Weekly E-News, Issue #227, August 28, 2007

Marvel Launches New Apparel Lines at MAGIC
Marvel Entertainment Inc. explodes into the apparel category this week at MAGIC Marketplace in Las Vegas, as several lines of Marvel-themed merchandise are unveiled from Mad Engine, Next Craze, Giant, Mighty Fine, and H.E.R. Accessories.

Among the deals being announced:

• Giant Merchandising will design and manufacture junior and missy T-shirts, fashion tops, and retro-inspired fleece for distribution to the mass, mid-tier, and specialty store retailers. On the men’s front, Giant will present over 30 skus inspired by the Iron Man and Incredible Hulk films, as well as merchandise featuring Spider-Man. For boys aged 4 to 20, Giant will present 50 skus at MAGIC inspired by Spider-Man and the Iron Man and Incredible Hulk films.

• Los Angeles-based design studio Mighty Fine will debut its holiday 2007 and spring 2008 T-shirt lines, targeting juniors and tweens, which will feature key characters including Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, and more.

• Mad Engine will present over 200 new skus at MAGIC—representing each channel of distribution for Marvel—including merchandise based on the upcoming Marvel Studios feature films Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, as well as products inspired by Spider-Man Classic, Venom, Sandman, Carnage, Silver Surfer, the Fantastic Four, Marvel Comics and Spider-Man & Friends, Marvel’s pre-school line.

• H.E.R. Accessories will unveil a brand new line of jewelry, lanyards, belts, bandanas, wristbands, shoe laces, cell phone charms, hair accessories, brushes, mirrors and zipper pulls. The product assortment will feature Spider-Man.

ESPN to Launch X-Games Clothing In Canada
ESPN Consumer Products will launch a collection of X Games-branded apparel produced by Total Kids Wear. The clothing will be sold exclusively at Canadian retailer The Bay beginning Aug. 25. The line—which is targeted to tweens and teens—will feature screen-printed T-shirts, polar fleece, and hoodies, with more product to be released for the holiday season. Price points range from CAD$19.99 for a T-shirt to CAD$24.99-29.99 for fleece hoodies. The clothing will complement the X Games-branded sporting equipment sold at Wal-Mart Canada, including skateboards, bikes, and protective gear.

“As ESPN continues to expand the X Games franchise around the world, Canada has become one of our key markets,” says Francisco Arenas, director, International ESPN Consumer Products. “A successful sporting goods and accessories programs at Wal-Mart and now the launch of apparel at The Bay will further strengthen the global position of the X Games brand.” The Bay will have a dedicated space for X Games merchandise in each of the 71 stores and will have X Games Motobike and Skateboard giveaways to promote the brand.

Venus Williams Signs with Steve & Barry’s
This November, tennis star and fashion icon Venus Williams will launch EleVen by Venus Williams, an exclusive collection of active lifestyle and performance gear, as well as casual footwear and accessories, via an exclusive agreement with retailer Steve & Barry’s. Williams’ signature item is the V-Court sneaker—a high performance on-court sneaker that the tennis star will debut on court at the U.S. Open this week. The collection, which is priced below $19.98, draws from Williams’ personal sense of style, as well as her formal education in fashion design. “I play a graceful kind of game, which is kind of classic, and the line reflects that,” says Williams.

VIP Named Agents for Rare Marilyn Monroe Photos
Germany’s VIP Entertainment and Merchandising was appointed the exclusive licensing agent for Europe for more than 5,000 additional Marilyn Monroe photos. The collection includes the 12 rare nude photos of Monroe taken by photographer Tom Kelley, including the shot that would later serve as the centerfold for the first issue of Playboy magazine. Legendary fashion photographer Milton Greene shot the remainder of the photos.

“We are extremely proud to have been appointed the exclusive agents for Europe and are very positive that this fresh artwork will add new licensed products and volume to the market,” says Michael A. Lou, CEO, VIP Entertainment and Merchandising. Lou has personally represented VIP’s Marilyn Monroe photo archive for more than 20 years.

