DIC Entertainment, Wal-Mart Targeting Moms
DIC Entertainment is launching an exclusive direct-to-retail program at Wal-Mart stores for the Mommy & Me lifestyle brand. Due in August, the program features four “Together Time” categories of innovative, educational, and interactive toys, including Potty Time, Bath Time, Sleep Time, and On The Go Time, which were developed by DIC in consultation with pediatrician Daniel Broughton, M.D. DIC Entertainment is also in the process of launching a newly redesigned Mommy & Me online community targeted to moms with children 4 years old and under. The brand will mature even more come 2008–09 with a comprehensive program that will feature maternity products and packaged consumer goods.
In other news, DIC Entertainment adds Eloise to its catalog of brands in a deal with property owner HandMade Group. As exclusive worldwide agent, the company will develop a licensing and merchandising program targeting 4- to 8-year-old girls across key categories (excluding entertainment), including toys, books, apparel, accessories, and more. Consumer products will roll out in spring 2008 and coincide with the release of the feature film Eloise in Paris in 2008. A Broadway show is also in development.
Toys “R” Us Supports Pokémon with Boutique
Who’s that Pokémon? Fans will be able to find old and new favorites alike and a host of other products at a new Pokémon boutique at Toys “R” Us Times Square in New York. The boutique, in-store through July 5, will include Pokémon Diamond & Pearl action figures from master toy licensee JAKKS Pacific; the new Pokémon Trading Card Game; Diamond & Pearl 3-Pack booster blister; as well as plush, backpacks, and T-shirts. As an added bonus, fans will also be able to watch the recently released movie, Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, on a big-screen monitor in the boutique.
Sam’s Club Settles with Fendi
In a case expected to have reverberations throughout the retail industry, Fendi and Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Inc., have settled a dispute that claimed the U.S. warehouse club sold counterfeit handbags and leather goods in five states.
According to a report in Women’s Wear Daily, under the sealed agreement, Sam’s Club agreed to pay the Italian luxury firm a confidential amount to settle the dispute and dismiss the action, which had charged the retailer with selling “significant quantities” of counterfeit items valued “in the millions of dollars.” Sam’s Club is also offering its customers a full refund for any counterfeit Fendi bags, wallets, and scarves they purchased.
Over the past three years, Fendi has tripled its budget for anti-counterfeiting measures, WWD reports. “It’s pure and simple theft,” says Michael Burke, chairman and CEO of Fendi. “Going forward, intellectual property is more and more the reason you’re buying something.”
Sarah Jessica Parker Unveils Fashion Collection at Steve & Barry’s
Actress and fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex and the City” fame takes another bite out of the Big Apple with the launch of BITTEN, an exclusive collection of apparel and accessories that debuted at Steve & Barry’s stores nationwide. Parker kicked off the launch with an in-store appearance at New York City’s Manhattan Mall location on June 7th where she enthusiastically greeted fans while outfitted in the stylish yet affordable apparel. The collection, which is priced at $19.98 or less, includes tanks and graphic Ts, dresses, suit separates, denim, swimwear, lingerie, bags, jewelry, and shoes. The launch was accompanied by a nationwide promotion, which offers three lucky winners a trip for two to New York City for a private BITTEN shopping spree with Parker.
MTV Networks sold its 53 percent stake in MTV Russia for $360 million to Prof-media, a Russian media holding firm. Prof-media will pay MTV Networks for a license to run the network, which was started in 1998 with the aid of private equity firm, Russia Partners.
The Hubble Lens has been licensed to Bushnell Outdoor Products, for a new line of Tasco brand digital cameras for the European Middle Eastern and South African markets. The cameras will debut in June 2007 in specialty stores, Internet/direct mail catalogs, and mass retailers.
LDI, which has the licensing rights for The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, organized a major event to mark the launch of TMNT, the new animated Turtles movie, in Israel. More than 500 people attended a special preview screening of the film for licensees and their families.
The England and Wales Cricket Board Limited, in a deal brokered by Copyright Promotions Sport, signed BrandCo Management Ltd. as the official licensing partner for England Cricket Official Supporter Apparel and Headwear.
Brand Licensing Europe Hosts The Licensing Academy
Brand Licensing Europe is adding a 10-session seminar strand called The Licensing Academy to this October’s event. Over the two days, the Academy will cover a wide range of topics from the fundamentals of understanding how preschoolers interact with licensed product and getting the retail environment right when selling to kids, tweens, and parents through to new media trends, brand building and brand protection, pricing strategies, royalties, ethical packaging, and securing shelf space at retail.
Max-It Honors Hasbro, Mattel
Hasbro and Mattel were among several toy companies that took top honors last week at the Max-It Awards, sponsored by the British Toy and Hobby Association. Hasbro’s Butterscotch, a plush pony with technology that allows it to respond and interact with children, took the prize for best non-UK toy design. The five-judge panel said the toy featured “an incredible application of technology.”
In addition, Hasbro’s Battleship Torpedo Attack! was awarded best new UK game design. Mattel’s TMX Elmo received the award for the best marketing or PR campaign. British company Vivid Imaginations received two awards: James Wing received the best new talent award, and Doodle Doug received a critic’s choice award. Fiesta Crafts’ Five-A-Day Wall Chart received the second critics’ choice award. Ravensburger’s Puzzleball was honored as best non-UK hobby design, while Flair’s Paper FX Dream Weaver won best UK hobby design. Matchbox Pop-up Adventures, from Evolve NDP, rounded out the list of winners with best new UK toy design.
