Bob Marley Family Teams Up With Toronto Agency in Hopes of Cashing In on Marley Snowboards, Stationery and Even Restaurants

BY Jason SchreursPublished Nov 4, 2009

The family of Bob Marley has hired a Toronto, ON-based agency to market products featuring the trademarked likeness of the legendary reggae musician.

Hilco Consumer Capital believes the Marley franchise could be a billion-dollar industry within a few years, and plans on launching a new line of products in the spring or summer of 2010 called "House of Marley." For better or worse, these will include, but are not limited to, snowboards, backpacks, stationery, headphones, musical instruments and even restaurants bearing the dreadlocked musician's image.

"The family managed all the rights before Hilco was brought on board," Marley's fourth son, Rohan, told the Associated Press [via Marketing]. "We didn't have a real good grasp on the international scope prior to Hilco, nor the proper management."

Marley's family is particularly interested in blocking the estimated $600 million annually in unauthorized sales of merchandise bearing the dead reggae musician's likeness. In 2007, the Marley family netted only $4 million in sales revenue, according to Forbes magazine.

"You're never going to stop the guys in the streets, flea markets... but you try as much as you can," Hilco CEO Jamie Salter told the Associated Press.

The Marley family claims the merchandise is only one aspect of what they will do in his name. They also plan to increase efforts in their organic coffee farm and coffee sales, which features song titles such as "One Love" and "Mystic Morning" on its packaging. And even though coffee sale proceeds benefit soccer programs in Jamaica, it seems like just another type of merchandising to us.

"People need to know what they're getting is from the Marley movement, a movement of sustainability," Rohan said.

Marley died of brain cancer in 1981 at the age of 36. Since, his death he has become synonymous with reggae music, his home of Jamaica, and messages of peace. Oh, and copious amounts of pot.

Latest Coverage