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| 16.05.2023 | The licensing industry, led by Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group, with support from trade association Licensing International and key licensing media outlets, is uniting to launch License to Move, a new, inclusive wellness initiative to get the global licensing industry moving and raise valuable funds for industry charity The Light Fund.
Anyone and everyone connected to the licensing industry is asked to move 5km and make a donation to the events’ charity partner The Light Fund (Licensing Industry Giving Help Together). How they move is entirely up to them. It could be a traditional walk, run or swim, perhaps a hop, skip and jump, or something a little more adventurous like canoeing, rowing, abseiling or paddleboarding!
All donations will go directly to the charity, which raises monies to fund worthwhile charity projects that help children, women and men. Since its inception in 2004 The Light Fund has raised over £2 million and funded hundreds of different charity projects.
The License to Move platform opens today, 16 May. The goal is for the industry to achieve a collaborative distance of 8,412 km, which maps the journey from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas to ExCeL in London.
There are two ways for people to get involved:
Anna Knight, SVP Licensing, Informa Markets: “My dream for License to Move is, first and foremost, for it to be a highly participatory, accessible and inclusive wellbeing initiative – I’d love to see everyone getting outdoors, enjoying the sun, getting some headspace and recharging their wellbeing batteries while, at the same time, raising money for some great causes.
“And secondly, I know this is industry loves to collaborate and when it does it’s much greater than the sum of its parts, so I can’t wait to see the whole business getting behind this together with the Licensing Expo and BLE teams, our trade association Licensing International and our amazing media partners and friends; all working together to help give back to great causes.”
David Scott, Treasurer of The Light Fund: “We are delighted to announce the forthcoming License to Move initiative. It will allow everyone to participate in the Light Fund’s ongoing support of good causes and be totally inclusive. Whether you’re on your own, with a few office mates or part of a larger company initiative, you can sign up and set your own target and have fun away from the office, both doing good and feeling good. You can walk, run, cycle – or move any way you want – it’s your choice! We want this to be the biggest Light Fund event ever in terms of participation by our wonderful industry colleagues.” Informa
| 12.09.2022 | In light of the recent announcement of HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral taking place on Monday 19 September 2022 and the confirmation that this date is also a UK Bank Holiday, there will be some changes to this year’s Brand Licensing Europe show hours that all attendees should be aware of:
The attendee opening hours for BLE 2022 are now:
Exhibitor and contractor hours will be changed and communicated directly to allow for everyone to pay their respects to Her Majesty the Queen on Monday 19 September.
“We have done everything possible to reduce disruption to our visitors, exhibitors and contractors, whilst also taking into account that many people in the UK do not wish to work on Monday 19 September in order to pay their respects to Her Majesty and be with their families on such a momentous occasion. Monday is the busiest day for the set-up of the event, and we therefore need a few additional hours on Tuesday morning to enable exhibitors enough time to complete set-up of their stands and to welcome you to the event,” says Anna Knight, SVP Licensing at Informa Markets.
The changes will impact a number of timed events that were due to take place on the morning of Tuesday 20 September. These have now been rescheduled as follows:
BLE and Licensing International will host a joint webinar on Tuesday 13 September at 13:00 BST where SVP of Licensing Anna Knight and Licensing International president Maura Regan will talk through the changes and answer any questions. Registration for the webinar is free: https://licensinginternational.org/events/ble-2022-everything-you-need-to-know-before-you-go-2-2/
“We understand that the adjusted hours will require attendees and exhibitors to reschedule meetings on Tuesday morning and we apologise for the inconvenience this will cause. We very much appreciate everyone’s flexibility and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times. We would like to stress the venue will remain open as usual on Tuesday morning for those with pre-booked travel – there are plenty of seating areas and cafes for those wishing to work or take meetings before the show opens at 12pm,” continued Anna Knight.
With just one week to go until doors open, retailers, manufacturers, product designers and other brand licensing professionals are invited to secure their free ticket on the BLE website. FAQs can be found on the BLE website to help with any questions or expect impact on travel – click here to read. BLE
| 21.06.2022 | Today, Licensing International announced UK Managing Director Graham Saltmarsh will be leaving the organization. LI’s current Head of Global Marketing Steve Manners will add UK MD to his remit as Licensing International intensifies its focus on the UK.
Maura Regan, president of Licensing International, stated that “We are incredibly grateful to outgoing UK MD Graham Saltmarsh for bringing back LEC live and in person, launching the retail program, and for all of his hard work throughout the pandemic, righting the ship and steering our UK members through Covid.”
Based in London, Manners will be responsible for supporting Licensing International’s UK members and expanding the UK membership through educational programs, expanded retail initiatives, and the Young Professionals Network (YPN). He will continue to collaborate with Informa on joint initiatives including BLE and Licensing Expo, as well as overseeing Licensing International’s marketing. This role expansion will be effective on July 18th.
“It has been a joy working with the Licensing International team and I am thrilled to continue those efforts with a focus on strengthening our strategy in the UK, which is a key market for the global licensing community,” said Manners.
Manners first joined Licensing International in January, overseeing global marketing efforts for the trade organization. He brings extensive industry experience to the role, having held senior management positions at leading companies including 20th Century Fox, Universal, Beanstalk, and WildBrain CPLG. His expertise includes a deep understanding of all aspects of licensing, both from a licensor and agent perspective. Licensing International Inc.
| 11.04.2022 | Licensing International is proud to announce the full list of finalists for the prestigious Licensing International Excellence Awards, dedicated to recognizing outstanding achievements and innovation in the licensing industry around the world. This year’s Excellence Awards feature 165 finalists from 20 countries in 25 categories. More than 150 judges from 21 countries chose this year’s finalists from nearly 800 submissions. Licensing International members can vote for the winners beginning on Monday, April 11. Each member company will receive one ballot to vote on all 25 categories and voting will end on Friday, April 22. The winners will be announced during the Licensing International Excellence Awards at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. The ceremony will take place on Monday, May 23 at 5:30pm PST at The LIGHT Vegas Nightclub. Licensing Expo will take place from May 24-26 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
More information about all of the finalists is available online. Finalists were presented by Alifish, InSpirit Designs, Jazwares, and participants in Licensing International’s Accelerator Program, including Bedrock Collectibles, Holy Joe, LIBREX, Park Star Media, and Somos Arte.
