My BLE: 5 Mins with Thomas Merrington, VP Brand & Creative, Silvergate Media

Thomas looks after the creative direction and development of the "Octonauts" and Peter Rabbit.

How many years have you been attending the show?
For about 6 years.

How long do you usually stay for?
I normally try and get everything done in a day or two. A lot of our international partners attend the show, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet with them all

What do you remember about your first visit?
The sheer scope of the brands present. I was new to licensing so it was fascinating to see how large the licensing industry was. I also had to help set up the BBC WW stand which was fun.

Have your needs changed in terms of what you want from the show?
The show for me has always been about meeting up with licensees to discuss new product development but also it’s a great place to catch up with design studios to look at their new works and trends.

What do you love most about BLE?
That you can get a lot done in a short space of time, that you can catch up with old friends in the industry and also get a glimpse of the licensing landscape in one room.

When I’m at BLE one thing I always do is…
Try and get on closed stands to take a peek at exciting new product development from competitors – they rarely let me on however…

What do you do about lunch?
Bring my own – the day is normally too packed to have time to queue!

What are you on the hunt for this year?
I’ll be looking at what other classic brands are doing. Peter Rabbit is incredibly popular with parents and retailers. We have been working really hard over the past couple of years to bring Peter Rabbit into the 21st century–both with the new TV show on CBeebies but also with the classic brand. We have some amazing partners who have supported us on this journey and the new product development is just fantastic. The brand really is growing from strength to strength.

What will make it a successful show for you this year?
Finalising creative plans with our licensing partners for the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter which we will be celebrating next year. We have some amazing projects in the pipeline and I am really excited about signing off the final creative at BLE.

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