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We’ve Hit the Pause Button

We’ve pressed Pause ……………..

‘Covid 19 – The Movie’ – it’s a film no one wants to see – terrible reviews on Rotten Tomatoes – absolute stinker for anyone in it – straight to DVD and in the bargain bin hopefully in a few months. A Hollywood blockbuster it aint.

But currently it’s the only movie playing; all the good ones have been delayed, and for someone who’s a Bond fan, the delayed opening of No Time To Die is a particular disappointment – but then in the words of Bruce Hornsby ‘ That’s just the way it is’ (one for the teenagers).

So here we all are stuck together in Nofunsville. One of the questions being asked is ‘what is the impact is on our industry of the delays in films like Minions, Mulan and Mr Bond’s latest outing?’ My view, for what it’s worth, is that we’ve pressed the ‘Pause’ button.

‘Normality’ has been temporarily removed from the screen and another film is playing. I guess we all wish we could press the fast forward button so we could skip through it, but unfortunately it’s not possible.

When we can put ‘Normality’ back on the screen what impact will that have? My own view is that the appetite for film and TV entertainment and the promotional activity around it will be very much in demand, a bit like drinking a gallon of water at an oasis. Its looking like we’ll have been a bit starved of new content, but you only have to look at what people are doing on social media, creating their own content, to realise the we, as consumers, crave new content. So when the barriers are lifted and these films are re-started and released, I think it’s likely they’ll be a massive upsurge in the demand, not only the for films themselves but all the periphery activity around them.

In truth I think the craving for normality is going to see a demand for licensed goods the like of which we have seldom seen – people will want to be entertained, to reward themselves, to have and do the things that they have been prevented from doing.

I’m not saying for one minute that the demand will in anyway compensate for this ‘Paused’ period, but I think it’s a case of belief and holding your nerve. To quote yet another film, in the words of Robert Duval in Apocalypse Now ‘Someday this war’s gonna end’ and when it does I think we all might be a little bit kinder, we might all take things a little less for granted but I also think that this ‘downtime’ is going to do nothing to curb our appetite for the things we love to do. A movie release is going to be a very special event in these circumstances and there are some that are currently on ‘pause’ that will be first to market when C19 is on its way out. The partnerships and promotions around them will be very important.

Of course we all have to deal with the current situation the best way we can, but part of doing that is getting ourselves prepared for when we press the ‘Play’ button again.

Stay safe everyone

Richard Pink B&LLAS Brand Ambassador 2018

Managing director of Pink Key Licensing, Richard Pink, is honoured with special accolade .

 Having devoted countless years to championing brands and talent, Richard Pink – MD of Pink Key Licensing – was honoured at last week’s Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards with the special Brand Ambassador of the Year accolade.

The award recognised Richard’s contribution to the industry, which has seen him work with brands including Kellogg’s, Pringles, SLUSH PUPPiE, Pan Am and Jane Asher since establishing his own business in 2005.

Prior to that he had held the role of head of promotions and licensing at Kellogg’s UK, while he also enjoyed time as head of licensing at Entertainment Rights.

On top of building his own business, Richard has also given his time and input to raising aware ness and credibility of brand licensing by working with respected trade bodies in his role as head of awards at the Institute of Promotional Marketing.

Richard was described by Max Publ ishing’s Joint MD Jakki Brown as “a really decent and caring chap, as well as a savvy business brand licensing expert”.

Richard told The Licensing Source “I’m truly honoured to win the Brand Ambassado r award at the B&LLAs and so proud to be part of an industry where your competitors are also your friends.  I honestly believe that the agents and licensees involved in brand licensing really can show what it is possible to do with a brand to make it innovative and take it to places the brand owners would never expect.

“There are so many friends that I’d like to thank who have supported and encouraged me, but I particularly want to thank Nancy for making such a difference to what Pink Key does.

The B&LLAs get stronger every year, as does the industry, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”

RICHARD PINK – B&LLAS 2018 BRAND AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR

Managing director of Pink Key Licensing, Richard Pink, is honoured with special accolade .

 Having devoted countless years to championing brands and talent, Richard Pink – MD of Pink Key Licensing – was honoured at last week’s Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards with the special Brand Ambassador of the Year accolade.