The full list of nominees includes:
Best Licensing Product — Apparel or Accessory for a Corporate Brand
Best Licensed Product — Apparel or Accessory for an Entertainment Property
Best Licensed Product — Appliances, Electronics & Housewares for a Corporate Brand
Best Licensed Product — Appliances, Electronics & Housewares for an Entertainment Property
Best Licensed Product — Digital: Apps, Software, Video Games, NFTs
Best Licensed Product — Food or Beverage for a Corporate Brand
Best Licensed Product — Food or Beverage for an Entertainment Property
Best Licensed Product — Health and Beauty Aids
Best Licensed Product — Home Décor
Best Licensing Product — Publishing, Social Expression
Best Licensed Product — Toys, Games, Novelties (ages 0-8)
Best Licensed Product — Toys, Games, Novelties (ages 8+)
Best Licensed Brand — Animated Entertainment, Character, Toy Brand
Best Licensed Brand — Corporate Brand
Best Licensed Brand — Food, Beverage, Restaurant Brand
Best Licensed Brand — Lifestyle: Art, Design, Celebrity, Fashion
Best Licensed Brand — Live Action Entertainment
Best Licensed Brand — Museum, Art, Design
Best Licensed Brand — Sports, Collegiate
Best Retailer — Corporate, Lifestyle, Fashion, Sports Initiative
Best Retailer — Entertainment, Character Brand
Best Location-Based Entertainment
Best Licensed Collaboration
Best Licensed Promotion
Best Licensing Agency
| 28.01.2022 | Licensing Expo, the world’s largest licensing trade show, will return to Las Vegas from May 24-26, 2022, reconnecting the global licensing industry in person for the first time since 2019. Organized by Informa Markets in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International (who has served as the exclusive Licensing Expo sponsor since its inception), Licensing Expo reconvenes following a two-year hiatus to celebrate its 40th live edition with safety very much at the heart of the experience.
“While we are still living and working during a pandemic, the health and safety of everyone attending Licensing Expo will remain our number one priority, and this year’s event has been specifically designed to account for varying levels of attendee comfort with a range of options to suit, whether that’s a preference for one-on-one interaction or to maintain physical distance,” said Anna Knight, VP of Licensing, Informa Markets.
All Licensing Expo participants will be required to wear a face mask while indoors at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center (MBCC) and present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test*. Mask wearing will be monitored by the Informa organizing team, who are also recommending that participants take a Covid-19 test before leaving their destination to travel to Las Vegas. These safety rules will be in place regardless of Nevada state mandates. Onsite testing will be available off the show floor at the participants’ expense, and this can be used to enter the show or to fulfil any international or domestic pre-departure testing requirements.
“Health and personal wellbeing remain a top priority for us all. As we continue to review and implement vigilant health protocols during this time, we’re excited for the all-important and safe return to Licensing Expo in Las Vegas,” says Licensing International President Maura Regan. “Bringing licensing professionals from around the world back together in person affords us all opportunities for new partnerships, networking, and learning – and a critical chance to move businesses forward. We’re confident Licensing Expo 2022 will bring the industry back together for a long-awaited reunion!”
With four months still to go, the industry is throwing its full support behind Licensing Expo, with exhibiting companies already confirmed, including ViacomCBS, Hasbro, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Mattel, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Lego, Joester Loria Group, Beanstalk, Buzzfeed, The Pokémon Company, NFL Players Association, Games Workshop, Peanuts Worldwide, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America, Frida Kahlo, Yale University, MGM Studios, Spin Master, BBC Studios, Crayola Properties, BrandComply fuelled by Octane5, and TOPPS/Garbage Pail Kids.
Licensing Expo will also adopt a theme for the first time ever, with 2022 spotlighting Location-Based Experiences: immersive, interactive out of home experiences like theme parks, escape rooms, gaming arcades, amusement parks, bowling alleys, VR worlds, and much more. LBE will be the focal point for one of Licensing Expo’s two in-person keynotes, in addition to interactive LBE activations on the show floor highlighting the creativity and consumer engagement possible when brands and experiences collaborate.
“LBE really suffered during the pandemic lockdowns, but experiences have now reopened to customer delight and the sector is predicted to boom,” explained Anna Knight, VP of licensing, Informa Markets.
“It’s been interesting to note the increasing number of collabs between brands and LBE in recent years. We’re keen to shine a light on this growing licensing category and excited to investigate its future with Licensing Expo attendees.”
Licensing Expo online platform
This year’s event will be supported by the Licensing Expo official online platform, available to all exhibitors and visitors pre, during and post-show, allowing them to browse exhibiting brands & IPs, see who’s attending, view exclusive content and schedule meetings to take place both in-person in Las Vegas and online post-event until June 3.
The platform garnered extremely positive feedback at Brand Licensing Europe in November 2021, which reunited the European licensing community in London after a two-year break.
Anna Knight added: “Thousands of retailers, manufacturers and designers attended BLE to meet close to 200 brands, and we received really positive feedback about the importance of BLE and Licensing Expo in driving business for the licensing industry. Hundreds of deals were signed at BLE, so we’re very much looking forward to bringing back Licensing Expo in-person and welcoming everyone to Vegas in May.” Informa
| 18.01.2022 | In honor of National Mentoring Month, Licensing International and their sponsor Octane5 have announced today the licensing industry’s first ever global mentoring program, aimed at bringing the expertise of global industry veterans to young professionals. With an initial focus on regions including the United States, UK, France, Germany, Japan and China industry professionals and Licensing International members can sign up to join the program directly at LicensingInternational.org beginning today. Following sign up, participants will be matched up by Licensing International with their mentor or mentee through the program.
Mentoring is a powerful personal development and empowerment tool through which one person facilitates the development of another by sharing known resources, expertise, values, skills, perspectives, attitudes, and proficiencies. Licensing International’s new program will allow mentees to build skills and knowledge while working toward attaining career goals. At the same time, it will provide an opportunity for mentors to further enhance skills and knowledge areas through exposure to fresh perspectives.
Most importantly, the Licensing International Mentorship Program aims to bring value and career growth to licensing experts of all levels across a multitude of businesses and categories. Participating mentees will have an opportunity to gain wisdom from an experienced professional, while mentors have the chance to invest in an up-and-coming professional who can benefit from their skilled guidance.
“Knowledge sharing and mentorship are such powerful tools that have the potential to transform lives, and so we knew as industry leaders we wanted to create a platform to encourage just that,” said Maura Regan, President of Licensing International. “Our mentorship program will not only build meaningful connections between longstanding professionals and young newcomers, but also offer important opportunities for growth and development.”
