The Licensing Blog

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South Park’s Anniversary Party Serves Cheesy Poofs

There was a time when watching videos over the Internet was less a matter of choice than a matter of patience. But when a video with a crudely drawn Jesus Christ battling a crudely drawn Santa Claus circulated in 1995, people waited, watched… laughed. The follow-up to that animated short was a little series called South Park, which debuted on Comedy Central in August 1997.

With South Park set to celebrate its 15th season, Comedy Central will present the Ultimate “South Park” Fan Experience at Comic-Con in San Diego from July 21-24, as part of a $3-$5 million campaign to celebrate 15 years on the air, according to a New York Times report by Stuart Elliott. Corporate partners include Frito-Lay, who will be creating 1.5 million packages of the show’s own fast-food staple, Cheesy Poofs, to be sold at Walmart.

Previously, Comedy Central hosted a South Park 15th anniversary commemorative art show in New York City at the Opera Gallery. Artist Ron English chose 14 artists, along with himself, to create South Park-inspired artwork, some of which is quite good. (We recommend checking out a Flickr slideshow of the whole thing here.)

To celebrate this milestone, here’s Cartman singing his ad-libbed Cheesy Poofs anthem. Have a good weekend. Eat healthy.

—Bryan Joiner

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Along with The Toy Book’s editors, I attended a screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 earlier this week, and I left feeling completely satisfied with the film and its ending—seeing Harry, Hermione, and Ron 19 years later with their children on platform 9 ¾.

But at the same time, Liz Reid, Toy Book’s associate editor, and I grew up with the Harry Potter books and movies, and this final movie signals the symbolic end of our childhoods. I was 11 years old when I first read about 11-year-old Harry’s introduction to Hogwarts and the wizarding world. Now, 13 years later, I find it hard to give up the journeys to a world more magical than my own.

Fans remained loyal to Harry and his friends throughout the years because of the emphasis on the characters in the books and movies. Along with the grand adventures, characters dealt with universal themes of love, right and wrong, good and evil, friendships and bullies, and it kept the journeys grounded. Because of that, fans relate to the characters—despite the lack of grave peril, nearly invincible villains, and magical abilities among us muggles.

The Licensing Blog has already touched on a hope and prediction for the Harry Potter franchise to continue in some way in the future. Of course, we can reread and rewatch the series, and follow Pottermore updates. Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced its licensing program this week for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Lego released play sets that include locations and scenes from the films, including Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest, and the Knight Bus. Licensee the Noble Collection created wands and artifacts to bring fans further into the wizarding world. The Jelly Belly Candy Company has re-released its 20-flavor collection of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor Beans—but, as true fans know, that’s risky inclusion into the world of Harry Potter.

Melissa Tinklepaugh

How Much is that Brand in the Window? CBGB is for Sale

Streambank LLC is working to sell intellectual property rights related to the CBGB brand from the estate of founder Hillel Kristel, including trademarks, domain names, recordings, and artifacts from the club, according to a Bloomberg.com article.

Manhattan’s CBGB, on the corner of Bowery and Bleecker streets, closed in October 2006 after the property owners refused to renew the club’s lease. CBGB had opened in December 1973 as Country Blue Grass Blues. But punk rockers including The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, and the Talking Heads launched their careers at the club, defining its rock n roll identity for the next 33 years.

Two weeks after the club’s closing I attended a CBGB reunion where CBGB owner/founder Kristal, Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone, Blondie co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein, Bad Brains bassist Darryl Jenifer, Joey Ramone’s brother Mickey Leigh, and others talked about the club’s good old times and the recent closing.

At the reunion, Kristal revealed that he salvaged much of the venue’s original interior, which he placed into storage with an eye toward an eventual second life in Las Vegas. As a 2006 article from BooklynVegan.com recalls, Kristal declared he would never sell the club in order to prevent it from resembling the Hard Rock Café.

Kristal died in 2007 after suffering from lung cancer.

In 2008, an upscale John Varvatos clothing boutique opened in the location. The shop preserved a section of a CBGB wall covered in band fliers under glass. A tiny TV showed videos of performances from the club. Varvatos employees wore black T-shirts that said “Birthplace of Punk” on the back. Varvatos said he believed the store helped carry on the club’s legacy and didn’t trade on CBGB. He admitted, however, to using the walls to help sell his clothes, according to a New York Times article.

Even in 2006, when the club was closing, T-shirts with the club’s logo became a fashion trend.

Streambank expects the CBGB brand to sell for a few million since it still offers “new opportunities in live clubs, apparel, and interactive media.”

While whoever buys the brand would want CBGB for its history and its appeal to fans, can CBGB experience a second life true to its original spirit?

—Melissa Tinklepaugh

Sports labor issues expected to affect licensed merchandise sales

This story came through via the (excellent) LIMA Smartbrief on Thursday, but we’re just getting to it now: Crain’s New York reports that area retailers could lose up to $5.5 million in licensed merchandise sales if the NFL and NBA lockouts persist.

Foot Locker and adidas are the most vulnerable parties, according to the report, due to their licensing relationships with the leagues. Other retailers might take a small hit, but could possibly recoup the losses with sales of generic or NCAA-branded merchandise, according to the article.

It is this blog’s position that there is no good reason that the sports leagues can’t solve their problems in time to play, given that sports owners are orchestrating the lockouts in both cases. The day this blog believes that sports owners are losing money hand over fist, it will eat an officially licensed cap.

