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Evolution Expands Exec Licensing Team

Evolution has joined forces with Stanley Lerman and Ryan Broomberg to expand the capabilities of the firm, which is focused on identifying and monetizing all forms of intellectual property on a global basis.

Press release from Evolution:

Los Angeles, CA -- Evolution has joined forces with Stanley Lerman and Ryan Broomberg to expand the capabilities of the firm, which is focused on identifying and monetizing all forms of intellectual property on a global basis.

Evolution co-founders Travis J. Rutherford and Adam Unger, who have been working in partnership for over a year, envisioned Evolution as a premiere global licensing firm that breaks from the traditional licensing agency model.

Utilizing the knowledge, experience and relationships of the four partners, Evolution provides content owners and IP creators with a platform from which to monetize their intellectual properties, and its unique structure provides an alternative solution to a full in-house licensing operation. The executive’s collective demonstrated expertise in strategic planning, development and execution of large-scale licensing and brand management programs will maximize brands revenue streams. Simultaneously, the firm enhances and protects brand equity over the long term by managing the entire life cycle of the content, capitalizing on opportunities at every stage, from product development, licensing and production through to manufacturing and retail distribution. The new business model aligns the remuneration structure so that the goals of the representative (Evolution) and the goals of the IP (brand) owner are congruent. Evolution is now looking to expand its client portfolio from filmed entertainment and character brands into new media, location-based entertainment, corporate trademarks, consumer-packaged goods, and fashion brands.

“The opportunity to partner with best in class senior executives, such as Stan and Ryan, bolsters Evolution’s executive management team and adds in house expertise that is not seen in the traditional licensing business,” said Rutherford. “Evolution now has the ability to manage an intellectual property from its initial creative concept, all the way to the retail shelf, and our combined strength in entertainment, fashion, consumer packaged goods, toys and logistics provides our clients with superior insights and expertise to maximize a successful licensing program.”

As President of Licensing and Retail, Rutherford brings over 20 years’ experience working for studios such as Disney, DreamWorks and MGM and brings relationships with all major retailers, including Walmart, Target, Sears, J.C. Penney, Toys ’R’ Us, Claire’s and Barnes & Noble, as well as relationships with North American manufacturers in the children’s consumer product space.

Unger, Evolution's President of Sales & Marketing, specializes in design and manufacturing in the kid’s consumer products space, having produced a myriad of merchandise programs for a host of premium properties. Unger will spearhead the efforts for product development, sourcing, and manufacturing, through Evolution’s key client Creata. Unger will also lead the business activities for all licensee representation and oversee new client acquisitions.

Stanley Lerman has been named Evolution’s Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer and is a seasoned entrepreneur and chartered accountant with over 25 years’ experience owning and/or operating major corporations. He brings extensive retail, consumer packaged goods, fashion and direct response experience to the company. Lerman’s primary responsibilities are strategic planning, operations, finance and legal, and he will oversee all international licensing efforts.

As Executive Vice President, Ryan Broomberg brings expertise in retail operations, sourcing and distribution logistics to Evolution. Broomberg also a chartered accountant has over 25 years’ experience in building companies across a broad spectrum of consumer industries, including alcohol and beverage, premium packaging and novelty retail.

Also joining Evolution as Senior Director of Licensing and Brand Compliance, Kirsti Tichenor will be handling all product development approvals, creative services and category licensing sales. Tichenor previously worked as a premium buyer for U.S. Sales Corp, Director of Licensing for BandMerch Inc. and as Executive Director of Product Development and Creative Services for Paramount Pictures.

The Company’s vast suite of services include strategic planning and market analysis; consumer insights and brand research; licensee identification, qualification and negotiations; product design, sourcing and logistics, creative and product development approvals; retail development; direct response programs; and brand management compliance.

Located in Los Angeles CA, Evolution will continue to handle the following:

Summertime Entertainment’s new 3D animated CGI feature film, Dorothy of Oz, based on the book series written by Roger Stanton Baum, and scheduled for theatrical release in 2013.   There are 33 licensees on board, covering all classifications of children’s licensed product, including: toys (Bandai America Inc.), role play (Just Play), costumes (Rubies), collectible dolls (Madame Alexander) apparel (Jem Sportswear), footwear and sleepwear (SG Apparel, SG Footwear), accessories (Loungefly, A.D Sutton, Hypnotic), cosmetics and bath (Added Extras), jewelry (Netovative), hair accessories (HER Accessories), back to school stationery (Innovative Designs), and party goods and greetings cards (American Greetings).  Dorothy of Oz stars Lea Michele (Dorothy), Martin Short (Jester), Jim Belushi (Lion), Dan Aykroyd (Scarecrow), Kelsey Grammer (Tin Man), Megan Hilty (China Princess), Hugh Dancy (Marshal Mallow), Oliver Platt (Wiser), Bernadette Peters (Glinda) and Patrick Stewart (Tugg), with music by Bryan Adams.

Zinkia Entertainment’s animated preschool property, Pocoyo, for which Evolution was appointed as the Company’s licensing, retail development and brand management agent for the United States in December 2011.   Most recently, an agreement has been signed with Bentex Group Inc. for an apparel line for boys and girls to include t-shirts, sportswear, sleepwear, swimwear and outerwear. The Pocoyo apparel line is anticipated to debut at retail in spring 2013. Pocoyo airs in over 150 markets around the world, and in the U.S., airs on Nick Jr., Univision’s Planeta U and select PBS Kids stations. Consumer products licensing partners include Bandai America Incorporated (toys), Random House Children’s Books (books), NCircle Entertainment (DVD), and TCG (formerly The Canadian Group for puzzles and games).

For Zydeco Studios children’s novelty brand, Floppets, Evolution has been appointed to extend the sales and distribution of Floppets into a multitude of retail channels and categories, including toys, footwear, gift, amusement/theme parks and vending machine capsules. Floppets is a gender-neutral brand with a target audience of Kids 4 – 12 years old. 

The company also continues to represent the new business development function for Creata; and is in final negotiations with several new clients, to be announced shortly.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.