Healthier Eating at Core of Nickelodeon Initiative
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products has expanded its healthy-eating initiative partnering with General Mills’ Green Giant brand and Pandol Bros. Inc. on frozen and canned vegetables, and fresh grapes, respectively. Pandol Bros. has begun shipping SpongeBob SquarePants branded packages of Mexican-harvested grapes to major grocery stores and warehouse clubs nationwide. U.S.-grown SpongeBob SquarePants packages of seedless grapes will begin to ship in July when they come into season.
Pandol has also acquired the rights to produce Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go! branded product. The first products in the General Mills deal are frozen vegetable blends featuring SpongeBob SquarePants on green beans and Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go! on broccoli and corn packaging to major grocery stores in late summer. Later this year, Green Giant will begin distributing canned corn and green beans that feature the characters on-pack.
Retail Deals Have Tails Wagging
The cast of Waghappy will be popping up on everything from greeting cards to pet beds, following several new licensing deals. American Greetings will produce a line of 16 cards featuring Waghappy’s brood of dog and cats for a Target exclusive. The characters will also appear on pet beds, bowls, and accessories this holiday season, courtesy of a partnership with Pamper Me Pets. Major department stores, such as JCPenney and Bon-Ton, are now carrying Waghappy branded juniors and tween T-shirts by Mighty Fine.
Kidz Bop Headlines Rock Concert for Kids
VEE Corp. will work in concert with Kidz Bop LLC to create the Kidz Bop World Tour, the brand’s first official venture into the world of live family entertainment. The first rock concert for kids hits more than 80 markets starting October 2007 and features live performances of the most popular pop tracks from the CD series. VEE Corp., best known for its Sesame Street Live tours, is producing, booking, and promoting all of the shows enabling them to reach a new, older demographic.
Carnival Cruises to License Deal
VictoryStore.com signed a three-year deal with Carnival Cruise Lines to serve as licensee for custom apparel designed online. The site, www.CarnivalFunTees.com, represents a new direction in licensing for Carnival. The site will initially offer T-shirts, polo shirts, and tank tops that can be personalized online for honeymoons, weddings, family reunions, corporate groups, birthdays, anniversaries, girlfriend getaways, and friends and family. Marathon Projects helped orchestrate the business opportunity.
Ubisoft To Develop Beowulf Video Game
Ubisoft will develop and publish the videogame based on Paramount Pictures' and Shangri-La Entertainment's Beowulf. The game is expected to release in conjunction with the movie’s planned opening in November 2007.
DVD Series To Accelerate Interest in NASCAR Jr.
NASCAR Inc. and Reel FX Home Entertainment have revved up their creative engines on a summer 2007 production start for a new animated preschool series under the NASCAR Jr. brand. Due in spring 2009, the DVD series will be the first entry in a planned lineup of programming to be complemented by publishing, toys, and games. The next generation of products will include apparel, party, domestics, and health and beauty. Reel FX holds the master license for “NASCAR Jr.,” which focuses on five young friends who, with the help of their playful kid-sized cars, work as a team to tackle entertaining adventure-based missions.
Educational Adventures Fires Up Multiple Deals
Educational Adventures launched a new relationship with Kidde for a national multiyear sponsorship campaign designed to further fire safety awareness and promote Kidde branded products in the family market. The multifaceted campaign will also include three 30-second commercials to promote Kidde products and provide home safety messages; a series of 15-second fire safety tags to be integrated within the “Danger Rangers” episodes airing on public television; and a series of 30-second public-service spots to be incorporated into the “Danger Rangers” programming available on Video On Demand.
In other news, the company secured deals with World Trend for children’s oral and hair care products; The Bean Bag Boys for bean bags; and MediBadge for stickers and temporary tattoos.
Cookie Jar Revamps Web Site for Mass Appeal
Cookie Jar Entertainment has added a massive multiplayer online game to its revamped Spider Riders Web site at www.spiderriders.com. The Spider Riders: Battle for Arachna online game now offers players around the world the opportunity to chat and play against one another in real time.
Training Available for Preschool Programming
New York’s Little Airplane Academy will host a three-day course on how to develop a television series for preschoolers. The workshop, scheduled for July 28-30, will cover topics such as character design, pitching, and production for both animated and live-action series. Applications for the course are available by calling 212 965-8999 or by e-mailing Melinda@littleairplane.com.
Cartoon Network Series Gets Its Game On
D3Publisher of America Inc. will create Ben 10: Protector of Earth for the Wii, PS2, Nintendo DS, and PSP for fall. The game authentically portrays characters from the Cartoon Network animated series including Ben, Gwen, Grandpa Max, evil Kevin 11, the Forever Knights, and even Ben’s archenemy Vilgax.
JTMG To Manage NBC Portfolio
Joy Tashjian Marketing Group LLC was tapped as exclusive consumer products agency by NBC Universal Television Distribution to represent select television properties from NBC, USA Network, SCI-FI Channel, Bravo, and CNBC. The appointment expands upon JTMG’s long-term licensing association with NBC prior to the network’s acquisition by Universal and includes such series as “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “30 Rock,” “Monk,” “Top Chef,” “Top Design,” “Who Wants To Be a Superhero?” and “Mad Money.”
Deal Brewing for Coney Island USA
Coney Island USA and Schmaltz Brewing Co. are teaming up to create a collection of sideshow-themed beers using the art and memorabilia of Coney Island USA. The first beer in the line will be Coney Island Lager and will be brewed in two New York locations—Brooklyn and a facility upstate—to be released first in Brooklyn this month before a nationwide launch.
Sandi Hemmerlein has been promoted to vice president of marketing for Kidz Bop LLC.
FremantleMedia Enterprises appointed Malti Peplow to the newly created position of director, sponsorship & interactive, Asia; Ben Liebmann to the newly created position of vice president, Australia & New Zealand; and promoted Olivia Arnold to manager, licensing & sponsorship, Australia & New Zealand.
Todd Merker joins Educational Adventures as senior global licensing director.