Rubber Road scores new heavy metal music licences

Rubber Road is heading down a new musical path with some new licences that will see the company introducing official merchandise for three of the world’s biggest heavy metal artists.

The company works with some of the leading names in TV shows, movies, gaming and comic books and can now officially add music to the list thanks to a new deal with Global Merchandising Services.

Liam Taylor, Commercial Director at Rubber Road says: “Fans of Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead and Iron Maiden are going to love this quirky range that pays homage to these rock idols, we guarantee that they won’t have anything like it so far!

“We are delighted to be getting our air guitars out and heading into the world of music, and what a fantastic way to kick off with these three rock icons. When it comes to heavy metal memorabilia, we reckon this range aces it and we are counting down the days until we can reveal all.”

Rubber Road is known for producing merchandise – created by its design arm, Numskull – for some of the leading global brands in entertainment including Universal, Warner Bros, Netflix, Xbox, Sony Pictures, Sony PlayStation, SEGA and Hasbro. Franchises in the portfolio include Minions, Harry Potter, DC Comics, Sonic the Hedgehog, Back to the Future, Stranger Things, Jurassic Park, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Lord of the Rings, Friends, Jaws and Resident Evil.

Iron Maiden and Marvel join forces for merchandise collection

Iconic British rock band Iron Maiden and entertainment powerhouse Marvel have collaborated to create a unique collection of merchandise. Fans of both will be dealt a wide assortment of apparel and accessories that highlight iconic Marvel characters and the notorious otherworldly Iron Maiden character Eddie.

The collaboration interweaves the universes of both brands, with designs that pay tribute to Wolverine, Venom, Thanos and Deadpool in unique variations of iconic album and single artwork such as Fear of the Dark, The Trooper and Killers.

Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood says: “Eddie has long stood shoulder to shoulder with the greatest superheroes and we’re also pretty proud of the Worlds we created for his many incarnations  – from battlefields to Egyptian tombs to frozen ice-scapes or futuristic cities. Juxtaposing some of the most recognisable characters in pop art and comic-book culture into planet Maiden has been an ambition of ours for years, and working with Marvel and their unparalleled character-based IP is the perfect fit in this day and age.

“To see such iconic characters alongside Eddie is something our fans have discussed for years and we think that the twist of placing Venom, Thanos, Thor or Deadpool in our Maiden worlds will excite fans of both cultures.”

Iron Maiden is recognised as having one of the most iconic figures in music in the shape of Eddie, whose image appeared on the band’s debut single “Running Free” and has evolved to adorn every piece of artwork, including albums, tour posters, beer labels, graphic novels and merchandise, even featuring in computer games and award-winning mobile RPG game, Legacy of the Beast.

“Marvel is cool and aspirational, and has inspired the greatest artists, musicians and creators for more than 80 years,” says Paul Gitter, SVP, Marvel Licensing. “This collaboration offers another exciting example of how the Marvel brand continues to push into lifestyle areas, with music being a top priority, and the collection allows fans to pay tribute to our iconic characters while celebrating the legendary Iron Maiden.”

The collection launches in time for the holidays and is available through Iron Maiden’s online store, speciality retailer Hot Topic and German e-tailer, EMP.

Maurizio Distefano Licensing to represent Motorhead, Iron Maiden, and Slayer in Italy under Global Merchandising Services deal

Maurizio Distefano Licensing has begun its partnership with Global Merchandising Services by adding some of the most iconic artists in music history to its brand portfolio, including the likes of Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Slayer, and Backstreet Boys.

Thanks to its partnership with Global Merchandising Services, MDL now represents a library of artists who together have sold in excess of one billion records. MDL will look to build licensing programmes for each across the Italian market.

As well as some of the biggest names in rock music, MDL will also broker deals for Little Mix, Louis Tomlinson and the celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay.

This group of artists – who can boast sold-out tours all over the world and an influence on global fashion trends across a variety of musical genres – will offer MDL opportunities for a wide range of projects in a wide range of categories. Apparel, accessories and footwear are only a few of the possibilities these properties offer, but food and beverage, makeup or home and living are among many other promising areas.

