The Art of Licensing and Brand Partnerships: From Bridgerton to Queen Charlotte


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Harnessing Fan Communities

When it comes to licensing merchandise for movies, TV shows, and games, understanding and catering to fan preferences is crucial. These passionate followers embrace their favorite IPs as part of their identity, creating a dedicated market for licensed products. Fan communities play a significant role in shaping licensing strategies, as popular influencers, characters, and storylines drive fan engagement and influence merchandise choices.

When you get it right, you find magic - like when we worked with Pilot Pen to create a limited edition line of Mean Girls-themed G2 pen packs, which sold out on Amazon on day one, or the "Queen Charlotte" collaboration we created with British skincare line Elemis. In this article, Hollywood Branded pulls back the curtain on how understanding and leveraging fan communities is crucial for successful licensing of merchandise for entertainment properties, highlighting the impact of fan engagement on shaping strategies and the benefits of well-executed brand collaborations.

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The Power Of Licensing Fan-Favorite IP

Licensing and co-promotional partnerships allow brands to tap into established fan bases and the cultural cachet of popular movies and TV shows. These collaborations result in branded merchandise supported by extensive marketing campaigns that leverage the themes and aesthetics of the entertainment property. Collaborating with movies and TV shows through licensing and co-promotions can create significant new revenue streams and elevate both the IP holder's and the brand's visibility. It's a mutual benefit for both the licensor and the licensee.

Over the last two decades of working in Hollywood, I saw a gap in the licensing world where IP holders didn't always fully support the product lines that manufacturers developed. This issue applies to both brand and entertainment property IP holders, leading to many marketing misses. Many new product lines get built and go nowhere because of the mistaken belief that simply creating the product will ensure sales. It’s like the saying, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it..." If no one knows about the product - especially the fandom - there won’t be any sales traction.

With this in mind, I built Hollywood Branded to better develop turnkey, powerful, limited-time co-promotional partnerships or long-term licensing collaborations. We match celebrity or production IP holders with brand manufacturer partners who have established retail and e-commerce platforms and the ability to create new product lines. Our team then brings the partnership to life by developing comprehensive marketing campaigns and even secures additional sales channels.

We approach launching co-branded product lines differently than other licensing agencies. Our focus extends beyond just creating new brand extensions; we build multi-dimensional marketing campaigns that leverage not only the pop culture of the IP but also pop culture itself by utilizing product placement, PR, event activations, and influencer marketing.

We also work with brand IP holders to create opportunities for their licensees to easily participate in pre-approved partnerships with product placement, influencer marketing, and event activations. This gives the IP holder a turnkey marketing program that they can support with additional funding or have the licensees opt-in for with dedicated channel marketing dollars.

Steps To Work with IP Holders

Let's walk through the steps to successfully work with IP holders.

Identify the Right IP Holder

  • Research and Select: Look for movies, TV shows, gaming, or talent that align with your brand’s values and target audience. Ensure the IP holder has a significant and engaged fan base. Influencers are a great option too for both limited and long-term collaborations as they act as their own marketing platform.
  • Contact the Right People: Reach out to the production companies, networks, talent agents, or licensing agents who handle the IP’s commercial partnerships.

Craft a Compelling Proposal

  • Align Objectives: Clearly outline how the collaboration will benefit both the brand and the IP holder. Highlight mutual goals such as increased visibility, revenue generation, and audience engagement.
  • Creative Concepts: Present innovative ideas for the collaboration. This could include themed products, co-branded marketing campaigns, or exclusive limited-edition items.

Negotiate Terms

  • Define Scope and Duration: Agree on the specific rights and terms of the partnership. Determine whether it will be a short-term promotion or a long-term licensing agreement.
  • Financials: Discuss the financial aspects, including royalties, licensing fees, and marketing budgets. You'll need to have an idea of what a product extension will be priced at and the margins to establish the royalty percentage.

Develop and Execute the Campaign

  • Product Development: Work closely with the IP holder to ensure that the products or marketing materials align with the IP's themes and aesthetics. There will be strict usage guidelines, and the brand will need to have the IP holder sign off on every detail.
  • Marketing Strategy: Create a comprehensive marketing plan that leverages the IP's fan base and promotional channels. You want to make sure both the licensor and licensee are supporting this partnership. It's not a one-way street - there is mutual benefit for each to make sales soar. Your brand is going to need to do more than just show up with a branded product however. You have to build a marketing plan that includes paid advertising and influencers to help drive fast awareness. No matter what the item is, it will need to have a budget to market it. 

Measure and Evaluate

  • Track Performance: Monitor the success of the collaboration through sales figures, social media engagement, and other relevant metrics.
  • Expand The Partnership: Gather feedback from both the IP holder and the audience to refine future collaborations. 

Bridgerton Brand Collaborations

Netflix’s “Bridgerton,” an acclaimed series set in the 19th century, has captivated audiences with its lush visuals and compelling drama. The recent release of the first half of its third season introduces a new set of debutantes, led by Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton). The series revolves around the ton of British society, ruled over by Queen Charlotte, who has been given a series extension of her own that I'll be discussing more of shortly.

Let's look at some successful brand partnerships that have been built, demonstrating how the show's ongoing popularity makes it an ideal candidate for collaborations.

  • Beekman 1802’s High Society Soaps x Bridgerton Beekman 1802 released an exclusive capsule collection of scented soaps inspired by "Bridgerton." Each soap was wrapped in Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, blending the show’s narrative with the product’s packaging. This collaboration enhanced the brand’s visibility and offered fans a unique, collectible item.

