Brand Licensing Europe hosted its largest show ever this October, seeing an increase in attendance, square footage and more.
More than 7,500 visitors representing 76 different countries were in attendance at the three-day expo held at London's Olympia facility. In addition, retail attendance increased 10 percent over last year, and manufacturer and licensee attendance was up six percent.
The event featured more than 250 exhibitors of which 63 were new, including the National Basketball Association, Blizzard Entertainment, J!NX, Authentic Brands Group, Lonely Dog, Momot Global, Paris Saint-Germain and Paramount Pictures, among many others.
Additionally, this year's Retail Mentoring Programme was the biggest since its launch seven years ago, with more than 50 buyers from a host of major U.K. companies such as Marks & Spencer, Halfords, The Entertainer and Sainsbury's.
BLE also hosted its largest-ever character parade, with more than 80 characters, and held a
educational sessions across the Licensing Academy and Brands & Lifestyle Theatre, with topics ranging from the basics of licensing to roundtable discussions on topics like celebrity licensing and revitalizing classic brands.
Furthermore, the show's keynote address was another highlight. A panel of sports executives comprised of Vandana Balachandar of the NBA, Andy Ward of the Rugby Football Union and Andreas Pletl of FIFA, and moderated by Tony Lisanti, global editorial director,
, discussed the current trends in global sports licensing, opinions on major opportunities and where the future of the market is headed as well as how to take advantage of the increasingly global market.
Another key highlight of BLE was Charlotte Reed's book brand,
May the Thoughts Be with You
–a collection of Reed's own thoughts illustrated with cheerful, fun cartoon characters–which was honored as the winner of the annual License This! competition for new creative concepts.
Other highlights from the event include:
more than 2,500 properties on display and available to license; an eight percent increase in gross square footage (making it the largest show to-date);
more than 1,700 meetings took place as part of the inaugural Matchmaking Service;
a new Product Showcase walk-through installation, which brought licensing to life with a display of licensed products throughout the years;
the launch of the Retail Licensing Club, which aims to bring retailers together at exclusive events throughout the year for networking and licensing industry updates; and the launch of Licensing Expo China and the announcement of an exclusive partnership between UBM, LIMA and Alifish to harness the potential of the Chinese licensing market.
"We couldn't be happier with the success of this year's show," says Anna Knight, brand director, BLE. "The show remained busy and buzzing throughout with a record number of European licensing professionals in attendance. We specifically set out to increase the number of retailers attending and have seen a significant jump this year with the help of our Retail Mentoring Programme, new and improved Retail Lounge and Retail Licensing Club launch. We are also very excited by the results of the new Matchmaking Service and the increased footfall to our Brands & Lifestyle Zone, both of which have generated a significant amount of new business for visitors and exhibitors alike. The whole team is now looking forward to building on this success and planning next year's event."
In addition to BLE's robust slate of events, programs and seminars, the show was, as always, a platform for a number of major announcements from the world's top brands.
Brand Licensing Europe 2017 will take place, Oct. 10-12, at Olympia, London.
Top Brands Make Waves
Sony Pictures Consumer Products unveiled plans for a wide-reaching consumer products program in support of its upcoming film
Emojimovie: Express Yourself
with the appointment of 12 licensing agents across multiple territories. Agents that signed on for the program include 20too Licensing, Biplano, Bradford Licensing, Click, J&M Brands, Katalyst, Lizenzwerft, Merchantwise, Rocket Licensing, TLC and Tycoon.
David Hasselhoff also made an appearance at this year's show and tapped Prominent Brand + Talent to serve as his exclusive worldwide branding and licensing agency. Under the terms of the agreement, the agency will promote, market and license the actor's brand in categories like apparel, health, fitness, nutrition, automotive, digital and more.
Beanstalk also announced it would take on two new clients–Bear Grylls and Xbox–for licensing in a number of territories globally.
Meanwhile, Pokémon Company International announced four new deals with major licensees–Marketing Licensed Products, Ravensburger, Textiss/Freegun and RJ-Romain Jerome–extending the brand's reach in France, and further celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products also tapped three new licensees for merchandise based on the MTV Brand. évos is on board for a line of audio products, Agrokor will launch branded energy drinks in the U.K. and Middle East, and Dutch fashion retailer CoolCat will debut an apparel collection developed by licensee Van Der Erve.
Additionally, NVCP also revealed a raft of food and beverage deals for Nickelodeon properties including "SpongeBob SquarePants," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Paw Patrol" and "Blaze and the Monster Machines," among others. Select partnerships include Dairy4Fun for branded yogurts, milk snacks and desserts; Vitapress for fizzy juice drinks; Ideafruit for branded apples; and Roter for chewable vitamin tablets.
Discovery Consumer Products also announced that it will launch a licensing merchandising program for the Eurosport network, a leading sports channel located in 93 countries. The new program is set to kick off with a range of cycling products for children and adults. To support the upcoming merchandise line, Discovery will also create a marketing program that aligns with the network's broadcasting events, beginning with the Tour de France in July 2017.
SEGA Europe continued to pay tribute to Sonic the Hedgehog's 25th anniversary by partnering with fine art publisher Washington Green. The fine art collection will feature a diverse range of original work from a number of mediums including sculpture, painting and mixed media. The limited edition pieces were launched in Castle Fine Art galleries across the U.K. on Dec. 2.
Perfetti Van Melle's Chupa Chups brand also took to the show in style this year after teaming up with London-based art fashion label The Rodnik Brand to commemorate the creation of the Chupa Chups logo by painter Salvador Dali. The collaboration launched at BLE with a special art exhibit and fashion project that includes ready-to-wear dresses alongside art pieces, which will also be available in exclusive apparel collections and licensing projects.
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