Licensing at Sea

Boats and yachts, especially of the luxury variety, comprise a business that does not often come to mind as a potential licensing category. But marine manufacturers are regularly involved in licensing partnerships and collaborations. A handful of initiatives that have occurred in recent months illustrate:

  • Frauscher Shipyard paired with Porsche for the 850 Fantom Air, an electric sports boat that integrates the technology of Porsche’s Macan, an all-electric car model introduced in January 2024. The first production boat model debuted last August, when the inaugural edition of 25 units became available to order. The boat features a Porsche-designed helm or captain stand (the module that contains the steering wheel, instrument panel, and other components) and seats, whose look reflects that of the seating in Porsche sports cars. It can be used on inland lakes and rivers as well as at sea.
  • Olympic Ribs, a Greek producer of luxury vessels since 1985, announced in February 2024 that it had signed a long-term licensing deal with Italian graphic novel character Corto Maltese for customized upgrades of its ultra-premium OLR 30SR, 40SR, 45SRC, and 45SRC Stern-Drive models. Created by Hugo Pratt in 1967 and represented for licensing by Maurizio Distefano on behalf of licensor CONG S.A., the graphic novel series is full of action-adventure and is often cited for its high artistic and literary quality. Its protagonist is a sea captain.
  • Scout Boats launched a brand partnership this month with Honda Marine, a Honda division that supplies boat motors. The focus is the launch of the Honda Seabrook Series of performance crafts, the first boats marketed under the Honda brand. Customers have a choice of center-console or dual-console models, customized with one of five different trim levels.
  • The Italian Sea Group, a super-luxury yacht maker, and one of its brands, Admiral, paired with Giorgio Armani in 2020 for a 72-meter Admiral by G. Armani megayacht, the first of two planned. The ship was revealed earlier this month after a long collaborative development period involving Armani Studio and the Admiral Style Centre. The Armani look-and-feel, described as subtly luxurious, graces both the exterior and interior.
  • BMW and Tyde introduced two collaborative electric foiling yachts in 2023. One debuted in May, timed to the Cannes Film Festival, while another, bigger version was introduced in December. The second, at 49 feet long, compared to 43 feet for the earlier version, was billed as the largest luxury foiling vessel available on the market for individuals.

Car brands are by far the most common collaborators in the licensed boat segment, contributing technical know-how as well as design sensibility. A small sampling of the many partnerships in this space includes Ferrari with Riva Yacht; Bugatti with Palmer Johnson; Mercedes with Silver Arrows Marine, a company dedicated to Mercedes-branded products; and Automobili Lamborghini with Tecnomar, another Italian Sea Group brand.

Despite the dominance of car and vehicle brands, the boat and yacht segment is open to occasional partnerships with other types of luxury IP as well, with Corto Maltese and Armani demonstrating some of the possibilities.

RaugustReports will not publish this coming Monday, February 19, 2023, as the U.S. marks the President’s Day holiday. We’ll be back to our regular twice-weekly schedule on Thursday, February 22. And on Tuesday, February 20, watch for the latest edition of our monthly e-newsletter. The Licensing Topic of the Month will examine the current fortunes of some of the categories that spiked during the pandemic lockdowns, while the Datapoint research spotlight will offer a look at the puzzle category. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can sign up here.

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