The Beatles, ready to frame: Trends International is up to the challenge of producing a little bit of ‘Yesterday’ Featured

7:40pm EDT February 2, 2014
The Beatles, ready to frame: Trends International  is up to the challenge of producing a little  bit of ‘Yesterday’

Rewind to 1964, the summer The Beatles invaded America —the world has never been the same.

Fifty years later, Trends International of Indianapolis is hoping to help recreate those old memories — and new ones  — by producing licensed posters, stationery and other items showing the record-setting band, marking the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania in the U.S.

For Vice President of Licensing Jeff Loeser, handling a product featuring one of the most popular brands isn’t unusual.

“We are used to dealing with similar types of artists, bands and brands, so we know the steps that we have to go through to get the approvals and what they will and won’t approve,” he says.

Protecting the image

“They don’t like to have their images or likenesses altered, which you can understand. They want it certainly to be a good quality product, and not a case of just kind of slapping their logo on something,” he says.

It’s not a case of taking the money and making a “Run for Your Life.”

“It’s more about protecting the brand perception, and keeping it at a higher end, if you will, and keeping it on products that won’t portray them as selling out,” Loeser says. “We deal with some of the largest studios and consumer product companies in the world, whether it’s Disney, ‘Star Wars,’ Marvel or different sports leagues, they are all very protective of their trademarks and their brands and how they are represented in merchandise.”

While almost everything imaginable has been marketed with the image of The Beatles, Trends International is sticking to some image-specific items — stationery, posters, calendars, stickers, decals and writing instruments.

One of the iconic photos being used is of the young Beatles in coats and ties walking in the streets of London. Later photos of the mustached and bearded Fab Four are also being used.

Trends International released posters and bookmarks late last year and is scheduled to market gel pens, stylus pens, stickers and decals in the first quarter this year. Then in the third quarter, 2015 calendars will be available. All products will be distributed through national retailers, as well as independent specialty and gift stores.

Trust and comfort

“We’ve worked with Bravado (Universal Music Group’s global merchandising company) for a long time, so I think part of that is they have a trust and a comfort level with the types of designs that we do, and our distribution and how we will treat the image of their artists,” Loeser says. “In addition to The Beatles, we represent a lot of other artists, but that is a sensitive topic of course because it does reflect directly on these high profile celebrities. But we are used to doing that.

“I think we treat everybody that way. Everyone’s brand or likeness, if it is a celebrity, we can appreciate their wanting to be portrayed in the best possible light, on the best possible product. We treat everybody that way whether it’s The Beatles or an up-and-coming star. But from our approach, we treat them all that way, and I think based on the types of products we do and sell — we’ve been in business for 26 years — they have that trust that we know what we are doing.

“They know their brand, they know their talent better than anyone, and we know our products and our consumers, our core demographics. We are very good at what we do and they are very good at what they do, so you put the two together and end up with some great products.”

In 2013, Bravado signed an agreement giving them the rights to offer official Beatles merchandise in North America. Trends International, however, isn’t the only third party to reap the benefits of this deal. Boelter Brands is producing merchandise glassware, drinkware and tabletop accessories. Working with Bravado, both licensees will produce special items featuring images from “Yellow Submarine,” the animated film in which The Beatles travel through the fantasy world of Pepperland facing the Blue Meanies.

“When dealing with a band as iconic and beloved as The Beatles, Bravado has had to be very careful with the band’s image and what companies to partner with,” said Tom Bennett, CEO, Bravado. “Both Trends International and Boelter Brands are at the top of their respective areas and we’re confident that The Beatles brand will be well taken care of and that Beatles fans will be very pleased with the vast array of products.”

Loeser says Trends International pursued the licensing deal, but had an existing relationship with Bravado so it was somewhat collaborative.

“For the products that we produce, we are kind of the go-to company for those products,” he says. “They know we have the distribution, we have quality, we have the retail relationships, and because we worked with them on other projects, when The Beatles became one of their clients, it was a good match.”

As for a sales forecast, you have to admit that money “Can’t Buy Me Love,” but it sure can bring back some memories from 1964.

“I imagine the calendars and posters probably will be the biggest sellers,” Loeser says. “Those categories, by nature are larger than our stickers, bookmarks and writing instruments. It is all going to be designed with the core fan in mind, and it seems like every new generation discovers or rediscovers The Beatles. So they always seem to have something going on, like the ‘Love’ show in Las Vegas.”

What will it take for Bravado to call the venture a success? When will Loeser be able to say, “I Feel Fine?”

“I can’t speak for them,” he says. “I think certainly sales are a factor. But if it came down to getting an order for something that they weren’t comfortable with or didn’t really care for the design on, and there was a customer ready to order it, they would probably rather say no and miss the order than get the order and put something in the market that doesn’t meet their expectations.

“There are certain things like that. We haven’t come across that yet, but from just being in this business, working with other licensors, you see that sometime. Some licensors don’t care. It’s just all about the money, and they will put their brand or their logo on anything whether it makes sense or not.

 “They are not the fads that come and go but they are the ones that last, are maybe a little bit more particular about what they will and won’t approve,” he says.
In other words, if your effort requires “Eight Days a Week,” it’ll be sure to last.

“We are really excited about it,” Loeser says. “I think it is going to be a great opportunity. We have a great design department. I think we are going to give it a nice, fresh look, using what’s available. Our initial response from our customers and everyone has been really positive too. We think it’s going to be great.”


How to reach: Trends International, (866) 406-7771 or www.trendsinternational.com  

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