“When we connected with Licensing International to sponsor the upcoming mentorship program, we were delighted to be able to facilitate connections between professionals in our industry,” said Mike Dunn, Co-Founder and President Octane5. “Partnering with Licensing International allows us to offer a space where professionals new and old can form working relationships that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.”
For more information, please visit LicensingInternational.org or contact Licensing International SVP, Global Partnerships, Gisela Abrams at firstname.lastname@example.org. Licensing International
| 12.01.2022 | The Toy Association, producer of Toy Fair New York, the largest toy, play, and youth entertainment marketplace in the Western Hemisphere, has announced the cancellation of Toy Fair New York, originally set to take place, February 19 to 22, 2022 at the Javits Center in New York City.
“Key to our efforts these past two weeks has been the balance of some 700 remaining committed toy manufacturers saying they need and want Toy Fair 2022 to build their businesses, weighing that against those departing and seriously on the fence, and needing to provide a sufficient quantity and quality across the retail buying community necessary to deliver a positive experience,” said Steve Pasierb, President & CEO of The Toy Association. “As that balance has shifted, we are obligated to make the best decision in everyone’s interest no matter how heartbreaking for so many and potentially damaging some business’ future prospects. The wide range of other events that occur across New York City during Toy Fair week are now also impacted.”
Toy Fair New York has a 117-year unparalleled track record of success. It remains The Toy Association’s responsibility to protect business rights, promote toy companies, advocate for members, and help members sell more product – which includes delivering a worthwhile investment in a quality, essential trade event.
“Certainly, there are legitimate concerns around the pandemic that has guided thinking,” added Pasierb. “Many are saying they are very comfortable with being at the Javits Center and at the show given strict health and safety protocols in place, while travel concerns and for some, staff absences due to illness at home, rightfully weigh on their minds.”
With about 700 toy manufacturers who remained committed to exhibiting at Toy Fair, “constant, unfounded rumors” on social media and elsewhere defied The Toy Association’s best efforts to sustain the show amid global uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
Pasierb concluded: “Delivering a best-in-class next Toy Fair for all the varied audiences it serves so well is now our focus. We will be working with all exhibitors on next steps to unwind February 2022 and build a solid base for visitors from across the world to again experience Toy Fair.” The Toy Association
| 24.11.2021 | Einer der größten britischen Einzelhandelsunternehmen, Marks & Spencer, präsentiert ab sofort FAO Schwarz, den traditionsreichen Spielzeughersteller - berühmt für einzigartiges Spielzeug, lebensgroße Plüschtiere und interaktive Erlebnisse - in 20 Filialen in ganz Großbritannien, sowie auf
marksandspencer.com. Verfügbar ist ein maßgeschneidertes Angebot von rund 50 Bestseller-Produkten, darunter Spielzeug-Rennautos, Musikmatten, Bastelsets und bezaubernde Plüschtiere. Die Markteinführung wurde strategisch auf den wichtigsten Verkaufsmonat des Jahres für Spielwaren gelegt: Rund die Hälfte der M&S-Kunden plant, ihre weihnachtlichen Geschenkeinkäufe bis Ende November abgeschlossen zu haben.
Angebot im stationären Handel
Mit der Einführung von FAO Schwarz-Produkten in den M&S-Filialen wird die traditionsreiche Spielzeugmarke zum ersten Mal in den britischen Einkaufsstraßen angeboten, mit Standorten von Cardiff bis Cheltenham*. Das FAO Sortiment wird zunächst neben der magischen Geschenkewelt von M&S und innerhalb der M&S Kinderabteilung zu finden sein. Der Retailer konzentriert sich weiterhin darauf, Familien ein großartiges Einkaufserlebnis zu bieten und testet aktuell einen erlebnisorientierten Ansatz mit Zauberkünstlern, die im Dezember an jedem Wochenende in
zwei der größten Filialen (Stratford und Bluewater) auftreten, um große und kleine Kunden zum Staunen zu bringen. *weitere Standorte: Argyle Street, Banbury Gateway, Bluewater, Cardiff, Cheshire Oaks, Cheltenham, Leeds, Liverpool, Longbridge, Merryhill, Metro, Newcastle, Plymouth, Pudsey, Southampton West Quay, Stratford, Thurrock, Watford, White City, Wolstanton Stoke.
Die „Brands at M&S“-Strategie
Die aktuelle Markenerweiterung ist Teil der „Brands at M&S“-Strategie des Retailers. Ziel ist es, eine Marken-Plattform zu schaffen, die für Kunden attraktiv ist und mehr Anreize für einen regelmäßigen eCommerce-Einkauf schafft. Bereits über 30 Marken sind dort vertreten. Die Strategie sieht vor, das Angebot innerhalb der Kernkategorien des Einzelhändlers – von White Stuff Jeans bis zu FatFace T-Shirts – zu erweitern, aber auch ergänzende Kategorien einzuführen, in denen der Einzelhändler über kein eigenes Vollsortiment verfügt, wie Kinderspielzeug und Schreibwaren.
Da über 30 % der M&S-Kunden planen, dieses Jahr zu Weihnachten Spielzeug zu kaufen, ist eine derart breite Produktpalette von entscheidender Bedeutung für das Wachstum. Spielwaren haben sich bereits als beliebte neue Produktoption für M&S-Kunden erwiesen: 64 % der Bestellungen eines Early Learning Center-Produkts, das im vergangenen Jahr auf der Website eingeführt wurde, umfassten auch mindestens ein Produkt aus einer weiteren M&S-Abteilung. Auch die bei Kindern sehr beliebte Marke Smiggle erfreut sich seit der Back-to-School-Saison mit einem überzeugenden Online-Angebot und in acht Filialen einer großen Beliebtheit bei den Kleinsten – für die Weihnachtszeit wurde das Sortiment um den berühmten Smiggle-Adventskalender erweitert.
