Primedia Expands Relationship with RadioShack
Primedia Enterprises will add Hot Rod and 4 Wheel & Off Road magazine brands to its existing line of 1:10th scale radio-controlled vehicles on shelves at RadioShack. RadioShack also will launch two new Super Street-branded XMODS vehicles and accessory kits this year, along with a new 1:10th scale vehicle. In 2003, the companies partnered on RC vehicles for Primedia's Super Street and Lowrider magazines, as well as the 1:28 XMODS customized RC vehicles that debuted in October.
Bravado Works in Concert with Ashanti
Bravado International Group (Sanctuary Music Group) is the new agency of record for Grammy award winner Ashanti for all categories of licensing and merchandising. The program will be a lifestyle fashion brand for juniors and will include apparel, cosmetics, accessories, jewelry, footwear, hosiery, and health & beauty. Ashanti also will design a limited-edition holiday jewelry line incorporating her signature heart logo, for an as-yet-named exclusive retailer. Bravado currently is in talks with several national retailers.
Joy Tashjian Marketing Group Takes on Atomic Betty
Breakthrough Animation Inc. appointed the Joy Tashjian Marketing Group, LLC, to handle the worldwide licensing for its animated series, Atomic Betty. Breakthrough Animation Inc., the newly established animation production, marketing, and distribution division of Canadian producer Breakthrough Films & Television, recently signed Cartoon Network as the broadcast home for Atomic Betty in the U.S. The property is the first major original production for Breakthrough Animation, which was formed in spring 2003 by TV industry executives Kevin Gillis, Ira Levy, and Peter Williamson.
IDT Entertainment Acquires Equity Interest in Archie Comics
IDT Entertainment acquired a 5 percent equity interest in Archie Comics Entertainment, LLC. As part of the deal, IDT gains the rights to co-develop and co-produce select animated projects based upon Archie Comic characters. The company plans to start development on several projects immediately, including direct-to-DVD programming that may be distributed through Anchor Bay, IDT Entertainment's distribution division, as well as a possible feature film production. Archie Comic characters include Archie and his Riverdale friends, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead; Sabrina the Teenage Witch; Josie and the Pussycats; Katy Keene; Cheryl Blossom; as well as superhero properties from the Mighty Crusaders library.
Initial D Races onto PCs Through a licensing deal with Tokyopop, software maker ValueSoft (a division of THQ Inc.) brings the high-speed racing action of anime hit Initial D to PC gamers with Initial D: Mountain Vengeance. Product is currently on shelves and retails for $19.99. Initial D: Mountain Vengeance is the latest in a growing collection of merchandise tied into the anime series. RadioShack introduced a line of Initial D ZipZaps, AEG offers an Initial D trading card game, and Jada Toys is gearing up to launch collectible Initial D die-cast cars and action figures.
Dragon Ball GT Trading Card Game Debuts
Score Entertainment, maker of the Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game, introduced the next incarnation of its flagship game, Dragon Ball GT Trading Card Game. The game is a dual parallel foil set, whereby each card in the 300-plus card base set also has two foil versions. Also available are special "Hot Packs," which are essentially booster packs that contain all intricate foils. These rare packs will appear once per booster box of limited edition cards, and once every two boxes of unlimited cards. Starters contain 70 cards per deck and retail for $10.99; boosters contain 10 cards per pack and include six common cards, three uncommon cards, and one rare card for $2.99
Lugz Shoe Co. "Raps" Up New Deal Lugz Shoe Co. partnered with hip-hop artist Bryan "Baby" Williams, aka Birdman, on a signature athletic shoe called "Birdman." The Birdman sneaker debuts May 15 and features a "bling-bling" Cash Money Stack Clip. The shoe will retail for $70 and be supported by a print, radio, and TV advertising campaign.
MZB Expands Coca-Cola Product Line
MZB was named the timepiece and accessory partner for Coca-Cola, expanding upon its existing line of licensed clocks. As part of the deal, MZB will develop a line of watches and gifts that reflect the history and nostalgic and iconic imagery of The Coca-Cola Co. First product is due on shelves in early fall 2004.
Sesame Workshop named Jeffrey Fleishman director of business operations. Most recently, Fleishman was vice president of business development at Outercurve Technologies, where he was responsible for financial modeling and developing a new client licensing agreement. The Wildflower Group named Jonathan Close director, international services. He will oversee the company's international expansion efforts through sub-agents worldwide for the agency's portfolio of properties and brands, including Newton's Law, Leslie Beck American Casual, Alf, and Inkmonster. ShoPro Entertainment promoted Cynthia Money to vice president, consumer products. She will be responsible for managing the company's roster of more than 100 licensees throughout North America; expanding the licensee network to grow the company's retail presence; and overseeing promotions, retail partnerships, public relations, and marketing.