OHST SlatWall

The Ohio State University licenses products that help alums show their loyalty to the university.

By Alan Dorich

The ways products are licensed for colleges have changed over the past 30 years, Rick Van Brimmer says. “Back into the ‘80s, the people standing at your tailgate were probably wearing a sweatshirt [with the college logo] under their regular jacket [or] a t-shirt when it was warmer,” he recalls.

Now when people go to a tailgate party, the college’s logos can be seen on nearly everything, including tents, tables, grills, food products, and even paper towels and plates. “Now that passion and loyalty [to a school] is reflected in all the products that are there,” he says.

Van Brimmer is an assistant vice president for business advancement, affinity and trademark management for The Ohio State University, which has licensed products with its name since 1974. Located in Columbus, Ohio, the college opened its main campus 144 years ago and was recently ranked 16th among the nation’s best public universities by U.S. News & World Report.

The licensing program, Van Brimmer says, began when a part-time paralegal in Ohio State’s contract office began registering its marks. “That was a woman named Anne Chasser, who is one of the legends of the industry and my  boss for several years before I took over,” he recalls.


Michigan State University’s licensing efforts give its students, staff and alumni the opportunity to show their support for the school year-round while financially supporting student programs and scholarships.

By Jim Harris

The Michigan State University Spartan is more than just a representation of the school’s nationally known athletic programs. The Spartan is a symbol of the pride that students, staff and alumni take in the university – a pride that extends well beyond football and basketball seasons.

“Our students and fans have a vested interest in the university, are passionate about it and want to continue supporting it not just during a season, but year-round,” Director of Licensing Samantha Stevens says.

Established in the mid-1980s as a way to protect the university’s image by making sure the Spartan brand and related marks and logos were being used properly, MSU’s licensing program has evolved into a way for the public institution of higher learning to tell its story beyond the East Lansing, Mich., campus.

Mattel Halo 6in Falll16 Clipped For Marketing 02

The Halo sci-fi franchise is adding licensed products and licensees and expanding its market to boys ages eight to 14 and into Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Halo franchise is an award-winning collection of properties with more than $5 billion in worldwide sales to date that has transcended video games and grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. In 2004, the Halo Franchise pursued a dedicated licensing program with the release of Halo 2. Since then, more than $1.5 billion in Halo consumer products have been sold worldwide.

The list of licensed products includes action figures, apparel, accessories, construction toys, novels, comics, video and music. “We‘ve got a pretty broad licensing program,” Director of Consumer Products John Friend emphasizes. “We’re involved in everything from toys and collectibles through all categories of soft goods, some home goods and then including films, DVD publishing and digital sell-through of original programming, such as Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn on Netflix.”

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