BLE Ends on a High Note

This year’s show was a hotbed for on-site activations, networking and more.

EUROPE–This year's Brand Licensing Europe was bigger and better than ever, with 50 new exhibitors, a host of new activations and thought-provoking seminar sessions, bringing licensing front and center for three days of deal-making and networking.

Taking place earlier this week at London’s Olympia, BLE offered many of the features that exhibitors and attendees have come to rely on, such as differentiated zones for easy floor navigation, as well as new and enhanced offerings that added significantly to the experience.

In addition, BLE welcomed back many long-term exhibitors including brands such as Nickelodeon, Toei Animation, Mattel, “Masha and the Bear,” Moomins, Smiley and more; while attendees are experiencing new brands like 24H Le Mans, Admiral Sportswear, Ducati, Endemol Shine, Juventus, Level-5 abby, OpSec Security, Rugby World Cup 2019, TF1 Licenses, The Point. 1888, Sybo Games, Striker Entertainment and more.

Expanding on its efforts, BLE revamped the show’s Brands & Lifestyle Zone to include a product showcase highlighting the diversity and creativity of products targeted toward adults. The showcase featured more than 25 exhibitors that donated nearly 200 products representing 60 brands and a host of categories. Participating companies included Beanstalk, CAA-GBG, IBML, Global Icons, Pink Key Consulting, JELC, V&A, Juventus, FIFA, Brandgenuity and more.

The Brands & Lifestyle Zone is was also enriched by its annual seminar program, which included conversations on topics meaningful to the business at large.

This year, leaders from major players in the industry hosted talks including Lauren Sizeland from V&A; Angela Farrugia and Lisa Shapiro from CAA-GBG; Richard Pink from Pink Key Consulting; Susan Bolsover from Penguin Random House; Christine Cool from Perfetti Van Melle; Gabrielle Sims from Fat Face; and Nicolas Loufrani from The Smiley Company. There was also a presentation from the football brand Juventus.

Additional educational opportunities were also available to visitors via the Licensing Academy, which is sponsored by LIMA and included free programming designed to keep visitors abreast of key trends affecting the European market.

Gaming was also a strong focus for BLE this year, with a dedicated Gaming Activation Area on-site. The Area provided visitors insight into some of the ways gaming IP can be taken from screen to score. One highlight from the Area was the mock retail environment, which showcased a range of properties.

In the demonstration area, visitors were able to get hands-on with leading gaming IP across all platforms and for all ages. Titles featured included Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe's "Horizon Zero Dawn," Capcom's "Street Fighter," Ubisoft's "Assassin's Creed," King's "Candy Crush," Activision's "Call of Duty," Blizzard's "Overwatch," SEGA's "Sonic Forces," Rovio's "Angry Birds Evolution" and "Halo," which is presented by Tinderbox.

In addition, a keynote conversation, entitled “Gaming: Dispelling the Myths,” with a variety of gaming companies took place on Tuesday and further explored how video game companies are bringing their properties to life.

BLE also partnered with Mojo Nation to host the Toy & Game Innovation Zone, which offered examples of licensed toys and games launched within the past 12 months.

The licensing trade show also offered its Matchmaking Service once again, which offered exhibitors and visitors the opportunity to pre-book business meetings ahead of the event. This year, the Service incorporated a host of new system enhancements, including improved search functionality.

Other highlights from this year’s show included the Retail Mentoring Programme, which was designed to give buying and merchandising professionals from companies such as Characters.com, Toymaster, M&Co, Morrisons and theater chains Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group a deeper understanding of the licensing industry.

Brand Licensing Europe is part of the Global Licensing Group, organized by UBM and sponsored by LIMA.

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