Neil Harrison, Director of Brands bei M&S, sagt: „Mit unserer Markenstrategie wollen wir den Kunden noch mehr Gründe geben, bei M&S einzukaufen - und dazu gehört auch, dass wir uns in der wichtigen Weihnachtszeit noch häufiger und relevanter präsentieren. Rund um Weihnachten möchten wir, dass M&S der Ort ist, an den sich die Kunden wenden, wenn sie hochwertige Bekleidung, erstklassige Lebensmittel und vor allem besondere und ausgefallene Geschenke suchen – als eine der führenden Spielwarenmarken unterstützt FAO Schwarz diese Mission, indem sie dem M&S-Angebot ein wenig zusätzliche Magie verleiht. In unserem Onlineshop und unseren 20 britischen Filialen finden die Kunden eine aufregende Auswahl der besten Spielzeuge von FAO und wir können es kaum erwarten, die
Reaktionen der Kunden zu hören.“
Megan Wycoff, Senior Director, International Business Development, Sales & Licensing bei ThreeSixty Group: “Wir freuen uns sehr, FAO Schwarz, Sharper Image und Discovery Toys in dieser Weihnachtssaison in ausgewählten M&S-Filialen zu präsentieren! Mit diesem Angebot können wir einem breiten Publikum in Großbritannien neue und aufregende Spielzeuge für Kinder aller Altersgruppen anbieten und so das großartige Weihnachtsangebot von M&S erweitern.“
Das gesamte FAO-Sortiment ist für Kunden in ganz Großbritannien auf M&S.com und in über 700 M&S-Filialen, auch in den Food-Only-Stores, per Click & Collect erhältlich. Die 50 angebotenen Produkte umfassen Artikel von FAO Schwarz, Discovery, Discovery #Mindblown und Sharper Image. FAO Schwarz
| 24.05.2021 | The winners of the 2021 Licensing International Excellence Awards were unveiled today in a virtual gathering that brought together nearly 1000 industry executives from around the world to celebrate the best of the best.
The 22 award winners from seven countries – China, Finland, France, Japan, Singapore, United Kingdom and the U.S. – were selected from among 152 nominees from around the world who made the final ballot. More than 650 entries were received, and an elite global judging panel narrowed those entries down to the final ballot, which was voted on by members of the licensing industry at large. The winners were announced from locations around the world by executives from the event sponsors – Alifish, InSpirit Designs, ViacomCBS Consumer Products, and Wildbrain CPLG.
The awards honor innovation and creativity in the way brands use licensing to further their goals; how licensees develop and bring to market products using those licenses, and how retailers creatively spotlight licenses on their shelves. One special award added this year was for the Pandemic Pivot, recognizing companies’ efforts to use licensing to react to the effects of the global pandemic. From among six companies on the ballot, Peanuts Worldwide took home that honor for its work in developing and making available for free in-home educational materials and lesson plans, among its other efforts.
In addition to honoring the work of the nominees and winners, the ceremony included the announcement that Kathy Ireland, CEO and Chief Designer at Kathy Ireland Worldwide; and Salvatore LaRocca, President, Global Partnerships of the National Basketball Association, as the newest inductees into the Licensing Hall of Fame; they’ll be formally feted at an event in late October.
This was also a showcase of this year’s six international Rising Stars: James Choi (ELLALAN); Addie Dorsey Goossens (Ubisoft); Rachel Hak (Crayola); Kevin Ramsey (Warren James); Jyoti Sardana (OneTeam Partners); and Carolina Verdugo (Beanstalk).
“In our 36th year of honoring the best of the global licensing industry, it’s inspiring to see the quality of the work produced by people and companies even as they were adapting to new ways of creating and collaborating amid the effects of the pandemic,” says Maura Regan, President, Licensing International. “The achievements that we honor today are testament to the power of brands, and the power of licensing as a business to create products and programs with lasting appeal.”
Here are the 2021 Licensing International Excellence Awards winners:
BEST LICENSED PRODUCTS
BEST LICENSED BRANDS
Licensing International Inc.
| 15.06.2021 | FanSets LLC and Asmodee Entertainment have entered a licensing partnership to bring enamel pins of fan-favorite characters from the KeyForge universe – the setting for Fantasy Flight Games’ groundbreaking card game of the same name – to collectors throughout the US, Canada and the UK. KeyForge characters from every house, including the newly premiered house Unfathomable, will be available in Summer 2021. This exciting deal is the latest example of Asmodee Entertainment’s
continued expansion into licensed opportunities. For FanSets, this deal expands their collector-focused product line and is their first tabletop brand partnership.
“We are excited to announce this new partnership just in time for fans to explore the newly released KeyForge game set Dark Tidings,” says Alexander Thieme, Licensing Manager for Publishing and Consumer Goods at Asmodee Entertainment. “FanSets’ fantastic enamel pins provide our fans a way to represent their allegiance to their favorite houses. We’re thrilled to work alongside the talented team at FanSets to bring such a great, sought after collectible to our fans!”
KeyForge is the world’s first Unique Deck Game. Fans play as the mighty Archons and, using their team of vault warriors, race to forge keys to unlock the secret vaults of the Crucible, a world in which anything is possible and nothing is predictable. Fans of KeyForge all have
favorite cards and houses, either because of the colorful and dynamic artwork featured or because of the card’s power on the table, and now they can represent their favorites with equally dynamic enamel pins.
“Our customers are collectors, hobbyists, and passionate fans,” says FanSets co-founder Lew Halboth. “We love tabletop games and are putting every ounce of that passion into developing these KeyForge pins. We know fans will love them because we love them. We are excited to add Asmodee Games as one of our key licenses going forward and we look forward to working with their passionate team.”
The first of these exciting releases is planned for Q3 2021 and pins will be available at hobby and specialty shops and online. Asmodee
| 31.05.2021 | Yann FRESNEL, a Top Europe Sales Director has created his own company called "Toy Influence", a few days ago. Yann is French and a multi lingual General Manager who has worked in Smoby, Newell Brands, BERG Toys and smarTrike. The company´s focus is to assist toy companies to implement or grow their business in Europe.
Contact email@example.com, www.toyinfluence.com. Toy Influence
| 22.02.2021 | Asmodee Entertainment are delighted to announce that Aconyte, the fiction imprint of global games group Asmodee, have partnered with international video games company Ubisoft to publish a new Assassin’s Creed® novel trilogy, starting this summer.
Kicking off with THE MING STORM, the action-packed trilogy is set in 16th century China. Our central character is Shao Jun, a young Assassin, already a fan favourite from the franchise as the main protagonist of the Assassin’s Creed: China video game. After the elimination of the Chinese Brotherhood by the rival Templars, Shao Jun must travel to Europe to train with the legendary Ezio Auditore, before she returns to exact revenge.
Written by bestselling Chinese author Yan Leisheng, the novel has recently been published in his homeland and also France, with a Russian edition imminent. The Ming Storm will be published in the US and Canada on June 1st 2021 and on July 8th in the UK. The book will be available in paperback and ebook formats, with an audiobook version expected to follow shortly after.
