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Epic Rights, Merch By Amazon to Launch Apparel and Accessories

EpicRightsEpic Rights partnered with Merch by Amazon to sell Epic Rights’ artists official apparel and cellphone accessories on Amazon.com. The initial product launch includes classic and fashionable shirts for men, women, and kids, featuring graphics from KISS, Aerosmith, and John Lennon.

Epic Rights will add product categories to the program and build out programs for its complete roster of artists, including AC/DC, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Def Leppard, Celine Dion, ZZ Top, Duran Duran, Wham!, Marc Anthony, Sting, Cypress Hill, Lionel Richie, Lyrics by Lennon & McCartney, Woodstock Festival, and more.

 

Top News for July 19: Back-to-School is Earlier, Target gets Funky, J-Lo and Marc Antony are Still On (Kind of)

An article by New York Times reporter Stuart Elliott confirmed what any parent or consumer of press releases knows: back-to-school is starting earlier as retailers adjust to the rules of the new economy. Under these rules, consumers seem to make fewer trips to stores, so retailers have every incentive to get them to come to their store or find them online. Walmart announced today that it is slashing prices on back-to-school and back-to-college items, going as far to specifically note that Toy Story and Cars licensed backpack/lunch sets would be available on Walmart.com.

Elliott’s report mentions retailers, including Kmart, boasting “Christmas in July” sales, which dovetails with a reporter in yesterday’s Times by Stephanie Clifford which found grocery chains offering bulk deals to consumers in order to maximize in-store revenue. Clifford said grocery chain executives found that “in this economy, with people visiting stores less frequently, spending less per trip and sticking to their shopping lists more closely, the competition to offer more compelling deals is stronger than ever.” And that’s for food!

In this context, it makes sense that Walmart would offer its licensed back-to-school product cheap online while advertising cheap in-store goods. It’s easy to justify the purchase of a Toy Story or Cars item for slightly more money than a generic item when you’re at home, and haven’t spent the time or money to go to the store. Once a consumer is in the store, the inclination to buy generic could take over—the idea of saving a lot of money all at once is appealing, as grocers have discovered.

A Dow Jones Newswires article by Karen Talley hinted that retailers walk a knife-edge while trying to entice consumers to spend money for back-to-school items when those same consumers are used to dirt-cheap promotions around BTS time. In the article, Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology at Golden Gate University, says that “Parents are going to be shocked and disappointed by the price of goods. They’re going to make sure their kids are outfitted, but won’t go beyond their budgets like they have in the past.

Of course, the entire licensing industry is predicated on the notion that parents will, in fact, go beyond their budgets, if only a little bit. And there’s proof that it’s happening, even now, with Mattel’s Cars 2 merchandise sales pushing company earnings up 56 percent from Q2 last year, which is proof that consumers are rational even in tough times: Even while cutting back on food, it’s worth spending the extra few dollars on a Mater backpack. Retailers might take a hit on BTS merchandise sales, and consumers might spend less, but the best licensors will remain resilient as always.

Target’s Funky New Partnership

Target has teamed with the Hamilton Wood & Type museum of Two Rivers, Wisc., for an apparel line.

Wait… what?

According to an article in The Atlantic by Steven Heller, Target’s Michael Alexin “fell in love” with the museum after seeing a film about it, and set out to create a partnership. The campaign is based around the tagline “Cool Never Fades” and is banking that consumers will know and love old typography enough to see it as a funky retro brand. The line debuted last week, and is perfect for, as Alexin says (wait for it)… Target’s back-to-school collection.

J-Lo and Marc Anthony: Off, but Still On at Kohl’s

Horrors! Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony may have split, but their clothing line at Kohl’s will move ahead as scheduled.

In a Daily Mail article by Tamara Abraham, LF USA’s Rick Darling (LIMA 2011 keynote speaker) says that the launch will remain unaffected. “‘We have two separate agreements with Jennifer and Marc and always intended to have separate lines. [Their split] doesn’t impact the agreements in any way.” LF USA sublicenses the brands to Kohl’s.

You may rest easy.

LIMA Elects Six New Reps to Board of Directors

The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association has added six members to its Board of Directors.

Joining the LIMA Board are:

• Susie Lecker, SVP of Fisher-Price Friends, FP Brands
• Marty Malysz, President, Dependable Solutions, Inc.
• Carla Peyton, SVP, Licensed Consumer Products – The Americas, BBC Worldwide America
• Jennifer Richmond, Managing Director, Richmond Management Group
• James Slifer, VP, Business Development – The Joester Loria Group
• Cheryl Stoebenau, President, CAS Marketing

Leaving the board are Spin Master’s Adam Beder; Making Connections’ Rick Mallow; Marketing on Demand’s Stu Seltzer; Mattel’s Holly Stein; Strand IP’s Robert Strand; and Konami Digital Entertainment’s Careen Yapp.

—Bryan Joiner

J Lo and Hubby To Launch Lifestyle Brands

Kohl’s Department Stores and Music Entertainment Sports Holdings (MESH), a division of LF USA, will launch two lifestyle brands with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. Kohl’s will be the exclusive provider and marketer in the United States of all Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony apparel, accessories and other merchandise, which will be available in Kohl’s stores nationwide and Kohls.com beginning next fall.

The Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony brands will initially launch in women’s and men’s apparel and accessories. The Jennifer Lopez collection will include sportswear, dresses, handbags, jewelry, shoes and sleepwear while Marc Anthony will launch in sportswear, dress shirts, neckwear, accessories, suit separates, sportcoats and shoes.

MESH, a division of LF USA and partnership between LF USA and Star Branding, will sub-license the Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony brands exclusively to Kohl’s under a long-term agreement.

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