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Face to face with… GIG Retail

We chat to the Licensing Award winning company about its ambitions going forward for licensing at retail.

When asked back in August what his aims are for the rest of 2016, Gal Shivtiel, managing director of GIG Retail, exclaims “to win a Licensing Award!”

Fast forward a few weeks, and Gal – along with the GIG Retail team and Ruth Golightly, head of buying for girlswear and babywear and licensing manager for George @ Asda – are up on stage at The Grosvenor Hotel, collecting the accolade for Best Licensed Retail Execution for its Minions initiative.

Consider that box ticked, then.

GIG Retail was only set up 18 months ago, although the umbrella company – Great Ideas Group – has been established since 2009. Predominantly a retail agency, GIG specialises in helping businesses improve in a number of areas and coming up with ideas that help them stand out and differentiate. Or has Gal simply puts it: “We’re all about giving great ideas that deliver great results.”

It has a close working relationship with Asda and George, and was the main partner in the creation of the Entertainments Forum – this ultimately decides how to bring licences to life and, perhaps more importantly, bring the things that customers are looking for directly to them, at just the right time.


“Everyone has their own way of using licensing and their own areas they look at,” explains Sarah Crennell, head of retail entertainment and licensing partnerships at GIG Retail. “The work we do with Asda is helping them to make the right decisions, the strategy, having the right relationships and also giving them insight and knowledge. For licensors too, we’re helping them to understand exactly what is going on inside the retailer.”

To this end, on top of its twice-yearly licensor summits, GIG is aiming to set up a series of events which will benefit the retailer, licensor and licensees by showcasing the full breadth and scope of what a complete licensed offer could look like in-store. The first has already been held with Warner Bros. and received great feedback from across the different Asda departments.

“It’s amazing how much passion and enthusiasm there is from the buying teams,” says Gal. “Once they see the products brought to life – before they’re out in the market – and start hearing the feedback, they realise just how much of an opportunity there is.”


As well as the Minions, Asda and GIG also enjoyed success with the special baby event collaboration with eOne and Peppa Pig. This saw the creation of Peppa Pig First Pants, a partnership with Asda’s own brand of nappies called Little Angels. And what started out as a promotion for the event, is now an actual sku in-store – “it blew all of its targets out of the water” says Sarah.

So, now that the goal of winning a Licensing Award has been achieved, what’s next on the team’s wish list?

“It’s seeing product on shelf and seeing retailers having a differentiated licensing offer that drives us,” says Gal. “The more of that we see, the better. We want to continue the growth of licences within the retail environment through our clients.”

For Sarah, it’s all about breaking away from the norm and doing something really innovative. “I’d love to work on partnerships and relationships that maybe you wouldn’t put together before. To evolve that innovation on partnerships and breaking the mould of the traditional way we would execute a licence.”

Gal concludes: “If anyone out there has any great ideas about how they would want to bring their licences to life within the retail environment, get in touch. I think there is huge opportunity for licences over the coming years and a huge desire from customers to have something a little bit different and a bit more fun… and we’re here to help.”


Mellow Yellow

The Licensing Award winning Minions summer campaign had visitors to Asda seeing yellow for days. And Sarah believes that it has now set the benchmark for these kind of retail campaigns.

“It’s been a long time since Asda has let a brand takeover a corporate message,” she says. “The Minions took over all aspects of the summer marketing campaign – from the summer holiday shop and how to get your kids ready for the season, through to using the Minions to help keep them occupied during the break and then just touching on back to school.”

As well as the in-store takeover – which also saw a variety of ‘retail-tainment’ such as a dedicated Minions Land where children could learn to be one of the characters – Universal took over the George and Asda websites with animations. “Any form of Asda media had Minions on it… the whole business embraced it,” Sarah continues.

And this paid off – both in terms of the industry standing up and taking notice and in sales.

“I think it was a massive turning point for me within the industry, just watching everybody’s ears prick up and asking ‘how do we get the Minions effect?’ It was amazing to work with such a great retailer as Asda and we really think we have set the benchmark with this initiative,” Sarah adds.

Gal points out: “We had some amazing results at the end of it, both from an Asda perspective and for licensees. The activity more than met the goals we had set, which was great.”

Asda’s Ruth Golightly adds: “GIG have become part of our team. We rely on them being the ‘glue’ between the trading teams and our licence partners and continue to land great licence campaigns together.”

This feature originally appeared in the autumn edition of Licensing Source Book. Click here to read the full publication.

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