I recently returned from Licensing Expo, the largest trade show for owners and buyers of character properties and brands. As the licensing industry evolves to keep up with a flood of content and the fragmentation of media, what is the evaluation process for new ideas and new properties?
While content remains paramount when evaluating a property, the industry is now relying more on “engagement.” That is, how engaged your followers are with the property. It wasn’t too long ago when the litmus test for property viability was about reach and frequency. Now that social media business models have figured out how to sell page views and boost posts, that metric has stepped aside in favor of engagement – likes, re-tweets, shares and so on.
When you strip away the veneer of big studios, and the giant budgets of entertainment brands, what are the common denominators for properties trying to break through? Here are four main themes that run true to both character and art properties:
Engagement is key in a way that has meaning. Does your story or art connect with the end user?
Authenticity is essential. Is the property is relatable and identifiable?
Content should be applicable across multiple platforms. Traditional properties should not overlook new media and vice versa.
Above all, tell a good story.
While there is no surefire formula to success in licensing, look around and you’ll see these benchmarks apply equally to properties that have stood the test of time and to new properties that are just being discovered.
NewTack Strategies is now seeking licensees for the artwork of Norman Thelwell.
Norman Thelwell, one of the most popular cartoonists to have worked in Britain in the 20th century, is well known for his humorous illustrations of ponies and horses, and all things relating to the countryside. He work is perhaps most synonymous with little girls and their fat ponies. Thelwell was also a serious landscape artist, painting in watercolor and oils. With an art library of more than 1,000 images, his timeless humor is still very recognizable today, and much beloved by the equestrian world.
The artwork invites you to laugh along with Thelwell’s invaluable advice to aspiring equestrians on how to get into the saddle and stay there. Each cartoon is illustrated with sharp clarity & zany humor. The adventures of Penelope and her comic pony Kipper are current for a new generation of young riders and enjoy nostalgic appeal for their parents.
The artwork of Norman Thelwell is now available for licensing in the Americas and Caribbean exclusively through NewTack Strategies. We are seeking licensees across a variety of categories including apparel, accessories, gifts & novelty, stationery, collectibles, veterinary, special collaborations and more. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By avoiding what appears to be a clear case of copyright infringement, settling out of court looks to be the wise course for all. Singer Sam Smith’s Grammy-winning “Stay with Me” bears more than a passing similarity to Tom Petty’s 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down”. Representatives for both singers came to an amicable agreement in late 2014. With Sam Smith’s singing career on the rise, Tom Petty could be collecting royalties for years to come. One could say in this case, it paid to “Back Down.”
In case you missed this bit of trademark overreach, Disney attempted to register the name “Dia del los Muertos”, for merchandise rights from an upcoming Pixar movie. Trouble is, that’s the name of the traditional Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead” and trademarking a cultural holiday is a no-no. In the face of social media backlash, Disney withdrew the application. In the end, the film “The Book of Life”, a fantasy-adventure set against a Mexican “Day of the Dead” backdrop and directed by Mexican-born Jorge Gutierrez, is beating Pixar to theatres with its debut this week.
An ever-increasing number of major corporations are using their corporate trademarks and brands to build marketing visibility for their core brand by licensing its use in non-core business. Nowhere is this more evident than in South Florida with this latest in luxury brand extensions.