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BLE: Welcome to London

Brand Licensing Europe kicks off its biggest year yet.

April 6, 2018

5 Min Read

Brand Licensing Europe kicks off its biggest year yet.

Now in its 18th year, Brand Licensing Europe will return to London with a host of new initiatives for visitors, educational seminars and more, promising to be the biggest and most informational show yet.


Something for Everybody

With more than 2,500 brands, characters and images on the show floor this year, visitors will have access to Europe's largest collection of properties across a variety of licensing categories.

This year the show boasts a number of both new and classic exhibitors including Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products, Paramount Pictures and Activision, among many others, in the Character & Entertainment zone; the Paris Saint-Germain football club, the Natural History Museum and the Ministry of Defence and more in the Brands & Lifestyle zone; and Gingerbread House, Manu and Paper Rose, in addition to many more, in the Art & Design zone.

Additionally, this year's show will highlight a number of unique, European-based properties that aren't showcased anywhere else.

The Brands & Lifestyle Theatre

Throughout the duration of BLE, visitors will be able to attend the Brands & Lifestyle Theatre, which features presentations from licensing specialists in categories including lifestyle, sports, fashion and heritage brands.

Each presentation will highlight industry case studies with interpretations on how and why they were so successful. Highlights of this year's program will include a session on managing a successful brand licensing program and a presentation about licensing brands from the 1940's with Imperial War Museums.

Licensing Academy


As always, the International Licensing Industry and Merchandisers' Association has assembled the best of the industry for a series of seminars designed to advance visitors' knowledge as well as keep them up-to-date with the newest industry trends.

This year, Licensing Academy will feature a series of sessions covering topics ranging from the essentials of licensing to streaming services to kids' licensing. LIMA will also launch a roundtable series at the show for the first time.

LIMA BLE Garden Party

On the second day of show, LIMA will host the 2016 Official LIMA BLE Garden Party at The Roof Gardens, Kensington. Following last year's sold out event, the evening networking event will consist of drinks, music, barbecue food and additional "surprises" from sponsors Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Brand Licensing Europe.

Character Parade

This year's Character Parade is set to take place the first day of the show, Oct. 11, at 11 a.m.

The annual event will feature more than 80 licensed characters ranging from old fan favorites to today's top new properties. This year's parade promises to be one of the show's highlights and will be the perfect opportunity for visitors to experience the plethora of character-based brands in attendance.

Matchmaking Service

A new addition to the show this year is the launch of the Matchmaking Service, which allows exhibitors and attendees to request meetings with one another through an online portal ahead of the show.

The service also allows users to create online profiles, identify key contacts based on areas of interest and job type, build relationships and create new business opportunities. The platform is complemented by a team of experienced matchmaking professionals who will assist with meeting arrangements and managing the show's new Matchmaking Lounge on-site.

Launched at Licensing Expo in June, the service generated more than 2,500 meetings, more than 345,000 online user profile views, connected 1,000 licensors with licensees and generated $200,000 worth of business from one user alone during the three-day event.

The Matchmaking Service is free to all attendees and exhibitors this year.

License This! Competition


Now in its seventh year, the License This! competition is offers new creative concepts or brands the chance to break into the global licensing industry.

Prior to the show, entries are reviewed by a panel of experts and a shortlist of four properties are presented to that panel at BLE in front of a live audience, Oct. 13. This year's winner will receive a prize worth more than £6,000, which includes a fully furnished, 9-square-meter stand at BLE 2017 to bring the property to the market. They will also receive LIMA membership for one year and a ticket to the LIMA Licensing Essentials Course & Spring Fling Networking Party in May 2017.

Kelvyn Gardner, managing director, LIMA U.K., will chair the panel. He will be joined by Tom Gunn, senior international brand director, Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products; Jane Evans, director, JELC; Sam Ferguson, senior director, licensing and retail, Jazwares; Pat Reading, licensing director, UU Ltd; Max Lister, senior licensing manager, Natural History Museum; and Clare Piggot, director, licensing and merchandising, Larkshead Media.

Retailers Look Ahead

This year, BLE aims to not only bring even more retailers to the event, but to also make this group a priority through the Retail Mentoring Programme, the Retail Licensing Club and more.

First, the Retail Mentoring Programme, which gives junior retailers a deeper understanding of the licensing industry, will bring together more than 50 buyers from Europe and the U.K.'s leading retailers including Argos, Claire's Accessories, The Entertainer and Marks & Spencer, among many others, for nine months of training and education on the licensing industry, how to make deals and pitfalls to avoid.


The Programme will culminate with a visit to BLE where junior retailers will be able to put their learnings to practice.

Brand Licensing Europe will also launch the Retail Licensing Club, an exclusive club designed to help retailers harness the $251.7 billion brand licensing industry. The club will offer retailers year-round seminars with insights on the latest licensing trends and forecasts, mini events with networking opportunities, company visits from industry experts, news and opportunities to join the BLE Advisory Board.

Finally, the Brands & Lifestyle Zone will include an in-store feature that showcases a selection of licensed products as they would appear on shelves. Participating brands will hail from categories including sports, heritage, automotive, fashion and charity brands, among others.

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