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American Greetings to Offer Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars Themed Cards

Disney

American Greetings expands to offer Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars themed cards for birthdays, thank you, congrats, weddings, baby, anniversaries, and thinking of you occasions. These cards will include characters like Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Marvel’s Avengers, and Darth Vader.

American Greetings also launches a new line of Big Talkers birthday cards featuring Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars characters in a die-cut format with multiple authentic audio clips.

These cards will be available at participating drug chains, grocery stores, mass retailers, and American Greetings and Carlton Cards retail stores. Ecards can be shared online through www.americangreetings.com.

Mattel Launches Mattel Creations

Mattel

Mattel has formed Mattel Creations, a centralized content division that will leverage the company’s global brands and library of properties to drive content across multiple platforms including theatrical, television, and digital.

Mattel’s Chief Content Officer Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, who joined Mattel in September, will head the cross-portfolio content strategy. Mattel has also promoted creative executive and producer Christopher Keenan as senior vice president, content development and production.

Mattel Creations comes to market with an extensive library of brands and properties to accelerate and maximize Mattel’s content development and distribution activities. As chief content officer, Balsam-Schwaber will oversee all strategies for the new division, including development slates, programming, and distribution opportunities, as well as entertainment and talent relationships.

Keenan will oversee a new centralized content development and production team, to include Playground Productions in El Segundo, the HIT content creation team in London, and the American Girl content creation team in Middleton. He will be based out of Mattel’s El Segundo offices, reporting to Balsam-Schwaber.

In addition, Mattel has announced two content projects under the Mattel Creations banner. Mattel has greenlit WellieWishers, a 2-D animated series for girls ages 5 to 7, from premium brand American Girl, and will unveil the new series for the first time to buyers and distributors at MIPTV. WellieWishers features a character-based story narrative centered on five best friends—Willa, Kendall, Ashlyn, Emerson and Camille—who imagine, play, sing and dream in their whimsical garden. When the WellieWishers step into their colourful rain boots, they’re ready for anything, stomping in muddy puddles, dancing with fireflies, and navigating the ins and outs of friendship through play and imagination. Written by head writer, Noelle Wright, and executive produced by Christopher Keenan, the series will be produced and distributed by Mattel Creations content distribution team and animated at Submarine Studios in Amsterdam. The series has entered production and will be delivered to broadcasters by end of year.

The latest CGI movie special for Barbie, Dreamtopia, has been taken by several world-class broadcasters around the world including: Cartoon Network (Latin-America), Super RTL (Germany), Pop TV (UK), MiniMini (Poland) and Karusel (Russia).

This summer, Barbie will enocurage kids to dream with the launch of the movie special, Dreamtopia. The all-new, magical and make-believe world of Dreamtopia is imagined by Chelsea, the youngest sister of Barbie. Barbie is known for her vivid imagination, which is something that runs in the family. The new special sees Chelsea following in her elder sister’s footsteps as she shares an assortment of fantasy worlds and heroic roles with viewers. Children from around the world are invited to experience the adventures of Barbie, Chelsea and her puppy Honey, as they swim through rainbow rivers with beautiful mermaids and fly through cotton candy clouds with fairies where their imaginations allows them to be anything they want. Produced by Julia Pistor (Jimmy Neutron, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) and animated by Snowball Studios, Dreamtopia is a new Barbie special targeting a younger pre-school demographic than previous films. Additionally, the special has digital shorts for broadcaster promotion and YouTube activation and will have a new line of dolls and pets reflective of the content and adventure games on Barbie.com.

Mattel has been named MIPTV 2016’s Brand of the Year, and Richard Dickson, Mattel’s President and Chief Operating Officer, will accept the award and deliver a keynote speech on April 5 as part of the market’s Media Mastermind Keynote series. Balsam-Schwaber will also be present at MIPTV this year, speaking at the “Brands & Online Video Lunch Summit” on April 5 as well as engaging in an on-stage interview with Fullscreen’s Head of Sales Kevin McGurn at Fullscreen’s Digital Fronts Session on April 6.

LIMA Unveils Licensing University Slate for Licensing Expo 2016

LIMA

The Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) assembled a roster of Licensing University sessions for this year’s Licensing Expo.  The conference program, organized by UBM Americas, will feature 20 seminars exploring a range of topics for licensing professionals at every stage of their career.

LIMA will also continue its roundtable series of 20 short, interactive discussions on business-related topics.  Licensing University will take place from June 20 to June 23 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The conference offers a strategic look at major industry segments, including corporate branding, legal, art, international, and digital licensing, as well as a full day of basics for industry newcomers.  It also includes roundtable discussions on topics such as 3-D printing, food and beverage licensing, accounting issues, how to negotiate a licensing deal, and how to access a brand’s readiness for licensing.

Interested attendees can visit licensingexpo.com to purchase an all-access pass and to see the full schedule of Licensing University sessions.

Actor, Singer Laura Marano Launches Fashion Apparel Line

Evy of California signed Disney’s Austin & Ally star Laura Marano to launch a fashion sportswear and outwear line. The collection will be designed for girls ages 4 to 16, and will launch in the fall. The line will feature bold styles and designs embracing Laura Marano’s boho chic look.