Unionbay Has It Made in the Shade
Unionbay has signed three new licenses for collections of sunglasses, headwear, and footwear. Color in Optics will produce two 20-piece collections of sunglasses for juniors and young men. The styles of the glasses will range from rugged to flirty, and will be dictated by current trends. The prices will range from $24 to $26. Koon Enterprises will produce collections of headwear for the young men’s, junior’s, boy’s, and girl’s categories, all to be released in spring 2008. The male styles will extend beyond baseball caps include trucker hat, army cadet caps, and casual fedora, all with simulated vintage details like different washes and fraying. The female styles will include baseball caps and truckers, and feature traditional styles such as cloches, berets, eight-quarter caps, buckets, and ivy caps in fabrics ranging from corduroy to lace accents. The prices for the collections will range from $16 to $18. Vida International has also renewed its license with Unionbay, and will begin its seventh year of service with the brand, producing a line of men’s footwear. The new collection will preview at World Shoe Association show in February and hit retail for fall 2008.

Broad Street Sets Bic Licensing Program Ablaze
Bic USA has hired Broad Street Licensing to find new licenses for its world-famous Bic lighters. The agency plans to pursue brands that resonate well with Bic’s target consumer: the 21- to 34-year-old male who shops at convenience stores and mass market.

“We don’t have to explain to anyone who Bic is, which is the hallmark of the types of clients we take on,” says Carole Francesca, president of Broad Street Licensing. “We’re very excited to be helping Bic extend its program to strategic and exciting brands and properties.”

“Hana’s Helpline” Concludes New TV Sales
S4C has finished sales for children’s series “Hana’s Helpline” with Italian broadcaster Rai, Nickelodeon Australia, Israel’s Hop! Channel, and Piwi—France’s preschool channel—joining the roster of broadcasters to feature the show. Two promotional partnerships are underway for the show—fives styles of decorative “Hana’s Helpline” zipper pulls will be sold at Alliance Boots pharmacies, with the proceeds benefiting Barnado’s charity. UK’s Redan Publishing will also feature the series in four issues of Fun to Learn Friend comic magazine. Content possibilities are activities, puzzles, and photo features.

Green Property to Launch at Brand Licensing Europe
Planetpals, a new property to teach children eco-friendly behaviors, will launch at Brand Licensing Europe on Oct. 2. The brand will debut for the Asian market at Asia Licensing Show on Oct. 31. “Our goal is to come out strong with Planetpals and expand the global awareness for this brand by maximizing the extensive recognition and appeal already generated by Planetpals Earthzone which has been online nearly a decade,” says Judith Gorgone, creator of Planetpals. “We now believe, even more than ever, that we will be able to take this very timely and unique brand to a very high level of success.”

EON Stirs Up New James Bond Toys and Replicas
Corgi International has selected EON Productions as its master toy and collectible replica licensee for its James Bond movie archive. The agreement will extend until 2010, including the 2008 release of the newest James Bond film and any subsequent films. EON will be permitted to produce collections for mass-market retailers under the Popco brand as well as specialty collectibles under the Master Replicas title, in the following categories: action figures, vehicles, electronic role play, die cast, and high-specification remote control.

“Corgi has had a long association with the James Bond license, and as a licensee for over 40 years on die-cast, we truly believe that we have reached an agreement where we can use our expertise in both the mass and collectible markets to release products to a fan base that is both core and aspirational—something that most people believe James Bond to be,” says Michael Cookson, CEO, Corgi International. “Our product range will commence before the movie release in 2008 with classic movie product and replicas and continue with some strong and innovative mass-market lines, and we are proud to continue our association with such a franchise.”

No Small “Feet” for Rocket Licensing
Decode entertainment has hired Rocket Licensing as the UK agent for its animated children’s property, “Franny’s Feet.” Rocket has already penned a deal with Rainbow Productions to manufacture a line of character costumes, adding them to a licensee roster that includes Hasbro, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster.

“We think this is a great show which not only combines wonderful storytelling but also has a strong educational aspect,” says Rob Wijeratna, joint managing director, Rocket Licensing. “There has been a lot of interest from potential licensees and we are close to confirming some more key deals, which we hope to be able to announce at the Brand Licensing Show in October.”

Mighty Fine Debuts New Peanuts Line at MAGIC
Mighty Fine is revisiting its collaboration with Peanuts and United Media to produce a clothing collection based on the 1950s art of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. The line will debut at MAGIC this week in Las Vegas. The 27-piece collection—dubbed Good Ol’ Charlie Brown—features modern styles like the kimono dress and the drape sleeve V-neck, incorporating signature Peanuts motifs.

