Licensing serves two purposes in the automotive brand world. First, and the order isn't of importance, it provides incremental revenue. Very incremental, but still. Second, it's an engine for brand identity. And usually means whatever is iconic about the brand, whether it is expressed in die-cast cars or t-shirts. Often that means vintage logos, vehicles and mottos.
Chrysler's Dodge and Jeep brands have traditionally been huge drivers for the group's licensing, especially Jeep, which for years has been handled by New York-based Joester Loria Group, which also handles Volkswagen.
Dodge, which has for many years been handled by Brand Sense for its licensing programs and intellectual property has a salvo of new branded merchandise tied to its centennial. The automaker says it has some 30 items, retro and otherwise, on sale at its own site, at www.Life.Dodge.com, at Amazon and at retail stores.
The company says the program includes 100th Anniversary special editions of Charger and Challenger. The lineup includes men’s and women’s apparel, a commemorative leather jacket, a 20-inch neon clock, hats, tumblers, mugs, journals, key fobs, decals and pens. There is also a new hardcover book about the automaker's hundred years. And of course, scale models embodying the best of the brand over the years.
The other mega licensing program on the car side has been Mustang for its 50th anniversary, which the automaker celebrated this April. Ford made a custom logo for the pony car, and rolled out die-cast, video games (the biggest licensing growth sector right now), watches and apparel, and even a line of fingernail polish via Ford's longstanding partnership with OPI. Beanstalk, which used to be Ford's licensing agency, and was owned by Ford at one point -- now by Omnicom -- handles former Premier Auto Group brands Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo, as well as Honda, Acura, Honda motorcycles and Harley-Davidson.