The Smiley Company taps Super RTL Licensing for German-speaking markets

The German licensing agency, Super RTL Licensing has plenty to smile about, having brought the world-renowned Smiley Company brand into its portfolio as it looks to further amplify its presence across the German-speaking markets.

First established in the early 1970s, the Smiley Company has developed from a cultural symbol for peace and activism into a lifestyle brand that – over the course of it 50 year history – has found itself a part of music and pop culture the world over.

Thanks to the digitalisation of communication from the 2000s, the Smiley has become part of a globally understood, universal language.

Building on this explosion, The Smiley Company has been recognised as a top 100 global Licensing Company, with over 420 licensees worldwide and collaborations that span fashion, accessories, home, food, and stationery, as well as entertainment sectors.

Super RTL Licensing will now be acting as the brand’s agent for the German-speaking market and the cross-generational appeal it is targeting with the likes of SmileyWorld and The Smileys, as well as Smiely originals and NewMoji.

“We are very excited to add the original Smiley icon to our brand portfolio. Smiley’s positive and optimistic message, which reminds us how powerful a smile can be, is a perfect fit for us. Smiley moves with the times and is constantly reinventing itself – with our expertise in content development and our marketing power, we will further increase brand appeal in the relevant target groups,” said Super RTL chief content and revenue officer, Thorsten Braun.

Nicolas Loufrani, CEO of The Smiley Company, added: “We have been building our brands in German-speaking countries directly for decades and managed to sign the best and biggest manufacturers and retailers, so I see it as a natural continuation to now sign with the biggest and best media group to take our brand portfolio to new heights and reach a wider audience with super positive contents that are much needed today.”

Various special promotions for Smiley’s 50th anniversary in 2022 will ensure even more visibility and attention.

Route 66 expands its UK presence with Iconospheric and Assured Products partnerships

Route 66 is continuing to build its presence across the UK and Eire having landed two new licensing partners in the home decor and stationery, and car care product markets.

Brokered by the brand’s UK and Eire licensing agency, Bulldog Licensing, the latest partnerships will see Iconospheric develop a collection of print on demand wall art, apparel and accessories, home decor, gifting, and stationery, while Assured Products will launch car care products like cleaners, polishers, screen wash, and de-icers, and more.

These latest additions join a growing roster of licensees for the US lifestyle property that already boasts more than 750 products available in more than 100 countries. The property has experienced a strong start to its UK fashion launch with Brand Alliance, while Bulldog is now extending its licensing programme with partners across ancillary categories.

Relatively new to the UK, Route 66 – a brand that celebrates the legendary highway that once linked Chicago to the American West – is recognised around the world. Its wealth of designs include over 360 original, iconic artworks and more than 125 photos under the Route 66 style guide.

Rob Corney, MD, Bulldog Licensing, said: “Iconospheric and Assured Products are perfect partners for the Route 66 brand and we’re really excited to see the products they create as leaders in their respective fields. The Route 66 brand has a huge appeal across generations as a symbol of freedom and adventure, which is particularly poignant at this time.

“Route 66 is established throughout a wide range of territories and is already a €30 million retail brand. We are looking forward to extending that success in the UK market.”

Lifestyle brand Flossy and Jim prepare to launch into India with Dot Badges

The animated character brand, Flossy and Jim, is set to launch into India this year thanks to a new partnership with Dot Badges, a leading online retailer of button badges, mobile sockets, laptop stickers, and notebooks.

Brokered by Edutainment Licensing working in tandem with Halysis Entertainment, the brand’s local licensing agent for India, Flossy and Jim will bring its colourful lifestyle brand to audiences across the region in its mission to deliver fun and happiness for cool kids and on-trend teens.

Created by Lynette and James, two illustrators living by the sea in picturesque Brixham, Devon in the UK, their mission from the beginning has been to help young people feel positive and supported in life using bright and bold designs with comical and on-trend slogans that their audience can relate to.

The pair regularly present workshops in schools, talking to pupils about their own personal journeys; encouraging and inspiring them to believe in themselves.

“We believe that Dot Badge will make an ideal partner to introduce the vibrant Flossy and Jim designs to youth of India.” said Aashish Goodae MD of Halysis Entertainment.

Lifestyle brand Flossy and Jim prepare to launch into India with Dot Badges

The animated character brand, Flossy and Jim, is set to launch into India this year thanks to a new partnership with Dot Badges, a leading online retailer of button badges, mobile sockets, laptop stickers, and notebooks.