“When we started out on this project for the Chinese fans of Assassin’s Creed, we wanted to create something that would feel meaningful and engaging to them. We worked hard finding the author who would understand both our franchise and how to tell a compelling story that would resonate with the audience,” said Aymar Azaizia, Transmedia and Business Development director at Ubisoft. “We are really proud to be able to bring this original trilogy to English readers worldwide through Aconyte. Although the content is not set in the continuity of the main storyline, you will find a great authentic Assassin’s Creed story. Enjoy the ride!”
At the end of 2020, Aconyte was announced as Ubisoft’s go-to fiction partner for novels for adult readers, to create new adventures from unexplored corners of the worlds of popular games like Watch Dogs®, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Beyond Good & Evil and more. More announcements are expected as Aconyte’s range of compelling tie-in fiction expands further. Asmodee
| 18.02.2021 | Spanish retailer Imaginarium closes 39 of its 41 stores, leaving only 2 open. This is sad news for the international toy community. Imaginariums setup and approach to the market was well received throughout the industry. Even competitors watched very closely how Imaginarium provided a very customer needs driven shop design and marketing. Ph
...and is set to return in February 2022
| 08.01.2021 | The Toy Association had already postponed the Toy Fair New York and planned to launch it in May 2021. Now all these plans are cancelled. All eyes on the Toy Fair Dallas, which is scheduled for October 2021.
“Our foremost consideration is the health and well-being of the global toy and play community and setting a clear path forward. We want to provide our exhibitors, retail buyers, and the larger toy and play community with certainty on important destination shows and the ability to take advantage of immediate opportunities through our year-round buying and selling platform.”, says President and CEO of The Toy Association Steve Pasierb in his official statement. Ph
| 10.12.2020 | Today, the Global Licensing Group, a division of Informa Markets and event organisers of leading global events Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe, is announcing its 2021 dates and an innovative new event format.
Licensing Expo will take place live and in-person at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev on August 10-12. Accompanying the tradeshow is an online event, which will be held two weeks later on August 24-25. Brand Licensing Europe will take place live and in-person at ExCeL London on November 17-19, 2021, with an online event also following two weeks later on November 30-December 1, 2021.
2020 has proven that the need to meet and connect face-to-face is paramount, however the flexibility and convenience of an online event setting is also useful to the business of brand licensing, particularly in terms of fostering IP exploration, new connections and thought leadership.
The shift to a multi-platform format will blend the best components of in-person and online to create an enhanced experience for all participants no matter their circumstances or location. Supported by a robust online platform, exhibitors and visitors will have access before, during and after the events to schedule and host meetings, enjoy on-demand content and thought leadership and search and discover the widest range of properties available for license anywhere in the world.
The Las Vegas and London events will be organized in accordance with Informa’s AllSecure health and safety standards designed to ensure all participants can attend events safely and with confidence. AllSecure practices are comprised of learnings and best-practices from across the leading trade event companies around the world, in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, to create physical environments that meet industry standards for gathering.
“We truly understand the importance of relationships and in-person connections to the licensing industry and have therefore made the decision to move both events to a time later in the calendar year,” says Anna Knight, Vice President of the Global Licensing Group. “In addition, we have also seen a fantastic response to Licensing Week Virtual, which we ran in June, and October’s month-long celebration Festival of Licensing. Following consultation with many of our customers, we have decided to carry forward the successful elements of these virtual events and learnings from them to run alongside our in-person events in 2021 and beyond. Multi-platform events are definitely the future, and the combination of live and online offers no limits to global participation.”
“I know I’m not alone in eagerly anticipating the moment when we can all gather again in person, and this revised timeframe and hybrid solution for our industry’s two flagship gatherings will offer the best chance for that to happen soon and safely,” says Maura Regan, President, Licensing International, Global Licensing Group event sponsor.
“While we certainly learned this year that nothing can replace actual face-to-face interaction, the unique value of virtual events is their global accessibility. This plan for the 2021 iterations of Licensing Expo and BLE will allow us to have the best of both worlds.” GLG
As part of its efforts to help its members and the broader licensing community build diverse and inclusive workplaces, Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the global brand licensing industry – has unveiled a new Accelerator Program aimed at bridging the gap between underrepresented, diverse entrepreneurs and the resources they need to build profitable, high-growth companies within the licensing industry.
The Diversity & Inclusion Accelerator Program was developed by Licensing International’s IDEA Committee (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility), a group of high-level executives from across the global brand licensing industry working to advance this cause and conversation. The launch of the Accelerator Program was announced at the latest Diversity & Inclusion Workshop Wednesday, Nov. 18, which saw executives from Horizon Group USA, Encantos, Marquee Brands and WildBrain discuss challenges and share insights.
Maura Regan, President, Licensing International: “We have always been committed to attracting, developing and retaining the best and brightest from all backgrounds to our incredible industry. The findings of our study of diversity in the licensing community – conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount St. Mary’s University and released back in August – made it clear that there is still much work to be done in this regard, and our Accelerator Program is another important vehicle to continue creating meaningful change.”
Companies chosen to participate in the Accelerator Program will receive benefits valued at over $100,000 including monthly mentoring meetings with industry leaders, enrollment in the Coursework in Licensing Studies professional certification program and a one-year Licensing International membership.
To be considered companies:
Applications are being accepted now through April 30, 2021, and the 2021 Accelerator Program Cohort will be announced the week of May 24, 2021. Licensing International
Noted German publisher Cross Cult, recently announced as partner for Aconyte’s wide range of fantasy novels set in the worlds of many of Asmodee’s games, has also snapped up Day Zero, the tie-in novel to Ubisoft’s sensational new video game, Watch Dogs®: Legion.
Day Zero – to be titled Tag Null in German – is a direct prequel to the events of the game, designed so fans can finish reading the novel and immediately start playing. It follows four diverse Londoners just a few years from now, whose lives are turned upside down when they become drawn into a murderous conspiracy that threatens the safety of the entire city. Hacker, politician, petty criminal and private policeman – for all four of them, life will never be same again.
Authors are James Swallow, bestselling author of the Marc Dane thrillers and veteran tie-in writer, and Josh Reynolds, noted for his many exciting novels set in the Warhammer universe and several acclaimed Aconyte novels. Watch Dogs®: Legion — Tag Null will be released on November 26th in paperback and ebook, with an audiobook edition to follow. Asmodee
Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the global brand licensing industry – is proud to announce the launch of its newest initiative, the Licensing International Scholarship Program. Designed to inspire the next generation of talent while advancing the understanding of licensing in society, the program will grant scholarships to deserving individuals who are interested in a career in brand licensing.
