Expanding Brand Horizons: A Look into Food and Beverage Licensing with The Joester Loria Group

“Food and Beverage brand licensing has seen significant and steady growth in the last five years,” says Joanne Loria, executive vice president and COO. “Much of it has come from true food extensions, but there has also been a lot of activity around extensions into closely adjacent categories. Entenmann’s new line of bakeware is a great example of a natural and seamless extension.”

The Joester Loria Group is a full-service licensing and marketing agency that has been delivering innovative, strategic approaches to brand-building for its diverse portfolio of leading corporate and media clients for nearly 15 years. JLG works closely with clients to conceive and implement strategic consumer product brand extensions that closely align with the brand, with the goal of delivering revenue and new opportunities for consumer engagement.

Founded in 1999 by highly regarded industry experts Debra Joester and Joanne Loria, The Joester Loria Group delivers marketing know-how, retail expertise, applied creativity and a track record of exceptional success. Licensing programs developed by The Joester Loria Group have garnered dozens of industry best brand extension and product excellence awards.

Cereal Merchandising That’s GRREAT!

One of JLG’s newest clients is the worldwide leader in the breakfast arena. Kellogg tapped JLG in January 2012 to develop strategic licensing programs for its portfolio of iconic brands including Special K, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Pop Tarts and Eggo. Each program is being developed around key themes and trends relevant to each brand’s unique attributes and across a full range of lifestyle products, housewares and home goods, as well as some very select food extensions. “We are off to a great start!” Loria says.

“We are excited about the enormous potential of our newest CPG client, Kellogg,” she adds. “In a very short time, we have been able to meet a key objective by bringing several Kellogg brands into the housewares and tabletop with category leaders such as Tabletops Unlimited.”

JLG launched Kellogg housewares items at the 2013 International Home + Housewares Show in March in Chicago, which drew more than 60,000 attendees and more than 2,100 exhibitors from 43 countries. The company behind advertising icons like Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and Snap, Crackle and Pop had its various licensees display their products for the first time, including:

•Tabletops Unlimited’s wide range of dinnerware, serveware, prepware, glassware, cookie jars and canisters featuring current and vintage Kellogg’s characters and graphic designs;

•Acme International’s kitchen utensils line featuring Kellogg’s Vintage, Special K, Rice Krispies and Keebler brands; and

•Evriholder’s line of Rice Krispies Treats “Shaperz,” cookie-cutter-type molds made specifically for this snack, along with other Kellogg’s related merchandise.

Joester says this launch was designed to bring Kellogg’s’ various identities into the consumers’ daily routines – and reinforce the emotional connection with Kellogg’s brands. “The first initiative was to help extend the breakfast experience with additional Kellogg’s products that celebrate the core essence and appeal of iconic brands such as Special K, Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes,” she adds.

Along with these houseware items, JLG and Kellogg licensees are launching various other lifestyle products that will expand the brands across retail platforms. Kellogg apparel and loungewear will feature heritage artwork, old and new characters, and popular slogans. Old-school versions of Kellogg’s logos and characters are particularly popular lately.

“The vintage category continues to be a strong trend,” Joester says. “Kellogg has a wealth of vintage assets ranging from characters and packaging to advertising slogans and original Norman Rockwell art.  Adding a contemporary twist refreshes the product while  maintaining the vintage appeal.”

Taking SoBe to the Exotic

While JLG has developed dedicated programs for each of Pepsi and Kellogg’s brands, these brands’ iconic stature in pop culture and the decades of history behind their success is a common thread. “Kellogg and Pepsi brands have a wealth of historic graphics in their archives, providing themes and design cues that are remarkably adaptable to today’s trends,” Loria says.

Most recently, JLG helped Pepsi expand its SoBe brand of flavored waters and teas that have boomed in the past few years, into the frozen novelty category.

“Historically, there were a handful of flavors that dominated the beverage business but the introduction of exotic flavored waters, teas and elixirs have changed the landscape,” Joester says. “SoBe is a leader in flavor formulation and has introduced dozens of flavors consumers adore, as expressed in tweets, blogs and beverage sales.”

SoBe is particularly popular with millennials, who represent the largest percentage of consumers who drink flavored waters and teas. SoBe frozen bars, produced by category leader Philly Swirl, will offer brand loyalists and new consumers another opportunity to enjoy the six most popular SoBe flavors, with Yumberry Pomegranate and Pacific Coconut the first to launch. These healthful treats – only 20 to 40 calories in each bar – use the same flavor extracts as the beverages. And so far, the market is demonstrating that the demand is there.

“The retail reaction has been extremely positive,” Joester says, “and receptive to opportunities to work with SoBe and Philly Swirl in marketing, sampling and other retailer initiatives that will drive sales of beverages and the frozen bars. “

‘Everyone’s Got A Favorite’

Another food icon – Entenmann’s – has had a long-standing partnership with JLG. The agency was tapped to develop and execute a licensing strategy designed to expand Entenmann’s retail footprint in food and closely related categories that integrate the freshness, flavors and aromas associated with the trusted 100-year-old sweet baked goods brand.

“Almost everyone has a memory of the Entenmann’s cake box and knife sitting on their kitchen counter,” Loria says. “And it’s true, everyone does have a favorite!”

Late last year, JLG secured licensing partner White Coffee to launch a new line of Entenmann’s flavored coffees featuring signature classics such as cinnamon crumb cake, chocolate donut, vanilla and hazelnut. Building on the initial success, JLG is working with Entenmann’s and White to extend the coffee line this year with seasonal blends such as Entenmann’s pumpkin spice, a traditional non-flavored breakfast and dark roast blend, and single-serve K Cups.

The Entenmann’s Bakeware collection from Dura-Kleen USA was introduced in 2012 with considerable success. The growing collecting of branded bakeware now includes trend relevant items such as cake pop pans and seasonal themed pans, as well as additions to its successful line of kid’s bakeware products. All Entenmann’s Bakeware includes bonus recipes for all kinds of delicious sweet baked goods inspired by Entenmann’s.

And speaking of recipes, Entenmann’s will be introducing its fourth baking book later this year. Publishing partner Parragon is in development for the new Entenmann’s Bake Shop recipe book featuring a variety of recipes with beautiful photography, along with a baking crafts section.

If you love Entenmann’s but not necessarily the calories, Entenmann’s scented candles offer a new way to experience the enticing aromas of some of the brand’s most popular signature baked goods, such as pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cookie and raspberry danish. Entenmann’s candles, have been successfully sold at mass retailers and drug chains nationwide for more than five years. Licensing partner, Candlelite, is refreshing the line with new candle formats and delicious scents for 2014.

Extending the No. 1 Sausage Brand

Along with offering its full complement of turnkey services, JLG often consults with clients on a project-specific basis. Johnsonville Sausage hired JLG to identify select strategies to extend its footprint in the retail space.

“We identified three very specific licensing opportunities that we believed would increase Johnsonville’s brand presence in adjacent categories and retail channels, reinforce brand equity and cultivate new consumers,” Loria says. “We aligned with partners and products that focused on quality and the brand’s distinct flavor profiles.”

Category leader Monogram Foods was licensed to produce a line of Johnsonville jerkies, differentiated with exclusive flavor profiles and category innovation. Under that license, Johnsonville Deli Bites transitioned from core product to license, providing for expanded distribution to thousands of new retail doors in C&G. Seasonal gifting licensee MSRF launched multiple SKUs of Johnsonville Gift Sets in holiday 2012 to leading national chains, with an eye towards expansion in holiday 2013 and beyond.