Thursday, July 9, 2009


Michael Jackson sketched out ideas for the merchandise he planned to sell in conjunction with his "This Is It" concert series at London's O2 Arena, including a varsity jacket and a red handbag with a diagonal black stripe that evoked his costumes from the "Thriller" music video.

The May brainstorming session resulted in designs for more than 300 items, including jigsaw puzzles and games for children and rhinestone dog tags. The collection will go on sale as soon as this week at such retailers as Hot Topic, Target, JCPenney and Spencer's.

Universal Music Group -- not Jackson's label, Sony Music Entertainment -- developed the product line and marketing plan through its merchandise division, Bravado. Bravado is unveiling the line in a partnership with Jackson's concert promoter AEG Live, which holds merchandising rights associated with the scheduled 50 London concerts, according to one person familiar with the deal terms.

Tom Bennett, Bravado's chief executive, said he emphasized the company's global reach in initial meetings in May with Jackson's manager, Frank Dileo, and AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips and, on the following day, in a session with Jackson. "He explained to me what he thought and how he wanted things to be done," Bennett said of his conversation with Jackson. "He was very specific. He had a very deep grasp of merchandising and worldwide marketing."

Bennett said Jackson insisted on going beyond the traditional concert T-shirt by developing a fashionable line that even acknowledged the concert venue with a tea set.

Bennett said he had a subsequent two-hour meeting with Dileo, Phillips and Jackson on June 4, three weeks before the pop star's death, where he presented designs and prototypes of the tour merchandise.

"He got so excited, so enthusiastic, he did a little dance move at the end," Bennett said. After the singer's death, Bravado finalized terms with AEG. The promoter signed the contract Monday, but Bravado withheld an announcement until Jackson's memorial services ended Tuesday in Los Angeles. AEG is believed to have notified the family as a courtesy. The firm did not return calls.

It is unclear whether the Jackson estate will share in the proceeds. Bravado executives declined to project sales for the new line.

The greatest challenge, Bennett said, is to combat the proliferation of bootleg merchandise.


1 comment:

  1. Fantastic I love it!!! They're cool!!