Licensing International: The Licensing Industry is Livening Things Up by Elizabeth Foster It’s been over two years since the world first came to a standstill in the face of Covid-19. After all those months stuck at home, consumers are ready to leave the couch behind, kick their sweatpants to the curb, and return to beloved location-based experiences like live shows, retail popups, and theme parks. While consumers are excited to do something—anything—outside of the house, there is still a significant amount of strategy that goes into finding the location-based offering that’s best for your brand. Smaller extensions like pop-ups provide more flexibility, for example, while larger efforts like a live show see consumers spending more time with your property. There may be endless options as to how IP owners and licensing partners choose to move forward in this post-pandemic resurgence of location-based entertainment, but several trends stand out. Museums and Galleries Draw in Crowds Museums are a major focus moving forward, for example. This is thanks in part to timed ticketing, which helps museums control the size of crowds or offer flexible pricing models for low-traffic time periods. Fred Rogers Productions is planning more museum stops this year than it made in either 2020 or 2021. Fred Rogers has an ongoing relationship with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and those types of museum partnerships will drive the organization’s ongoing Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Grr-iffic Exhibit as it continues to tour throughout this year. In addition to family-friendly brands like Fred Rogers Productions partnering with the educational institutions to launch branded experiences, museums are also expanding their own licensing efforts. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for one, extended its partnership with global licensing agency Beanstalk in October 2021 to bring the Met’s collections and educational content to the U.K., Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (Beanstalk was appointed as the museum’s licensing agency for the U.S. and Japan in July 2020.) The Met’s recent licensing partners include Olympia Le Tan (handbags), Ann Gish (bedding and home accessories), Abner Henry (case furniture), Lingo (educational games), Pura (home fragrance), Scalamandré (textiles, wallpaper, and trim), and CASETiFY (phone cases).
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Jim Pressman (middle) with his
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), inked an agreement wife Donnapreviously (right) and daughter Kate (left). with Vans to launch footwear and apparel inspired by artists like Jackson Pollock and Salvador Dalí. Earlier this year, MoMA also partnered with
Nordstrom on a collection of more than 200 home décor products available in 10 U.S. cities. And the Brooklyn Museum tapped ARTiSTORY as its master licensing agency last fall, charged with inking agreements for its collection of 1.5 million works of art, craft, design, and artifacts. ARTiSTORY also recently added Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, along with its 1,600 paintings, to the company’s client list. IP Owners Go to the Great Outdoors Museums aren’t the only institutions benefitting from this year’s location-based entertainment renaissance, however. Zoos and walking trails around the world are partnering with beloved brands to create licensed experiences for fans of all ages. These efforts are benefitting from operating outdoors, as consumers’ comfort levels vary widely, and many people prefer to return to crowds in an open setting before committing to indoor offerings. This is especially true as new Covid variants continue to emerge, and governments are forced to adjust mandates accordingly. These outdoor activities also benefit from the fact that masks aren’t a requirement, creating Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. Acamar Films, for example, recently teamed up with ZSL London Zoo to launch activities themed around the preschool series Bing. Themed activities included interactive story time sessions, a self-led activity trail featuring a series of clues for kids to solve, and a photo opportunity alongside Bing and his best friends.