GreenLight is a global consultancy that provides corporate, advertising, and media clients access to iconic music, film, celebrities, and entertainment content. The company specializes in resolving the legal and logistical hassles its clients wrestle with. Its rights representation group manages the personality rights of iconic estates, including Albert Einstein, Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, and Johnny Cash. GreenLight’s senior executive, Diana Brobmann, discusses translating iconic estates through licensing and offers the latest Steve McQueen and Albert Einstein licensing news.
Chris Adams: What differences do you see in deceased celebrities who translate well into a licensing program and those who don’t?
Diana Brobmann: The difference between an icon and a celebrity is an icon is timeless and they are celebrated for doing great or momentous things in life. What makes GreenLight successful in creating strong licensing programs is that we maintain the integrity of the icon’s brand. From the beginning, we are very involved with the estates and learn as many details as possible about the “delebs” we represent and their earliest passions and unique characteristics. GreenLight then translates these insights into a relevant, timely, and attractive global brand.
C.A.: What characteristics of Steve McQueen do you draw on when building his licensing program?
D.B.: Because of Steve McQueen’s timeless sense of style, GreenLight has been successful in launching his brand as a multi-faceted icon that reaches a wide demographic. We’ve constructed a three-tiered program that aligns his personality with the right partners.
- The Steve McQueen Signature line focuses on his King of Cool style and is targeted specifically at high-end brands. The partnerships created with Persol for sunglasses and Barbour for apparel are natural extensions of the Steve McQueen brand since McQueen donned these items off-screen. His signature line with Dolce & Gabbana exemplifies McQueen’s versatility as both a style and fashion icon. His signature fragrance is a composite of scents that emulate his sense of cool.
- The Steve McQueen Racing program focuses on McQueen’s love for racing cars and motorcycles. The products in this category are “performance” driven and include Triumph motorcycle jackets, Troy Lee Designs helmets, a McQueen Motorbike, and a unique partnership with ACO, the owners of the Le Mans brand in France. Because McQueen was an active participant at the Le Mans event when he was alive, Steve McQueen Le Mans products were developed and made available trackside at all racing events and specialty stores worldwide.
- Finally, the Steve McQueen Hollywood program consists of items we licensed in conjunction with different movie studios. Our first collaboration was with Warner Bros. for the movie Bullitt, the 1968 action crime drama starring McQueen. For that, we developed a line of products that included everything from apparel to die-cast cars to a partnership with Ford to recreate McQueen’s co-star in the movie, the Mustang GT Fastback car. We are now working on our second Hollywood line, The Great Escape, and have already secured several deals for McQueen and MGM.
C.A.: Albert Einstein exists in a different plane than Steve McQueen. What are the inspiration points of his licensing program?
D.B.: There is no doubt that Albert Einstein has incredible global recognition, respect, and appeal; however, the same GreenLight principal of maintaining the integrity of the icon applies. The Einstein licensing program is also divided into multiple subcategories: Einstein Brain Games, Einstein Science, Einstein Classic, and Einstein Signature.
- The Einstein Brain Games line has licensees that produce digital handheld games and mobile games. Our newest partner, Zoo Games, will be publishing Einstein Brain Games for Nintendo DS, which will launch in spring 2011.
- Einstein Science has licensees that produce items based on Einstein’s many discoveries in space and exploration. EB Excalibur, one of our licensees, has created and been very successful with the Einstein Science Telescope, Einstein Science Space Navigator, and Einstein Science Planetarium at such retailers as JCPenney, Sears, and Barnes & Noble.
- Einstein Classic embraces the “geek chic” consumer. We have several licensees in place, such as Bioworld, a manufacturer that’s creating Einstein tops, bottoms, and bags with updated images and sayings from the historic icon. Kohl’s launched an in-store Einstein apparel line this fall. Our eyewear partners, Optiq (prescription) and A.J. Morgan (reading glasses), are performing strongly at retail. The social expression products are also a big category for Einstein.
- The Einstein Signature line is aimed at high-end consumers, which is best exemplified by GreenLight’s work with Montblanc. This collaboration resulted in several designs including the Einstein Memorial Pen, comprised of 925 Sterling Silver with other intricate embellishments that will be revealed in 2012.