Jimmy Picture2Jimmy The Bull licensing will include giftables, calendars, stationery, hydration, apparel and much more.

 

The Brand Liaison has tapped its most adorable client ever: Jimmy The Bull – the Internet sensation bull terrier created by artist Raphael Mantesso.

Jimmy The Bull, who is named after the footwear designer Jimmy Choo, licensing includes humorous images that combine photography and free-hand illustrations. The pet’s photographs are created by placing the bull terrier within hand drawn illustrations, such as sunglasses, the newspaper, and even a cape and a city skyline. 

Since its first release in 2015, the whimsical drawings of Jimmy The Bull have captured the world’s attention. The images were broadcast across global media and Jimmy The Bull’s Instagram feed became an immediate international sensation followed by his first book entitled “A Dog Named Jimmy” featuring a collection of the tongue-in-cheek imagery.

Expanding upon the success of Jimmy The Bull’s book of art and imagery, Jimmy the Bull licensing will include giftables, calendars, stationery, hydration, apparel and much more.

Lawson Richard headshotThe Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are developing at a rapid pace, opening up new pathways for retailers to engage with consumers. However, retailers must be mindful of how consumer privacy laws are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general. By Richard Lawson, partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP

 

It has been estimated that 80 percent of the world’s data has been created in the past two years, and by all reasonable measures, we are only just getting started. Already, 2.5 billion gigabytes of data are generated per day. To give some context, a review of one gigabyte of emails is estimated to take about 500 man hours. Accordingly, a review of 2.5 billion gigabytes of data would take countless lifetimes.

Further, this number is set to explode in the next few years as the Internet of Things (“IoT”) takes off, with estimates running from 20 billion connected devices on the low end to 50 billion on the high end, each generating yet more data. This deluge will be simply unintelligible without the addition of artificial intelligence (“AI”). The combination of AI and IoT will affect the consumer experience in degrees that make the past few decades of technological innovation pale by comparison.

Already in health care, AI has increased life expectancies beyond the ability of the best doctors acting just a few years ago. In transportation, AI is the heart of autonomous vehicles which promise to save lives and decrease commute times. In the home, AI and IoT provide consumers with seamless conveniences and efficiencies, from sensors detecting when you need more milk to reducing costs for heating and cooling.

New Technology, Old Regulations

For all the new opportunities present in these three areas of the consumer experience – and for all the opportunity this creates for retailers to engage with consumers – it is important to remember these ‘new vintages’ of data will be poured into the relatively old and established ‘bottle’ of consumer privacy law, enforced with equal vigilance by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and state attorneys general (“AGs”).

The FTC and AGs have been engaged in privacy matters in the digital space for roughly 20 years. Yet the structure of these enforcement efforts dates back even further, to the early 1970s, and the Fair Information Practice Principles (“FIPPS”). The FIPPS address core issues that will have a profound impact on the development of IoT and AI. For example, notice and choice to consumers as to what is collected, minimizing the amount of data collected to only what is needed to provide the service at issue, and data security all have their formal origins in the FIPPS.

Providing Notice and Choice

Notice and choice to what data is being collected and consent to the collection has long been a core issue to the enforcement of consumer privacy laws. For example, when consumers visit a retailer’s website, they often see a link to the privacy policy of the site, detailing what and how the data collected from their visit may be used. In the IoT context, this raises significant issues.  How, for example, does one include a privacy policy on a bottle of aspirin or a light bulb? When these items are connected, consumers can be offered tremendous benefits. However, detailed pictures of their health and lifestyle can also be assembled which a consumer might not want shared. 

Minimizing Data Collected

Data minimization – the practice of not obtaining any more data than necessary for the service provided and not retaining, which is collected for any longer than necessary – also has profound implications for IoT and AI. If collected data can be monetized, this necessarily reduces costs allowing for greater implementation of IoT devices. For example, instead of a GPS connected device on a wrist, imagine IoT devices imbedded in shoes, which in turn connect to devices on a sidewalk creating a highly detailed and accurate portrait of various speeds along a run. 

Under traditional FIPPS minimization practices, companies should avoid keeping this data any longer than necessary and to not collect any more data than needed. However, massive amounts of data regarding pedestrian traffic flows, when combined with AI, could allow for developments in urban planning, well beyond the initial purpose of the IoT device tracking a runner’s speed.

Data Security

Security has seen the most activity from government enforcement agencies. With the volume of data that IoT will be collecting, the sensitivities will be even more acute. Further, IoT data combined with AI processing power has the potential to turn massive amounts of innocuous data into something that can create a highly detailed portrait of an individual. And of course additional issues of malevolent actors arise with IoT, from DDoS attacks to the fear of the hacked autonomous car.

Expect Continued Government Enforcement

The FTC and AGs have a long track record of enforcement efforts in these areas of notice and choice, data minimization, and security. More recently, FTC Acting Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen has indicated that enforcement and regulation of these areas – in particular data minimization and the notice and choice regime – should be tempered by a focus on concrete harm to consumers.

While this argues that innovations from industry in the IoT and AI spheres will be measured by a cost / benefit analysis to consumers, there are other government actors beyond the FTC. The state AGs are very experienced in technology issues – the AG offices for the four biggest states (California, Texas, Florida and New York) each have their own dedicated privacy units. Further, AGs, while often guided by decisions of the FTC, are independent sovereigns, and fully capable and willing to act independently of the federal government. 

We are set to witness yet another revolution in how technology will affect our health, homes and transportation. Retailers looking to take advantage of IoT and AI must be mindful that these fantastic opportunities are taking place within the established context of consumer privacy law. It will be essential to take into consideration the notice and choice regime, data minimization and data security. Incorporating these concerns will earn consumer trust, while failure to do so could secure unwelcome government investigations.