Brokered by Edutainment Licensing working in tandem with Halysis Entertainment, the brand’s local licensing agent for India, Flossy and Jim will bring its colourful lifestyle brand to audiences across the region in its mission to deliver fun and happiness for cool kids and on-trend teens.

Created by Lynette and James, two illustrators living by the sea in picturesque Brixham, Devon in the UK, their mission from the beginning has been to help young people feel positive and supported in life using bright and bold designs with comical and on-trend slogans that their audience can relate to.

The pair regularly present workshops in schools, talking to pupils about their own personal journeys; encouraging and inspiring them to believe in themselves.

“We believe that Dot Badge will make an ideal partner to introduce the vibrant Flossy and Jim designs to youth of India.” said Aashish Goodae MD of Halysis Entertainment.

Phat Kandi makes licensing move for Spain and Portugal with Mondo TV

The hit character and lifestyle brand, Phat Kandi, is making its way to the Spanish and Portuguese licensing space thanks to a new partnership with the European content specialist and third-party licensing company, Mondo TV.

A diverse brand that champions individuality, Phat Kandi has found success in the fashion market and is now looking to replicate that across a wider licensing arena. Its output already includes t-shirts, leggings and hoodies, each illustrated in the brand’s unusual design style.

Described as a bold statement brand with an edgy, Japanese twist, Phat Kandi suggests that its style lends itself to consumer products in categories such as fashion, personal care, stationery and digital. Mondo TV will look to take the brand into these categories as it works to secure partners across Spain and Portugal.

Created by the fashion designer and digital artist, Mel Williams, Phat Kandi is aimed at all consumers regardless of age, gender or social backgrounds.

Meanwhile, the appointment for the Phat Kandi brand is the latest addition to a growing list of prestigious third-party representations for Mondo, which also includes the international hit brands The Gruffalo and Feisty Pets.

Julia Gutiérrez, licensing manager, Mondo TV for Iberia, said: “We are very excited about this collaboration with Phat Kandi. We needed an iconic and lifestyle brand in our portfolio – and this is just what we were looking for.

“We are confident that the market will respond with the same enthusiasm. We can’t wait to bring Phat Kandi and its amazing creative assets to consumer products in Iberia.”

Mel Williams, creative director at Phat Kandi, added: “We are delighted to have Mondo TV represent Phat Kandi across the Iberia Region. The Mondo team are hands-on, which we’re thrilled about, and very enthusiastic about Phat Kandi – which we love.”

Lisle Licensing lands aspirational lifestyle duo Style Sisters

Lisle Licensing has secured the UK licensing rights to one of the country’s most sought-after aspirational lifestyle duo’s, Style Sisters.  

In just two years the two long-term friends have shot to stardom and celebrity status with their fashion and interiors ‘know-how’, giving both interior and wardrobe advice that can transform the lives of their follower fan base and celebrities. 

The appointment of Lisle Licensing will enable the Style Sisters to engage with consumers who are not only inspired by their style, but also aspire to their way of life by being able to purchase the duo’s own portfolio of home and lifestyle products.

Collectively, Gemma Lilly and Charlotte Reddington have more than 15 years’ experience in the fashion and interiors space, and since forming Style Sisters have notched up a social audience thanks to lifestyle and fashion images in collaboration with UK celebrities including Amanda Holden, Rochelle Humes, Stacy Solomon, and Billie Faiers.  

With more than 204,000 Instagram followers, and garnering an average 2,000 more week on week, the pair reach 14.4 million page impressions per week.  Affiliate product promotions with the likes of Swyft Home and Attic Self Storage have been integral to growth and procuring their own brand awareness as a result of follower and hyperlink interactions.

Licensing has now been earmarked as the natural next step for the two friends. The team at Lisle Licensing will focus on building a Style Sisters’ lifestyle product range across furniture, home accessories, storage solutions, wallpaper/paints, candles and fragrance plus kitchenware and home textiles. 

Francesca Lisle, MD at Lisle Licensing said: “2020 has meant we’ve spent more time than ever in our homes which has reignited the home styling and DIY sector. The Style Sisters appeal to a broad range of ages with their enthusiastic passion for home styling and have a natural ability to engage with consumer tastes; we can’t wait to build a broad range of products that solidify their position as experts in their field.”

Gemma Lilly and Charlotte Reddington, added: “We couldn’t be more excited about the next chapter of our journey, creating our own brand and products has always been the long-term vision and we couldn’t be happier to be working with Lisle so that they can help bring that vision to life.”

