The goal for Brand Licensing Europe 2014, which will take place Oct. 7-9, is to exceed last year's numbers of 288 exhibitors, with more than 7,000 visitors from 69 countries.
Just like last year, the BLE show floor will be divided into three designated areas: Art, Design & Image; Brands & Lifestyle; and Character & Entertainment. The show will once again take over the second level of London's Olympia event center, which will showcase the Art, Design & Image and the Brands & Lifestyle areas. This year, the Brands & Lifestyle area will extend to the balcony, giving prime visibility for the anchor exhibitors in the area, and a great view of Characters & Entertainment stands below.
Brands & Lifestyle will feature four distinct sub-sectors this year–Sports, Heritage, Lifestyle and Fashion–plus a seminar series that will complement the annual Licensing Academy program,
Lots of top companies from around the world have already committed to BLE to showcase their brands, with more than 80 percent of the floor already reserved. Exhibitors returning to BLE include DreamWorks Animation, British Library, Dorna Sports, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Chupa Chups, Historic Royal Palaces Enterprises, Hasbro, Rovio Entertainment, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, Valerie Valerie, Major League Baseball, Mind Candy, Kevlar, Nickelodeon, The Royal Ballet, National Museum of the Royal Navy and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products.
In addition, BLE 2014 welcomes familiar names such as Anchorman, Angry Birds Go!, Paddington, Paul Frank, Pink Floyd, The Beano, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wallace and Gromit, and The World of Eric Carle.
"The steady growth and success of the event each year is a strong reflection of the industry as a whole; and these are undoubtedly exciting times with phenomenal examples of licensing in action almost everywhere you turn," says Darren Brechin, event director, BLE. "We are looking forward to another extremely busy event this October and welcoming many more exhibitors to the show floor."
First-time exhibitors to BLE this year include International New York Times, adidas-AC Milan, comic book brand 2000 AD, Dutch publisher Clavis, chemical company DuPont (the creator of Kevlar), fashion brand Freegun, licensing agent Monday 2 Friday, Moongazer Cards, Toonbox Studio, Von Dutch, soft drink company Britvic, Imperial War Machine, licensing company Octane, Chelsea Football Club and UEFA Euro 2016 (the governing body for European football).
NPD Group, Planet Retail and GfK are confirmed to return as the event's official Knowledge Partners and feature within the Licensing Academy. Now in its third year, the market research and retail intelligence providers are sharing their expertise in the event's content program as well as exhibiting on the show floor.
Another program in its fifth year is the Retail Mentoring Programme. The number of retailers taking part in 2014 has increased by 60 percent from last year.
Over 50 retail professionals will take part in workshops and seminars in the six months leading up to the show, including the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) Licensing Essentials Course and Spring Fling this past May. The U.K.-exclusive program currently has 10 retailers involved in the initiative including Boots, Lakeland, Debenhams, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Miniclub and, for the first time, Marks & Spencer.
Popular features from past shows like Licensing Academy, the License This! challenge for new creative concepts, the Screening Suite and the Advice Centre are returning this year revitalized for 2014.
The Characters & Entertainment area will now be home to the new Entertainment Bar, a mellow spot on the floor for visitors and exhibitors to network and conduct business without interruption.
The Screening Suite cinema will give select attendees previews of some of the biggest blockbusters heading to the big screen (viewings are invite-only), while the Advice Centre will give consultations on topics ranging from legal and financial advice to contract guidance.
The Licensing Academy will host keynote speakers, which will be announced later this summer. Past speakers include executives from Mind Candy, Rovio, Volkswagen, Lucas Licensing and FIFA.
The fifth annual License This! challenge, a competition for new brands to break into the global licensing industry, opened its ballot for entries back in June to new properties with a background in publishing, art and design, television or digital media. (Entries can be submitted until Sept. 5.) All entries are reviewed by a panel of experts, who will select a short list of four properties that will be pitched in front of a live audience at BLE on Oct. 9. The winner will receive a fully furnished stand at next year's BLE worth more than $7,500.
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