IWM Preps for WWI Centenary

Imperial War Museums returns to Brand Licensing Europe this year just as U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new plan to spend £50 million on commemorations for the centenary of the start of World War One.

That money will go toward a transformation of IWM, as well as widespread events and educational programming, making the time ripe for licensing. 

Toward that end, IWM will unveil unique licensing opportunities ahead of its own four-year program to mark the historic event.

“This is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for retailers and licensees,” says Barry Smith, assistant director, commercial, IWM. “The centenary of the start of the First World War in 2014 will be the next big cultural event for the U.K. as we look back on the war that shaped the world we live in today. The licensing program we’re building will link licensees to our world-class expertise and rich archive of First World War assets that have the potential to inspire some very special licensed product.”

Licensees will have access to IWM’s WWI collections, which include posters and graphic arts, film, letters, diaries, photographs, paintings and sculpture. And, with more than 2 million visitors to IWM’s five branches every year, the group is in an ideal position to support its licensees.

A number of licenses are already in the works with partners including Airfix, Pyramid Posters, J Salmon, Flame Tree, Globee, Denby and SLG for a male toiletries range at Marks and Spencer.

At BLE, IWM will outline its plans to extend the program to new licensees and retailers looking to take advantage of the events and international interest that the First World War centenary will generate. In addition to gift and stationery, IWM will explore opportunities to build categories such as fast-moving consumer goods, promotions, and toys and games.

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