Cosmopolitan partners with LUXE to launch its own licensed fragrance Eau de Juice

Cosmopolitan, the UK media brand for young women, has partnered with Luxe Brands – the beauty company behind Ariana Grande’s fragrance franchise – to launch its Eau de Juice fragrance to the UK. It follows the fragrance’s successful launch to the US market last year.

The four-scent fragrance collection recently won the prestigious Packaging of the Year award in the 2020 Fragrance Foundation Awards, noted as a tribute to the launch’s ‘unique pop art-inspired juice box packaging.’ Eau de Juice will debut in the UK in time for Christmas.

“We’re so excited to bring Eau de Juice to the UK market,” said Claire Hodgson, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan UK. “With four bespoke scents, the fragrance offers our highly engaged audience a new opportunity to experience the Cosmopolitan brand.”

In a deal brokered by IMG and available exclusively at The Fragrance Shop, the collection is crafted by renowned perfumers at Firmenich. Each scent within the collection is titled to match a mood: Extra Concentrated, 100% Chilled, Love, Unfiltered and Pure Sugar.

“As an entrepreneurial company, Luxe Brands prides itself on engaging in strategic and innovative partnerships to connect with consumers around the world in the beauty category,” said Luxe Brands CEO, Tony Bajaj. “Our latest venture in business with Hearst Magazines expands our footprint within the industry; we couldn’t be more excited to have the legacy and heritage of Cosmopolitan behind us.”

“Our vision was to create a brand narrative that is aspirational yet relatable, with a wink of humorous sensibility,” notes chief marketing officer of Luxe Brands, Noreen Dodge. “The concept, fragrances and packaging bring this collection to life for our consumer.”

Wild Lifestyle: WildBrain CPLG’s Victoria Whellans on lifestyle licensing in the year 2020

One whole pandemic and nationwide lockdown ago, WildBrain CPLG came charging out of the blocks at the start of the year with news of the formation of its dedicated lifestyle division, headed up by its newly appointed group brands director, Victoria Whellans. A lot has happened since February 2020.

Not least, and to the backdrop of a shifting landscape of businesses, consumers, and brands each pulling themselves through the moving sands of what life looks like now, WildBrain CPLG’s Lifestyle division has continued to discover, develop, and deliver new innovations, partnerships, and product portfolios – just like it said it would – to firmly establish its foothold.

At the time of Whellans’ appointment to her role and the formation of the lifestyle division within this powerhouse of global licensing, was, too, quick off the mark to get its own questions in front of the group brands director. Eight bizarre months later, and with a successful all virtual Brand Licensing Europe event behind it, WildBrain CPLG has provided us with the answers. Join below for a time-capsule talk with WildBrain CPLG’s Whellans:

First up, congratulations Victoria on the new role! What will this division be bringing to the fold for both the licensing industry and for WildBrain CPLG?

Thank you, it’s a very exciting time and great to be given the opportunity to lead our new Lifestyle division.  

Alongside our entertainment properties, WildBrain CPLG has for many years represented a number of non-entertainment, lifestyle brands, including Parental Advisory and Chupa Chups. Creating a dedicated Lifestyle division gives us the opportunity to focus on maximising opportunities for our licensors across such corporate and lifestyle brands. It also allows us to more actively pitch for new rights representations in these sectors. 

Unlike entertainment properties, which may be driven by TV, movie or YouTube content, lifestyle brands often require a more high-level strategic roll-out and a different approach to entertainment licensing. Often licensing is a completely new area for corporate and lifestyle brands and licensors rely on us, as licensing experts, to guide them through the processes and requirements to build a successful licensing programme.

The new Lifestyle division brings well-known clients such as Absolut Vodka, BBC Earth and Karcher, with opportunities for licensees and retailers to develop long-term programmes built on recognised, respected and trusted brands. 

Why is now the right time for WildBrain CPLG to be launching the Lifestyle division? How is this reflective of the strength of – or the changes taking place – within the lifestyle licensing sector?

The entertainment landscape has changed dramatically over recent years. For entertainment properties, the competition for shelf space is fierce and retailers are looking for different types of brands and consumer products to broaden and diversify their offering. While entertainment properties will remain a major part of the WildBrain CPLG portfolio, it’s essential that we focus on all sectors of licensing to increase our reach and expand our remit.

We’ve been growing our corporate and lifestyle portfolio steadily over the last few years with the addition of luxury leather goods and gift brand Osprey London, Yale University and cleaning-technology brand Karcher. 

