Transport for London is hoping to replenish its threadbare coffers by licensing its brand for reproduction in a new range of branded merchandise including tea towels, clothing and chairs after minting its first global licensing deal .
It is hoped that overseas love for the transportation famed for its reliance on the Routemaster bus and pokey underground train carriages - in addition to design classics such as Tube signage and the iconic schematic depiction of the sprawling underground network map, could generate as much as £100m a year for the network.
TfL’s ambitions stretch from traditional tat such as keyrings and t-shirts through to designer chairs with cushions imprinted with a representation of the tube map, a limited edition Scrabble set and pair of customised Nile trainers.
David Ellis, head of intellectual property development for TfL, commented: “We have been chuntering along quite happily for a number of years and built a great foundation in the UK. Since slightly before the London 2012 Olympics, there has been an energy behind London. We are now hoping to really drive this internationally. It is time to push the brand in key territories across the global market.
“We are not competing against Disney or other character brands selling merchandise,” said Ellis. “We are a corporate brand which takes longer to build. We are certainly not going to use huge amounts of public money to advertise. It has to be low-risk commercial income; this is low-margin but high-profit.”
Should the market take-off as predicted TfL could generate around £5m to invest back into frontline services as well as dovetailing with long-held plans to bolster its media estate.