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American Greetings Expands Relationship with Taylor Swift

Four time Grammy winner Taylor Swift has become a big a star in the card aisle, in addition to on stage, thanks to her popular line of cards with the American Greetings Corporation, and now the successful partnership is extending beyond paper cards and online greetings. Today the greeting card company announced the launch of a new page at AmericanGreetings.com that will feature tips on how to “Speak Now,” highlights of the latest Taylor products at retail and online, and, beginning this holiday season, special promotions that fans and card enthusiasts are sure to love.

Always looking for innovative ways to assist consumers in enhancing their relationships, American Greetings has worked closely with Taylor to bring her distinct sensibilities and perspectives to an even larger audience, and this new page is a perfect example of these efforts.

“What makes Taylor’s cards so popular is that her messages are heartfelt while still being really candid and unique,” says Lindsay Kalback of the Taylor Swift brand management team at American Greetings. “We wanted to find a way to bring that casual style and creative spirit to even more of her fans and greeting card enthusiasts alike, and we are very excited to be launching this new page to help us to do just that.”

MythBusters Exhibit Announced

Today, Discovery Communications, Exhibits Development Group announced the launch of MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition, in partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago and Geoffrey M. Curley + Associates. The exhibition, set to debut March 15, will explore the truth behind popular myths by mixing scientific method with curiosity and old-fashioned ingenuity, creating a hands-on interactive experience for guests of all ages.

The Discovery Channel’s Emmy-nominated series, co-hosted by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, has taken science to a new level, mixing their extensive backgrounds in special effects and curiosity to test every myth for its falsity or truth, and can now be enjoyed by the masses.

In the exhibit, guest will learn about myths, the MythBusters, and what experimenting is all about by participating in a series of fun, hands-on experiences and live demonstrations. Experiments will cover topics such as flight, friction, gravity, speed, and combustion.

The exhibit will also showcase a Blueprint Room, based off the real-life operations room of MythBusters; a Workshop Room, where guests turn into investigators and use real science to test myths and answer a series of challenging questions; and the Live MythBusters Demonstration Stage, which gives guests the opportunity to view and participate in live science demonstrations that dissect myths with the help of MythBusting facilitators.

Tickets for the exhibition at MSI go on sale December 1 and will also tour 14 additional cities in the U.S. and Canada. For an extensive list, visit www.exhibitsdevelopment.com.

Ericka Johnson

Jakks Pacific Expands International Distribution for Monsuno Toys

Jakks Pacific, Inc. continues to expand global distribution for toys based on the Monsuno original animated television series with exclusive agreements with Planet Fun distributing for the New Zealand territory and Prima Toys for the South African territory. International distributors also include the Giochi Preziosi Group for Europe and Hunter Products for Australia.

The Monsuno series (52 x 30 min) is an epic boys’ action adventure where kids discover, command, and battle creatures with destructive potential. Targeting boys 6–11, the Monsuno series will be supported by a Jakks Pacific toy line featuring innovative, kid-controlled action figures, accessories, play sets, collectables, electronics, and integrated role play.

Nickelodeon will launch the series to audiences on owned channels in the United States, Latin America, the United Kingdom, key European and Eastern European territories, Australia and New Zealand, India, Southeast Asia, Russia, and Africa. The Monsuno series will first launch in the U.S. on Nicktoons, the fast-growing kids’ network, and select English-speaking countries.

The Monsuno series is being co-produced by Pacific Animation Partners LLC, a joint venture between Jakks Pacific, Inc. & Dentsu Entertainment USA, Inc., with FremantleMedia Enterprises and The Topps Company, Inc. FME will be responsible for the exclusive worldwide distribution of Monsuno TV programming, except for Asia, and act as the master licensing agent for the Monsuno brand outside of Asia. Jakks Pacific is the creator of the underlying Monsuno property and master toymaker for the Monsuno toy line, which is expected to hit U.S. retail shelves to coincide with the U.S. TV series premiere anticipated for spring 2012. The Topps Company has signed on to produce Monsuno trading card games, confectioneries, and related products.

Three Stooges Get New Comics Deal

C3 Entertainment, Inc., The Three Stooges brand owner, announced a new licensing agreement with Papercutz for both a Three Stooges Classic and a separate Three Stooges Movie deal.

Papercuts will reprint classic Three Stooges comics in a collector’s hardcover edition and for the film publish a movie based comic book at graphic novel length in both paperback and hard cover formats and e-versions. The to-market date is March, prior to the new movie release date of April 4.

“Getting the classic Three Stooges comics back out to the fans will be a very attractive collectible product and will also give new fans some terrific entertainment about the Stooges prior antics in this medium. The graphic novel style comic for the movie will be a terrific product addition, also in another medium, to the movie event for fans and this, too, will become an instant collectible,” says Ani Khachoian, C3’s Executive Vice President of Licensing & Consumer Products.

Rubie’s At Fall Toy Preview

Dress up your imagination with Rubie’s at Fall Toy Preview. The 2012 collection from the Rubie’s Dress Up Division will be on display from October 4-6 at Booth 501, on the 12th floor of Dallas Market Center. Make an appointment by calling 516-326-1500.

 

Garfield Headed to China

Born on the comic pages on June 19, 1978, Garfield, is the world’s most famous coffee drinking, lasagna eating fat cat. With new licensing and promotional partners, and a new representative, Garfield is spreading his paws into new territory and sporting a new look.

