Ace I SheetThe full-service independent merchandise licensing agency will represent Morgan Creek’s library of films.

Morgan Creek has tapped Creative Licensing as its exclusive worldwide merchandise licensing agent. Creative Licensing will represent Morgan Creek’s library of films including Ace Ventura Pet Detective, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Young Guns, Major League II, Exorcist III, Night Breed, Man of the Year, Pacific Heights, and True Romance.

“Morgan Creek has an extensive library of iconic genre films that work well for merchandise," says President of Creative Licensing Rand Marlis. "Films from the 1990’s are especially popular right now and Morgan Creek has some of the best. We intend to deliver quality partnerships that are reflective of the quality of their films.”

Managing Director of Morgan Creek Brian Robinson adds, “Rand and his entire team at Creative Licensing bring decades of merchandise licensing experience to the table. We are excited to have them onboard as our exclusive agent."

Creative Licensing will look to expand Morgan Creek’s library into merchandise categories that resonate with the die-hard collector and passionate fan base of these films. Such categories include but are not limited to: digital games, collectible figures, board games, apparel, accessories, promotional tie-ins and live events.

LaurDIYThe Brand Liaison secures licensing deals with best-in-class partners. (Photo credit: Brandon Woelfel)

Renowned YouTube sensation Lauren Riihimaki, better known as LaurDIY, has announced a series of new licensees creating a broad range of DIY craft supplies, tools and kits as well as finished products featuring unique designs and inspirations from LaurDIY.

New licensees including Plaid Enterprises, Mattel, Cousin and C.R. Gibson, have developed licensed products to launch in stores Fall 2018, and will be supported by social media and other marketing, including in-store appearances. All of LaurDIY licensing has been managed by The Brand Liaison.

“My followers have been asking for LaurDIY merch for so long and I really wanted to find the right partners that would be able to produce unique products at a price point that my fans will embrace,” explained Lauren. “Now with these incredible licensing partners, we have an entire collection of crafting tools and supplies, craft kits, jewelry, school supplies, and so much more, that will give everyone a piece of the LaurDIY lifestyle, without spending a fortune. Even my dog, Moosie, will make an appearance in the line!”

Catering to over 10 million Gen-Z and young Millennial followers across all social media platforms, the LaurDIY brand is based on 3 core principles: Trends for Less, A Creative/Custom Life and Fun, Fun, Fun. Lauren has worked tirelessly with all of her new partners to ensure that all of the LaurDIY licensed products stay true to these philosophies.

Plaid Enterprises has designed an entire line of crafting tools including fabric paints, markers, and custom embellishments such as stencils, stickers, transfers, stamps, patches and trim set to launch at retail in Fall 2018.

Plaid Enterprises’ LaurDIY products will be used by Lauren on many of her upcoming video projects; Mattel’s Rose Art division will be creating a collection of DIY crafting kits including plush animals, desk accessories, frame and clip calendar sets, shadow boxes and even custom letter board kits; Cousin has created a wide range of jewelry kits that will allow users to create their own jewelry and hair products for any occasion in their life. The kits include gem stones, cording, crowns, stretch and other fun components all selected by Lauren; and C.R. Gibson is launching a full collection of stationery and back to school products including notebooks, planners, agendas pencil pouches and writing tools.

The line will incorporate fashion forward elements like holographic, velvet, foil and denim material and will offer some DIY flare through stickers and patches. Meanwhile, The Brand Liaison continues to build the LaurDIY licensing program across a variety of brand-right extensions.

UnknownThe Toy Association’s TOTY Awards program annually recognizes the top toys of the year, from classic board games to innovative tech toys.

The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) has announced the 2018 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award finalists are available online at Amazon and Toys“R”Us® through February 2018, providing shoppers with unique access to a comprehensive list of the hottest toys of the season curated by toy and play experts.

Frequently referred to as the “Oscars” of the toy industry, The Toy Association’s TOTY Awards program annually recognizes the top toys of the year, from classic board games to innovative tech toys. Shoppers can trust that these are some of the hottest toys for children of all ages, as they’ve been vetted by the esteemed industry awards program and backed by Amazon and Toys“R”Us.

The TOTY Awards program supports the work of the Toy Industry Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the North American toy industry, and serves as a critical fundraiser to enable TIF to provide joy and comfort to millions of children in need. TOTY finalist companies have donated funds to the Foundation in support of a research-based program that will explore the role of play in trauma-informed care for pediatric hospital patients and their families.

“The holidays are the perfect time of year to celebrate the many joys of toys and play, as exemplified by this year’s wonderful TOTY finalists,” Jean Butler, executive director at the Toy Industry Foundation, said in a release. “We are very thankful for the generosity of so many companies, whose contributions will allow TIF to fund the second phase of an initiative with Nemours Children’s Health System, leading to the development of a new hospital program that will support and comfort sick children.”

This year’s TOTY finalists were reviewed and ranked by 20 expert judges, who considered each product’s creativity, design, play value, and marketing, before narrowing the field of more than 600 nominees to a slate of 122 finalists. Winners will be announced in February 2018.

Voting for TOTY 2018 is now open; winners will be announced during a celebration in New York City on Feb. 16, 2018. 

UnknownGlobalShop will be held in Chicago March 27-29, 2018.


Registration is now open for the 2018 GlobalShop Tradeshow & Conference, the nation’s largest annual gathering for the retail design and shopper marketing community. Attendees can register here.