We realised these brands require a very different approach and, as our portfolio expanded, it was the right time to set up a new division dedicated to supporting these licensors.

Licensing within the corporate and lifestyle brand space has become much more prevalent at retail, with consumers wanting to own a piece of these established brands and incorporate them into their homes and everyday lives. Licensors in this space are also more aware than ever before about how licensing can benefit their brand and open up new revenue streams, with minimal risk and investment from their side.

Can you talk us through your role with the new division? How will you be shaping the division, what kind of partnerships will you be facilitating, and what brands will now be under your remit? Also, what does this mean to you and what excites you about the role?

My role is to oversee and strategically grow the revenue for the corporate and lifestyle portfolio. This will include looking at existing brands within the portfolio to ensure these are being maximised, working with new licensors on strategy development and executing against this strategy.  

I am directing the consumer products roll-out, which will be unique to each brand with a focus on securing pan-European licensees and working with our regional teams to build the programmes at local levels. For some brands, this means securing partnerships in key lifestyle categories such as fragrance, eyewear and homewares that have a broad territory reach. For other brands, the focus will be launching a programme in one market first, before expanding to other territories. 

The lifestyle portfolio includes all properties outside of entertainment and sports, such as Karcher and Parental Advisory; heritage brands Yale and Harvard University; confectionery brands Chupa Chups, Mentos, Smint; Absolut Vodka, and Malibu; lifestyle fashion brandOsprey London, 80s fitness expert and pop-culture icon Richard Simmons and BBC Earth.  Authentic Brands Group has also recently appointed us to represent its iconic celebrity brands Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali and Marilyn Monroe, which gives us opportunity to look not just at consumer products, but also to explore promotions and endorsement deals featuring these iconic figures.

We’re very excited to have recently announced our representation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art to exclusively represent the iconic New York institution in UK, EMEA & Russia. We’ll be looking to create a merchandise programme that differentiates The Met by combining the institution’s iconic collections and art works, with the diversity and energy of New York. 

There has been a big development in non-entertainment licensing over the last few years.  Lifestyle licensing originated in the luxury fashion space and has since expanded to encompass heritage, automotive, corporate brands and more. How companies can take brand DNA and work with like-minded partners to develop brand extension programmes, lends itself to some exciting collaborations and gives consumers the opportunities to incorporate these brands into their homes, wardrobes and lifestyle. It also gives us the opportunity to apply our expertise in licensing with non-traditional licensees, to build long-term programmes for highly reputable brands whilst establishing ourselves within the corporate and lifestyle space.

The part of the role that excites me the most is the varied portfolio – working with such a diverse range of brands and organisations certainly keeps things interesting and no week is ever the same. I studied marketing for several years, so being able to work with these amazing licensors on their brand extension programmes and understand what they want to achieve and make that a reality, is an honour.

So, what have you got up your sleeve? Can you tell us about the plans for the brands under the Lifestyle division? From Absolut Vodka, to Karcher, to Yale University – it’s an eclectic and exciting mix, will there be a common thread in your plans for the brands?

We have a fantastic portfolio of brands under the Lifestyle umbrella – we want to ensure our portfolio offering is from a diverse range of industries, whilst ensuring our brands don’t cannibalise one another.  

Each of our represented brands is very different, with distinctive wants and needs. It’s important to know the brands inside out and what their expectations and ambitions are with licensing. These brands are often very cautious in their approach and the work we do with licensing has to make sense. 

Understanding how to maintain and translate a brand’s unique DNA is important to any brand extension. The goal is to understand what each licensor wants to achieve from their consumer products programmes – whether it be reaching new audiences, new distribution channels or broadening their product offering.  

For example, we have recently been appointed licensing agent for Harvard University for Europe, Middle East and Russia and will develop a strategic licensing programme targeting adults, teens and kids across categories including apparel, accessories, bags and stationery.

With the trend for products inspired by colleges and universities continuing at retail and in pop culture, we’re very excited to be adding Harvard University’s brand to our growing lifestyle portfolio. 

In the FMCG space, we have secured worldwide rights (excluding France) to another of Pernod Ricard’s brands, Malibu, and will be developing an apparel-led programme targeted at legal drinking age adults, with an initial focus on the US and UK.  Malibu is very much geared towards summer lifestyle – spending time with your friends outdoors – something we will all appreciate a lot more from next year hopefully!