Under the direction of new licensing agent, Hong Kong based Medialink Limited and their partner, Garfield licensor Paws, Inc., a “Garfield Licensing Summit” was held at Xi Yuan Hotel in Beijing. Over 100 guests and 30 media outlets attended the daylong event that focused on developing new partnerships and business strategies for the coming years.

Specifically created for the Asian market, Garfield’s new look is based on popular trends and colors distinctive to the market. The softer and simpler line work renders Garfield, Odie and other characters in his comic strip more playful and youthful, a departure from the classic look.

Medialink Far East was awarded “Agent of the Year,” for creating a magical partnership that is helping to grow and maintain market position in Asia.

“We’ve turned over a new page for Garfield in China. There is great interest in this classic character who is known to entertain people of all ages. I believe Garfield will be a shining star in character licensing,” said Nolette Chiu, vice president, Medialink.

In addition to licensing efforts, CCTV Channel 14 picked up “The Garfield Show” in February this year and Wuhan Jiang Toon Toys Co., Ltd. launched a new website www.happygarfield.com based on the CGI animated show, now in its third season.

“Our program in China is stronger than ever under the leadership of Noletta Chiu and the Medialink Far East team. In just one year our Garfield business has grown 20%,” said Karen Blank, VP International for Paws, Inc.

The Garfield brand enjoys a healthy product-licensing program where nearly 400 manufactures crank out thousands of products depicting Garfield and the gang. The licensing and creative business for Garfield is handled by Paws, Inc., founded in 1981 by Jim Davis, creator of Garfield. The Company, located in rural Indiana in the U.S. is a privately held company and also the sole owner of copyrights and trademarks for Garfield and the Garfield characters.

-Ericka Johnson

Netflix, Qwikster and Licensing

Wired.com posted a good article today about the Netflix “split”—the company is separating its DVD-by-mail business off from its streaming video business, calling the former “Qwikster” and letting the latter keep the “Netflix” name.

This has enraged some Netflix suscribers for the second time this year; the first was when the company announced that it was effectively doubling the price of its service for DVD- and streaming video-rental plans. This blog can’t understand what the fuss is about this time, because it appears to be purely cosmetic, but Wired.com’s Eliot Van Buskirk has a simple idea: It’s about licensing.

He writes:

The people who own movie copyrights already treat Netflix’s DVD and streaming businesses separately, and have done so for years. We weren’t in the room when these deals were struck, but given Netflix’s surprising decision, it seems clear that the movie studios were using one as a bargaining chip against the other. Basically: “We’ll give you X on DVD if you accept not having Y on a stream until Z date.”

The name change, Van Buskirk writes, is an opportunity to gain leverage with the studios. Read the whole thing; it’s good. If you have Netflix streaming—er, “Netflix”—watch The Parking Lot Movie. It’s great.

—Bryan Joiner

Reports: Leigh Anne Brodsky Out At Nickelodeon

In two weeks, two of the biggest names in the licensing industry have moved out of their positions. First, Andy Mooney left Disney Consumer Products; now, according to several confirmed reports, Leigh Anne Brodsky has been forced out at Nickelodeon Consumer Products.

Brodsky, who was inducted into the LIMA Hall of Fame in June, will not be replaced, according to a KidScreen report by Lana Castleman. The consumer products business will no longer operate as a separate line of business from the ad sales, marketing, and digital groups, Castleman writes.

Brodsky joined Nickelodeon in 1999. Read our June interview with her here, in which she talks about how her now-former position allowed her to fulfill her childhood dream of performing on Broadway.

Gossip Girl Collection Launches

Spotted! Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG), together with Romeo & Juliet Couture, today announced the launch of a Gossip Girl–inspired apparel collection, Gossip Girl by Romeo & Juliet Couture. Featuring chic, contemporary fashions, the line will hit high-end fashion retailers — beginning with Kitson, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue — this fall in conjunction with season five of Gossip Girl, which premieres Monday, September 26, at 8/7c on The CW.

Romeo & Juliet Couture’s “Inspired-by Gossip Girl” collection will feature designs inspired by the characters in the stylish and trend-setting series, including tops, dresses, bottoms and outerwear priced from $80 to $200, and will extend into handbags and accessories for the spring collection.

“The entire collection was inspired by the modern and sophisticated young women portrayed in the show Gossip Girl,” says David Shamouelian, CEO of Romeo & Juliet Couture. “The designs are intended to empower young, independent women to embrace their feminine side and still maintain their strength.”

The Zombie Revolution Hits Europe

Gil Scott-Heron said that “the revolution will not be televised.” Now we know why. Follow the logic: If television rots your brain, as some people have said, who does that harm the most? You, obviously, but beyond that, I’d have to say zombies. Zombies, like koala bears, sustain themselves on a single food source. Human brains, eucalyptus leaves, what’s the difference? A big one, actually. Televise the revolution, even if it’s a zombie revolution, and it’s just bad eating.

It’s hard out there for a zombie, but it’s not all bad. European retailer C&A will launch an Extreme Zombies apparel line in its 1,400 stores in Europe. Extreme Zombies, aimed at boys 8 and up, boasts a new style guide, and worked with IndieGo Distributions to complete the deal, which was brokered by MGL Licensing.

I, for one, welcome our zombie overlords.

—Bryan Joiner (has a small brain)

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