BarbieBarbie and Crayola have joined forces to further inspire creativity and imagination. By Bianca Herron

When Vice President of Global Marketing for Barbie, Sejal Shah Miller looked to reinvent Barbie’s fashion activity line in 2016, she knew the iconic brand had to team up with a best-in-class partner in the arts and crafts industry.

Ultimately Mattel chose to partner with Crayola, the brand whose products have sparked the creative spirit in children for nearly 115 years. The two iconic brands will launch a new product line this holiday season, combining the No. 1 fashion doll with the No. 1 worldwide producer of arts and crafts products.

Although Barbie and Crayola have a longstanding relationship in a variety of categories, including coloring books and Color Alive, this is the first time the brands are joining forces in the doll aisle.

Surf9Body Glove licensee Surf9 continues to grow its footwear offerings and expand into new product categories. By Jim Harris 

Surf9 LLC’s ability to design and source innovative products, as well as its knack for online marketing make it a trusted partner to one of the world’s most well-known watersports brands.

The Fort Myers, Fla. based company is the exclusive footwear, inflatable standup paddle board and kayak licensee to Body Glove, the brand known for inventing the first practical wetsuit. Surf9’s products include a full range of sandals and water shoes, some worn by many of the world’s leading watersports athletes. The company’s products are sold by retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Big 5, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Cabela’s, Famous Footwear and Rack Room Shoes.

“We provide retailers with great, high-quality products – including several that hold multiple patents – that have great marketing behind them,” CEO John Chenciner says. “We deliver our products on-time with well below industry average return rates. We are all about offering innovation and an awesome user experience, which has created happy retailers and consumers.”

MSU 2Michigan State pared down its licensees in favor of stronger partnerships with companies committed to its brand. By Tim O’Connor

After 30 years of building one of the leading collegiate licensing programs in the nation, Michigan State University (MSU) decided to take a good look at its program and realized it was working with too many apparel makers. The university had 150 licensees with T-shirt rights alone. With so many hands on the Spartan logo, it was difficult to ensure every piece of clothing embellished with the MSU brand met the university’s quality standards.

Over the past year, MSU has taken a new approach to apparel licensing by identifying manufacturers with strong marketing and business plans, and solid retail relationships that were willing to go above and beyond for the university. “We analyzed our program from every angle and worked to hone down our licensee base to those best-in-class companies that we felt were invested in MSU for the next three years,” Stevens says.

Texas AMBrand engagement opportunities drive business for Texas A&M and ’47. By Alan Dorich

All businesses revolve around successful partnerships, and Texas A&M University’s licensing program is no different. In recent months, the program has thrived by working with ’47, a Boston-based, global sports lifestyle brand.

When the two met, Texas A&M Vice President of Brand Development Shane Hinckley says he saw both organizations as kindred spirits. “We saw a lot of alignment with how they were trying to position themselves and how we represent our brand in the marketplace,” he recalls.

Based in College Station, Texas, the university is the third largest college in the country with 68,000 students. Texas A&M began its licensing program in the late 1990s and operated it independently before hiring an agency.

AuburnAuburn University’s trademark and licensing department protects the school brand and builds scholarship revenue for the college. By Kat Zeman

With more than 12,000 designs landing on their desks each year, Jennifer Blackmon and Jason Harbison have a lot to juggle. Aside from approving requests, managing trademarks and licensing for Auburn University involves constant communication with hundreds of retailers, licensees and fans.

But Auburn, like many universities, realizes that trademark licensing is a lucrative way to create value from intellectual property assets. It is becoming a significant source of revenue for many universities. For Auburn, that means collecting an average of roughly $3.8 million in royalties on an annual basis.

“Last year, we had about three million units of Auburn products sold,” says Blackmon, director of trademark management and licensing. “It’s amazing how many designs come through our office for review. It’s anything from t-shirts and tennis shoes to chairs, coolers, blankets and tumblers.”

ZAGZAG is rolling out new movies, TV series and games for children and families. By Kat Zeman

Though in existence for less than a decade, ZAG America LLC is already leading the TV and film entertainment market for kids and families. The Glendale, Calif. and Paris-based independent animation studio specializes in the creation and production of original, high-quality intellectual property in the film and TV sector, as well as for a variety of online platforms.

Founded in 2009 by French entrepreneur Jeremy Zag, ZAG has produced more than 200 half-hours of original content that has been sold to major broadcasters including Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Netflix, and to distributors in more than 120 territories. “We started as a high-quality TV animation production company but once Jeremy moved to the U.S., we quickly got going on developing film,” says André Lake Mayer, president of brand strategy and consumer products.

The company has eight TV series in various stages of production and three feature films rolling out over the next five years. Its multiple divisions include production companies and animation studios in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

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UCLAThe UCLA Store launches a 15-year partnership with Under Armour as the official outfitter of UCLA athletics and adds product offerings to meet customer demands. (Photo credit: Don Liebig; UCLA Photograpghy) By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

Tourists from around the world are drawn to the mystique that surrounds southern California. Located in the heart of the region’s biggest city is the world-renowned University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

“It’s pretty iconic,” says Patrick Healey, director – general merchandise at Associated Students UCLA/UCLA Store. “UCLA is very high-profile throughout the world. In Europe and Asia it represents the U.S., and in some countries, UCLA seems to be a word more than an acronym.”

UCLA is consistently ranked among the world’s top-tier universities and is the most applied-to university in the country with an annual average of 100,000 freshman applications submitted. The university has a “can-do” perspective that has brought it 13 Nobel Prizes, 12 MacArthur Fellows, 113 NCAA titles and 261 Olympic medals.

“UCLA’s spirit of optimism can be found everywhere – on campus and all around the world – expressed by the limitless possibilities and can-do mindset that helps transform students into game-changers and faculty into groundbreakers,” the university says.

NFLThe NFL’s recent product licensing efforts emphasize fandom both inside and outside of the stadium. By Jim Harris

Every National Football League fan has their own game day rituals. For many fans, putting out a spread of food and beverages for friends and family and watching their favorite team on TV is just as much a tradition as going to the game.

Meeting the needs of those fans is a high priority for the league and its product licensees. The NFL is adding to the products it offers to the fans it terms “homegaters.”

“This is something fans have been doing for many years, even before there was a name for it,” Vice President of Consumer Products Rhiannon Madden says. “People at different levels of fandom homegate in different ways – we wanted to be sure we offered something for them that fit into their lifestyle.”

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