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10 Minutes With … Aardman Animations

License Global catches up with Ian Downes, director at Start Licensing – the agent for Aardman Animations, to chat all things Aardman. Ian discusses what’s trending in animation right now and how streaming platforms have made animation more readily available.

Ian Hart

August 7, 2022

3 Min Read
Ian Downes.
Ian Downes, Start Licensing.Start Licensing

Ian Downes: I think one of the biggest changes is in the variety of animation that is now available. With more media platforms and outlets, I think we are seeing a more diverse range of animation coming to the market in terms of look, styling, storylines and characters. I think things are more dynamic now.

What are some key examples of licensing done right from within the Aardman Animations portfolio?

We try to be ‘on brand’ as much as possible and develop deals that reflect the ‘personality’ of the IP as much as possible. We have a Cheese Gift Subscription from PONG Cheese that includes the cheeses mentioned in the Wallace & Gromit films. Another good example is Primus’ range of Aardman Garden statues – the detailing on the featured characters reflects the ‘on screen’ look really well, particularly in regard to details like the character’s eyes. Facial expressions are a core part of Aardman’s animation styling.

How have streaming platforms helped Aardman to push brands out to a wider audience by creating new collaborations? 

I think streaming platforms have made content, and animation in particular, more readily available to a wider audience more quickly. I think it also reflects that consumers want instant access to programming. From a rights owner point of view, having content on platforms like Netflix means your IP is ‘always on’ which is a good place to be in the current media landscape. In the U.K., Aardman is still working with the BBC which blends well with other distribution and underpins the IP’s heritage well."

Related:Aardman and Netflix Announces New Films

Aardman has once-again partnered with Brand Licensing Europe for the 2022 BLE License This! Competition. What is Aardman hoping to see from the entries?  

Aardman is a creative company and support the creative sector. Being part of this competition fits well with its ethos and it is pleased to be encouraging the creative community to get involved with licensing.  

Aardman was involved in License This! last year and we found it a great way of meeting new creative talent whilst getting a new perspective on characters like Morph. This year the focus is on Wallace & Gromit – it will be great to review the entries. I think Aardman really likes the fact that its IP is inspiring fresh creative thinking. It also works with the Intellectual Property Office which runs a schools competition featuring Wallace & Gromit."

Related:BLE Launches 2022 Kelvyn Gardner License This! Competition

What properties will Aardman be highlighting and showcasing on its booth at BLE this year?  

Aardman has a wonderful portfolio and this year it will be showcasing some new IP, such as Lloyd of the Flies and Robin Robin, alongside classic brands such as Morph, Shaun the Sheep, Timmy Time and Wallace & Gromit. "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget," the sequel to "Chicken Run," will also be featured. It is an exciting time for Aardman and is has a very strong line-up going forward. There are opportunities to work on individual brands but increasingly we are looking at Aardman collections utilizing the whole portfolio."

Brand Licensing Europe returns to London's ExCeL from September 20-22, with exhibitors spanning a range of categories, a new fashion theme highlighting exciting lines from leading brands, exciting seminar content and more!   

You can find Aardman Animations at booth B160. Click here to register for BLE 2022.

About the Author(s)

Ian Hart

Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA, License Global

Ian joined the License Global editorial team in May 2022 as digital editor for the U.K. and EMEA, becoming Senior Digital Editor in April 2023.

Ian is a huge fan of sports and entertainment brands and, as a father, toys and kids' brands are a large part of his life!

He has been at Informa (formerly UBM) since 2018, where he was previously the editor of SHP, a B2B digital publication aimed at health & safety professionals.

Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in B2B trade print media, in the automotive sector, working on various publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

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