Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) will open its office in Mexico City, Mexico on Aug. 1. WBCP Mexico will also support global franchise opportunities this summer/fall 2021 including the annual Back to Hogwarts celebration, Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary, Batman Day and DC FanDome.
“Mexico is a hugely important market for us and having our own flagship office there working directly with our amazing partners simply makes sense,” says Preston Kevin Lewis, senior vice president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products Latin America. “As we drive new business and partner across WarnerMedia divisions currently based in Mexico, including HBO Max, WB Games, WB Home Entertainment and others, having our team in-market allows us to be much more collaborative with our licensees and ensure the highest-quality fan experience.”
Javier Garza will be the new head of Warner Bros. Consumer Products Mexico. He will report to Lewis and Sharon Zyman, general manager, WarnerMedia Mexico and Colombia. Garza will also join the local WarnerMedia Mexico executive leadership team. Garza previously worked for WBCP for more than 14 years as the licensing vice president for Latin America and general manager of Mexico, before launching his own agency, The Brand Licensing Entertainment Co. (BLEC), in 2015. Now Garza brings his years of experience within WB and is serving as a WBCP licensing agent.
“It is a great responsibility to lead the Mexico office, knowing the huge opportunities this market provides Warner Bros.,” says Garza. “The goal for our team will be to develop unforgettable content, products and world-class experiences for fans of Warner Bros. brands and franchises.”
Ahead of the grand opening of the office, License Global spoke exclusively with Preston Kevin Lewis, senior vice president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products Latin America about the new team, WBCP’s plans in the region and more.
License Global: Why was it important for WBCP to open an office in Mexico City?
Lewis: As the second-largest licensing market in Latin America behind only Brazil, Mexico is very important for us and offers incredible growth opportunities. LATAM makes up 4 percent of the worldwide consumption of licensed goods and services with $11.8 billion in sales in 2019, and Mexico sales of licensed merchandise and services are estimated at more than $3 billion.
This is also about timing. Our Latin America business is a major priority for the company with country managers now in place across the region to drive cross-divisional alignment in new and exciting ways. Our Mexico office will be a critical partner in this and our licensees and retailers will be key beneficiaries.
Tell us a bit more about your staff at the new Mexico office. Any licensing veterans that the industry can lean on?
Javier Garza, who will be the new head of Warner Bros. Consumer Products Mexico, is an industry veteran who previously worked for WBCP for more than 14 years as the licensing vice president for Latin America and general manager of Mexico. In 2015, he founded The Brand Licensing Entertainment Co. (BLEC), which served as our licensing agent in the market for Warner Bros. We are very excited that Javier is returning to WBCP, bringing his years of experience, extensive network of contacts and LatAm knowledge.
The rest of our WBCP Mexico team has expertise in merchandising, retail, marketing, creative and more and are passionately ready to deliver premier experiences for fans of DC, Wizarding World, Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, HBO, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and more.
What WB properties are the most popular in the territory and what will you be focusing on?
Consumers in Mexico historically have robust engagement with entertainment brands and our brands are among the most popular, including DC Superheroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones,” “Friends,” “Rick and Morty” and classic cartoons such as “Looney Tunes” and “Scooby-Doo.”
As SVP of WBCP LatAm, how does the new Mexico office fit into the overall LatAm licensing strategy?
We are focused on growth and the Mexico office is a critical part of the plan to reach our ambitions. Doing this requires the development of unforgettable content, products and world-class experiences for fans of our brands and franchises. Having a team in Mexico will allow us to be much more attuned to the local market opportunities, drive deeper cross-divisional collaboration and ensure deeper penetration and partnerships across digital and physical retail.
Are there any incoming deals in Mexico that you can share?
We have a very robust slate of DC films and other major releases coming next year – you’ll get a sneak peek at DC FanDome on Oct. 16. So you can imagine our CP business may have some surprises planned next year and beyond. The future for our business in Mexico is bright indeed.