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Zoobe Message Entertainment, Peanuts Worldwide Partner for Peanuts App

zoobe_peanutsZoobe Message Entertainment partnered with Peanuts Worldwide to launch the new Peanuts StoryGIF app for iOS and Android devices. The app was released last month and features text-ready animations that feature Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, Lucy, Linus, and more characters from the brand. Fans can choose from more than 100 images to create customizable, short movie messages.

 

Billboard to Expand Internationally with Launch in China

billboardBillboard announced an expansion in China that will include branded media platforms in partnership with Vision Music Ltd., a Chinese entertainment, lifestyle, fashion, and sports media company.

Billboard will offer a collection of music content channels via multiple platforms, including print, online, and mobile. Billboard China will unveil its website in the upcoming weeks.

Activision Publishing, Kid Cuisine Partner for Skylanders Frozen Food

Cuisine

Activision Publishing Inc. and ConAgra Foods’ Kid Cuisine partnered to launch Skylanders-inspired frozen food. Available now through April 15, promotional meals will be available at Walmart, Target, and participating major grocery stores across the U.S.

Kids can enjoy meals featuring Stealth Elf- and Kaos-shaped chicken nuggets with gem-shaped cookies, or Spyro and Dream Catcher-shaped macaroni with pudding that changes color while kids eat. Kids can taste nine different meals, including cheese pizza, beef patty, mac and cheese, fish sticks, mini corn dogs, fun nuggets, popcorn chicken, stuffed- crust pepperoni pizza, and spaghetti.

Kids can get an extra treat inside each Skylanders Kid Cuisine meal box, and a free Stealth Elf Skylanders Battlecast card. Skylanders Battlecast offers a new free-to-play mobile game, with everything from collectibility to strategic card combat, online games, and single-player campaign.

Bare Tree Media Launches Star Trek Social Stickers Across Mobile Platforms

Bare Tree Media has released a series of mobile social stickers featuring the crew from Star Trek: The Original Series through a licensing deal with CBS Interactive. Fans can download the stickers through the emojiTap mobile app at www.emojitap.com.

The app and stickers are compatible with all iOS and Android devices.

Lawless Entertainment Signs New Deals for Suzy’s Zoo

Lawless Entertainment has signed a deal with MyLocker to develop a webstore for consumers to personalize apparel and consumer products with Suzy’s Zoo art.

Customers will have the ability to select Suzy’s Zoo art of their choice, then place it on a variety of more than 500 products for men, women, and children, including apparel, blankets, mugs, bags, and tablet and laptop sleeves.

Lawless Entertainment also signed a distribution deal with Toon Goggles on behalf of Suzy’s Zoo.

Toon Goggles will feature ten episodes of the Suzy’s Zoo: A Day with Witzy series on its top family entertainment on-demand platform, which showcases animated and live action content via its app for smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. The episodes will premiere on Toon Goggles this December.

Cartoon Network Unveils Exclusive Stickers on Messaging App Line

Cartoons

Cartoon Network has launched its most popular characters with a range of branded stickers on the free call and messaging app Line.

Characters from Adventure Time, The Amazing World of Gumball, and The Powerpuff Girls are now available for download in Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and India. All characters have Chinese, Japanese, and English versions.

Line stickers, shared during chat sessions, function as large-scale emoji, and are available for download from the Sticker Shop in the Line app.

Lawless Entertainment Appointed North American Representatives for Eddie Is a Yeti

347267ca-05b1-4bbe-b2f5-d526067e0798Lawless Entertainment has been appointed as representatives for North America for Eddie is a Yeti, a property created by Toon Goggles, for licensing, merchandising, and publishing.

Eddie is a Yeti is Toon Goggles’ first entry into original content and merchandising and will be produced with Mondo TV, which will handle overseas distribution and merchandising. The animated short-form children’s series follows the adventures of Eddie the yeti and his best friend, Polly. Its non-dialogue format easily allows for a worldwide audience, targeted toward kids ages 6 to 12.

Eddie is a Yeti will be promoted across the Toon Goggles platform, appearing on its iOS and Android applications for smartphones and tablets, as well as on Sony, Sharp, and Samsung smart TVs, Roku set-top boxes, and other devices.

Game of Thrones Ascent Launches on Amazon Kindle

GOT_Ascent

Game of Thrones Ascent has launched on Amazon for Kindle Fire devices for the first time, joining availability on iOS, Android, and online. Players can download the game from Amazon.

In Game of Thrones Ascent, fans can immerse themselves beyond the books and show, living the life of a noble, working with or against each other in a game world. Taking part in thousands of story-driven quests, players delve into the lore and develop their own lands and reputation among the Great Houses. The game also syncs up with episodes of season 5 from the show, with new content released each week.

Uglydoll, Viber Release Sticker Pack

uglydoll_logoPretty Ugly LLC has entered into a new partnership with Viber and Universal Partnerships and Licensing and has created an Uglydoll Sticker Pack for the app. The pack gives Uglydoll fans a new and fun way to express themselves through a mobile medium.

