Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Brand Licensing Europe, held in London in October, was the most successful show to date with some 4,700 visitors flooding into the two-day event. And although visitor numbers were flat on 2007, the number of retailers at the show was up, as was the number of visitors from across mainland Europe.
Event director Jessica Blue told License! Global: “The visitor figures for BLE prove that the event is really making its mark with the wider industry. We saw increased visitor numbers in all the right categories. Our focus this year was on improving retail and European visitor numbers—and we have achieved that.”
A plethora of new properties was launched for licensing among them “3rd and Bird” and “Harry and Toto” from BBC Worldwide; Kindle Entertainment’s “Big & Small” launched for licensing through Start; and Warner Bros animation ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold.” 20th Century Fox relaunched classic property Garfield to the licensing community to coincide with the new CGI version of the television show that debuts in 2009 as well as spinning out the Ladies of Springfield from The Simpsons franchise.
In art launches, Dri Licensing had three new offers—Caroline Gardner, U.S. girls property Pink Cookie and Boofle. Clare Davis launched her Mary the Fairy property and David Severn his Percy and Friends, while Heidi Sturgess made her work available for licensing for the first time.
In the brand sector, TLC showed its two new major signings—Coca Cola for Europe and the BIC brand globally. TLC’s appointment came after a 12-month review of BIC’s potential for brand extension. The global deal is for all three BIC divisions—stationery, lights and shavers.
At Beanstalk, Pampers has been added to the portfolio alongside U.S. celebrity fashion stylist Rachel Zoe. The launch of licensed Pampers product will coincide with a major marketing initiative by Pampers in spring 2010. Rachel Zoe signed with Beanstalk in the summer to develop her first collection of fashion accessories for distribution across Europe. The collection will reflect the vintage-inspired look that Zoe has made famous. Categories include eyewear, handbags, watches, jewelry, footwear and underwear, which are expected to hit stores in 2009.
|What they said at the show. Click to enlarge.|
Historic Royal Palaces, which looks after five of the greatest palaces in the U.K.—the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace State Apartments and Kew Palace —showcased its latest range of licensed products including fine art prints and canvases by King and McGaw. The organization used items from tea towels to fashion accessories to show how products can be inspired by the stories of the palaces and the fabric of the buildings themselves reflected in the architecture, interiors, furniture, textiles and ceramics.
Children’s book publisher and creative play specialist Alligator Books reported growth in preschool, tween and movie categories as it planned for further growth in the licensing sector. Parthenon Entertainment launched the Finnish troll family Moomin, based on the books by Tove Jansson, to the European licensing community. U.K. publishing and product is expected to hit U.K. retail in 2010, coinciding with the 55th anniversary of the publication of the first Moomin book.
Deals announced or signed at the show included baby and toddler brand Goochicoo signing Poetic Gem as apparel licensee and naming Al Vadia as U.S. agent. Its U.K. greetings card collection has just hit U.K. retailers. Goochicoo is represented by Bulldog Licensing.
BBC Worldwide signed the first master toy license for Top Gear with Wow! Stuff for the U.K. and Eire covering toys, gifts and gadgets with initial plans including remote control cars, novelty gifts and desktop toys. Other Top Gear deals include Kinnerton Confectionery and the Creative Cake Company. A Top Gear toy and game range launched in Marks & Spencer in October.
RDF Kids & Family signed two master licensees for its new property Waybaloo with Fisher-Price for toys and Egmont for publishing. Also during the show, Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products announced a two-year deal with Tomy Yujin Europe for vending machines covering Nickelodeon and Nick Jr properties for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
BLE celebrated it 10th year alongside HIT Entertainment’s Bob the Builder. During BLE, HIT launched a co-production deal on preschool property “Little Charley Bear” with Annix Productions. The 3D show, 27x7, is based on an irreverent teddy bear who takes journeys into the imagination encouraging children to learn key life skills.
During BLE, HIT held its first U.K. Pingu Awards, which recognize the achievements of retailers and licensees. Tomy’s Remote Control Steam & Sound Thomas was named U.K. Product of the Year; Retailer of the Year was Toys “R” Us; Promotion of the Year was First Choice; Egmont was named Publisher of the Year; and Licensee of the Year was Martin Yaffe.
|Key Property Launches. Click to enlarge.|