Maurizio Distefano, CEO of MDL, said: “We are eager to start working with Global Merchandising Services and the properties it offers to the Italian licensing market. This partnership enriches our portfolio and allows us to access another inspirational branch of the licensing world which, even at this early stage, has attracted many potential licensees.” 

“We are delighted to work with Maurizio Distefano Licensing,” said José Santiago, international licensing manager at Global Merchandising Services. “This is a great opportunity to grow and continue to develop licensing for our clients’ in the key Italian market.”

Culture sculpture: Beer Buddies and the fine art of merchandising

A two-man operation working out of a headquarters in Wheal Vor, in Cornwall, Beer Buddies has started to make its presence known on the pop culture licensing and merchandise scene through its range of best-selling Motorhead, Iron Maiden, and now Original Stormtrooper bottle openers.

Using traditional sculpting methods put to use from its Cornish workshop, this is a company that has not only struck upon a unique angle within the traditional licensing space, but continues to champion an artisan approach within the sector, finding and bridging that gap between today’s demand for pop culture merchandise and the consumer’s desire for artistry.

Here, grabs a quick five minutes with Beer Buddies co-founder Richard House to talk about the firm’s foray into licensing, its successes, and what’s on the horizon for the UK business.

Hi Richard, good to catch up with you. To start, can you give us a bit of history on the Beer Buddies company? How did this all come about for you guys, and what was the moment that got you into the licensing space?

Beer Buddies is just two people: myself and Seamus Moran. We both did design based degrees and formed Beer Buddies 10 years ago, we’ve worked together ever since moving to Cornwall from the Midlands in 1988.

Buddies started almost by accident when we were asked to design and produce a Green Man wall plaque. Seamus realised that a bottled opener could be incorporated into the mouth and I came up with the name Beer Buddies. We came up with a few more designs, made them in our workshop and began selling, as demand grew and the range increased and we moved the manufacturing to China.

We had never considered doing licensed products until Jens Drinkwater of Global Merch introduced himself to us at a trade show about three years ago. Motorhead bottled beer Road Crew was selling strongly and Jens suggested a bottle opener would be a great addition to Motorhead merchandise line.

The trail went quiet for about 12 months and then out the blue we got the green light from Global and six months later the first Beer Buddies licensed product was on sale. It immediately opened our eyes to the potential of the licensing world. Motorhead sold more than the rest of our range put together.

You pay homage to a real artisan aspect of creating Beer Buddies. How do you guys strike that balance of bringing the artisan to the licensing space? What do you think this brings to the licensing space itself and is it proof that artistry and merchandise can work together?

The artisan element of our working methods probably has much to do with our age. Seamus is a sculptor in his own right and totally at home working with traditional modelling materials such as clay and plaster. Neither of us are of the Cad era. Seamus has a meticulous modelling style and an eye for detail that is unique to him and that translates into the designs and brings a very human element to the work that a computer generated design can’t.

We look for brand icons that will translate into what we do without making too many compromises to the original concept. Also, because this is so new to us having good support from the licensee is very important. Global has been fantastic in this regard and Jens has introduced us to new customers and spread the cost of royalty fees when our cash flow has been tight.

What has reception been like to the Beer Buddies’ licensed roll out to date? 

The response to our licensed roll outs to date has been very positive. Motorhead and Iron Maiden are our biggest sellers. Original Stormtrooper arrived late due to the chaotic situation at UK ports but the initial signs are that it’s going to be very strong .

How has business been for you guys over the course of 2020? With lockdown keeping people in their homes for longer, has Beer Buddies spotted an opportunity here?

Like virtually all businesses this year, Covid-19 has caused us problems. Most of our trade accounts have been closed for 25 per cent of the year and some may have closed for good. We probably won’t know the full extent of the damage until next year. On the plus side our own website sales have more than doubled as lockdown has sent online shopping go off the chart .

What’s the next big move for Beer Buddies, what can we expect from you guys in 2021?

Next year we hope to get some more Heavy Metal under our belts with Metallica, they have the right look and like Motorhead and Iron Maiden already have a licensed beer and a huge loyal fan base.