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The week in licensing

It’s been BLE week, and the industry has once again done itself proud.

I’ll be very honest, I absolutely love Brand Licensing Europe week.

I love catching up with friends and colleagues, the camaraderie, the excitement of finding what could be the elusive ‘next big thing’, digging out the news leads and upcoming trends (although I’m undecided as to whether the masks The Source team were convinced to wear at the Nickelodeon drinks party were our best look).

I love how everyone disappears into the ‘BLE bubble’ for the week, emerging on Friday slightly wide-eyed and shaken, but absolutely knowing they’ve had a productive week.

I also refuse to feel bad for calling the show floor ‘buzzy’ – because it was. And if it’s described as that every year, that’s probably because it’s buzzy every year. And there’s nothing shameful about going to the Hand & Flower – it’s an extension of the show floor and as much a part of ‘show week’ as anything else.

A lot of effort had gone into the stands – just two excellent examples of this included the Volkswagen stand in the brands area and Moomins in the character and entertainment area.

The fact that Tuesday morning’s character parade also made it onto the front of the Business section in The Times and into The Independent goes to show how open the wider world now is to the licensing industry. The team at Rainbow Productions deserve every bit of credit that comes their way for arranging the biggest ever gathering of character costumes and mascots that the show had ever had.

The exhibitors The Source spoke to also made a point of saying how pleased they were with the retail attendance, and also the fact a lot of retailers who hadn’t necessarily stocked much licensed product before were now much more receptive to it.

You have to credit the Frozen and Minions programmes for some of this, of course – when you have two such enormous brands with enormous licensing campaigns to match, they help to open up retail minds and eyes.

Yes, there are things which could still be tweaked on the format – it will be interesting to see next year’s show with the two side aisles, rather than the one central aisle. And there is a lot of empty space on the gallery, which could be put to good use as a meeting area.

But as everyone slowly emerges from their bubble and starts on the follow up list, the majority of opinions should be that it was another good job well done.

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