The award recognised Richard’s contribution to the industry, which has seen him work with brands including Kellogg’s, Pringles, SLUSH PUPPiE, Pan Am and Jane Asher since establishing his own business in 2005.

Prior to that he had held the role of head of promotions and licensing at Kellogg’s UK, while he also enjoyed time as head of licensing at Entertainment Rights.

On top of building his own business, Richard has also given his time and input to raising aware ness and credibility of brand licensing by working with respected trade bodies in his role as head of awards at the Institute of Promotional Marketing

Richard was described by Max Publ ishing’s Joint MD Jakki Brown as “a really decent and caring chap, as well as a savvy business brand licensing expert”.

Richard told The Licensing Source “I’m truly honoured to win the Brand Ambassado r award at the B&LLAs and so proud to be part of an industry where your competitors are also your friends.  I honestly believe that the agents and licensees involved in brand licensing really can show what it is possible to do with a brand to make it innovative and take it to places the brand owners would never expect.

“There are so many friends that I’d like to thank who have supported and encouraged me, but I particularly want to thank Nancy for making such a difference to what Pink Key does.

The B&LLAs get stronger every year, as does the industry, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”

Fizz Creations Win Best Licensed Home Décor, Tableware or Housewares Range at the Licensing Awards 2017

Fizz Creations scooped the Best Licensed Home Décor, Tableware or Housewares Range for its Slush Puppie Range at the 2017 Licensing Awards.

“This is hopefully the first of many awards for the team,” said Matthew Scrase, commercial director. “It’s been six years of hard work and we have come a long way. We are absolutely delighted.”

Pink Key Lands Pan Am

Pink Key Lands Pan Am! 

Licensing agency Pink Key Consulting is partnering with Pan Am to extend their highly successful licensing programme to Europe.  After many years of developing their licensing programme in the US, taking in products as diverse as chocolate and slot machines, Pan Am is confident they will repeat this success with Pink Key in Europe.

Richard Pink of Pink Key says ‘We are really excited to be taking on Pan Am. It fits brilliantly into our group of brands, there is a huge amount of art available and the potential for product development is fantastic. We are delighted to have such a cool brand as part of our portfolio.’

‘Pink Key’s success with heritage programs makes them a perfect fit for representing the goodwill and character our brand has developed over ninety years’ says Stacy Beck, Vice President of Brands and Licensing for Pan Am.  ‘Our rich history is reflected in decades of graphic assets that can only be represented fully with a partner well versed in nostalgia. Pink Key not only understands the historical aspect of our brand, but also the endless innovative possibilities that will help write the next chapters of our legacy, making them the ideal choice to represent Pan American World Airways’ legacy in the European market.’

 

Licensing Awards – Best Marcomms !

It’s that time again folks the panel members are gathered and poised like a coiled spring ready to pounce on your entries for this prestigious award. Last year the prize was grabbed by the Trolls (oooh sounds painful!) beating off stiff competition from Thunderbirds, Ab Fab, and the superb Epic Skeletor from Money Supermarket. So it’s probably time to remind everyone to get their campaigns in.

Remember this award goes to the best use of a licensed brand when it’s promoting another product or service. It could be a charity, a drink, yoghurt, financial services or anything other than itself. For example Top Cat promoting Halifax – tick, Star Wars on a cereal pack – also tick.

So what’s going to win it for you?

The most important things to be able to show is that the licence was used effectively – one of the ways this has been shown in the past is where the character has acted totally out of, well, character. Think of Postman Pat knocking Greendale down, Mr. Happy not being very happy, He-man and Dirty Dancing  – you get the idea.

But this doesn’t have to be the case – a couple of years ago the Gruffalo walked away with the prize with a campaign that was totally in keeping with the character of the brand. This was simply because the campaign was so effective. It had clear measurable objectives and it delivered in spades.

There are two stages to our judging process – firstly on-line after which we eliminate all but ten entries – these go through to the panel discussion where we nominate our top 5 and pick an overall winner.

Is important to write your entry so that you get through stage one – be clear, succinct but sell the idea – assume the judge know nothing, and most importantly – don’t just say it was great – say why it was great!

