By Barry Janoff
August 10, 2014: Since 1977, Kiss said it has licensed products in some 3,000 categories that have accounted for more than $1 billion in total retail sales. The list includes pinball machines, board games, Zippo lighters, action figures, comic books, credit cards, condoms and the infamous Kiss Kasket.
But just in case you thought there was a marketing deal or alliance that Kiss had not formed, here is one that seems more of a no-brainer than some of the others.
The iconic rock group has unveiled a pact with MLB to launch baseball-themed apparel.
A collection of T-shirts, Play Ball with Kiss, will unite "the rock fashion sense of Kiss with the instantly recognizable logos" of a dozen MLB clubs. The logo features the group from its Dressed to Kill (1975) release but with the four guys in full makeup wearing the baseball uniforms from each respective team.
A second Kiss-themed apparel line, Locker Plate, which is said to be "inspired" by the Kiss classic, "Detroit Rock City," is scheduled to launch later this year.
Financial details were not disclosed.
"We are die-hard Major League Baseball fans, and it's a thrill for Kiss to be featured as MLB players from some of our favorite teams in this spectacular graphic artwork," Kiss' Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons said in a statement. "We are ready to 'play ball,' with Kiss and MLB fans."
Details for supporting marketing were not shared.
The initial Play Ball with Kiss line will include T-shirts for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland A's, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals,
At launch, the T-shirts will be available at MLB team stores, stadium gift shops, sports retailers and online at MLB's Web site. The line will extend to mass market and mid-tier department stores later this year.
The deal was handled between Liquid Blue, a licensee of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., and Epic Rights, the global branding and merchandising company representing the merchandising, licensing, e-commerce and digital media interests for Kiss.
"This is a major cross-promotion combining rock 'n' roll and baseball — two all-time American favorites — that will be a home run with sports and other specialty retailers," Lisa Streff, svp-licensing for Epic Rights, said in a statement. "Play Ball with Kiss T-shirts from Liquid Blue deliver an edgy and authentic graphic interpretation of these iconic rock band members dressed as MLB team players."
Earlier this year, Kiss, celebrating its 40th anniversary, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Los Angeles Kiss of the Arena Football League also launched this year, with a supporting docu-series, 4th and Loud, debuting Tuesday night (Aug. 12) on AMC.
Kiss signed with Epic Rights this past March after leaving Live Nation Merchandise. Although the official Kiss goods cover a plethora of categories they do not include real or replica guns or tobacco-related products, according to the band.
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