The Proliferation of Winning Partnerships Between Retailers and Multi-Hyphenate Celebrities, Part Two

Fall 2013Articles The Licensing Book

The retail market has experienced the economic equivalent of a rollercoaster ride in recent years. On the upside, the Internet and mobile devices have made it possible for brands to market, sell, and distribute goods in an unprecedented number of ways. At the same time, new distribution platforms such as Amazon and eBay have undermined traditional business models and the brick-and-mortar retailers that brands previously depended on to sell their goods. Now, brands must look for strategies to cut through the digital clutter, differentiate their products, and grab the attention of consumers. As such, a growing number of brands are turning to the power of celebrity partnerships to drive sales and brand awareness.

Examples of strategic branding partnerships between celebrities and retail companies are increasingly easy to find. Kohl’s, the department store chain, collaborated with Jennifer Lopez to sell a successful line of branded apparel, accessories, and items for the home. Kathy Ireland, the former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, has partnered with retail companies such as Lamps Plus to sell a line of home furnishings bearing her name. Her brand, Kathy Ireland Worldwide, was estimated by Forbes to sell $2 billion in goods annually. To take an example from my own legal practice, I’ve worked with the rapper and actor Chris “Ludacris”Bridges on the successful launch of several branded ventures such as his “Soul” by Ludacris headphones and the development of the high-end cognac brand, Conjure.

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As seen in The Licensing Book's Fall issue.