BLE announces Fashion theme for 2020

Following a successful run in 2019, the organizers of Brand Licensing Europe have announced that fashion will be the sole theme for 2020.

This year’s event achieved record visitor numbers once again with a rise of 3 percent to 8,062 and exhibiting companies also increased from 264 to 268.

Next year’s event, which returns to ExCeL London on Oct. 6-8, 2020, will encompass all things fashion licensing: apparel, footwear, accessories and beauty. Early stage plans include a live catwalk, with dramatic-themed fashion shows beamed onto all digital screens throughout the venue.

“BLE has become infamous for its themes and we are so excited about next year’s, we’ve been planning it for months,” says Anna Knight, vice president of licensing, Informa Markets. “What I love about fashion in licensing is how inclusive it is. It’s accessible to every BLE exhibitor and its appeal is universal: it’s relevant to every demographic and is gender, race, age and generation neutral.

“We all have an emotional connection with fashion,” continues Knight. “For years, toys have traditionally been the gateway to consumer products for brands. But apparel is now helping to drive experiences and build brands, especially for categories like eSports, which have an older, hardcore, merch-driven, fanbase. At BLE 2020, we will be exploring fast fashion, haute couture collabs, sustainability, the economy and more. One of the reasons we moved BLE to ExCeL was the potential it offered to create a more experiential show. We proved that this year with our activations and Fresh off the Runway showcase. But next year, our fashion theme will highlight what BLE at ExCeL can offer exhibitors and visitors.”

BLE 2019’s activations included Beyond the Book (publishing), Arcade (gaming and eSports) and Heritage x Interiors.

“They were a huge hit with visitors: interactive, inspirational, bold and beautiful; a real testament to the impact creative, successful licensing programs can have at retail,” adds Knight.

BLE 2020 takes place at ExCeL London from Oct. 6-8, 2020. Find out more at www.brandlicensingeurope.com

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/licensing-events/ble-announces-fashion-theme-2020

The industry remembers David Cardwell

Rainbow Production’s David Scott leads the tributes to the co-founder of CPL who sadly passed away last week.

David Cardwell was an inspirational man. Many of us know all about the successes of CPL (or CPLG as it is now called) over the past 45 years, but few people know that he worked his way up from an under-privileged background, leaving school at 14 and coming to London full of ideas, energy and ambition. He worked as an errand boy for the Daily Express, helped create the Elvis Monthly (and relished the chance to interview Elvis himself).

He then worked as a music journalist, including for NME, became a publicist and manager for new pop music acts, most notably The Paper Dolls and Pikketywitch, and then in 1974 mortgaged his family house to help fund the first big contract for the just-founded CPL, working with Cosgrove Hall to make a TV series of Noddy.

And that was before most of us in licensing had even met him…

In those early days, together with his business partner Richard Culley, and along with a very small number of other pioneers and competitors, they established the UK licensing industry. David was someone who has not only helped shape a sector of British business, but also our very way of life and how we consume and interact with entertainment and the media. There are generations of people who have treasured memories of their childhood characters who will never know that their pleasure was enhanced by toys, clothing and a myriad of other items that only exist as they do today because of the drive, vision and creativity displayed by David, Richard and their competitors/colleagues some decades earlier.

CPL grew to become a major player in, firstly, UK licensing followed by an expansion into mainland Europe via a joint-venture called ELG (combining latterly with CPL to become CPLG). Indeed, it became a global success with a worldwide reach and a key port of call for overseas and home-grown rights owners wishing to exploit their brands in the markets where CPL was established. Always at the forefront of the industry, CPL was a veritable academy of licensing and many of its old boys and girls have themselves gone on to become leading lights in the licensing business.

It was a sad coincidence that we should hear the news about David’s death during BLE as the very first licensing exhibitions, and the forerunners of BLE, were supported by CPL which was such a strong player in the licensing world by that time. However, it gave those of us who knew him a chance to meet and chat together and reminisce about David and relate our favourite stories. I have included some of these stories, and thoughts, all recounted with affection by people whose lives, like mine, were changed by their good fortune in knowing him.

