Why added value is key… it’s this week’s Licensing Lookout

Start Licensing’s Ian Downes checks out some FMCG activations, while also highlighting how Sainsbury’s has invested in its licensed apparel ranges.

As noted in recent Licensing Lookouts, there is no doubt that there are challenges ahead for retail and licensing.

With this in mind it is always worth noting how licensing is being used in different ways and in different channels. I picked up on some trade publicity for two FMCG activations featuring the Minions. The first is a continuation of an existing promotion by Brioche Pasquier.

The promotion runs on the Pitch brand and across other products such as Brioche Rolls. The 2021 promotion will run across seven million packs and will be supported by a digital marketing campaign. Brioche Pasquier has also announced that the campaign will see its biggest marketing spend ever. Quite an endorsement for licensing.

The Brioche Pasquier Minions campaign is a great endorsement for licensing.
The Brioche Pasquier Minions campaign is a great endorsement for licensing.

The other sees the Minions featuring on Yazoo milk drinks. Again this seems to be an ongoing success. Here the characters feature on-pack without a promotional link, but it is clear the Minions are helping drive sales for Yazoo.

Clearly licensing has to take care when working in the FMCG sector, but these two examples suggest that there is more potential in the category for licensing, particularly if both partners think long-term and build a campaign around the licensed property.

Interestingly I received some direct mail this week which reminded me that the Olympics is on the horizon. While it will be a different event with no fans in stadia, it is sure to be a global television hit. The Olympics seems to be one of those sporting events that draws the general public in and provides lots of memories.

Anyway, the mail I received was a brochure from Micro Scooters. One of its featured products is a Team GB product range that includes helmets and scooters billed as an Official Product of Team GB. I wonder if we will see some of our sporting superstars scooting to their events in Tokyo or perhaps it is early notice that scootering will be an Olympic event in the future! Anyway it is good to see Micro Scooters engaging with licensing and also taking a proactive approach to marketing with the mailshot.

The Disney apparel in Sainsbury's showcased a good variety of designs and design styles.
The Disney apparel in Sainsbury's showcased a good variety of designs and design styles.

I managed to take a quick trip around a Sainsbury’s store this week as well with a specific focus on the apparel department. One thing that struck me was how dominant Disney is in the category. I guess this is fired up by the hard work it puts in with retailers, the richness of its archive particularly in regards to classic characters and its commitment to design development.

There was a good variety of designs and design styles on show featuring Disney IP. These included some nice line drawings of characters like Cinderella and Belle, plus a pencil sketch styling for Mickey Mouse. There was an end cap feature area for Alice in Wonderland which also gives a clue to Disney’s success in this category – its commitment to support the brands at retail. It beds itself into retail well.

Disney beds itself into retail well - as evidenced by this Alice in Wonderland end cap.
Disney beds itself into retail well - as evidenced by this Alice in Wonderland end cap.

There were also some good examples of slogans and messages being used with Disney characters well – for example, a charming image of Minnie Mouse coupled with a ‘Hello Sunshine’ slogan. A cheerful t-shirt for the summer. It was also interesting to see that Sainsbury’s is using more in-store displays like mannequins to help promote products in-store. Its clothing department definitely feels more of a clothing outlet now with care taken in terms of display and layout.

While Disney was the dominant brand, there were a number of other brands on sale and particularly in the preschool category which featured the likes of The Gruffalo, Hey Duggee and Mr Men. All of these properties seem to be strong players in this category. Again here you can sense a real commitment to design and being ‘on trend’ combined with more embellishments on garments such as embroidery. Adding value to products.

The reversible sequin finish on this Harry Potter t-shirt is an example of how hard Sainsbury's is working on its apparel ranges.
The reversible sequin finish on this Harry Potter t-shirt is an example of how hard Sainsbury's is working on its apparel ranges.

Another example of an added value finish to a product was seen on a Harry Potter Hogwarts t-shirt which featured a reversible sequin finish. Sainsbury’s is working hard to make sure its apparel ranges are on trend and can compete on equal terms with ranges from fashion retailers.

Interestingly there was also a well stocked range of dress-up in-store within the apparel section. Dress-up featuring within the apparel rails is something that has happened more over recent years.

A Bluey FSDU was spotted in the toy aisle at Sainsbury's giving it good visibility.
A Bluey FSDU was spotted in the toy aisle at Sainsbury's giving it good visibility.

It is always good to see a character in retail that you have been reading about as well. I have read a lot about the Australian property Bluey and I noticed that there was a range of Bluey toys in a FSDU in the toy aisles at Sainsbury’s.

It will be interesting to see how this property develops and grows, but it is certainly been given a good chance at retail and was very visible.

Ian Downes runs Start Licensing, an independent brand licensing agency. His Twitter handle is @startlicensing – he would welcome your suggestions for what to look out for.

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