With Black Friday coming up next week, it seems like a good time to take a look at what’s up with some of the key Christmas-themed licenses whose annual prime time is just beginning. These evergreen properties expand their reach each year, increasingly extending well beyond traditional holiday-centric categories. A few recent examples:
• Universal Brand Development licensed BarkBox for a limited-edition pet-products subscription box tied to the holiday film Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. The box is being sent out to all subscribers of the company’s BarkBox and Super Chewer products, with the latter receiving a themed plush item in addition to the toys, treats, chews, and antler props that are included in all the boxes. Other Grinch deals range from a movie tie-in with IHOP, brokered by Universal, to a takeover of Jam City’s mobile game Panda Pop linked to the 60th anniversary of the classic character, licensed by Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
• Warner Bros. granted rights for the characters Buddy and Narwhal from its 2003 feature film Elf to Funko for limited-edition cereal varieties as part of the broader FunkO’s line. The Buddy breakfast food is available exclusively at Target, while Narwhal is exclusively at BoxLunch. Buddy is also featured this year on ready-to-bake cookies from Pillsbury.
• Disney licensed The Nightmare Before Christmas to Petunia Pickle Bottom for high-end infant accessories including diaper bags, backpacks, and deluxe bags with diaper wipe cases, changing pads, coolers, and other functional features, sold through BoxLunch and Disney retail channels. Baby products are a bit of a departure for this property, with its combination of heartwarming Christmas and ghoulish Halloween themes. Petunia Pickle Bottom makes similar products for other Disney licenses, including Mickey and Pooh.
Of course these and many other Christmas-themed properties continue to thrive in traditional product categories such as gifts, collectibles, ornaments, cards, wrapping paper, holiday décor, and children’s products. But the tiny sample of initiatives cited here illustrates the growing propensity for licensors and licensees to find creative ways to showcase holiday licenses within those properties’ recurring but limited window of opportunity, by seeking out opportunities that are unusual and/or trend-forward.
Raugust Communications’ free e-newsletter goes out next Tuesday, November 20, 2018. The Licensing Topic of the Month looks at retailers’ and etailers’ continued progression toward omnichannel distribution and what that means for licensors. The Datapoint research feature focuses on age ranges within the preschool segment. Subscribe here.