Mars is a successful brand, a very successful brand company, and a very successful licensor (f.e. ice creme).  With rebranding it has mixed results.

Mars announced to change its famous brand Uncle Ben’s to Ben’s Original. The key visual is dropped entirely.

In the early 1990s in Europe Mars changed the famous Raider bars to Twix. It realized savings in marketing, packaging, communication.

Less successful was the change of the company name from Mars to Masterfoods. The B2B partners balked. The negative implications lead to a fast return.

Escada files for insolvency

According to various news sources, Escada is the next iconic fashion brand to file for insolvency proceedings. The reasons could be plenty.

For a long time Escada tried all by itself to expand the brand into perfume, cosmetics, bags, eyewear, shoes. That never succeeded and they came late to licensing.

Communicating the difference between Escada and Escada Sport is difficult. Many brands struggle with diffusion lines.

Neiman Marcus, an important partner, went into chapter 11.

Escada was a fashion brand of coordinates: complete, matching outfits. Starting in the 90s more and more women started coordinating themselves. And increasingly they combined discount product with designer pieces.

Update:  The trademarks are not among the assets of the  company.


What do we call a Brand?

A protected product or company name

at least 10 years old

with at least 10% brand recognition

and it generates a premium.


What do we call Brand Licensing?

Giving/receiving the right to use a brand

for manufacturing and/or distributing

new or existing products or services

in a specific territory

for a certain amount of time.


Was nennen wir Marke?

Ein geschützter Produkt- oder Firmenname

mindestens 10 Jahre alt

mit mindestens 10% Markenbekanntheit

der ein Premium durchsetzt.


Was nennen wir Marke lizensieren?

Das Recht zur Markennutzung vergeben/erhalten,

für Herstellung und/oder Absatz

neuer oder existierender Produkte oder Dienstleistungen

in einem definierten Territorium

für einen bestimmten Zeitraum.

Luxury brands may limit internet distribution

In the dispute between luxury brands and online platforms like Amazon and eBay the European Court of Justice has decided in favor of brands.

The case (C-230/16) was Coty, Inc versus one of its German authorized retailers.

The court decided, a supplier of luxury goods can prohibit its authorized distributors from selling those goods on a third-party internet platform such as Amazon.

What’s at steak

The case of Michael Jordan vs Dominick’s Finer Foods has made news. The website is just one example. But they are missing a few points.

Dominick’s used the brands to sell steaks. Altough there are three steak hoses using Michael Jordan. One is in NYC, in Connecticut, and in Chicago. Here are the websites

A quick online search for “Michael Jordan Steak” leads to among others wikipedia, where one can read:

The company has a line of USDA Prime Steaks, sauces, condiments, grillware and collectibles, under the Michael Jordan Steaks brand. The steaks can be ordered on their website and shipped directly to customers nationwide.

So, Dominick’s used the brand in a product category, where Michael Jordan is using / licensing it already. And that was not difficult to find.

Michael Jordan has profited from his brands quite substantially. And no proprietor of a valuable brand can afford to lose it, But this happens, if you do not defend it. If Michael Jordan had not filed suit, he was in danger of losing his brand, at least in that category.

Dominick’s could have asked for a license. It is not that difficult.

Roller coaster for Perfume Licenses

In July, P&G decided for a buyer of its Prestige Devision (fragrances and bodycare).The whole division got started, when P&G took over Wella AG, which itself had bought Muehlens KG (4711, Sabatini, etc.) before. And P&G added more luxury licenses over the years.

Then P&G acknowledged: we only can do mass market properly. And as a first step they sold off brands, without the potential to be 1 billion brands. Now the whole division was for sale.

The buyer is Coty Inc., the purchase price is US$12.5 Billion.

But Coty is one of the biggest licensees and brand owners in perfume and cosmetics itself. And it now adds to the portfolio brands like Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Lacoste, bruno banani, Christina Aguilera, Escada, Gabriela Sabatini, James Bond 007, Mexx, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Max Factor and Covergirl.

The list of overlapping and competing brands probably is equally long. Even as Coty markets by segments like luxury, premium, mass, more than a few licensors might feel like the 5th wheel now, or maybe the 10th. Does Lacoste want to be next to Adidas? Mexx besides Esprit?

Some licenses traveled a bit already. For example from L’Oreal to P&G to Coty. Another change might not be good or even possible there.

2014 German brand registrations

The trademark office reports that 66,613 additional brand applications were filed in Germany during 2014, and 47,980 brands were registered. Applications increased by 10.7 %, registration by 10.3 % compared to 2013.

The total number of registered brands in Germany was 793,700.

Barbour Hello Kitty

[:en]Barbour is one of the successful traditional English outdoor brands. Widely popular since the 1980s, it was the synonym for the wax jacket.

Then the brand was extended to other clothing products like knitwear. There it experienced a few quality problems, for example the sweaters are below standard.

Now Barbour is collaborating with Hello Kitty. The targets are obvious, younger and more female customers. The line will include jackets, knitwear, hats and socks. The colors are pink, purple and navy. It is doubtful, that this goes well with the brand roots in outdoor like hunting, fishing and horse back riding. It is questionable also, whether the core customer based will appreciate the connection with Hello Kitty.

Competing brand Bellstaff tried to change itself into a fashion brand not too long ago. They quickly returned to their roots, motorcycling.[:]

Licensor buys licensee

[:en]Victorinox, well known for its Swiss Army Knife, bought luggage manufacturer TRG Accessories from Centric Group. TRG was a Victorinox licensee.

The background is the dramatic drop in sales after 9/11, due to the new security rules on planes. Victorinox decided then, it needed to diversify its operation to be less dependent upon knifes. The licensee was a natural target.[:]