I am indebted to Dr Sarah Cardwell Davies, David’s daughter, who kindly provided the details of David’s early years and below are comments from a small number of those who knew him.

David - pictured with his business partner, Richard Culley - helped shape a sector of the British licensing business.
David – pictured with his business partner, Richard Culley – helped shape a sector of the British licensing business.

David Cardwell – Reminiscences from Friends & Colleagues

“It was a bold decision when David and I set up CPL in 1974; back then character licensing really was in its infancy.  Most of the outside world had no idea what we were talking about and had doubts we could make a living (Noddy on t-shirts? What next!). We proved them wrong, of course.

Our enduring partnership I believe lasted as long as it did, mainly because we complemented each other perfectly, were passionate about what we were doing and had the ability to make each other laugh. At the beginning David was the money man and I was acquiring rights and selling licences. It worked; we built from there. David became so knowledgeable I started to believe he’d crept off and done an accountancy degree such was his overnight ability to challenge more than one accountant, and mostly he was right.

Building the company together from scratch was challenging and exciting in equal measure. We had enormous fun over the years, took risks and many paid off. It became a little more serious when we sold to Mosaic and then went public, but at the start we really were living by the seat of our pants. One day David told me simply, we were running out of money. As luck would have it, I received a cheque that day for an advance on one of the first licences we’d secured. We celebrated in the very first branch of Pizza Express in Soho!   The next week David issued a set of rules: no taxis, no couriers (all mail in London to be delivered by foot or bus), no business lunches and a freeze on hiring. He was right, of course!

I feel blessed to have met David, follow our dream and grow CPL with him into the global success it has become.”
Richard Culley

“It’s difficult to dissociate David from the industry and my career – he gave me my first break in the business, as he did to so many. He had a strategic business mind and was a visionary – he was perhaps the first to see the opportunity for toy driven licensing/brand extensions. Knickerbocker Toy – which quickly became Hasbro Europe – was a client, with My Little Pony being one of the first of those properties to launch in the UK when I joined CPL in 1984. David quickly saw the opportunity as MLP became a craze and Hasbro could not keep up demand for toy products so licensed merchandise from CPL met that demand. Toy buyers were taken by surprise… one I remember calling it ‘My Little Warthog’ and refusing to stock it… oops!”
Charles Day

“He was a visionary and a mentor to me, as he was to so many others.”
Caroline Mickler

“David was one of a kind and I was privileged to have worked for him. He gave me an opportunity that I will be forever grateful for as it changed my life. There are so many memories to pull from such as weekly dinners at Chez Gerard or late nights at the Essex House bar in New York during Licensing Show, but my most memorable were the many meetings in the 12th floor board room on Percy Street where I would desperately try to breathe through a cloud of smoke as I hung my head out the window gasping for some fresh air which needless to say was always a challenge in Central London. They broke the mould with David and he will be missed.”
Kirk Bloomgarden

“David Cardwell, a true entrepreneur and visionary, a great friend and mentor. I knew him as an industry leader and his unique business style was very apparent when in the space of one week, he agreed to let me open up the first CPLG office in Germany in 1996, after having bought the remaining shares of the ELG operation. In the early Nineties (1992-1995), he started a pan-European agency network, a testament to his vision of future market developments.

As a smoker I fondly remember his office in Percy Street being a bit ‘smoky’, unlike his business instinct and decisions. When he last bought back CPLG from a Swiss based sports licensing company, he offered several members of his team the possibility to invest in the company and I remember him pushing us to stop reading the 150 plus pages purchase agreement, as everything should be fine [and] we should just get on with it.

David never really was a patient man. The board meetings were always short and to the point and if anyone started to ramble on, he was quite quick to put a stop to it. However, when he was asked about the future of the licensing business or for his advice, he always took the time to explain. I am extremely thankful to have worked closely with David, he formed my insight into our business. He was great fun to be with and I have so many fond memories of our travel together, the business diners, the drinks and many cigarettes! David had a great sense of humour, a sharp intellect and loved to live a good life and I will miss him dearly, as many others will do. Cheers David.”
Katarina Dietrich

“During my time at Copyright Promotions I held various roles, one of which was a new business one that encompassed developing new opportunities for licensing sales outwith and within the group, combined with seeking out new representations. Often I had to report directly to David. While he could be very direct in his feedback I welcomed his advice and encouragement.