Maura Regan, President, Licensing International: “This program is all about investing in the future of our industry and placing the business of brand licensing front and center among young leaders at the start of their career journey. So many of us stumble into brand licensing by chance. By introducing our industry to students at the start of their professional life, we hope to create a generation of passionate, skilled professionals who actively pursue careers in licensing.”
The Licensing International Scholarship Program will be funded by donations made to Licensing International’s Foundation. Companies and individuals wishing to contribute can do so in two ways:
Fund-raising for the Scholarship Fund will formally begin with the upcoming Licensing International Holiday Party, a global, virtual get-together set for December 3. The event is free to attend, but registrants are encouraged to make a small donation to the Scholarship Program if they are able. Every little bit helps – even small donations can make a big impact!
Licensing International will begin accepting student applications for scholarships in January 2021. Scholarships will be awarded to students seeking degrees in business, marketing, design, engineering, entrepreneurial studies and other brand licensing industry-related programs, who also meet a number of other eligibility requirements. Licensing International
Following the successful launch of The CATAN Puzzle Book, Welbeck Publishing Group and Asmodee Entertainment are pleased to announce that they are expanding this exciting collaboration with further titles based on two more well-known gaming brands from the Asmodee portfolio. This new collaboration will see both Days of Wonder’s Ticket to Ride and Space Cowboy’s Unlock! titles join CATAN in Welbeck’s range of boardgame-inspired puzzle books.
Ticket to Ride, from Asmodee’s Days of Wonder studio is the award-winning game of cross-country train adventure, with more than 8 million copies sold worldwide. Unlock! is a cooperative card game inspired by the hugely popular escape rooms phenomenon, and is produced by Asmodee’s Space Cowboys design studio.
“It is fantastic to work on two more projects with the great team at Welbeck. Their puzzle books manage to capture the spirit of the individual games and IPs. The format of a puzzle book casts both into a new and exciting form that draws readers in and keeps them happily engaged. Welbeck is a fantastic partner to work with and we look forward to seeing their adaptations of Ticket to Ride and Unlock! Soon,” says Alexander Thieme, Asmodee Entertainment’s Licensing Manager for the project.
The Ticket to Ride Puzzle Book will be a narrative trip across continents, and along the way, the reader will have to solve 100 puzzles in order to complete the journey successfully. It will combine the classic board game artworks with the new puzzles, and will be written by experienced puzzle writer and board game designer Richard Wolfrik Galland.
The Unlock! Escape Adventure Puzzle Book will provide a new way to enjoy the popular Unlock! Escape Adventure series by translating the game onto the page to create an engaging and interactive escape room-style experience. Multiple scenarios will be included, written by Jason Ward, a celebrated entertainment writer and puzzle creator whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Little White Lies, Dazed, Curzon, The Quietus, and IdeasMag.
“Both Unlock and Ticket to Ride, as well as many other Asmodee boardgames are ideally suited to the development of a puzzle book journey and we’re thrilled to be expanding our partnership with Asmodee. As with the games themselves, both titles will combine storytelling with the challenge of finding creative solutions to the puzzles embedded in the story and stimulating the reader’s mind whilst immersed in the worlds of these rich global brands,” adds Wayne Davies, Group Publisher, Welbeck Publishing.
Publication dates will be announced at a future date, with both titles to be published in a soon-to-be confirmed range of different language editions. Asmodee
Asmodee Entertainment are delighted to announce that Aconyte, the new fiction imprint of global games group Asmodee, has secured a multi-year agreement with Cephalofair Games to create brand new fantasy novels set in the world of their acclaimed GLOOMHAVEN games.
Created by maverick game designer Isaac Childres, Gloomhaven debuted in early 2017 and quickly became recognised as one of the top fantasy games ever – it currently sits at #1 on Boardgamegeek.com’s all-time best games chart. Collected together in a massive box stuffed with exquisite plastic miniatures, floorplans, rules and an intriguing selection of sealed boxes, it offers an unparalleled fantasy gaming experience. Players are a motley
selection of mercenaries, drawn into strange events in the town of Gloomhaven, as dark powers start a move to seize control. Decisions at each stage as the plot unfolds send players down unforeseen paths towards new adventures, as the game builds across many sessions into a deeply involving tabletop campaign.
The sequel, Frosthaven, is expected to take players north to a previously unexplored icechoked outpost in 2021. The game’s Kickstarter, run early this year, set a new record, with close to $13 million pledged by the time it closed. Aconyte plan to publish novels in both the Gloomhaven and Frosthaven settings. The first Gloomhaven novel is expected to hit shops in summer 2021, with further volumes already being planned.
Aconyte publisher Marc Gascoigne commented: “Gloomhaven is one of the most impressive new games, and game worlds, of recent times. The immense success of the Frosthaven launch has pushed interest in this incredible fantasy world to fever pitch. We can’t wait to bring fans new adventures and legends from Gloomhaven and beyond.”
Cephalofair’s CEO Isaac Childres said: “I am very excited to see experienced writers take on the world of Gloomhaven, and really drill deep into the lore to come up with thematic and engaging stories that are harder to tell in a board game format."
As part of its ambitious mission to set up exciting new content platforms for both wholly owned and top flight third-party properties, Asmodee Entertainment have recently announced Aconyte’s plans to produce novels set in the worlds of some of Asmodee’s most popular games and a host of characters from the Marvel comics universe. The imprint’s mission is to go beyond tie-in fiction and novelizations, to produce vibrant stories with richly imagined characters in living, deeply realised settings. The list debuted in early September 2020, with sales and distribution handled by Simon & Schuster. Asmodee
Our interview with Maura Regan, President Licensing International Inc.
No doubt, Maura Regan (President Licensing International Inc.) is one of the most influencial women in (licensing) business. And a person with clear views and principles, she is willing to take a stand for. We proudly present this short interview with an executive, who has a message.
Bringing more than 20 years of global licensing and media experience, Maura joined Licensing International in December 2016 and assumed the role of President in July 2018. Under her leadership she is serving to help define and shape the future focus for the association. Licensing International is the premier association for the global brand licensing industry. Its purpose is to foster the growth and expansion of licensing around the world and create greater awareness of the benefits of licensing to the business community at large.
The Spielwarenmesse at Nuremberg’s exhibition centre traditionally opens its doors at the beginning of the year. Scheduled to run from 27 to 31 January 2021, the event has been called off in good time as a direct result of the persisting Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time in its long history, the world’s leading toy fair has been postponed until the summer by organiser Spielwarenmesse eG. The decision was made by the supervisory board on 24 September and comes in the face of rising infection rates and further restrictions on travel.