The entry page is open and if you need any advice don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll be more than happy to help richard@pinkkey.co.uk

 

 

 

Nom, Nom, Nom, Nom!!!!

No I’m not hungry, well I am, but that’s another matter. I am however looking forward to lunch at the Dorchester on 26th April where Nancy and I will be attending the Brand and Lifestyle Licensing Awards, or B&LLAs as they are affectionately known by those who take part.

The B&LLAs have been a huge success since our pals at Max Publishing launched them. They were a timely addition to the annual awards round as they recognised the clear difference between the ‘entertainment’ and ‘brand’ side of our industry. It’s a welcome recognition that the rules don’t apply the same way to these parts of the industry, and that anyone wise enough to take a ‘brand’ on knows that, although its often a slow burner, there’s gold in them there hills.

Of course you can’t be prescriptive about this, there are always going to be brands that buck the trend – entertainment brands that stay around for ever, and non- entertainment brands that get on a huge fast trajectory, but on the whole the B&LLAs were the right thing at the right time, especially for those of us who specialise in the area.

And so it’s a true delight to have 4 nominations this year

  • SLUSH PUPPiE – Best Licensed Food or Beverage Brand
  • Pringles Pencil Cases from Helix – Best Brand Licensed Children’s Product or Range
  • Kellogg’s Gift Range from Kimm & Miller – Best Brand Licensed Gifting Product or Range
  • SLUSH PUPPiE Range From Fizz Creations – The Inspired Innovation Brand Licensed Product or Range

Obviously we think they are all well deserved and we are particularly pleased to see three of our licensees nominated for their hard work with some superb product that were genuine bestsellers at retail in stores as diverse as Argos, Menkind, Rymans, Debenhams and Tesco.

Once again we are sponsoring a category with Kellogg Vintage, and we are looking forward to what is always an excellent and normally very messy afternoon – time to write off Friday I think!

 

 

Want awareness? Get incongruous!

Oh how we laughed – but little did we know what a trend it was to become.

Here’s the formula – you take your character, you link with a brand that wants to promote and then you make your character do things in the interest of that brand that would give the creator kittens if there wasn’t (I suspect) a healthy fee involved.

Now don’t get me wrong, frankly I’m all for it, but I just wonder how much further it can go, and whether the initial joke is in danger of getting a bit thin.

Early on there were some crackers with very high production values. The short Specsavers Postman Pat episode where he effectively demolishes Greendale and very nearly runs Jess over was genuinely funny, and you could see that as much care and attention had gone into the ad as went into the show. It also did nothing to harm the equity of Postman Pat. Equally the Ready Brek Windy Miller series of ads made with full stop-frame animation was arguably even better with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek. My personal favourite is Windy’s nudist Scandinavian cousin turning up and receiving a bowl of hot porridge in his unprotected lap (You Tube it – its brilliant!).

The Mr. Men have also been especially good at this with characters both playing to and against their personalities on behalf of Specsavers, and more recently TFL and Heathrow Airport.

Two relatively new campaigns also spring to mind in this area – firstly I suspect unless you’ve been under a rock you must have seen the Halifax campaigns featuring Top Cat, The Flintstones and Scooby Doo. You really do have to be careful with this stuff when you are dealing with characters that have such a strong association with people’s childhood memories. There is a real risk that you can be seen as ‘selling out’ which could potentially do the promoter no good at all. You can also potentially damage the reputation of the licence, especially if there is still a programme running.  On balance I think they’ve got this campaign right, the characters are credible and authentic, and because its clear that each character is being used to promote a particular Halifax product, its clear that the campaign has been thought through carefully and it works.

The second is really interesting – I’ve never been a He-Man fan, I missed that one, but I know from discussions that there are people out there who won’t hear a word said against it. So the Moneysupermarket Skeletor campaign fascinates me. Personally I think its hilarious, but mainly because its using characters I have no emotional attachment to and uses them totally out of context. Moneysupermarket are the epitome of cheesy, in your face, love it or hate it advertising that gets right up your nose, but sticks in your ears like an ear worm. For anyone to put their prized assets into that advertising environment is a big risk. Personally I think it works a treat and is very, very funny but I’d be very interested to hear what anyone who regularly invokes the ‘Power of Greyskull’ thinks.