He would always make pro-active suggestions, often fired up by products he had seen in the US and he, of course, had a great reservoir of knowledge of the licensing industry. He always knew someone, or else someone who knew someone. I really enjoyed chatting to him and listening to his anecdotes including ones from his time in the music industry. He was also very kind to me when my father was terminally ill and in hospital. He allowed me to leave work during office hours and actively encouraged me to leave the office to go and see my Dad. It was a thoughtful thing for David to do and to suggest. I remember David with fondness, respect and admiration. He helped shape our industry and helped a lot of us build our careers.”
Ian Downes

“Deeply saddened to hear of David’s passing. A real master of the understated but an unwavering enthusiasm for his clients, people and business. RIP.”
Simon Gresswell

“I have many fond memories of David. Aside from him accidentally meeting the Queen, one that always makes me smile is our morning cigarette in the Percy Street office while we waited for the kettle to boil and David describing how he made a jam roly-poly over the weekend. Only he forgot to remove the tea towel and rolled towel with the sponge! I will hold these little stories and moments in my heart forever, along with his random texts to check in over the years. No more texts my dear friend, thank you for everything you did for me – I will miss you very much.”
Angeles Blanco

“My first job in licensing was head of PR at CPL and I very quickly recognised that I had joined an industry full of fantastic characters who really knew how to work hard and play just as hard. David was most certainly one of these! Something we all looked forward to was the annual Christmas party which, certainly at that time seemed extravagant affairs at which there was very little in the way of holding back. There is now a select group of licensing people who will always remember seeing David careering down the stairs at Shepperton Studios on a tea tray!”
Jane Garner

“David offered me a job in 1992 with a struggling company called Rainbow Productions, which was a subsidiary of CPL in those days. He interviewed me on a Monday and I had the job of managing director by Friday (David was not one for hanging around) despite my not knowing what a costume character was, nor ever having visited the Rainbow premises. He was a hard taskmaster but always kept faith in myself and the Rainbow team until, in 1995, he went one step further and sold me the company – in the process changing my business career immeasurably for the better.”
David Scott

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/indepth/the-industry-remembers-david-cardwell/

BLE Countdown: Meet some of the exhibitors returning to Brand Licensing Europe

As we prepare for Europe’s premier licensing event, Brand Licensing Europe, we’re continuing our deep dive into the show’s extensive brand portfolio. This time, we are taking a look at some of the big names returning to BLE for 2019. Here are some of the big players appearing at this year’s event:

The Point.1888 (stand C380)

The Point.1888 returns to BLE for the third year in a row. A leading licensing agency in Europe, the company counts top brands in its portfolio including Team GB, Mumsnet and Katie Alice. Speaking with License Global earlier this year, Will Stewart, founder, The Point.1888, said BLE is key for his agency because it provides an excellent platform for networking.

“They’re vital for successful licensing partnerships,” says Stewart. “We’ve found loads of clients and customers in the past, but the real opportunity is the random walk-on out of a thousand meetings. That little gem can help you achieve something really special, so if you weren’t there, you would miss that.”

The Emoji Company (stand C242) 

The Emoji Company has become a licensing industry juggernaut over the years. Over the past six years, the company has won various awards for its work with licensees and has been named in License Global’s Top 150 Global Licensors list.

In 2019, emoji has inked a slew of international partnerships. In the lead up to BLE, the company has announced deals with Watt’s Chile, Atlantis Aquaventure and IMPS.

Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products (stand B160)

Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products is an icon in the kids’ television sector. The company is responsible for popular properties including JoJo Siwa, “Blue’s Clues,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and the recently acquired “Garfield” brand. On the licensing front, Viacom Nickelodeon has built a strong collection of licensees in nearly every product category.

