Having racked up some impressive sales figures in Britain on an indie level-30 million cards and 500,000 copies of eight Purple Ronnie books- Andreae recently appointed The Licensing Company of London to expand the 10-year-old property’s licensing gig on a global basis. TLC’s director of entertainment licensing Lisa Shapiro says the company intends to build the brand solidly in the U.K. before moving into other English-speaking countries, and later introducing a more ‘Americanized’ product in the U.S. Limited Purple Ronnie product has been available in Canada, Australia and New Zealand for a few years, however, a broader line of product can be expected to roll out in Canada and New Zealand in late 2001 or 2002. The product will be launched in the U.S. after it’s successfully introduced in Canada.
Shapiro says the plan is to ‘use the U.K. as a template,’ rolling out a large portion of licensed material to specialty stores by early 2000. In the past three months, TLC has managed to get 12 licensees on-board, all creating product for Purple Ronnie’s core target audience of females ages 16 to 24. Appointing other licensing agents in the U.K. will also help give the brand the push it will need to move from college campuses to specialty book stores.
The deal spiel
* For men’s and women’s T-shirts, fashion tops and baseball jerseys, as well as ladies underwear and nightwear: Blues Filobranca Group of London
* For stationery, writing instruments, desk gear, bags and accessories: London’s Class Act
* For drinkware, plush and keychains: Downpace of London
* For socks: the U.K.’s Sam Eden
* For 3-D plush backpacks and other usable plush: North London’s Giftware International
* For cheeky toiletries with names like Willy Wash, B.O. Basher and Love Lotion (available now): Grosvenor of London
* For holiday-themed novelty chocolates, chocolate greeting cards, lollipops, Easter eggs and chocolate fondue sets: London-based confectioner Kinnerton
* In the publishing realm, Purple Ronnie’s History of the World and four minibooks (including Purple Ronnie’s Little Guide for Lovers) were released in October by U.K. publisher Boxtree/Macmillan. The new books build on an existing collection of tongue-in-cheek poetry tomes about friends, lovers and the seemingly inexhaustible topic of ‘willies and bottoms.’