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“More than ever, we need a message of positivity”

Festival of Licensing’s Europe week opens with a feel-good keynote from The Smiley Company and insights from Eastpak, Pull&Bear and Hering.

Festival of Licensing’s Europe week (powered by Brand Licensing Europe) kicked off this morning (October 6) with a feel-good keynote from The Smiley Company ceo, Nicolas Loufrani.

Nicolas (pictured above right with session moderator, good news journalist Liam Aldous) told virtual attendees that, more than ever, we need a positive message – in both our business and personal lives.

“It’s important to show that there are still a lot of positive things happening,” he said. “There are a lot of great human beings doing great things; there are a lot of people who want to be part of the change and do good. This is the message of the Smiley brand and what we are trying to achieve.”

Pointing to Google data, Nicolas said that the search for good news has never been as high as this year: “People are engaging with the message of positivity and something which gives hope.”

As the company heads towards its 50th anniversary in 2022 – for which Nicolas hinted at some major collaborations and activity including 50 products from 50 brands and designers which will feature in Smiley concept pop-up shops – the brand is in a very strong position at the moment.

Nicolas commented: “I believe why we are so strong right now is the result of the positioning and the strategy and the fantastic team around us. Partners, like minded people who want to be very creative and bring great product and marketing campaigns – this is what is making us very different from the competition. It is dealing with the heart and really resonating with people.”


Nicolas was joined by a selection of those partners during the keynote including Professor Dacher Keltner from the University of California, who is working with the company on its upcoming Happier Schools Programme.

Dacher spoke about how emotional intelligence is a “master skill” which “helps us put anxieties into perspective and helps us understand people’s point of view which differs from ours”.

The message of positivity was continued by Jonathan Demortier from Eastpak who explained why it’s important to have soul as a brand: “You’re not just selling product, you’re also trying to make the world a better place.”

Pablo Carballo and Joana Oliveira from Pull&Bear/Inditex Group explained how they saw the chance to collaborate with Smiley as being able to show the world a positive message at a difficult time during the pandemic – while it was hugely motivating for the team to be involved in, too.

“If we have a small chance to show positivity to the world, then we will do it,” said Joana.

Other speakers included Fabiola Guimaraes from Hering and Christina Medici from The Smiley Movement.

Concluding the session, Nicolas said that while no one knew what was going to happen in the world due to current events, the Smiley brand would be there to “bring some positivity and purpose”.

He also made it clear that we all played our part, however small.

“We all have a purpose in our business,” he said, “whether that is maintaining jobs, creating products to bring joy, etc. Yes, there are things we can improve in the world, but maintaining society right now and making it function is massively purposeful and something we all do every day.”

Festival of Licensing’s Europe week runs from October 6-8. It’s easy to register – simply head to

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