What’s next I wonder?  She-Ra at Go-Compare!?

 

 

Promotions – Stop Clowning Around

Any excuse for a good gag – what’s the worst insult that someone can level at you?

‘Who’s this clown? ‘

That’s because it implies a) that you’re a clown b) that you’re not one of the better known ones.

Anyway, the reason for this is to introduce a marvelous little bit of anarchy thrown out by Burger King this month where they were offering a free Whopper Sandwich to the first 500 people who turned up at their Leicester Square Branch in a 6 hour window near Halloween dressed as a clown.

It was an excellent publicity stunt to support the launch of Stephen King’s ‘It’. However, is anyone else detecting a little bit of a slap for their largest competitor in there too. It’s a subtle one, but I bet that when it was discussed, someone in the meeting saw an opportunity to have a bit of a dig. I would also imagine that someone else (possibly the in-house lawyer) might have a got a little bit nervous about it possibly crossing a line.

Personally I think it’s an excellent and edgy idea, and easily explainable in the context of the film and the natural fear a lot of people have about clowns around that time of year. Nevertheless I suspect there was a bit of chuckling that the opportunity had presented itself.

I’m not an advocate of anyone abusing intellectual property rights, however I suspect that Ronald is big enough not to be worried about a relatively low level stunt like this one.

You only have to look at the tag line ‘Come as a clown and eat like a King’ to know what was going through their minds – and to put it beyond any doubt, have a good look at what the clown is wearing – look familiar?

It’s easy to get carried away with an idea like this, I suspect that anything more explicit for this campaign might have seen a ‘cease and desist’ flying around, and possibly worse. However, I think they’ve just about kept within the boundaries of decency, and the shortness of the campaign will mean its not going to overly worry the people at the Golden Arches.

That is until a picture emerges on Instagram of 100 Ronald Macdonalds tucking into a Burger King Meal, or someone writes a blog about it – oh hang on….

We’re Going on a Fun Hunt……..

 

Take a walk down the cereal aisle, the biscuit aisle, the sweet aisle, in fact any aisle you like – its so boooring!

Go back not too long ago and every one of those aforementioned aisles would have been choc full of promotional activity and the vast majority of it would have been licensed. Every packet of cereal would have had an insert leading to war in every home and a considerable amount of food on the floor in the battle between siblings to see whether the widget was in the packet or (every parents nightmare) in the bag. Its not just cereal either – there is very little inventive, licensed or either in any of the aisles.

And why?

Because the received wisdom is that licensing and promotions encourages children to eat (in vast quantities) food and drink that is going to do them no good. In reality the offending foods are probably a lot better than they were when I was growing up, but as lifestyles of children have become more sedentary (probably driven by the pull of digital world) a casualty of the change has been all the fun I used to have at breakfast and snack times.

Its like everyone just gave up and there has been a decade long self imposed hiatus on anything creative – as if your teeth will just drop out if you so much as look at a can of pop!

Its probably why a decent promotion stands out and the Ready Brek tie-up with ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ looks like a corker in amongst the myriad of ‘Days out’ promotions trying their hardest to look like works of creative genius.

This one is genuinely good though, encouraging family activity using the pack as the root of the inspiration. You could be cynical and say they are trying to tick as many ‘right on’ boxes as they can, but at least they are trying!

It’s creative and it encourages children and their parents to be creative too, it’s focused on getting active outdoors. It’s one of those promotions where the promotion has been very nicely linked to the core message of the licence and had given Weetabix a good platform to focus on the healthy side of their food too – a lovely example of overall activity being greater than the sum of its parts.

I think it’s a thing of beauty, but then I did deal with this kind of stuff for many years. Having said that it’s the kind of promotion that resonates with me as it seems to achieve everything it sets out to do without (it would seem) needing to have a budget that would make the FD spit his coffee out.

I hope that promoters see it and take notice – we need some fun back in these aisles, because if it isn’t there then no wonder our kids are just going to finish their meal and pick the iPad up.