The Licensing Blog

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Warner Bros. Teams with Zazzle, Creative Imaginations

Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) has expanded its partnership with Zazzle, which specializes in on-demand retail manufacturing, with the addition of online Zazzle stores showcasing entertainment brands including Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Harry Potter, Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, and Tom and Jerry.

WBCP has also granted Zazzle limited-time exclusive access to art from five classic comic books in celebration of DC Comics’ 75th anniversary year. WBCP is leveraging Zazzle’s unique on-demand manufacturing technology and global online marketplace to deliver thousands of merchandise options for fans to customize and purchase.

Starting immediately with the launch of Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, Supergirl, Justice League, and Wonder Woman stores, plus expanding the content offering for the existing Scooby-Doo and Looney Tunes stores, WBCP and Zazzle will be launching a range of new properties over the next several weeks.

WBCP has also announced a two-year licensing partnership with Creative Imaginations, to bring the world of Harry Potter to scrapbook enthusiasts and fans everywhere.

Creative Imaginations, which provides custom manufacturing of scrapbook products via licensed artist and brand designs, will draw inspiration from the Harry Potter franchise, including the anticipated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, in theatres November 19, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, in theatres in 2011. Based on the stories and characters in the Harry Potter films, the new line will include scrapbooking paper, stickers, albums, kits, autograph books, and embellishments.

(Reading this news made me think of Yogi Bear for the first time in about 100 years, so here’s a clip):

Stone America Announces Mel’s Drive-In Partnership with Vita Foods

Stone America has announced that current client Mel’s Drive-In has signed its first food licensing agreement with Vita Foods to develop a line of branded burger sauce and seasoning, chili sauce and seasoning, dessert toppings, and pancake syrups. The Mel’s Drive-In line will feature various flavors that the Mel’s Drive-In consumer has enjoyed at Mel’s over the years. The products will be released early next year.

The Vita Seafood division is a U.S. leader in the herring production market and the refrigerated salmon marketplace, and is engaged in several other food segments, including cream cheese, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, and horseradish. Vita markets and sells these items under the Vita, Elf, and Grand Isle brands. More than 95 percent of Vita Seafood’s sales are in kosher foods. Vita Specialty Foods, Inc., Vita’s wholly owned subsidiary, markets and sells sweeteners, salad dressings, barbecue sauces, and other meat enhancements, dessert toppers, and salsas.

Made famous by George Lucas’ 1973 film American Graffiti, the original Mel’s Drive-In was founded in 1947 by Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs in San Francisco. Mel’s was also used as a location in the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

Mel’s has licensing agreements with Universal Theme Parks with Mel’s locations in Hollywood, Florida, Japan, and Singapore.

Walmart Removes Miley Cyrus Jewelry Due to High Cadmium Content

Walmart announced yesterday that it is removing all Miley Cyrus jewelry from its stores, after it was determined that the products contain high amounts of cadmium. The Associated Press conducted its own testing on the jewelry and discovered that the jewelry contained dangerous levels of the ingredient.

Though it is safe to wear cadmium, the danger comes if it is ingested. Since young children may put the jewelry in their mouths, Walmart determined the best course of action would be to remove the products entirely.
Walmart will continue its investigation into the product’s safety, but in the meantime, the products will be removed from the store.

The Associated Press conducted its test on 61 samples bought nationwide and found that they contained high amounts of the element. Out of 61 jewelry pieces, 59 contained at least 5 percent cadmium and 53 contained 51 percent.

The product line, which was a Walmart exclusive, consisted of necklaces and bracelets.

Check out the related Associated Press story here.

Saban buys back Power Rangers from Disney

Haim Saban, who launched the Power Rangers TV series in the ‘90s, has bought back the rights to the property. Disney has owned the Power Rangers since 2001, and Saban has now regained control of the brand in exchange for a reported $100 million.

In a new deal between Saban and children’s television network Nickelodeon, the network will begin airing past episodes of Power Rangers, along with 20 new episodes to be produced by Saban.

The acquisition is being made under Saban Brands, Saban’s new company aimed at acquiring entertainment and consumer brands. “I think this property has significant legs going forward if it’s in an environment where it is nurtured and supported as opposed to being part of a huge portfolio,” says Saban.

