a removable microwave- and dishwasher-safe stoneware crock and three temperature options. Made available at mass merchants, grocery, and specialty stores this past quarter, the slow cooker comes with recipes developed by the Betty Crocker Kitchens.

In a separate agreement with Creative Designs International, Toys "R" Us will launch in fall 2004, a line of toy food and play sets that include play food, supermarket sets, housewares, non-electric appliances, and plastic ice pop makers. Suggested retails will range from $9.99 to $19.99 for the line that will bear General Mills' Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Progresso, Old El Paso, Totino's, Big G cereals, Bisquick, Bugles, Columbo, Fruit Snacks, Hamburger Helper, and Pop Secret.

Popping into scrapbooking is the Pillsbury Doughboy, an extension of scrapbooking items from General Mills via licensee Paper Adventures. The Doughboy line (papers, quadrants, die-cuts, borders, and stickers) debuted at the February Hobby Industry Association Show. Via Best Brands Home Products, Inc., in fall 2004, the Pillsbury Doughboy will appear on kitchen textiles and tabletop products. Also for the Doughboy (as well as other Pillsbury-branded items), General Mills and Department 56 are partnering on a line of miniature lighted buildings and accessories (collectibles) made from resin, porcelain, and ceramic. The line will be featured in Department 56 Celebrations and available in specialty retail in fall 2004. Pillsbury brands-The Pillsbury Doughboy and Pillsbury Best Flour-also will be featured on toy trains and accessories via a deal with Lionel LLC.

General Mills' cereal characters Lucky the Leprechaun, Trix Rabbit, Yummy Mummy, Fruit Brute, Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and Frankenberry are getting tie-dyed for a line of shirts, tanks, and fleece tops for adults and children coming to specialty stores in spring 2004. Plus, designer Gerri Mack of Penelope Mack, a division of Babyfair, will design a line of girls' and women's sleepwear, gowns, and two-piece sets, as well as men's pajamas. General Mills' Buzz Bee, Lucky the Leprechaun, and the Trix Rabbit will be reinterpreted through design and texture for the intimates. Being made available in fall 2004 at upper-tier retailers, moving forward Babyfair will add bedding and comforters; women's outerwear; and swimwear, layette, and sleepwear for children sizes 0 to 20. Drew Pearson Marketing will create a line of novelty headwear and cold weather accessories bearing Big G cereal characters Buzz Bee, Trix Rabbit, Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, Lucky the Leprechaun, Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and Frankenberry.

Lastly, Old El Paso, Progresso, Green Giant, and Totino's are making their way onto retail counters with food accessory products via licensee Navajo Manufacturing Company. The line includes salsa bowls, taco holders, and graters (Old El Paso); can openers, ladles, serving spoons, peelers, among other items (Progresso and Green Giant); and pizza cutters and cheese shakers (Totino's).

L.A. Choppers, the Southern California Chopper Shop owned by Johnny C., signed with Jem Sportswear to bring to market a line of men's, women's, and boys' knit tops that incorporate the L.A. Choppers logo as well as images of custom choppers designed and built by Johnny C. The deal was brokered by The Wickerbill Group, agent for L.A. Choppers.

Snapple's Real Facts-the under-the-cap strange but true facts-will make their way onto a board game via a licensing agreement with Pressman Toy Corporation. Due next spring, the game (suggested retail, $24.99) will offer players 500 new Snapple Real Facts, 100 Wild Caps, and an electronic game bottle that acts as the facts dispenser and game timer. In addition, Brandgenuity, Snapple's licensing agent, brokered the following licensing deals for the beverage brand: Lotta Luv, a division of Designs by Skaffles (lip balm and lip gloss); Basic Fun (key chains); Cedco Publishing (Real Facts calendar); The Italia Collection (charm bracelets); Knothe Apparel (men's loungewear and boxers); and Peter Pauper Press (mini Real Facts book).

Sunbeam's Oster brand tapped celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein as spokesperson, and launched a new print ad campaign for its "Inspire Collection" (sold exclusively at Target through this month) of kitchen appliances. The ad campaign puts the emphasis on home entertaining and features characters-strong, confident women who have a flair for entertaining-created by Kirsten Ulve, a New York-based illustrator. The ads give recipes and cooking tips.

John Deere is moving full-speed ahead with the launch of RC2 Corporation's John Deere Full Throttle vehicle line. The die-cast collectibles (each vehicle is complete with a unique style number for collectibility) combine "boy" farm and construction vehicle play patterns with the hot tuner car craze. The initial release featured "Barn Burners," highly stylized John Deere farm vehicles, and "Earth Shakers," contemporary John Deere construction vehicles. All Full Throttle products feature low-profile tires, ground effects, chrome stacks, custom wheels, die-cast bodies, and nitrous oxide tanks.

Kellogg's is stepping up its corporate initiative to deliver health, convenience, and education to consumers via a new licensing program, "Kellogg's Kitchen," which aims to provide breakfast solutions to consumers on the go, at home, or in the office. The program is to be announced at the upcoming International Housewares Show, March 20 to 22. Aimed at Baby Boomers and late Gen Xers (roughly ages 32 to 54), the program will promote a "Start Good. Feel Good." attitude. Although licensees have not been selected, the program will be targeted to both upstairs and downstairs channels of distribution. Kellogg's image archives will be utilized for the collections of breakfast ware that will not just be a mixing bowl or a cereal bowl, but will aim to deliver portion control, not to mention portability and ease.

Plush pillow manufacturer Sweet Thang (a division of Senario LLC) signed on as licensee for Dubble Bubble. Sweet Thang already manufactures pillows under license for Tootsie Roll, Nestl and Hostess. The Dubble Bubble deal was brokered by Licensing Link, agency for the company.

Masterfoods, a division of Mars, Inc., signed with Creative Designs International for a line of toys featuring the M&M'S characters. A toy ice cream maker is scheduled to ship in the spring; other items in development are a cookie baking set, vending machine bank, and plastic play food sets. This past January, License! announced Masterfoods' deal with Bonne Bell for a line of Starburst lip glosses and Skittles lip balm. The Starburst items are available at mass in the makeup aisle; Skittles items will ship this month to mass stores in the pharmacy section.

Ford Motor Company and Harley-Davidson, Inc., extended their relationship to deliver Ford Harley-Davidson F-series products through 2007. The partnership began in 1999. The Ford Harley-Davidson F-series products feature "Built Ford Tough" engine attributes combined with Harley-Davidson chrome features.

Brach's Confections, Inc., is bringing to market a new line of fruit snacks product, that of Minute Maid All Natural Fruit Snacks. With a suggested retail of $2.79 per box of 10 pouches, the snacks will feature fruit shapes in flavors including strawberry, orange, and grape.

Post Cereals will have some new faces gracing its boxes, those of the Justice League including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl. Available through May, limited-edition, collectible trading cards featuring the super-heroes will be found inside. Each of the seven different cards will feature "Postoken Codes" that unlock a virtual comic adventure at Postopia.com. There, children can create their own Justice League Adventures comic book story. The deal is a partnership between Post Cereals, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and DC Comics.

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