On behalf of master global agent, Tact Communications, we’re also now on board for leading soy sauce brand Kikkoman in Europe – we’ll be focusing on fashion collaborations, apparel, accessories, kitchenware, and food gifting categories. 

Last month we announced representation of British contemporary artist Charlotte Posner. We’ll be creating a design-led consumer products programme across beauty, stationery and greetings, homewares inspired by Charlotte’s unique artwork with an initial focus on the UK market.

What are the first-year goals for the Lifestyle division? 

We want to ensure we’re working hard to maximise all the brands within the portfolio.  

Corporate and lifestyle brands take time to build, so although there will certainly be some short-term opportunities, it’s about having a strong long-term plan in place and working with the right licensees to form partnerships that benefit both sides. 

I am working with key sales executives across our local teams to build these brands, and also engaging with external consultants who have different areas of expertise needed for lifestyle brands. The focus will then be supporting our licensee partners, building retail placement, and working closely with our sales teams to broaden the programmes through local opportunities that compliment wider initiatives.  

Some of our brands are at the very beginning on their licensing journey so the next year will see first products hit the market which will be very exciting, and then for more established brands, it will be looking at opportunities to expand categories and retail listings.  

How have we seen licensing in the lifestyle sector change and evolve over the years, and how is WildBrain CPLG now positioned to move with it?

Lifestyle licensing has grown a great deal over the last few years. It can now be seen in every industry from music, fashion brands, automotive, FMCG, celebrities, influencers and the arts.  

Through the growth of social media, consumers can interact directly with brands and in turn brands can build relationships and trust with their target audiences which, when done correctly, has a hugely positive impact to brand extension programmes. Consumers buy into brands they admire, believe in and want to incorporate into their lives.  By expanding into licensing, brands can build a deeper connection with their consumers and create some very innovative and exciting products that appeal to both retailers and the end user.

WildBrain CPLG is a very entrepreneurial place to work, we have the support of the wider WildBrain group and the ability to think globally and act locally through our teams on the ground. Our structure allows us to adapt and act quickly where we see opportunities giving us the flexibility to evolve. We have a high level of expertise amongst our teams and are proud of our strong retail relationships across all channels and territories.  We will be able to utilise these relationships and build on our contacts to benefit this new division and maximise the properties within the Lifestyle portfolio.

 What’s the next big step for you?

One of our immediate goals is to finalise partnerships and deals for the brands in our Lifestyle portfolio and we’re already getting a strong, positive response from potential licensees. Although it’s a challenging time at retail right now, we have a wide variety of iconic and evergreen brands and are therefore able to offer retailers a variety of options suited to their needs, and also bring consumers something new and exciting. 

And of course, we’re always keeping abreast of social and lifestyle trends which may present opportunities to take on new representation for brands that complement the current portfolio!

This is an exciting new chapter for WildBrain CPLG. It’s the first time we have had a team dedicated to corporate and lifestyle brands and shows the commitment to this sector from the wider group. There is a lot to do but I’m very much looking forward to working with our partners and teams to drive these brands forward and make the division a key part of the wider portfolio.

Italian motorcycle brand MV Augusta revs up global licensing efforts with IMG

The Italian motorcycle brand, MV Augusta, has appointed IMG as its exclusive worldwide licensing representative in a move to expand its global presence through a new range of consumer products and partnerships. Its initial focus will be on apparel, motorcycle and fashion accessories, video games, and collectables.

Through the new multi-year partnership, IMG will work with MV Agusta to build a licensing programme focused on brand extensions and lifestyle products that reflect the company’s commitment to performance, quality, innovation and consumer engagement within local communities.

“IMG is the best possible partner for what we have in store for our fans around the world,” said Timur Sardarov, CEO MV Agusta Motor S.p.A.

“This strategic partnership accelerates the execution of our five-year expansion plan. MV Agusta has tremendous brand equity; it’s a truly beloved brand and an icon of design and technology in the motorcycling world. Working with IMG, the most authoritative and experienced specialist in the field, will help take MV Agusta to the next level as a lifestyle brand with a series of thoughtful, high-profile merchandising initiatives.”

Marcelo Cordeiro, associate vice president of licensing, IMG, added: “MV Agusta is an iconic Italian brand with a passionate consumer base who revere the brand for both its performance and design attributes. Amongst true motorcycle fans, its bikes are considered to be nothing less than motorcycle art.

“We intend to deploy IMG’s global reach and specialised licensing expertise in the automotive space to extend the brand into a range of consumer products through selective brand partnerships and collaborations.”