Lovehoney, Tokidoki and the rise of pop culture within the licensing industry

Robert Hutchins

By Robert Hutchins

April 27th 2017 at 9:56AM
UPDATED April 27th 2017 at 10:57AM
Lovehoney, Tokidoki and the rise of pop culture within the licensing industry

Licensing.biz catches up with Lovehoney’s brand and marketing director, Helen Balmer as she talks through the firm’s latest brand extension and how pop culture is leaving a smile on the face of adults across the globe.

In this era of the millennial it’s little wonder that the modern day licensing industry is seeing a surge in demand from the pop culture scene.

Last month, the research and analysis firm, NPD Group revealed that kidults – adults buying toys for themselves – had become a driven force of the toy industry, helping the market grow three times faster than the children’s market itself.

With a slew of major entertainment brands ringing true among the older audiences, including the likes of Star Wars, Marvel and more, it stands to reason that among the most popular toys bought by adults for adults emerge from the collectables market.

Adult audiences, it seems, are connecting with children’s brands more so than ever. And nowhere is this more evident than within the latest licensing agreement struck by the adult pleasure toy manufacturer and retailer, Lovehoney with the growing pop culture brand, Tokidoki.

Licensing.biz catches up with Lovehoney’s brand and marketing director, Helen Balmer as she talks through the firm’s latest brand extension and how pop culture is leaving a smile on the face of adults across the globe.

What has response been like to the Tokidoki range, has it equalled the success of the Fifty Shades collection you launched back in 2015?

The response to Tokidoki x Lovehoney has been overwhelmingly, especially in the US where Tokidoki is a very recognisable brand. In fact, the Unicorn Massage Wand Vibrator completely sold out its initial shipment. In the UK, Tokidoki is seen more as an underground brand and therefore has a particular cult following.

It is incomparable with Fifty Shaes of Grey – The Official Pleasure Collection as they have very different audiences. The Fifty Shade range is aimed at those who are fans of the books and films.

Whereas, Tokidoki x Lovehoney has more of a collectors feel and it is colourful, fashion-forward and style savvy. It is attracting the key young adult demographic and fans of the brand, looking for their first pleasure product purchase.

What inspired the Tokidoki range?

Neal Slateford, Lovehoney’s co-founder was a fan of the Tokidoki brand and liked the collaborations they had done with other brands.

He met with Simone Legno, Tokidoki’s co-founder and creative director, they selected iconic characters from the Tokidoki universe and created unique characters for the range.

These were then combined with some of Lovehoney’s bestselling products to create a collectable range of sex toys.

How far do you think pop culture is influencing the modern licensing sector – will we see its popularity rise in the market?

The LIMA Licensing Awards are a perfect example of how pop culture is most definitely influencing the modern licensing sector. Looking at the 2017 nominees, you can see there are many pop culture icons that have collaborated with different brands.

We are delighted that our collaboration with Tokidoki has been nominated for a LIMA award in the health and beauty aids category.

Can we expect to see more pop culture licensed lines from Lovehoney moving forward?

We are always looking for new collaboration, we see huge opportunities to collaborate further with other pop culture brands to widen the appeal of the category.

What do you look for in a licensed property when developing ideas for new collaborations?

We look for brands that can help us spread our sexual happiess message on a global scale. We look to collaborate with partners that have similar attributes to our own brand and share our values. Furthermore, we use our research and insight to identify and develop new opportunities.