Watch the opening theme song and video  of the original Power Rangers here.

Create Your Own Uglydoll T-Shirts

The Licensing Book just got wind of the coolest news we’ve heard all day. In fact, it may be the coolest news we’ve heard ever.

Through a collaboration with Mighty Fine, you can now design your own Uglydoll T-shirts online! You can design shirts for the men, women, kids, or toddlers in your life, or design a whole bunch of them just for yourself (which is what I plan to do).

Once you get to the main website, towards the bottom is a little area on the Uglydoll map that says Tee Shirt Factory. Once you’re in the Tee Shirt Factory, you can choose men, women, kids, or toddlers. From there, things only get more exciting!

You can choose from great graphics including different Uglydoll characters and faces, and make your character say things like “I heart ….” Or “I DON’T heart….” with a bunch of little icons to fill in for what you do and don’t love.

Other things to choose include T-shirt colors and the size and placement of the design you’ve created.

The awesomeness of the invention cannot be adequately expressed here. You must go to the site and try it for yourself.

I have a pretty good idea where most of my paycheck will be going this month….

—Jennifer Sinclair

Rubie’s Costume Company to Make Lady Gaga Costumes

Rubie’s Costume Company has been granted the license for Lady Gaga, licensed by Bravado International Group. Pop star and musician Lady Gaga is known for her wild collection of outfits. Her signature style includes wigs of all length and styles and her unique couture costumes.

Rubie’s is now the worldwide licensee of Lady Gaga Halloween costumes and accessories. The costumes will be available for Halloween 2010.

BBC Worldwide Appoints Bob Traub as VP, Retail Development

BBC Worldwide today announced the appointment of Bob Traub as vice president of retail development for the Americas. Reporting to Tom Keefer, senior vice president of global licensing, Traub will be based in BBC Worldwide’s New York office. This role is a significant milestone in BBC Worldwide’s commitment to building on-going relationships with retailers, and will see Traub working across BBC Worldwide’s extensive portfolio of brands including BBC Earth, Doctor Who, Top Gear and In the Night Garden.

Bob Traub joins BBC Worldwide with 16 years of U.S. and international licensing and marketing experience in the entertainment sector, including leading the global retail synergy plans for companies including Chorion, Nickelodeon, and Marvel Entertainment Group.

Haim Saban Forms New Brand Management And Licensing Company

Media investor Haim Saban is moving into brand management and licensing, The New York Times and others are reporting. The Saban Capital Group will devote $500 million to Saban Brands, a new company dedicated to acquiring entertainment and consumer brands and exploiting them through retail, television, and film channels.

Elie Dekel, former licensing and merchandising executive at 20th Century Fox, will lead the new effort.

“As media and consumer options become increasingly fragmented and proliferated, our underlying thesis is that properties that resonate with consumers today will only become more meaningful over time,” says Saban.

Haim Saban Goes Into Brand Management [NY Times]

Little, Brown’s “Hulk” of a Deal

Marvel Entertainment has partnered with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to launch Super Hero Squad and Iron Man 2 children’s book publishing programs, including novels, early readers, storybooks and activity books. Starting this spring, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will release six Iron Man 2 titles and the first three Super Hero Squad books.

Additionally, Marvel has expanded its partnership with Bendon Publishing to launch an expanded children’s reading program featuring Spider Man, Marvel Heroes, Super Hero Squad, Iron Man 2, and the Incredible Hulk.

Through this expanded agreement, Bendon Publishing will augment its existing line of Marvel children’s books with new formats for a wide range of Marvel properties. The children’s reading programs will include activity books, coloring books, pop-up books, workbooks, flash cards, reward stickers, and board books. The initial line of titles will be available at drug stores, discount stores, department stores, mass market, price clubs, super market/grocery, and craft and hobby stores.

Disney Adds First Male Character to Pixie Hollow

This weekend, it was announced that male fairies, called “Sparrow Men,” have been added to Disney’s magical fairy world, Pixie Hollow.

The first male character in Pixie Hollow is named Slate.

Slate is a new avatar on the Pixie Hollow online community, giving visitors the chance, for the first time, to create a male instead of a female character.

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