“The art from Charles Schulz’s early work on Peanuts has a distinct look to it that makes it unique to any other decade of the popular comic strip,” says Karyn Schneider, executive director, licensing for United Media. “Bringing this 50s’ art to the marketplace is yet another way to strategically build our apparel program and speak to a particular trend driven demographic.” Price points will range for $55 to $100.

MIPCOM Junior Issues a Challenge
In partnership with License! Global, MIPCOM Junior will be hosting “The Licensing Challenge,” a pitching session designed to showcase the TV property with the highest licensing potential. An international jury will select a winner during the MIPCOM Junior show, to be held in Cannes Oct. 6 and 7, from a shortlist of five entrants. The winner will be offered advice on how to hit the international stores, plus receive prizes designed to establish the contestants’ global presence. For more information and to enter a submission, go to http://www.mipcomjunior.com/ licensing.htm.

Spider-Man Tees Off
UserOnTrack Sports LLC signed a licensing deal with Marvel Entertainment to produce Spider-Man Golf Sets for youngsters 3 to 7 years old in the United States and Canada. The sets will include a Spider-Man driver, putter, iron, and golf bag and will be hitting store shelves this November. The sets will be packed 12 units per case, with a free Spider-Man display unit provided for 12 unit orders. Retail pricing will be $69.99 per set. The new licensing deal includes other golf equipment products such as beginning golfers' golf bags, towels, ball, tees, gloves, hats/visors and water bottles.

4Kids Lends a Helping Paw
4Kids Entertainment International has joined forces with leading UK veterinary charity PDSA in an arrangement that will see the charity for pets in need of vets benefit from merchandise sales of Artlist Collection: The Dog. A portion of revenue from every piece of merchandise featuring The Dog or its companion license The Cat will go to the charity. PDSA provides free veterinary services for the sick and injured pets of people in need.

“Millionaire” Celebrates 10th with New Deals
2waytraffic International signed a deal with Ubisoft to create a “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” game for Nintendo DS and Wii. The games, which will be launched in November 2007, mark the format’s debut on the Nintendo DS and Wii platforms and offer players enhanced interactivity as well as live video footage.

Toy and games company Character Options has also been signed to create a handheld electronic game, the first ever product of its kind in the UK for “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” The fully portable game will be launched in the first quarter of 2008 and will feature over a thousand questions.

The two new deals, which take the format onto brand new platforms, were announced as 2waytraffic International prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its flagship property with a range of specially branded products. The phenomenally successful game show was first seen on ITV1 in September 1998 and has already been extended into an unparalleled range of hugely popular consumer products and pioneering interactive applications.

Barney’s Stylin’ for Younger Set
HIT Entertainment announces Barney’s new master apparel partner Franco Apparel is launching as Barney’s 20th Birthday celebration hits the road. This new partnership will bring “dino-sized fashion to all of Barney’s friends.”

Franco Apparel will design an all-new Barney master apparel line, scheduled for launch in spring 2008. This new line of clothing will include layettes, onesies, sets, and more for the youngest Barney fans (ages 0-3).

Executive Moves
Alicom Licensing, of Stockholm, Sweden, hired David Jensen as licensing manager. Alicom also promoted Martin Åberg to executive brand manager.

Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products appointed Arwed-Ralf Grenzbach vice president of video games, music, and special projects. Grenzbach will be responsible for negotiating new licensing deals and managing current relationships with licensees in Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific.

Robin Hall was named senior vice president, Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group. Hall and his team will work closely with the company’s divisional event partners in order to grow Macy’s events portfolio. Additionally, Hall will be responsible for marketing programs that are entertainment-related, such as film, television, and music industry tie-ins, as well as managing third-party marketing relationships.

In addition, Amy Kule was promoted to group vice president, Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group, where she will lead marketing duties for the corporate events team. She was formerly vice president, annual events marketing and promotions at Macy’s East.

Kidz Entertainment appointed former vice president of licensing Anna Lisa McBride as the new CEO, in a corporate restructuring following a merger with EEMC. Additional changes include the creation of a three-man board of directors: Morten Geschwendther will serve as chairman of the board and president of licensing and special projects, Claus Tømming as president of entertainment, and KJ Istok as president of emerging markets.

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