Ahead of this year’s BLE event, the company has announced unique partners for its brands including a Betsey Johnson x JoJo Siwa collaboration, “Spongebob Squarepants” Timberland boots and “Good Burger” pop-up.

Juventus F.C. (stand D382)

Juventus F.C. is one of the premier football clubs in Europe. Based in Turin, Piedmont, Italy, the team has built a robust licensing program based on its winning roster. Just last year, Juventus inked a four-year deal with football icon Cristiano Ronaldo.

In licensing, Juventus has won deals with Konami to bring the club to the virtual world of video games via Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. It has also recently renewed its deal with brand management agency IMG.

Activision Blizzard (stand D300)

Activision Blizzard is one of the biggest names in gaming and esports. The company is responsible for AAA titles including “World of Warcraft,” “Overwatch” and “Call of Duty.” As a leading video game maker, the company has been able to turn its properties into licensing and esports winners successfully.

The company has recently inked successful partnerships with PepsiCo and Kellogg.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/live-events/ble-countdown-meet-some-exhibitors-returning-brand-licensing-europe

Eight finalists announced for 2019 BLE License This! competition

Eight exciting entrepreneurs have been shortlisted for this year’s Brand Licensing Europe License This! final following a record number of entries and an intense judging day last week in London, U.K.

Five brands are shortlisted in the Character & Animation category, and three are battling it out for the Brand & Design award. The final will take place in the License Global Theatre at BLE at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Character & Animation finalists are:

  • Adorabubbles;
  • Carrot and Toast;
  • Slime Fury (Argentina);
  • My Little Opera and
  • Noodoll.

Brand & Design finalists are:

  • Orange and Lilly (Hungary);
  • Owlasanas and
  • MINU’ Tiny Little Wonders (Italy).

“Having been part of the judging panel for the past three years, it was really pleasing to see some new and varied proposals in the character and animation category,” says Dan Grant, licensing director, Danilo. “We had a great selection of properties to judge this year from all around the world, which shows how much exposure this event is now receiving. From the long list of entries, we have been able to nominate five character and animation properties for the final that all have something different and exciting to offer. It’s now down to the finalists to convince the panel why their property should win the prize, and I’m really looking forward to judging the final.”

This year’s License This! winners will receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2020, one year’s Licensing International membership and PR support and advice from a panel of industry experts. Finalists will also receive legal consultation from competition sponsor Wynne-Jones. Previous entrants–both winners and finalists–have also signed lucrative agent and licensing deals off the back of the competition. Last year’s winners–Zara Picken and Sara Burman Designs–are both exhibitors at BLE 2019 and can be found in the Art, Design & Image zone.

“Early September now brings a great new regular feature of licensing life for me: my first look at the submissions to the annual License This! Competition,” says Kelvyn Gardner, chair and managing director, Licensing International U.K. “The contest has evolved as a filter for genuine new licensing talent, not just from the U.K. but with a great international dimension. We have responded by now offering two categories–character & animation and brand & design–which in turn, has boosted entry numbers and quality. With past winners and finalists now having launched successful licensing programmes, License This! really is the place to go if you’re looking for your start.”

This year’s judges are:

  • Kelvyn Gardner, chair and managing director, Licensing International;
  • Sarah Ward, chief executive officer, Giftware Association and
  • Victor Caddy, partner, Wynne-Jones.

Character & Entertainment Award Judges are:

  • Dan Grant, director, licensing, Danilo Promotions;
  • Nikki Samuels, licensing director, Sambro;
  • Clare Piggott, director, Larkshead Media and
  • Julia Redman, head of buying, M&Co.

Brand & Design Award Judges are: 

  • Stuart Cox, founder, I Like Birds;
  • Vicki Thomas, owner, Vicki Thomas Associates;
  • Sarah Lawrence, owner, This is Iris;
  • Jehane Boden Spiers, founder, Jehane and
  • Will Stewart, managing director, The Point.1888.

BLE 2019 takes place at ExCeL London from Oct.1-3. Register for free at the BLE website.

source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/licensing-events/eight-finalists-announced-2019-ble-license-competition