After debuting on the GameBoy gaming system in 1995, Pokémon has grown to become one of the most recognisable brands in the world. We sat down with Mathieu Galante, senior licensing manager to find out what the brand has in store.
What stand out projects and products will the Pokémon company be showcasing at BLE?
Mathieu Galante: Pokémon is delighted by its recent award wins. Winning Best Classic Brand at the Licensing Awards is testament to the brand’s enduring evergreen status and its ability to stay fresh and relevant after 20 years. This is demonstrated by our success in fashion for children and adults. Again, we were delighted to have won the Best Licensed Children’s Apparel Range for Next from Fashion UK. We have also enjoyed huge success in France with our collaboration with leading children’s retailer La Compagnie des Petits and our nightwear range with Zara. In adult wear we continue to work with Insert Coin on their adult lines.
With apparel being a key category for Pokémon we are thrilled that it is proving a hit with trendy millennials as well as its core kids’ fan base.
We are also excited to be working with our new master toy licensee Wicked Cool Toys which will be distributed in the UK by Character Options from July 2018.
Trading Card sales remain buoyant and are a key pillar to the brand. We saw a recent huge uplift in sales which continued with the launch of the first Sun & Moon TCG expansions. This was supported by our biggest ever TCG retail promotions across multiple major retailers in the UK, and by our first-ever Toys R Us pan-European TCG promotion.
What new updates can we expect from Pokémon Go?
Galante: I’ll leave it up to Niantic, Pokémon Go’s developer, to make any specific announcements, but what we can say is that the team has long term plans to support the title. We have already seen a number of major updates this year, so expect more of those in the coming months.
What new products can we expect from the new toy lines from Wicked Cool Toys?
Galante: We are very excited about our new partnership with Wicked Cool Toys and their appointed UK distributor Character Options. The new toy range is set to appear at retail in autumn/winter 2018 and will be unveiled at London Toy Fair in January.
Pokémon has always had a fiercely loyal and engaged fan base but we are constantly seeking to reach beyond its traditional demographics with products designed to further brand engagement for young and older fans alike.
What other licensing projects are in the pipeline for next year and beyond?
Galante: It continues to be an exciting time for us. Pokémon has always had a fiercely loyal and engaged fan base but we are constantly seeking to reach beyond its traditional demographics with products designed to further brand engagement for young and older fans alike.
We’ve just signed a raft of licensees across the UK and Europe that means we now have best-in-class licensors in place in key territories across the core Back to School categories, which will ensure Pokémon has a substantial presence in playgrounds across the region.
In addition, a number of new licensees are coming on board, and we’ll be announcing these over the coming months. We are also in discussions with various potential partners across apparel and other categories about exciting new collaborations in both the UK and Europe.
Anything to add?
Galante: I’m excited about the release of Pokémon’s Movie 20: I Choose You! in theatres across Europe at the beginning of November. This unique new story explores the beginning of one of the most beloved friendships in popular culture, recounting Ash and Pikachu's first meeting and their adventures as they search for the Legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh.
Later in November we launch the hotly anticipated Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon games, following on from the original Sun and Moon titles which were our fastest-selling to date.
Never resting on its laurels, Pokémon is constantly innovating, with ever-growing ways to interact with the brand. There are many more exciting projects in the pipeline – watch this space!