Seventies rock stalwarts Kiss (who have previously put their name on products ranging from condoms to caskets) will launch a line of merchandise inspired by their guest appearances on the animated TV series Family Guy. ”Everything will feature Family Guy characters in Kiss makeup,” Jeffrey Godsick, president of Fox Consumer Products, says of the forthcoming wares, which will include apparel, collectible figures, and even fine art. ”That’s good for a collector’s market — [a] real, core fan base.”
Fifty Shades of Grey author E L James and her literary agent signed on with U.K.-based licensing agent Caroline Mickler Ltd., announcing plans for lingerie, bedding, jewelry, and more items based on the racy best-seller, while fellow Brits in boy band One Direction paid a visit to the Hasbro booth (the toy brand is working on a line of games inspired by the pop act). Whether R-rated or family-friendly, most licensees promised that their goods will hit stores just in time for the holiday shopping season.
Microsoft’s Tablet Slab
At a dramatic press conference in Los Angeles on June 18, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the company’s new 10.6-inch tablet. Called Surface, it will come in Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro versions, and will feature a built-in viewing stand, a USB port, and a detachable cover that also serves as a multitouch keyboard. (Pricing and availability were not immediately announced.) Can Surface really compete against Apple and the iPad’s dominant share of the tablet market? Microsoft certainly appears ready to play.