Licensed products were hard to miss at Spring Fair, the U.K.’s foremost buying opportunity for the gift, greeting and home wares sectors. Licensees expanded their product lines–Rainbow Designs, for example, added wooden toys and bags; Pyramid added stationery–and there was strong cross-category showing for big brands such as Glee, Beatrix Potter, DC Comics.
The London 2012 Olympics took center stage to generate retail planning and interest. Here are some highlights from the event:
The appetite for vintage brands continued to grow with more Marmite products from ECP Designs together with specialists like WG Retro offering products based on 70s TV classics, “Rainbow,” and “Dangermouse,” Half Moon Bay’s DC Comics line, and products inspired by the Robert Opie Collection of advertising memorabilia. Licensee Wild and Wolf continues to breathe life into brands like Scrabble adding magnetic tiles and more ceramics this season and winning the Gift of the Year award.
Spring Fair 2011 was a prime showcase for design-led licensing campaigns such as the Pantone mugs. The Ray and Charles Eames estate and the National Gallery by London studio, Whitbread Wilkinson. An interesting collaboration between Sanrio and Momiji featured Hello Kitty on six Momiji Dolls launched last week. Orla Keily and Nigella Lawson (both have ranges by Bliss Home), as well as Lizbeth Dahl brought glamour and a new softness to kitchenware and interiors.
New campaigns at Spring Fair included Zodiak’s Simon’s Cat (products with ECP designs) and BBC Worldwide’s Wibbly Pig (products with Rainbow Designs). Manhattan Toy Company had new products in its line of Fraggle Rock and Dr Seuss products, and launched a new product range licensed from the U.S. magazine brand, Parents.
Licensees such as Bayliss and Harding, Shreds and Wedgwood debuted Beatrix Potter products ahead of a new TV series and a publishing anniversary, using new original artwork. Dress up and party goods, both heavily licensed, dominated the Toy hall. Smiffy’s dress up fashion show and Amscan’s balloon displays were two of many demonstrations going on around the fair to bring new products to life.