  • Malone Souliers x Bridgerton 
    Malone Souliers collaborated with Shondaland and Netflix to create a capsule collection of shoes inspired by "Bridgerton." The collection featured luxurious materials and designs that captured the essence of the show’s grand entrances and romantic settings. This partnership allowed fans to connect with the series in a new, tangible way.

  • Monica Rich Kosann’s Jewelry Collection x Bridgerton Monica Rich Kosann teamed up with "Bridgerton" to create a fine jewelry collection inspired by the series. The collection included lockets, charms, and rings that incorporated symbolism from the show, offering a sophisticated nod to the series while appealing to modern consumers.

  • Pat McGrath Labs x Bridgerton Pat McGrath Labs partnered with "Bridgerton" for both seasons to create a makeup collection inspired by the show. The collection included eyeshadow palettes, lipsticks, and body shimmers that echoed the show's regency-inspired aesthetics. The campaign, fronted by Nicola Coughlan, launched just before the show's premiere, driving significant buzz and sales.

  • Republic of Tea x Bridgerton Republic of Tea created a special collection of teas inspired by "Bridgerton." Available at World Market, the collection features blends named after characters and elements from the show, such as "Queen's Cake Vanilla Fruit Tea" and "Anthony & Kate Spiced Chai." Each tea tin is adorned with beautiful artwork reflective of the series’ Regency-era elegance, making it a perfect collectible for fans. This partnership allows fans to immerse themselves in the "Bridgerton" world while enjoying a luxurious tea experience.

  • Smythson x Bridgerton Luxury stationery brand Smythson created a limited edition collection inspired by "Bridgerton." The collection featured beautifully crafted notebooks, journals, and accessories adorned with Regency-era designs and quotes from the series. This partnership allowed fans to bring a touch of "Bridgerton" sophistication into their everyday lives.

  • Wedgewood x Bridgerton Wedgewood, known for its exquisite china and porcelain, released a "Bridgerton"-inspired collection. The line included teacups, saucers, and decorative plates with intricate designs reminiscent of the Regency period. This collaboration allowed fans to enjoy a piece of "Bridgerton" in their homes, perfect for hosting elegant tea parties.

Republic of Tea x BridgertonPhoto Credit: The Republic of Tea

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Queen Charlotte x Elemis Partnership

In the opulent world of Shonda Rhimes' Bridgerton universe, where lavish costumes and captivating characters reign supreme, Hollywood Branded teamed up with British skincare brand Elemis to celebrate the launch of Netflix's "Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story" with a campaign that truly transcends the screen with a touch of royal luxury.

Known for their luxurious, rose-infused products, Elemis saw a golden opportunity to align their brand with the elegance and grandeur of the Bridgerton series. As part of this enchanting partnership, Elemis created a limited-edition "Queen Charlotte Elemis Set," featuring pearl-embellished hairpins and the Pro-Collagen Rose Marine Cream, each piece a nod to Queen Charlotte's captivating beauty, offering fans a chance to indulge in self-care with a touch of Bridgerton opulence.

Marketing and Promotion

  • Product Launch: The "Queen Charlotte Elemis Set" was made available on the Elemis website and select retailers, inviting consumers to pamper themselves like royalty in the USA and UK.
  • Social Media Campaign: The campaign, which was extensively promoted on social media using the hashtag #ElemisBridgerton, featured influencer posts and online ads to engage a wider audience.
  • PR and Influencer Marketing: We leveraged PR strategies to gain media coverage and enlisted influencers to create authentic content, driving buzz and excitement around the collaboration. Including sending an influencer in costume to the premiere party to cover all the excitement, bringing fans an insider look at the event.
  • Digital Marketing: A comprehensive digital marketing strategy included targeted ads, email campaigns, and engaging online content to maximize reach and impact.

In every luxurious detail, the Queen Charlotte Elemis Set embodied the essence of the Bridgerton universe, offering fans a chance to write their own chapter in a story of self-care and indulgence. This collaboration is a prime example of how we bridge the gap between popular entertainment properties and premium brands, creating memorable and impactful campaigns.

Campaign Highlights

  • Target Audience Reach: By partnering with the fan-favored series and a renowned skincare brand, we successfully reached a diverse and engaged audience.
  • Product Innovation: The creation of a unique, limited-edition skincare set that resonates with the Bridgerton fan base.
  • Integrated Marketing: A cohesive marketing strategy that spanned social media, PR, influencer collaborations, digital marketing, and online ads to maximize visibility and engagement.
  • Event Coverage: Sending an influencer to the costume premiere party added a dynamic layer to our campaign, offering fans exclusive insights and generating real-time excitement.
  • This partnership not only elevated the Elemis brand but also brought the luxurious world of Bridgerton into the everyday lives of its fans, proving that a well-executed brand collaboration can truly create magic.

Queen Charlotte x Elemis

Photo Credit: Beauty Bible

Pop Culture Partnerships

Need help in brainstorming your next licensing partnership? Since 2007, Hollywood Branded has been at the forefront of forging impactful partnerships, orchestrating over 10,000 collaborations across movies, TV series, music, celebrities, fashion, sports, and influencers. Our unmatched relationships within the pop culture sphere position us as the go-to agency for brands aiming to elevate their visibility and engagement by leveraging pop culture - just like we did with this partnership for Elemis.  

Eager To Learn More?

To further explore the impact of fan communities and successful brand partnerships, check out these insightful articles from the Hollywood Branded team. They delve into the power of fandoms, effective collaboration strategies, and the benefits of licensing entertainment properties.

Want to stay in the know with all things pop culture? Look no further than our Hot in Hollywood newsletter! Each week, we compile a list of the most talked-about moments in the entertainment industry, all for you to enjoy!

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