BLE is less than five days aways and it's all hands on deck at Pink Key Licensing as the firm - once known as 'the Kellogg's agency' - prepares to showcase its biggest IP portfolio to date.
Pan Am, Slush Puppie and Pringles will all be sharing the spotlight with the widely popular breakfast brand as Richard Pink and team continue to break new ground in food and beverage brand licensing.
Licensing.biz catches up with the man in question...
How has the licensing portfolio evolved and expanded over the last year?
It’s been a year of expanding our existing brand portfolio - we are always on the look out for brands that can add something to what we do, but there is so much potential for what we already have we never feel the need to add any more brands unless we love it and feel that we can do something with it.
This year has seen a huge expansion in our apparel ranges that has given us global expansion on ranges for Kellogg’s, Pringles and Pan Am in H&M and the Indetex Group.
We are also really excited about the development of a new range of Housewares for Kellogg’s that was launched at Autumn Fair as well as the Slush Puppie frozen pouches that launched last month and are currently doing really well in Tesco.
How does this expansion reflect the growth of Pink Key and where Pink Key is as a business today?
Last year, we made the decision to re-name as Pink Key Licensing as our work was so much more as a licensing agency. We still do consultancy projects to help licensees find the right brand and are working on a large one right now, but the immediate future is all about developing ourselves as an agency with the right portfolio of brands.
What are the key trends that Pink Key is tapping into with its current portfolio? Why are these key properties for the coming years?
We have seen a huge rise in the demand of the simplest of things - fortunately our brands have very recognisable logos and there has been a big rise in demand for simple logo based designs.
This has been very strong in food and drink based brands, however, simple straightforward logo based designs like Pan Am and its renowned globe design have also been in demand. It’s a trend for sure, but it doesn’t show any signs of abating just yet.
Having said that, our brands are timeless - they don’t have massive windows of exposure that entertainment brands need to hit - they are evergreen and there is always a constant demand for them because of the variety of available art and our flexibility on how it can be used. That’s the kind of brand w like and we know how to manage it.
What sort of reception and uptake have you had to the expanded portfolio now?
For many years, we were simply the ‘Kellogg’s’ agency - however, the addition of Pringles, Slush Puppie and Pan Am has taken us into areas we hadn’t tapped into before. We have had some great success with Pringles pencil cases and puzzles, for instance, which have been bestsellers and Slush Puppie has been a star performer over the last 12 months with mammoth sales on the home Slush Puppie maker. I think people know us for the type of brand we take and the care we take in getting the strategy right.
Who are some of the key partners for you guys now across the property portfolio?
Our retail relationships with partners like H&M have become really important this year. We will always want to work with licensees and our partnership with Kimm and Miller for housewares and gifting for Kellogg Vintage is exceptionally important to us - we work very closely together.
It’s the same with all of our Slush Puppie licensees, particularly Fizz Creations and Manchester Drinks, and on Pringles our relationship with Maped Helix is key.
How well do the Pink Key properties lend themselves to the emerging trends in the licensing space such as digital and experiential?
Good question! For us its important to make sure we are in tune with what the brand owners want - some of them see this as big area of opportunity and we think that experiential could be a very rich area for a brand like Pan Am where the flying experience is all important.
Food and drink is a central theme for the IP you have and a central theme to this year's BLE - How big can the food and drink sector become in the licensing space?
I think the potential is huge - its still in its infancy - but I think its hugely important for these brands to understand where their greatest strengths lie before they venture in - its always better to go deep than go broad I think and that requires an understanding of the core attributes and values that make up a brand.
If you push it too far it will begin to dilute, and brand that does the right things well can achieve longevity.