News of the world: “This past year was an exhilarating rollercoaster”

King Features’ Carla Silva talks milestone brand anniversaries, upcoming retail programmes and driving to be more ‘creative, strategic and nimble’.

For our annual overseas round up, asks a selection of licensing industry insiders in key territories to tell us about their takeaways from 2023 and the challenges and opportunities they expect to encounter in 2024, and for a single word to sum up each year.

Today, we head to the US, with Carla Silva, vp and gm, global head of licensing, King Features.

“Last year, we continued to grow our fully owned brands, securing Mad Cave as master publisher for Flash Gordon and Defenders of the Earth, and debuting limited-edition Phantom coins from The Perth Mint in Australia (via our agent Merchantwise). We expanded our consumables programme overseas with new alcoholic beverage partnerships for The Phantom (ArkiDesign via our agent Rights & Brands in Sweden) and Popeye (Bodebrown via Vertical Licensing in Brazil) and dove deeper into the gaming category, with a Popeye & Bluto World of Warships in-game bundle, new video game and slot machine partners for The Phantom, and more.

In 2024, Popeye turns 95, Olive Oyl turns 105 and Flash Gordon is 90. We’ll focus on these anniversaries, but we also see 2024 as a year for the newer brands we represent to shine – such as Moomin and Rebel Girls. We have some exciting retail programmes and partnerships coming for both of these, while Cuphead fans will be delighted by the many new product introductions throughout the year, including two new ‘Art of’ books and unique collectables.

As a company that specialises in niche heritage and evergreen properties, pitching retailers that continually support their top three performing brands and not much else, securing shelf space is tough. This drives us to be more creative, strategic and nimble.

This past year was an exhilarating rollercoaster. Next year is all about creativity and taking action.

This feature originally appeared in the spring 2024 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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