Richard Lawson is a partner in the Consumer Protection and Advertising, Marketing & Media practices of law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP. Mr. Lawson can be reached at RPLawson@manatt.com.

Greg Shepard CTO PepperjamHaving a successful content marketing strategy toady is crucial to the success of an affiliate campaign. By Greg Shepard

With an explosion in content—and the growing technologies that support and serve it—it’s no surprise content multitasking has become the norm. According to a recent Adobe study, while watching TV, 59 percent browsed the internet, 39 percent checked a social media feed and 34 percent posted to social media. This means that the best way to catch a consumer is through multiple touch points – which means for a marketer to expand their targets and platforms within their content strategy.

Feeding A Content-Hungry World

More important than the quality of content is timing. It’s crucial that marketers approach consumers with the right content, at the right time. The same Adobe study found that, while consuming content on multiple devices, 81 percent are entertained, 76 percent are more productive and 53 percent are more focused. What a perfectly receptive mindset for a consumer to receive engaging content from a marketer, right?

All this content — and because there is increasingly so much of it — must designed in a way that makes it easily consumable. It needs to be succinct, display well on all devices, hold attention, and support your perfectly orchestrated omnichannel efforts. 

Content Fuels Performance Marketing

It’s no surprise the decline in revenue publishers generate from traditional advertising has led to the growth of native advertising which has opened huge opportunities for performance marketing-related activities. Content, always a staple in the performance marketing landscape, is now at the forefront of every brand’s marketing efforts.

This shift away from traditional online advertising towards a more content-focused approach has vastly expanded the possibilities for performance marketing-related solutions. Where there is marketing-focused content, there is opportunity to sell product and where there is opportunity to sell product, there is room for performance marketing to make it happen.

As an example of the injection of performance marketing tactics into content marketing, Gawker Media, according to Business Insider, generated $100 million in gross revenues bringing in $10 million from its e-commerce operations in 2015. Much of that revenue came from Gawker’s in-house native advertising group which, much like bloggers curating and sharing news items, curates retail and other deals and posts them as stories on Gawker. In those posts are Amazon affiliate links and Skimlinks.

According to a Business Insider report, Gawker's conversion rate ranges from 8 percent to 12 percent, much higher than the average 2 percent to 3 percent. In that same report, it was noted that Gawker ran an Amazon Prime promotion which netted 25,000 subscriptions for Amazon.

Performance Marketing-Focused Content Serves Consumers’ Micro-Moment Needs

Perhaps you’ve heard of micro-moment marketing? In Google’s version of the micro-moment, a brand pays Google to run an ad that is then found when a person performs a search for a particular product or something nearby. That ad leads to some kind of branded micro-moment landing page with an offer. The same thing can happen with content creators who are touting products and brands in their feeds, which spikes consumer interest.

Consumers then turn to Google to find the thing that will satiate their need, sure, they might see an ad at the top of the page but they will also see thousands of other organic sources for the same need.

A Marriage Made in Heaven

Performance-based content designed for an omnichannel world that addresses each and every need of the consumer? It’s really the natural and logical next step in a content-driven, performance marketing world. Multi-tasking consumers are eager for insightful, informative content that addresses their immediate needs. Having a successful content strategy in place can help meet these goals.

Greg Shepard, CTO of Pepperjam, is a seasoned veteran in building and running sustainable growth businesses.

BLEThe new features include a gaming activation area and an expanded brands and lifestyle theater program.

Online registration for Brand Licensing Europe (BLE), the largest licensing event in Europe, kicks off today, June 19, at www.brandlicensing.eu. The 19th annual event of BLE will be held Oct. 10-12 in Olympia London, United Kingdom.

Organized by UBM and sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), at this year’s show, BLE will host several new visitor activations and exhibitors, including the new Gaming Activation Area, which will serve as an interactive space for demonstrations, competitions and highlight the potential of gaming at retail, from concept to store.

BLE will also feature an expanded Brands & Lifestyle Theatre Program to include more sessions during daily, as well as interactive performances and demonstrations each morning. There will also be a newly revamped Product Showcase.

“We are so excited to be rolling out these new initiatives for visitors to BLE in October,” BLE Brand Director Anna Knight said in a release. “Gaming is a huge untapped market – one we know our visitors will really benefit from discovering. And this year’s educational program is our most comprehensive yet – unmissable for both buyers and manufacturers whether new to, or already familiar with, the power of licensing in business.”

PYPLALocal toy company volunteers team up to help thousands of kids in foster care.

Tens of thousands of children in foster care throughout southern California and across 10 states will receive the gift of play thanks to nearly 300 local toy industry volunteers who participated in the annual “Play Your Part LA” event hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) in partnership with National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA).

Nearly 50 toy companies participated in the event through a toy donation, sponsorship, or volunteer effort — including Bandai, Educational Insights, JAKKS Pacific, Mattel, Nickelodeon and Spin Master. Industry-wide volunteers sorted toys and wrote comforting letters of support at “inspiration stations.” These toys and letters were placed in special care packages that will be shipped to 50 National CASA chapters.

In total, more than 60,000 toys were donated in order to make this event possible, thanks to TIF’s Toy Bank donors, comprised of generous manufacturers, retailers and distributors.

“Children in foster care have to face very grown-up problems at such a young age, robbing them of a carefree childhood,” Jean Butler, executive director of the Toy Industry Foundation, said in a release. “It is our hope that the toys provided through this event bring comfort and happiness to these deserving children as they await placement in loving, permanent homes.”

About 100 L.A.-area foster children were present at the event to receive action figures, arts and crafts, board games, dolls, puzzles and more. They also enjoyed fun-filled, company-sponsored activities and games led by the volunteers.

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