A short-term solution to the global challenge of Covid-19 is not yet in sight. The new change in circumstances and concerns over the health of all participants make it almost impossible to stage the Spielwarenmesse and guarantee the customary level of quality at the end of January. Many countries around the world are currently experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of Covid-19 infections, leading to new travel restrictions also in major European cities. These developments are casting doubt among exhibitors and visitors over whether they should be taking part in an international trade fair. This uncertainty has been voiced in intensive discussions with the Spielwarenmesse team.
Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, stated: “We very much regret the decision to postpone the Spielwarenmesse 2021.” Preparations for the 72nd event in January were already well under way. Based on the guidelines of the Bavarian State Government, the Health & Hygiene Concept drawn up in collaboration with the local health authorities and venue operator NürnbergMesse, was well received by all participants. “I’d like to thank everyone who joined us on this path, and I feel sure that the improvements we have made will benefit all future events and appearances,” concluded Mr Kick.
Spielwarenmesse eG is currently in talks with NürnbergMesse to find a suitable date for the Spielwarenmesse 2021. In the meantime, the website at www.spielwarenmesse.de will continue to provide exhibitors, retailers and buyers, as well as media representatives with a large offering and a plethora of information about the toy industry. The digital platform is continually being expanded as an extra service and a complement to the physical exhibition experience. Spielwarenmesse eG
Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the brand licensing industry – has launched a new, multi-faceted Career Center designed to connect employers and licensing professionals across all disciplines and career stages with relevant opportunities.
“Providing members of the licensing community with opportunities for professional development and career growth is core to our mission, and one could argue, more important now than ever,” said Maura Regan, President, Licensing International. “Our industry, like most others, is in flux right now, but there is opportunity out there, and this new Career Center will help connect the wealth of talented executives in our industry with companies that need their skills and expertise.”
The Licensing International Career Center is available on all devices via the Licensing International website or by going directly to www.LicensingInternational.careerwebsite.com. Here are just some of the exciting new resources available to job seekers and employers–
Recruit for Open Positions:
Manage your career:
It’s always free for anyone to post a resume to the site and apply for jobs. Licensing International members can also post jobs for free, and non-members can choose from a number of flexible packages to list their job opportunties. Licensing International
Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the global brand licensing industry – has appointed industry veteran Graham Saltmarsh to head its division in the United Kingdom as Managing Director. Saltmarsh’s appointment marks the beginning of a bold new chapter for Licensing International in the world’s second-largest licensing market. In this role, Saltmarsh will be responsible for advancing the business of licensing across all sectors of the industry in the UK, creating programmes in support of current members and developing initiatives to meet the needs of future members, as well.
Saltmarsh has spent the bulk of his career in licensing-focused roles at some of the world’s most influential media companies including BBC Worldwide and Nelvana. Most recently he served as Director of Licensing & Retail for the UK & Nordics at Turner Broadcasting where he oversaw the consumer product and marketing activities for key properties including “Ben 10,” “Powerpuff Girls” and “Rick & Morty.” Before discovering the joys of licensing, Saltmarsh was a sound engineer and made extreme sports films, so it’s possible he’s responsible for some of the worst music and programmes the ‘80s had to offer. Saltmarsh is a passionate supporter of the licensing industry’s Light Fund and has run the London marathon and rowed from London to Paris with a team of like-minded lunatics. His future fundraising activities will all be beer-related.
“In these trying times it’s more important than ever to bring all the different elements of this amazing industry together to share knowledge and expertise,” says Saltmarsh. “I am looking forward to working with Licensing International and to connecting people who are passionate about licensing and retail to drive the business forward.”
“We are thrilled to have Graham on board, leading the charge in the UK for Licensing International,” says Licensing International President Maura Regan. “His deep understanding of the UK licensing community, combined with a fantastic ‘can do’ attitude is a wonderful addition to the Licensing International team.”
Saltmarsh will officially move into his new role on 15 September and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Licensing International
The winners of the 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards were unveiled earlier today in a first-for-the-industry, live, virtual event that brought together nearly 1000 industry executives from around the world for a much-needed and well-deserved celebration.
The event, hosted by Handcraft VP and stand-up comic Marshall Mizrahi, saw licensing powerhouse Martha Stewart inducted into the Licensing Hall of Fame and a showcase of this year’s six international Rising Stars: Krystyna Braxton (NFL Players Inc.); Allison Cimino (RockLove); Carolina Garcia Souza (Cinecolor Colombia, representative of The Walt Disney Company); Gao Qiang (Tencent); Hannah Stevens (The Point.1888); and Louis Yenik (Crunchyroll). Newly redesigned trophies for both the main Awards and the Hall of Fame were also unveiled at the event, designed by Alternatives and PowerStation Studios, respectively.
The 23 Awards winners hail from around the globe, including companies from Brazil, France, Germany, Korea, the United Kingdom and the U.S., and were unveiled by 10 leading licensing executives who each brought their own special flair to the event. The Coca-Cola Company and Sesame Workshop each “took home” multiple trophies – Coca-Cola swept the Food & Beverage categories, winning Best Product for its Coca-Cola-flavored Tic Tacs in partnership with Ferrero, and picking up the prize for Best Food & Beverage Brand of the Year. Sesame Workshop’s “Sesame Street” was named Best Live-Action Entertainment or Character Brand and also won for its “A Cautionary Tale” promotion with Squarespace. Meanwhile, Wildbrain CPLG was crowned as the first-ever winner in the newly added Best Licensing Agency category.
A number of companies supported the Licensing International Small Business Global Grants Fund by taking space in the Awards Program, which was made available digitally Monday. Thanks to their contributions, the Grants Fund has raised more than $110,000 to help small businesses in the licensing community impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To find how to donate to the fund or apply for a grant, click here.
“This year marks the 35th anniversary of the International Licensing Awards, and while we had of course looked forward to celebrating in person, this virtual gathering was an amazing event,” says Maura Regan, President, Licensing International. “Perhaps more than ever it was important to celebrate the incredible creativity and innovation of our industry. Seeing the very best work of this industry on display, alongside some of the dynamic executives who drive it, was a powerful reminder that, in the wake of uncertainty, the power of trusted brands and well-known licenses is more critical than ever before.”