Virtual Branding: Reasons to Bring Your Brand into the Virtual World

Robert Ferrariby Robert Rerrari, CEO, Bare Tree Media

As brand and licensing professionals, we’ve all approached the market the same old way for years: establish a brand, secure a licensee to produce a product, create concepts and samples, secure retail placement, spend market development funds, plan budgets, crank the factories, ship, and hope the products sell well. This torturous process can sometimes take up to two years—but new opportunities are emerging. For years, the only way for brand owners and licensors to reach their fans was through traditional physical products and retail channels. Now, brand owners have the opportunity to partner with virtual branding companies to capitalize on the billions of people worldwide who consume digital content through their smartphones, tablets, web-connected devices, and computers.

Virtual branding companies help brands reach fans globally, quickly create digital products, sell them digitally, and get paid all within about three to four months. With no product samples, no inventory, no markdowns, and no returns, virtual branding is the hottest business opportunity for brands this year. Digital distribution of virtual branded goods within online and mobile platforms is exploding. This category is developing on a global basis and offers fast market speed, broad product flexibility, global impact, and low risk. Consumers are shifting their buying habits from physical products to digital goods, and brands—both large and small—should capitalize on these new buying habits.

GarfieldEmoticonsFORBLOGVirtual branding engages digital-savvy consumers with the brands they love through mobile and online platforms. Bare Tree Media has created an ecosystem of digital distribution partnerships worldwide, offering brands the ability to reach billions of digitally connected consumers who are eager to engage and purchase branded digital content. We project the global market for virtual branded goods to be on track to exceed $20 billion in gross digital sales this year.

As consumers connect more frequently through their smartphones and tablets, virtual branding drives awareness, engagement, and monetization for brands through two key product categories: social messaging mobile apps and social online games. Through social messaging mobile apps, users can create a social circle and add personality to their text messages by inserting fun and meaningful character-based images—called branded emoticons—and digital stickers. For example, a person can text “want to grab lunch?” along with an image of Garfield gorging on lasagna. Or, if he or she is feeling romantic, that person can text an image of Hello Kitty giving a hug. This mobile category is exploding worldwide, and Bare Tree Media has formed platform partnerships on a global scale. We’ve placed brands within the most popular messaging apps such as LINE in Japan; WeChat in China; KakaoTalk in Korea; Cubie in Taiwan; and numerous mobile platforms, such as KIK, Tango, and Viber, popular in the western hemisphere. Users within these platforms buy virtual branded character packs through their mobile devices, offering brands expansive revenue opportunities without ever creating a physical product. Virtual branding companies such as Bare Tree Media manage the digital creation, brand submissions and approvals, digital channel placement, and sales tracking for all of its branded content on behalf of brand owners. This virtual branding model not only drives revenue opportunities for brands, it also provides an opportunity where fans become brand ambassadors sharing branded messages with friends and family.

Zwinky.D&G.FORBLOGConsumers who are active within online social platforms and online games have the opportunity to engage with brands as virtual goods in the form of virtual apparel, accessories, and consumables. For example, a fan of the Charuca brand can now buy a pair of virtual Charuca-branded jeans in the online game Meez, a fan of the tokidoki brand can buy a tokidoki-branded handbag in OurWorld, a fan of the David & Goliath brand can buy a David & Goliath-branded hoodie in Zwinky, and a fan of Hello Kitty can buy a virtual bedroom set to decorate his or her virtual apartment in MiniMundo. By placing brands in these online environments frequented by hundreds of millions of teens and young adults, property owners are giving consumers the opportunity to purchase digital versions of the branded products that previously could only be bought at brick-and-mortar retailers. Brands can also set up cross promotions to drive sales of virtual goods from brick-and-mortar retailers or sales of physical goods from online platforms. Digital coupons in the online platform incite consumers to shop for retail items while codes on hangtags at retail encourage them to purchase virtual goods. It’s a win/win for all involved parties.

Branded mobile apps are another option for companies looking to break into the virtual branding space. Bare Tree Media recently partnered with Live Nation Merchandise for a KISS Photo Bomb mobile app. The app allows fans of the rock ’n’ roll band to KISS-ify their photos by adding KISS band members and KISS effects. Users can even send text message with KISS emoticons from within the app. This incorporates a few different elements into one easy-to-use app, giving fans another way to engage with the band they love without producing a physical product.

This exploding sector of virtual branding is available to brands of all sizes and categories. Unlike traditional retail, which tends to cater to the large, well-known legacy brands, virtual branding is available to large brands as well as unknown and emerging brands. Virtual branding allows high sales volumes for the large brands, while also providing an opportunity for smaller brands to go global very quickly. Virtual branding has broken down the barriers previously established by traditional physical product licensing, allowing fans worldwide to enjoy brands they love and discover new brands.

 

Robert Ferrari is the CEO and founder of Bare Tree Media, a virtual brand creator and publisher. Ferrari is an active industry speaker and currently serves on the advisory boards of MIT Enterprise Forum for Games, MIT Business in Games (BIG), and MassDiGi. He can be reached at rferrari@baretreemedia.com.

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