Nearly 12 years ago, Crocs Inc. revolutionized the casual footwear world with the introduction of its now-iconic clogs made with its unique Croslite material. The soft, comfortable nature of these clogs made them an overnight hit, and today Crocs has expanded from that one original product into multiple product lines from sandals to boots to high heels. According to Senior Director of Global Licensing Matt Lafone, the Crocs brand today encompasses more than 300 distinct styles of footwear, sold in more than 90 countries, but the company still has opportunity to grow. 

As one of the most recognizable brands in footwear, Crocs has a strong presence in the casual footwear market. However, Lafone says the company sees exciting opportunities to take the Crocs brand even further in the near future. Through a carefully managed licensing program that includes working with some of the biggest names in the fashion world, Crocs is expanding its core values to become something bigger. 

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‘David vs. Goliaths” is perhaps the best way to characterize Valiant Entertainment’s battle against Marvel and DC Comics. But like the biblical David, Valiant has many things going in its favor. 

First, all Valiant heroes inhabit the same universe, explains Valiant Chairman Peter Cuneo. This allows for interesting cross-stories and team-ups. The success of the 2012 film “The Avengers,” in which several comic heroes team up demonstrates the value of this approach. 

Valiant’s universe features 1,700 characters to which the company owns and controls all rights, Cuneo says. Valiant’s position as the No. 3 comic book universe behind only Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment and Warner Brothers’ DC Comics also places it in a solid position. Valiant’s team features many former Marvel staffers, as well. 

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Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP) certainly has a lot on its plate. Its job is to support Sony Pictures Entertainment’s properties by devising impactful marketing campaigns and product lines that resonate with consumers. To accomplish its goals, SPCP is working with its colleagues and partners to make sure all of the consumer products initiatives associated with Sony Pictures’ film and TV properties reach their target audiences. 

“We ask ourselves what our purpose is all the time,” Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products Greg Economos says. “Our purpose is to generate revenue, but it is also to increase consumer engagement with our TV and film properties. Hopefully, our work will increase awareness and drive viewership.”

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Simmons Bedding Co. knows that a good night’s sleep is priceless and that trust in an established brand can give consumers peace of mind. So with that in mind, it is continuing its product innovation and broadening its licensing efforts. “We are working on branching into new categories with our brands and conducting a study to look at new channels that may be relevant,” Director of Global Licensing Todd Merker declares.

Among the products Simmons currently licenses for the top of its beds are linens, pillows, mattress toppers, mattress pads, protectors, encasements and electric blankets. The company also licenses upholstered furniture – such as sofas, chairs, recliners and Hide-A-Beds®. The company also licenses futons, airbeds, crib mattresses, cribs, juvenile furniture, foam healthcare mattresses and foam overlays. 

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Tokyo-based SEGA has been a dominant player in the video game industry for many years. From its San Francisco-based offices, SEGA of America is the point of the spear in the Americas, driving consistent interactive entertainment along with compelling licensing programs to help support its leading properties.

“SEGA has some of the most compelling and recognizable intellectual properties on the planet,” Director of Licensing René Flores says. “If you look at Sonic the Hedgehog alone, the character has become an icon for generations of gamers. This has carved a very powerful place within the gaming space and allowed us to build our business incrementally over decades.”

The company has a long and storied history, one that includes revolutionizing the industry with the introduction of the SEGA Genesis game console in the 1990s. SEGA understands everything that is involved with creating characters and game environments that are compelling and resonate with consumers. The company has also aligned itself with best-in-class manufacturers such as Nintendo, which continue to support its titles and provide shared equity with top releases.

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Not many people say they have fun at work, but Robert Berman, the president and CEO of Rasta Imposta, does. “I think every day is fun, even if faced with challenges – I love coming to work and my job,” he says.

That is not surprising, considering Rasta Imposta’s business. Based in Runnemede, N.J., the company manufactures costumes for adults and children. “We put the happy in Halloween,” Berman says.

Rasta Imposta’s roots go back 20 years, when Berman created the company’s signature product: a hat with sewn-in fake dreadlocks made out of felted wool. Since then, the company has grown to offer 1,200 items that were born from Berman’s imagination and licensed properties such as Kool-Aid, Tootsie Roll candy, Tetris and Campbell’s Soup.

Additionally, the company sells costumes based on such hit films as “Ted,” “The Hangover,” “Dumb and Dumber” and “Caddyshack.” Berman’s sister, COO Jodi Berman, credits Rasta Imposta’s success to its creativity.

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For almost 50 years, the PGA TOUR has represented the highest level of competition in golf, pitting the game’s legends against each other and producing some of the most memorable moments in its long history. The PGA TOUR also represents the highest level of excellence in the retail licensing arena, as well, forming partnerships with top-line licensees to create products that bring the thrill and excitement of the TOUR to fans’ homes. According to Senior Vice President of Retail Licensing Tim Hawes, the PGA TOUR knows that to be successful, it has to work on its long game of global planning as well as the short game of developing new products that strike a chord with the individual fan. 

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Penthouse Magazine has been an international brand from its inception, when Italian-American founder Bob Guccione started what would become one of the world’s most popular men’s magazines in the United Kingdom in 1965. The U.S. edition was launched four years later, and today Penthouse is one of the world’s leading names in adult entertainment, with distribution of its U.S. publication in 45 countries, 11 distinct broadcast channels, more than a dozen premium entertainment clubs and licensed products sold around the world. Managing Director Kelly Holland says developing Penthouse into a global brand was a major focus for Guccione, and continues to define the company’s strategy today. 

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