Here are the 23 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards winners:
BEST LICENSED PRODUCTS
BEST LICENSED BRANDS
Provided by Bugg Report, Australia
Squatter’s focus on sheep farming reflects the inextricable link between this industry and Australian history more broadly. Since 1797, wool has been central to Australia’s economy, agricultural practices and to the collective consciousness of its people. Early settlers soon discovered that with its infertile soil and dry climate, Australia was well suited to the production of high quality wool. The fibre quickly became the cornerstone of Australian agriculture and the nation is often said to have “ridden on the sheep’s back” as it strove for economic development. The Squatter board-game, which has been a household favourite in Australia for nearly 60 years, offers players a rough simulation of life as a sheep farmer with all the daily trials and tribulations this entails.
2022 will see the 60th Anniversary of the Iconic Australian board-game SQUATTER… With in excess of 500,000 games sold in Australia, it is the largest selling Australian game of all time. This is something to be celebrated and has proven the longevity of its game play. The Squatter team have already begun the planning process for a special limited edition 60th Anniversary version of the game and they anticipate that this will be supported with promotional activities and given its heritage, strong media coverage of this event.
Recent planning meetings have established a global strategy which will see the brand expand into other similar markets in Australia, which have strong primary producing industries including a commitment to agriculture.
The plan focuses on the following:
Get ready for the new card game to join the Squatter station.
This structure will form the basis for the on-going growth of the brand and the team are confident of engaging new generations towards the game and the brand, whist strengthening the aspect of the game’s traditional teachings of how one would go about operating a sustainable business, not just in Agriculture.
Most excitingly, the development and release of two new formats to be added to the Squatter family… SQUATTER MATES card game and SQUATTER COMPACT for people on the move are now underway. These new additions will allow the business to scale and broaden distribution concurrently. With new price points and innovating design and packaging, this will signal a much greater interest in the brand.
Squatter is extending its appeal to younger and more mobile players. Squatter Compact brings all the features of the classic board game in a versatile edition for two-to-four players and is packaged to be travel friendly. Squatter Mates is a card game with a twist for players of all ages who like all the Squatter fun in a faster game.
With these two new additions Australia’s iconic game Squatter presents a more compatible format for retailers with products of a distinctly Australian flavour. As these new advances roll-out, the team have been busily re-contacting both Government and primary industry organisations to secure additional re-endorsements for the game. This will provide added comfort to set a path for the game to be accepted into the schools system around the country as a learning tool for accounting methodology and sound business practices.
An important pillar in the growth plan will also be to work toward the appointment and partnership with key professionals in international markets, including the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Squatter hopes to develop a footprint for the brand in these markets initially and as other markets emerge, duplicate the plan.
Another key activation to the plan will be the establishment of a Custom Division. This will allow for the development of special editions of the game, including limited edition versions such as ON THE LAND… Squatter will look to partner with organisations on a collaboration basis where the Squatter brand can assist in enhancing like-brands and together create a powerful marketing tool.
Squatter, a favourite with Australian families for decades, is a board game with enduring appeal. Players enter the world of sheep farming, battling droughts and wild dogs, winning at the stock sale and wool market and they experience the ups and downs inflicted by the Tuckerbag. Squatter brings cheers and fears to be fondly remembered for generations. Bugg Report
Leading toymaker JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAKK) is pleased to announce strategic moves to enhance direct sales teams and bolster its supply chain in the key international markets of Spain, Italy and Mexico.
“It is great to have been able to implement these meaningful updates to our international sales capabilities, within a challenging landscape that has been painfully affected by the COVID-19 pandemic”
With a new distribution and logistics facility, based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, JAKKS is well positioned to support its direct sales. By moving goods through Rotterdam, the largest gateway into Europe, JAKKS will be able to achieve increased economies of scale with centralized all-continental European distribution operations.
“It is great to have been able to implement these meaningful updates to our international sales capabilities, within a challenging landscape that has been painfully affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dan Cooney, EVP JAKKS International Division. “We have further established our ability to sell directly, as appropriate, while continuing to nurture and protect our very strong network of all-important distribution partners.”
In addition to its European activities, and after many years of expanding direct selling efforts in Mexico, JAKKS’ Mexico City office is now fully established to manage 100% of its direct sales in the market. This office will both enhance the operations and finance team in the Mexico City, as well as serve as a hub for all LATAM customer support, retailers and distributors.
JAKKS will continue to work with its key distributor partners worldwide to maximize sales opportunities for its broad multi-category portfolio of licensed brands, as well as products based on JAKKS’ internal I.P.. Jakks Pacific
Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the brand licensing industry – hosted its first Diversity & Inclusion Workshop Monday, August 3, bringing together some of the leading minds in licensing and retail to discuss the challenges and opportunities organizations face as they look to enhance diversity and inclusive practices in their workforces and culture.
Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University kicked off the event with a presentation of the findings of their recent benchmarking study of diversity in the licensing industry, commissioned by Licensing International. Among other findings, the research shows that while 30% of companies surveyed currently have a D&I program in place, only 10% have budgeted financial support to those programs.
“If you don’t measure, you don’t you have any substantive understanding of where things stand or a benchmark by which to gauge success,” says Maura Regan, President, Licensing International. “This research is the crucial first step in creating real, lasting change in our companies and the global licensing community as a whole.”
The full research study is now available for download at www.LicensingInternational.org.
Following the presentation of the research results, newly elected Licensing International Board Member Steven Wolfe Pereira, CEO & Co-Founder of Encantos, was joined by Petco’s Chief Marketing Officer Tariq Hassan, for a screenside chat about what it means to create an organization that is truly inclusive and how to go about doing it.
“You cannot only do this from executive-level down,” said Hassan. “If you want to tell people to bring their authentic selves to work, you’ve got to allow them to have a place to express it, and you’ve got to allow it to then influence the decisions of the company. … ‘You don’t have to ask for permission to be who you are’ – we have to create a culture that celebrates that insistence. When you put it that way, it stops being about what’s wrong, and it focuses on the energy and creativity of what’s right.”
The panelists who participated in the third part of the event echoed that sentiment, and shared details about how they are nurturing diversity at their own companies. They included: Bryony Bouyer, Senior Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion and Multicultural Strategy at Hasbro; Cindy Levitt, Senior Vice President of Licensing, Mad Engine LLC; Dolores Ordas, Vice President of People and Culture, Mad Engine LLC; and Eric Ueno, SVP of Human Resources of Hot Topic Inc.
Here are just some of the insights that were shared:
Much of the conversation throughout the event centered on where and how organizations can start to take action. To that end, Licensing International is proud to share its new Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit, developed in conjunction with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. For the next month, Licensing International is making this Toolkit available to the global licensing community at large, after which time it will continue to be available to Licensing International members and partner trade organizations.
Download your copy of the Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit here.