A handful of licensors in the past three months have announced deals for a single functional grooming product or targeted collection. The somewhat unexpected pairings, involving properties ranging from designers to celebrities to gaming brands, have generated significant media coverage and social media discussion, some of it tongue-in-cheek and much of it positive:
- In June, Microsoft and Unilever introduced a range of grooming items including body wash and spray, deodorant, and shower gel featuring Microsoft’s Xbox and Unilever’s Lynx brands, the latter the Australian version of Axe. The items are aimed, not surprisingly, at gamers and are set to launch in Australia and New Zealand in July. Xbox is represented for licensing by Beanstalk.
- In May, Justin Bieber and Schmidt’s, a beauty brand made from all natural ingredients, forged a deal, brokered by Bieber’s licensing agent UTA, for natural deodorant under the Here + Now name. The product, which is vegan, cruelty-free, and devoid of typical deodorant ingredients such as aluminum, is positioned as part of a lifestyle that is focused on being present in daily life and making healthy choices. It launches in the fall through online and bricks-and-mortar stores. Meanwhile, Schmidt’s, acquired by Unilever in 2017, also announced a partnership the previous month with the Jane Goodall Institute for a co-branded line of lily of the valley-scented natural deodorants sold online and in Whole Foods.
- In April, design label Vera Bradley paired with Gillette’s Venus brand for a fashion-driven line of women’s razors billed as the first of its kind in the category. The Vera Bradley + Venus range encompasses core and special-edition products including a designer razor handle, cartridges, and disposable razors, as well as a scented shave gel. The razors all feature Bradley’s Daisy Dot Paisley print. The collection launched at Target (on and offline) in early April. Gillette is a Procter & Gamble brand.
Some of these functional products (especially body wash and spray) historically have been incorporated into licensing deals that include a broader range of health and beauty, grooming, fragrance, or self-care items. The idea of doing a deal for a single functional grooming item or targeted range, sometimes for a very specific audience, has been more unusual, albeit not unheard of. The incidence is growing as licensors look for relatively undeveloped spaces for licensing in the hot grooming category.
We will be taking the day off on Thursday, July 4, to mark U.S. Independence Day, but will be back to our usual Monday and Thursday schedule on July 8.