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The Licensing Q&A… with David Wootliff

We delve into the licensing life of Rubie’s UK commercial director.

David Wootliff (aka ‘Wookiee’ or ‘Wooty’)

UK Commercial Director, Rubie’s UK

My route into the licensing industry went something like this…

I started life as a student on placement at Hasbro, my degree was in Engineering Product Design and working for a toy company was as much fun as it should be. I started in the engineering department and moved to marketing quickly as the marketing team seemed to make all the decisions. My first licensed experience was in games and puzzles; I remember phoning the Trivial Pursuit inventors for European business reviews and having to cut the call as they were on the beach and wanted to go for a swim.

How many years in the industry?

I started at Hasbro, on and off as a student back in the early 1990s, so about 25 years of licences, here and there.

When I was growing up, I had no idea licensing was an industry so I wanted to be…

A dustman… probably more PC to be called a garbage collector, or, refuse engineer. No idea why but it hung around for a good ten years and seeing how fit some of them are, not a bad idea!

The deal I am most proud of is…

From a purely work point of view, the UEFA toy football deal. I hate football and this seven figure deal landed on my desk. Personally, I’m a huge geek and James Bond is up there, so dealing with Eon and going to their London office was a huge coup for me… I’m not allowed to discuss any further, but some people believe what I found…

My most interesting experience in licensing has been…

Working for Disney and having a team day out in ‘Wet and Wild’ in Florida with my European colleagues, all in swim attire and enjoying the fun of Disney.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is…

Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions… From a desk hitting director at Hasbro many, many years ago.

If I wasn’t in licensing, I would be…

In design, I still like to believe I can innovate and develop great product.

Who do you admire most in the industry (and why)?

Ian Downes, this man is a real hero… His ability to work across all levels and deliver licensing in a very digestible manner is such a refreshing ability. He is a star and once organised one of the many great nights out for the industry… Hussar! You had to be there…

In a film of your life, which licensed character would play you?

I’d like to think Han Solo… or one of my many lookalikes, George Clooney or Mel Gibson (the latter, as identified in a licensing industry event).

If I could change anything about the industry, it would be…

Make licensors more honest; you’re not selling gold all the time!

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