4Kids deal gives RAF brand wings

Royal Air Force branding is set to appear on a range of products, including children’s video games, clothes and performance accessories, creating a number of opportunities for designers.

Design consultancies will now be appointed for branding, fashion design and point-of-sale work, following a global licensing deal between 4Kids Entertainment International Worldwide, the RAF and its licensing agent Jervis Entertainment Media.

It is believed to be the first arrangement of its kind involving Britain’s armed services. All product designs are to be approved by the Ministry of Defence.

The London arm of US group 4Kids Entertainment will produce merchandise featuring the RAF’s trademarked roundel and pilot wings, plus the name itself.

The idea is the brainchild of Simon Philips, managing director of 4Kids in the UK. Philips believes that the RAF’s associations with adventure and technology, as well as its strapline Rise Above the Rest, make it an ‘ideal brand’.

‘From a merchandising standpoint there are very few properties that have history, the present and future all rolled into one,’ says Philips. He is to appoint ‘a number of external design consultancies’ to work on areas such as overall branding, point-of-sale and fashion.

4Kids will develop four product programmes: a mass market strand, to include children’s toys and apparel; an ‘authentic’ range of products, such as watches and sunglasses; a collectibles range of limited edition items; and a publishing strand.

‘We are looking for a cohesive merchandising programme, although we may work with four different groups,’ says Philips.

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