Brand Jam hosted “Meet the Unexpected”, a session of talks about brand innovation, during Milano Licensing Day last week. The aim of the talks was to discuss with marketers and licensing professionals around the new ways of collaborations creating remarkable products; for special insights about how music merchandising is radically changing its shape, in and out the fashion scene, we talked with Lorenza Salocchi, licensing manager Bravado-Universal Music Group.

Brand Jam: Lorenza, the days of black t-shirts with a band logo are over, it seems?

Lorenza Salocchi: well, yes. “Welcome to the world of elevated merch” is one of our recent mantras when showing to partners our capabilities and artists roster. With “elevated merch” we mean a new way of generating business through different angles. Fashion designers are more and more involved in music culture, and while collaborating with them we can introduce in our vision what’s new in retailing and marketing. “Retailtainment”, for example, is at the base of our Stones store in Carnaby Street, or the “pop-up” concept is the freshest retail trend we adopted with Queen Carnaby Street pop up store when Bohemian Rapsody launched, or with the Blackpink touring pop-up openings, in the major global cities where the band tours.

B.J.: Collaborations – meaning co-branded activations – are also booming, right?

L.S.: Sure, ranging from Elton John with Palace, where Elton John actually shows “his” Palace skateboards, t-shirts and hoodies, to Billie Eilish with Gucci. Rock and music resonate well with fashion at any level.

B.J.: Plus, you are more active also with a wider range of artists, not only the giants.

L.S.: Our roster is the deepest in the category, by genre, heritage, and notoriety, and with the acquisition of Epic Right we can effectively bring a number of branding stories at any level. Denim brand Replay for example started “Replay Tribute” campaign, their yearly homage to any celebrity who left a mark with a special seasonal collection, with Tupac.

B.J.: But while fashion and apparel remain your strength, where are you directing your new business?

L.S.: There are new categories coming up with interest, especially with a co-branded, collaborative approach. We launched a limited edition with AC Milan during last year’s Stones tour at San Siro, home of both football and music, and the same we did in Paris with PSG. A limited edition of the eyewear brand Italia Independent with Tiziano Ferro sold out quickly online during the tour. Our efforts are going towards beauty and cosmetics, with global brands like M.A.C, Colourpop, Nyx, in our radar, and spirits and beverage, where we have already two cases with special editions of Def Leppard and Kiss gin.

B.J.: Finally, where are the critical points in terms of creative execution? A band logo is not enough to support all those articulated activations, I guess?

L.S: In fact, what we did with Italian Independent on sunglasses, decorated with subtle creative references and names of the models inspired by Tiziano Ferro’s hits is quite a revolution compared to what we have always done. Collaborating with fashion labels is also highly inspirational, a step in the right direction to evolute the creative output.