—Bryan Joiner

Diet Pepsi Launches Ray Charles Retro T-Shirt Collection


Pepsi is bringing back the memorable Diet Pepsi and Ray Charles’ ads for “You Got the Right One Baby, Uh-Huh!” with a line of retro T-shirts.

The recent collaboration was brokered through The Joester Loria Group, Pepsi’s exclusive licensing agency for North America, and Act III Licensing in conjunction with the Ray Charles marketing group, the licensing agency for The Ray Charles Foundation. The collection, designed by licensee Ripple Junction, features imagery of the late music legend Ray Charles and is representative of the award-winning advertising campaign. Launched in the early 1990s, the “You Got the Right One Baby” campaign, featuring 11 commercials within three years, put Pepsi on the leading edge of pop culture.

Current designs are authentic to the merchandise that originally launched in conjunction with the campaign in the early ’90s and incorporates the Diet Pepsi logo, Ray Charles images, the “Uh-huh” girls, and the iconic tagline. The nostalgic appeal also aligns with the current Pepsi Throwback beverage line, which offers vintage Pepsi packaging from the ’70s and ’80s and a real sugar blast from the past taste.

Select T-shirt styles are currently available at Urban Outfitters retail locations and online, Kitson retail locations and online, and on Pepsi’s e-commerce shop (shop.pepsiusa.com) beginning in mid-July. Retail prices range from $24-$38. Kitson’s Robertson and Melrose locations in Los Angeles will feature an exclusive Pepsi Throwback window promotion for two weeks starting July 16 and for an additional two weeks at the Santa Monica location starting Aug. 1.

Jeter 3000

Barring an A-Rod like hiccup, Derek Jeter will break the 3,000 hit barrier this weekend, becoming the first New York Yankee to do so. Even Boston Red Sox fans—people who have crowed for years that Jeter is overrated—have to admit that this is pretty impressive. (One of them is writing this blog entry.) Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, certainly thinks so, and is looking to put the kibosh on guerilla-marketed 3,000 hits gear, according to Cynopsis Sports, which reports that organizations outside of Jeter-affiliated brands including Gillette, Nike’s Jordan, and Gatorade, “may not run ads with Jeter’s image, name, the number 3,000, or the word ‘captain'” in the wake of the likely achievement.

Yankees-Steiner will offer bats, balls, hats, photos, game bases, photo collections and everything else from Jeter’s career, reports USA Today, with sales expected in the millions. Despite his relatively advanced age and declining stats, Jeter’s had the No. 1 selling jersey in all of baseball last year. It’s a testament to his Hall of Fame career and his ability to build a fairly scandal-free sports brand in the country’s biggest market, and on a team full of superstars.

The Yankees knew what they were getting into at the outset of Jeter’s career. They don’t hand out single-digit numbers to just anyone, with every available but 2 and 6 having been retired. (In the case of 8, it was retired twice.) Just as the Yankees hoped, Jeter will take 2 out of circulation, and will be remembered by fans the way many remember Joe DiMaggio—as the understated, undisputed leader-by-example of the Yankees. As a point of comparison, Jeter would have had more hits than DiMaggio even if Joltin’ Joe hadn’t spent three years in the war.

So yeah: he’s good. Just make sure you’ve got your bases covered before you try to capitalize on it.

—Bryan Joiner, Boston native

Return to Care-a-Lot with New Care Bears Series

Our friends from Care-a-Lot are back. American Greetings Properties has green lit the production of a new CGI-animated Care Bears television series. The show will debut in 2012, coinciding with the Care Bears’ 30th anniversary.

Hasbro will debut a Care Bears toy line in 2013.

The Care Bears franchise launched in 1982, becoming part of ’80s pop culture with TV specials, an animated series, films, and plush bears. The franchise features bears with individual personalities, missions, and belly badges—like Tenderheart Bear who wears a red heart on his belly and helps his friends express their feelings.

As a child in the early ’90s, I was all about the Care Bears and my Tenderheart plush doll. The Care Bears have remained relevant through the new millennium, generating more than $2.6 billion in global sales since 2002. With news of the Care Bears comeback, I’m curious to see which of the original bears live on in CGI animation, spreading cheer to a new generation.

Melissa Tinklepaugh

Pretty Ugly, LLC, Releases New Uglydoll Products

Pretty Ugly, LLC, is releasing new Uglydoll products throughout the summer and fall, including two new dolls, Ikoy Yoki and Heu Googeuy, available later this month in three sizes.

Numbered editions of the Citizens of the Uglyverse will release this summer and fall as 9-inch tall dolls. This collection features the behind-the-scenes characters in Uglyverse: “The moms and pops, the fella behind the counter, the working stiffs, and the cogs in the machine… you know… you and me! Sure the pretty hero types get all the glory, but we bake the cakes and get the dealios done, so now it’s our time for some spotlight,” according to the release.

Other products include Uglybag Drawstring Tote Bags that will premiere at the San Diego Comic Convention this month. The totes come in four styles that will be available in September. Random House will release a hardcover Uglydoll children’s book in September, titled What Dat? The Great Big Ugly Book of Things to Look At, Search For, and Wonder About. Wind-up Uglydolls that hop, flip, walk, sneak, and swim will be available this month in 12 styles, and Badge Bomb Buttons are available now.

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