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Does Your Product Have a Lasting Story?

By Jim Signorelli

By the late 1960s, Xerox had risen to become a highly successful global brand. Having a Xerox machine in the office became a necessity. Now, with a well-established name, they decided to cultivate other ambitions. Xerox wanted to get into computer technology and data processing. The company spent many years and millions of dollars before it finally threw in the towel.

It should come as no surprise that once a brand is strongly associated with a certain product, it is difficult, if not impossible, to change perceptions. Yet, marketing history is rife with examples of companies expecting their well-established brand names to help them introduce new products. Chiquita had to admit defeat after trying to convince us that Chiquita stands for more than bananas. Country Time Lemonade was forced to stop trying to sell Country Time Apple Cider.   Ponds barely got out of the starting gates with Ponds toothpaste before it quit. There are thousands of stories like these. Read the rest of this entry »

Justin Bieber Tops Survey of Kids’ Interests

Last month, The NPD Group asked, “What would the kids you know say is the hottest new thing these days? It might be a celebrity, movie, TV show, toy, game, hobby, sport, website, brand, or retail store.” The group fielded answers for three weeks, compiling 7,116 mentions of things kids are into at the moment. The results are in, and they all point to big brands, which is a good sign for licensing.

9% Justin Bieber
4% Cars (franchise)
3% Xbox 360
2% Disney
2% iPad
2% iCarly
2% Dora the Explorer
2% Nintendo Wii
2% Transformers
2% iPod

Justin Bieber remained top of the list in this follow-up to The NPD Group’s May 2011 survey, in which Bieber captured 10 percent of total mentions, followed by Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Dora The Explorer, Cars (franchise), iPad, SpongeBob SquarePants, Disney, and video games, all at 2 percent of total mentions. Thor rounded out the Top 10 in May with 1 percent of mentions.

(The NPD Kids Industry Data Service (KIDS) provides monthly insight into purchases made on behalf of kids up to 14 years of age across product categories with an emphasis on licenses and brands. In addition, each month The NPD Group asks an open-ended, unaided question designed to provide insight into what is top-of-mind with kids today.)

Melissa Tinklepaugh

Welcome to Cyber Monday! And welcome to our blog!

Good morning, readers!

Today marks the first day we’ll be updating The Licensing Blog, our new, up-to-the minute take on the licensing world. Here we’ll try to get you the information that’s too urgent for our print issues and needs a little more context than we can give it on Twitter or Facebook. Whenever something happens in the licensing industry, come here to put it in context. Or just stop by to see what we’re working on. Either way, we’re glad to have you reading.

The big news today for e-tailers is that it’s Cyber Monday. The bad news is that it’s getting harder and harder to make any sense of Black Friday figures. While there was a small increase over last year’s figures (.5%), there are a few variables. On the positive side, that number might have been punished by rain in the Northeast, says Consumerist. (Which could bode well today). On the negative side, it’s possible that in order to keep sales high, large retailers were willing to take a loss, says Hot Air. And it’s likely that such an increase did not pace inflation, meaning there was actually a small loss. But if this really is the low point of the recession—or, at least, the lone Black Friday to fall within the crater caused by the subprime bust, etc.—these numbers shouldn’t be seen as a long-term problem. We were expecting this.

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