March 8, 2016

Old properties, licensing and new biz opportunities

Amidst bevy of international properties debuting into Indian retail, it seems that the industry is smitten by quite a good dose of ‘old’ being the new ‘new’. And hence, the market leaders are reckoning upon the nostalgia of yesteryear and transforming it into moolah making machinery through brand licensing. ...

By Shipra

Amidst bevy of international properties debuting into Indian retail, it seems that the industry is smitten by quite a good dose of ‘old’ being the new ‘new’. And hence, the market leaders are reckoning upon the nostalgia of yesteryear and transforming it into moolah making machinery through brand licensing.

Remember Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup? Yes the TV series featuring three girls with superpowers, who are frequently called upon by the town’s mayor to help fight nearby criminals using their powers. Good news is that they are returning this year…not just on TV, but also in the retail shelves (courtesy the revived licensing program), which depicts industry’s immense interest in making the gold out of what is old.

We’re seeing nostalgia reinvention come to life in pop culture today, from media to brands to consumer products and more. The industry is making the most of this nostalgia by not just connecting with adult’s obsession with their youth, but also paving a way to woo the millennial youth, who may not have seen the series but are well informed about the characters.

The success mantra is to hit the sweet spot nostalgic to more than two generations; otherwise capturing each generation’s fantasy through different brands can be tiresome, special mention to the draining ROI.

It’s interesting to see that teens today love to watch Simpsons, drawn by the stress-free life it depicts when there was no overload of digital connections. Breaking Bad is also experiencing resurgence with the 20+ crowd because of its culture depicting protagonist turning to antagonist. Not only the series has been success, but also the property has been licensed to Red Wolf for T-shirts.

Gregory Economos, Senior Vice President, Global Consumer Products, Sony Pictures Entertainment, said, “Breaking Bad is not just an extraordinary show but the inspiration for an inventive and original licensing campaign.”

The penchant for old and iconic properties is growing in consumer space as those properties have already been tested and they have a dedicated fan base. Sony Pictures has licensed ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Soul’ across categories including masks and vodka.

According to Ameya Thakur, Founder & Managing Partner for Redwolf, “Properties such as Breaking Bad come with ready and willing audiences that truly care about the world that show has created. it becomes a natural extension of their personality and they want
to own and showcase quality merchandise to flaunt their fandom.”

According to Pete Yoder, VP consumer products for North America, Cartoon Network Enterprises, “As the original ambassador of ‘girl power’, The Powerpuff Girls brand continues to resonate with people of all ages.With proven success and great content plans in place, there’s so much potential that we’re looking forward to explore with our licensing partners in the coming weeks.”

Areas for strong ROI

Fashion with more than 60 per cent market share, has been the dominant category so far. And, T-shirts as a category take away a major chunk of revenue generating from consumer goods. In 2014, the T-shirt market of India was valued at Rs 13,830 crore and is like to reach Rs 24,940 crore by 2019.

Comparatively lower entry levels and manufacturing cost make this segment as the most promising one for retailers. Moreover the price points (approx Rs 500 to Rs 1,000) act as a sweet spot for licensees. Closely following the roster are accessories like bags, coasters, phone covers, coffee mugs and other accessories.

Old property, newer take

The target group i.e. youth and early adults, works wonder for such properties to find a newer abode. In a bid to woo this extended group of audiences, retailers are looking out for newer segments and bar accessories are the latest ones to adorn the cabinets of a tv-series buff.

In words of Jaineel Aga, CEO, PlanetSuperheroes.com, “the wider and mature consumer base offer leverage to the retailers and hence we can look out for more mature categories for such properties – bar accessories being the latest ones.”

“We are soon launching Family Guy beer mugs and other accessories carrying adult humour — the USP of Family Guy – which will be well received by the consumers,” he added.

Our take

So how do old brands learn newer tricks? If the brands or the yester year’s brands want to take on consumers’ nostalgic emotions to pull off a successful re-launch, which is not just about looking back to past, but about re-imagining how a beloved iconic brand can still be authentic and relevant today.

The licensors as well as licenses need to seek out a category relevant for the brand, defining its unique meaning, energy and relevance to consumers today. And it requires a real emotional connection with a brand as well as an internal champion who can see the way to the future brand positioning.

 

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