Call it what you will — retro, vintage, nostalgia, classic, evergreen — the “everything old is new again” refrain has been perennially popular in licensing. But just using old images, or original packaging, is NOT the name of the game:

  • Look at how Nick updated the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Saban the Power Rangers — and the huge success they’ve enjoyed on air and in consumer products. (I estimate that the Turtles exceeded $1 billion at retail worldwide in 2014, while the Power Rangers continued their upward swing to in excess of $350 million worldwide.)
  • Nintendo’s Mario Bros., Bandai/Namco’s Pac-Man, and other video game companies are stressing pixilated images in their style guides. These are true to their origins but have the added benefit of playing off the popularity of styles popularized via LEGO and Minecraft, as my colleague Karen Raugust points out.
  • “Throwback jerseys” are made of contemporary fabrics. “The Mick’s” throwback comes “equipped with Majestic’s amazing Cool Base technology to keep you cool and dry whenever it heats up!”
  • Archival art, whether Fuller Brush, the Smithsonian Library’s Seed Catalog Collection, or the Saturday Evening Post seek to wed “nostalgia with innovation,” as Fuller Brush says in its promotional literature. As do we all.

More from Licensing Expo in coming days.