Every day is Christmas at Character Arts as all of its brand management efforts are dedicated to the timeless story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This year is even more special for the company as it launches new initiatives to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the television special’s premiere.


Some products have to work hard to make their name in the marketplace, others are just born into popularity. Whether you know it by name or image, the Rubik’s Cube is one of those naturally sticky products. When the Hungarian-born game was launched onto the international scene in the 1970s, the game – appealing because it is both simple and complex – was an instant hit. Now, 40 years after its debut, the Rubik’s Cube has a proven longevity in the public eye, but that’s not to say it hasn’t had its peaks and valleys. 

“This is the 40-year anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube, and if you think about it logically, the kids playing 40 years ago would have been eight to 12 years old, which is a sweet spot for kid audiences. They are now in their late 40s and 50s and they probably have got children of their own and maybe even grandchildren,” explains Charlie Day, president of The Sharpe Company, which is the North American and Australian licensing agent for the Rubik’s Brand Ltd. “The brand and concept itself has had enormous longevity because it’s totally unique and an instantly recognizable icon, but what tends to happen is there is a cycle of success where it will increase in popularity for a period of years and then it slacks off a bit and sales will plateau.” 


Based in Canton, Mass., Reebok International Ltd. is well known as a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of fitness and lifestyle footwear, apparel and equipment. At the same time, the company has an active licensing program that dates back to the 1990s, which it uses as a strategic tool to help Reebok become the world’s leading fitness lifestyle brand.  

“Through our products and partnerships, we want to be there for our consumers, to encourage them to move, and to share our passion for fitness,” Head of Licensing Linne Kimball says.


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. 

Valiant1‘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. 

Sony1Sony 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.”

Simmons1Simmons 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. 

Sega1Tokyo-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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