Now in its 16th year, Brand Licensing Europe is focusing on service in the licensing
community and beyond.
Brand Licensing Europe 2014, which is taking place Oct. 7-9 in London, is gearing up to be the biggest and best event to-date, with a focus on charity and a competition to keep attendees talking long after the expo doors close.
More than 250 exhibitors occupy the BLE show floor, with 2,500 brands, characters and image brands on display.
As in past years, the BLE show floor will be divided into three designated areas: Art, Design & Image; Brands & Lifestyle; and Character & Entertainment.
The show will once again fill the Olympia event center and take over the structure's second level, where the Art, Design & Image and the Brands & Lifestyle areas will be showcased.
This year, the Brands & Lifestyle area will extend out on the balcony of the 2nd level, allowing prime visibility for the anchor exhibitors in the area and a great view of the Characters & Entertainment stands below.
The Brands & Lifestyle area will feature four distinct sub-sectors this year–Sports, Heritage, Lifestyle and Fashion–plus a seminar series that will complement the annual Licensing Academy (the show's free program of seminars intended to educate and advance attendee's licensing knowledge) with exclusive content just for this area of the show. The NPD Group, Planet Retail and GfK have confirmed their return as the event's official Knowledge Partners and are presenting in the Licensing Academy.
In the Brands & Lifestyle section, a new feature for 2014 is the Brands & Lifestyle Theatre, where BLE will host free sessions tailored specifically to the business of licensing brands. Visitors will hear expert advice on licensing from those in the worlds of sports, lifestyle, fashion and heritage brands. As part of collaboration with Italian licensing company Brand Jam, the sessions will present powerful case studies alongside Brand Jam's interpretation of how and why they are so successful. Representatives from Beanstalk, IMG and Extreme have already been confirmed for the sessions.
The Licensing Academy will also feature two keynote sessions. Leah Davis, head of marketing, Team GB, British Olympic Association Team, will open BLE and speak on behalf of the Team GB brand. The keynote for Oct. 8 will explore the success of the hit game "Minecraft," and feature Vu Bui, chief operating officer at Mojang AB, maker of "Minecraft."
BLE is teaming with a number of charities this year including the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, which will provide the show's first-ever mascot, rescue dog Squirt the Staffie.
In addition to Battersea, BLE and the Bounce Alzheimer's Therapy Foundation are hosting a charity event called 'Table Dennis" which will raise awareness of table tennis as an effective therapy for those suffering from dementia. DC Thomson Consumer Products, The Light Fund (a licensing industry run charity that raises money for a variety of projects) and Table Tennis England will also co-sponsor the event.
Now in its fifth year, the License This! competition offers companies with fresh concepts the opportunity to break into the licensing industry.
The finale will take place Oct. 9 in front of a live audience, all leading up to an opportunity to bring the brand to market and to win a free stand at Brand Licensing Europe 2015.
The chairman for License This! is Ian Downes, managing director, Start Licensing. Downes is joined by Paul Bufton, vice president, consumer products licensing and retail, EMEA, Rovio; Richard Haines, acquisitions and new business manager, Penguin Children's Books; and John Carolan, head of buying, children's wear, Sainsbury's.
Last year's winner, Mr. Trafalgar, has been busy developing the characters in its portfolio to bring back to this year's show. Mr. Trafalgar is in good company. Below is a scorecard of how past License This! contestants are doing post-BLE:
- 2011 winner How to... for the Inept has since signed a publishing agent contract and a deal for gifting sets.
- Turizmo, a finalist from the same year, has signed licenses for apparel, wall-coverings, game apps and stationery, some of which feature augmented reality, in the U.K. and Russia.
- 2012 finalist Lillipippins has inked licenses in the U.K., U.S., Russia/CIS, Germany and Australia.
- Last year's finalist Railway of Life secured a deal with The Coaster Company weeks after BLE 2013.
Of the 250-plus exhibitors at BLE, more than 70 of them are new. Among the companies that have been added to the exhibitors list this year are Bandai Namco, Borders Design, College Brands, Coyote Ugly Saloon, Hearst Publications, King, Members Only, Team GB, The Dreamchaser Company, The Jim Henson Group, Tokidoki, UDC Licensing Agency and Yvette Jordan.
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, The National Museum of the Royal Navy and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products.
"We are thrilled to announce that the 16th annual Brand Licensing Europe is officially the biggest to-date," says Darren Brechin, event director, Brand Licensing Europe. "So whether you are a retailer, licensee or sales promotion professional, BLE 2014 is the perfect place for you to find partnerships and strike the deals that could transform your business forever."