Snyder’s-Lance Enters Licensing Arena

Synder’s-Lance has signed Brand Central as licensing agency for both brand extensions and licensing acquisitions for their portfolio of brands.

Synders-Lance portfolio includes some of America’s favorite snack foods such as Snyder’s of Hanover, Lance, Cape Cod, Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, Late July, and Stella D’oro. Brand Central will look to secure partners for the pretzel brand, Synder’s of Hanover, in categories such as: pretzel bread, pretzel snack bars, dips, as well as restaurant partnerships. The agency will be seeking partners for potato chip favorite Cape Cod in categories such as fresh dips, baking coatings and frozen potato french fries. Additionally, Brand Central is exploring new brand extensions for Lance and coffee and Italian dessert products for Stella D’oro.

Masha and the Bear Signs Three New Licensees

Maurizio Distefano Licensing entered into three new partnerships for its preschool property Masha and the Bear in the Italian food and accessories markets.

Swiss Eyewear Group will develop a line of Masha and the Bear sunglasses for kids ages 3 to 8. The glasses will offer different styles and colors, and feature 100-percent polarized lenses, anti-shock frames, and a modern design, ensuring maximum protection from glare.

Acqua Sant’Anna will produce and market Masha and the Bear fruit juices, iced decaffeinated tea, and still and sparkling mineral water in various sizes, starting from the easy-to-carry 25 cl bottle, up to 33cl and 50cl bottles.

PreGel will offer Italian ice cream stores flavors inspired by the series, including hazelnut, chocolate, pink sweets, and a series of themed decorations for ice cream topping.

Perfect Company, Absolut Vodka Partner for At-Home Bartending

Perfect Company and The Absolut Company have partnered for consumers to craft cocktails at home.

For Absolut fans eager to try new cocktail recipes at home, the first step in this partnership is the release of the “Absolut Classics” recipe pack for the Perfect Drink Interactive Recipe App. This initial collection of recipes includes some of Absolut’s most popular, classic cocktails like the Lemon Drop, Sea Breeze and Mule, along with unique concoctions like the Espresso Martini and Elderflower Collins.

Cocktail enthusiasts will connect the Perfect Drink Smart Scale via Bluetooth to the Perfect Drink App on their mobile device and find a recipe to craft. The scale weighs each ingredients’ pour in real time and the app alerts them when to stop pouring. A perfect cocktail sometimes includes an imperfect pour, so the app will compensate for over-pours by instantly rescaling the other ingredients.

Additional innovative integrations with a variety of The Absolut Company’s world renowned brands will be announced in the future.

Rubie’s Costume Co. Releases Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Collection

unnamedRubie’s Costume Co. will launch officially licensed costumes, accessories, and masks inspired by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Available in toddler, child, tween, adult, and plus sizes, the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Collection includes DC Comics superheroes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more. Each detailed costume reflects a representation of the characters portrayed in the film. The collection will be available this Halloween season.

MasterChef and MasterChef Junior Products Debut at Home + Housewares Show

Endemol Shine North America, producers of reality competition series MasterChef and MasterChef Junior, have partnered with Unibrands and Wicked Cool Toys to develop cooking product lines inspired by the Fox franchise. The product lines were showcased at the International Home + Housewares Show, held this week in Chicago.

Unibrands debuted MasterChef-inspired BBQ Grilling Sets and Accessories, new for this year. For any home cook or grill master looking to elevate their grilling equipment, the collection will include a spatula, tongs, fork, and basting brush with signature stainless steel and rubberized grip design. Grill accessories will include a grill light and covers, and oven mitts. Thermometers will also be part of the debut collection.

Wicked Cool Toys showcased kid-friendly cooking with real-play patterns into the housewares category. From burgers and pizza to baking and breakfast, kids can become the ultimate home cook with the MasterChef Junior-themed cooking sets. Each set includes real cooking tools, plating suggestions to create elevated dishes, and recipes for all skill levels: Line Cook, Sous Chef, and MasterChef. The cooking sets debuted in November exclusively at Walmart stores and are rolling out to additional retailers this year.

AC Worldwide Launches Star Wars Bluetooth Wireless Speakers

AC Worldwide has announced the launch of its Star Wars Bluetooth speakers, available now at acworldwide.cool. The speakers come in two editions; the protocol droid C-3PO and the Galactic Empire’s elite soldier, the Stormtrooper.

C-3PO and the Stormtrooper are fan favorite characters and to do them justice, the design of the speakers underwent months of work to ensure that they look and feel authentic. Made using the highest-grade material, the quality of the speakers gives them a premium and solid build.

The speakers boast superior sound quality, featuring full 2.1 system audio. Incased behind C-3PO and the Stormtrooper’s eyes are two tweeters, along with a down-facing ported subwoofer to deliver ground-shaking bass. Whether you want to hook up your smartphone or tablet wirelessly through Bluetooth, or plug in your games console via AUX, these speakers provide loud and crisp audio.

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