GlobalShop takes place March 27-29, 2018 in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center. The GlobalShop 2018 show floor will be open March 27-28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Show floor hours on Thursday will run 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“This will be an exciting event, as GlobalShop is headed back to the city that started it all, Chicago,” said Doug Hope, vice president and GlobalShop founder, in a statement. “Our last year in Chicago was a huge success. All indications suggest that 2018 in Chicago will be even bigger. We strongly recommend attendees register early to take advantage of discounted registration and hotel rates.”

The 2018 show will bring a theme of Inspired Retail, designed to showcase the latest design trends and topics in the retail industry. The successful Experience Journey program will be making a return to the 2018 event alongside the new show floor area Design Speaks. Design Speaks is a content-driven, thought leadership hub designed to inspire retailers and brands.

WWD will return to present the GlobalShop keynote speaker, with Madden as the proud sponsor of the curated conference program.

Until Dec. 31, 2017, show floor registration is $30. From Jan. 1 through March 26, 2018, registration will increase to $50 and $70 for onsite registration. A full rate schedule for registration is available on the Attendee Pricing page on

Zak Storm Trifecta Launch ImageThe series has launched in the U.S. on Netflix, and coincides with the release of Bandai America’s toy line exclusively at Amazon and Mobile Adventure Available on Apple’s App Store, Google Play and Kindle Fire.  

Jeremy Zag, founder and CEO of ZAG, the award-winning global independent animation studio specializing in the creation and production of original, high-quality IP for kids and family entertainment in the film and TV sector, announced the digital trifecta launch of its latest original, boys’ action/adventure comedy TV series under the ZAG HEROESTM brand, Zak StormTM  – Super Pirate.

Man of Action Entertainment (Ben 10, Big Hero 6) created the series.  

Zak Storm — Super Pirate, the only modern-day transforming superhero “Super Pirate” series for boys six to 11-years-old debuted fall 2017 in the U.S. on Discovery Family, and Sinclair Broadcast Group's KidsClick TV.  ZAG and global master toy partner Bandai America changed play by launching – Nov. 1 – a digital trifecta for the tech-infused brand that ushers in a truly connected play experience by interconnecting the TV show, toys and mobile game.  

When kids WATCH the TV series, it will sync with the Zak Storm Super Pirate free to play mobile game to deliver small-screen battles and adventures that mimic the real-time TV show scenes. This in turn provides the player digital game rewards. The Zak Storm Super Pirate experience is further realized when kids collect and PLAY with Zak Storm physical toys from Bandai America, available exclusively in the U.S. at Amazon for the month of November. 

Each comes with collectible treasure that provides rewards for the Zak Storm mobile game. Kids simply scan the unique QR code on the collectible treasure into the free to play Zak Storm Super Pirate app to receive weapons, powers, worlds, strength, health and much more in the mobile game.

With the Zak Storm Super Pirate app, players take on the role of Zak Storm as he assembles his crew, explores the treacherous seas, and confronts Skullivar’s minions in battle. Ultimately, the player’s journey centers on digital gameplay powered by physical toy scanning—and that journey syncs with the TV show to LEVEL-UP both digital and physical experiences. The Zak Storm Super Pirate app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play, as well as Amazon for Fire tablets.  

“We have had an overwhelming response from kids to Zak StormTM – Super Pirate in the countries where the TV series has already premiered, and we are excited to launch this digital trifecta that allows kids to synergistically play across the Zak Storm world via multiple platforms for a truly unique play experience,” Zag said in a release. “We have created endless possibilities for fun, as kids are rewarded for doing what they already love to do: WATCH, PLAY and LEVEL-UP!”     Zak Storm™ – Super Pirate has already released in some key territories around the globe.  In Europe, the series airs on Lagadère’s Canal J, and Gulli in France; on Sony’s POP in the UK—where it is a top five title for 2017 ; Spain’s Clan TV and Canal Panda; RTS in Switzerland (FR); Italy’s Super!; and RTL Telekids in the Netherlands.  Other leading broadcasters across Europe and the Middle East who will debut the series before Christmas and early next year include Germany’s Super RTL, Finland’s MTV 3, Portugal’s SIC, and Canal Panda, Ouf Tivi and VTM/KZoom in Belgium, and Israel’s Zoom. In Latin America, Zak  Storm™ – Super Pirate is available on Discovery Kids Latin America, the #1 kids cable network in the region, where the series is #1 for Boys 4–8 in Brazil and ranks over the channel average for Brazil, Mexico and Argentina for the month.  

ZAG HEROEZ  Zak  Storm™ – Super Pirate follows the adventures of the headstrong Zak Storm, a seemingly typical kid who is swept into the Bermuda Triangle—the cosmic “junk drawer” of the universe—while trying to win a surfing competition. Discovering an enchanted talking sword (Calabrass), Zak is magically transformed into the swashbuckling, renegade super pirate hero, Zak Storm. Bravely committing to serve as the captain of a high-tech, living ship, called The Chaos, Zak encounters the Triangle's seven mysterious seas while battling villains and creatures with the help of a unique crew of misfits. An equally empowered Atlantean female first mate (Cece), a thick-headed, heavy-fisted Viking (Crogar), a neurotic space traveler, and a poltergeist prankster kid join forces with Zak in an effort to unlock the secrets that will chart their course home.  

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