We put Cartoon Network’s licensing associate for UK & Nordics in the spotlight.
Licensing Associate – UK & Nordics, Cartoon Network Enterprises
My route into the licensing industry went something like this…
In most cases it seems, we don’t know how we fell into licensing, and I am definitely one of them. My first experience of licensing was my placement year as a licensing intern at The Marketing Store working on the licensing programmes for McDonald’s Happy Meal and their adult brands. I was thrust into the deep end by getting to work with one of the world’s biggest toy manufacturers at the age of 20! Once I graduated, I headed to Nickelodeon as the consumer products intern working across hardlines and softlines on brands such as Paw Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob and more. While I was there I also worked on key collaborations including Dr Martens x Turtles and Hype x Spongebob. Around two years ago, I got the licensing executive UK position at Turner and haven’t looked back since …
How long in the industry?
Just over four years now, starting out as a young intern and working up to a licensing associate. Overall, the craziest but by far the best four years ever. Here’s to many more.
When I was growing up, I had no idea that ‘licensing’ was an industry, so I wanted to be…
Tough question. I did and still have a strong fascination for movies so always wanted to be an actress or director. I’d endlessly sit around drawing movie posters and writing scripts – it’s fair to say they were all pretty terrible. I thought I was the next Steven Spielberg back then.
Biggest inspiration in the licensing industry?
I am slightly biased but I have to call out Graham Saltmarsh on this one. I feel extremely lucky to work so closely with him as his second in command. I have learned so much about this industry from his wealth of experience and knowledge. As the man who originally launched Ben 10 products in the UK, his advice and guidance have been invaluable. He is also not afraid to take risks, which with brands such as Rick and Morty, is a breath of fresh air. And most of all, he is an all-round great guy! Also want to call out Adam Beswick, licensing director at The Marketing Store. Without him I wouldn’t even know what licensing was. Working on Happy Meal as my first introduction to licensing was perfection – can never thank him enough for that first step.
Best thing about your current role?
I love that everyday is different. With the variety of IPs in our portfolio from kids including Ben 10 to adult animation with Rick and Morty, the possibilities are endless. Not many people can say they are researching pickles as part of their day job. No day is the same, and no idea is too crazy to propose. Also, the range of the role from involvement in marketing initiatives to retail activations always keeping me on my toes. Working on retail activity with the likes of HMV, The Entertainer and Smyths Toys throughout this year has been both exciting and rewarding. The feeling of seeing something you’ve managed in-stores is only something I could have previously imagined.
What are you most proud of within your licensing career to date?
I would say the relaunch of Ben 10 in the UK. I started at Turner around the time that we were gearing up to relaunch of Ben in October 2017 so I have been there since the beginning. With the current climate in boys properties, we have worked extremely closely with our toy partner, Flair, to ensure that Ben resonates with young boys. It’s taken blood, sweat and tears but the toys are performing strongly with the Omnitrix becoming the number one in role-play. To support this, I have been heavily involved in recent retail executions including an in-store campaign with The Entertainer and the Alien Party Campaign at Smyths Toys superstores where we had an assault course, face painting and more activities in-store for kids, all supported by a competition to win the ultimate alien party.
Licensed character you can most identify with (and why)?
This is one I get 95% of the time due to my name, but Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes. The tornado he does is how I feel after I’ve had my morning coffee and am on a path to smash all tasks ahead. I’m extremely determined and dedicated so will keep going until the task at hand is completed to its best. He also has an enormous appetite, something I can very much identify with.
What were your first thoughts when you were revealed as a nominee for the LIMA UK Rising Star Award?
Really shocked! The calibre of the nominees is extremely high this year, so I was humbled by the fact I even got nominated. There are so many great young people in the industry at the moment, so to be recognised took me completely by surprise – but obviously over the moon.
The adage goes, once you enter the licensing industry, you never really leave… what are your short-term goals for your career in licensing?
I’ve heard this from too many people that you never leave the industry once you’re in it, and I can definitely identify with that – I was hooked from day one. I’m looking forward to seeing Ben 10 progress in the UK and working more on the adult portfolio that is evolving now too. There’s also some great nostalgic appeal in the Cartoon Network Classic brands, and as someone who grew up with these brands, I’m excited to get to work on them. But overall, continuing to learn and pursue new and exciting opportunities for our brands in the eyes of our consumers and kids across the UK. And obviously survive The Licensing Awards!
The LIMA UK Rising Star award will be presented as part of The Licensing Awards, which take place on Tuesday September 11 at The Grosvenor Hotel, London.