THE BIG INTERVIEW: Mordy Benaiah, Licensing Director, Pyramid

Samantha Loveday

By Samantha Loveday

June 17th 2013 at 10:02AM
THE BIG INTERVIEW: Mordy Benaiah, Licensing Director, Pyramid

We find out about the firm's ten-year relationship with Warner Bros. Consumer Products UK.

Firstly, can you give us a bit of background on Pyramid as a company, how it started and where it is today?

Pyramid formed in 1992. Pyramid’s first deals were licensing posters and accessories like badges, stickers and keychains. In recent years the range has expanded to mugs, stationery, bags,  canvas prints and higher end wall art.

What is your target demographic? Who are your core customers?

Our core customers on posters are children aged eight to 16 and then students, which is a big focus for us. The higher end wall art aims older and the stationery range (DC Comics classic) appeals to a wide age demographic.

Why has Pyramid decided to diversify into other products now and what new sectors are you exploring?

We have found that the poster market has been in decline in recent years. With mass retailers like Virgin/Zavvi and Woolworths leaving the High Street it has left large gaps. Pyramid has excellent licensing contacts (globally) so it was obvious to us to explore new products.

We are now developing some amazing stationery collections, mugs and coasters, new material wall art where we print on glass, wood and metal our fashion bag collection (Marshall Amps) has been well received in retail.

What are your key retail accounts and how have these evolved over the years (what percentage of the business is attributed to online/grocers/High Street)?

In the past most of our products were sold in record retail. Since the changes in that sector we were forced to look at ways of ranging our lines into the supermarket chains. Today our retail spread is very different. We work very closely with Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrison's. They play an important part of what we are doing today and are a significant part of our turnover. Outside of the supermarket chains we work very closely with WHSmiths (we are in the process of developing a new entertainment area with them for our products), HMV, Next, BHS, TK Maxx and many others.

How did the partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products first come about and on which licences?

We have been working together since 2002 and some of the biggest movie projects in our history are WB related. The first licences we signed with WB were Harry Potter and Looney Tunes. Harry Potter was a phenomenon and posters were the perfect partner for this franchise. Our first 3D poster was based on HP.

Today we represent a large slice of the WB roster including top Hollywood movies like Man of Steel, Batman, The Hobbit and top television shows such as The Big Bang Theory.

How has the relationship with WB changed over time and are they the biggest licensor for the business?

Interestingly our relationship with WB has been one of the most consistent ones in licensing. The team, led by Paul Bufton, has barely changed in the past decade so we have a great understanding of each other. WB has the best movie and TV content in the business. Look at 2013. Man of Steel will be possibly the biggest film release of the year and Big Bang Theory is by far the biggest TV show currently on air.

What have been the highlights of your ten-year relationship with WB?

There have been so many highlights. The excitement of working on the Harry Potter franchise especially the first movie. Every year we get to work on the best movies and television shows. Our creative team always get a buzz from working on these great properties.

What plans are in the pipeline for WBCP licensed Pyramid products?

Man of Steel represents a major opportunity for Pyramid this summer. We have developed an exclusive stationery range for Asda and full ranges of posters, key chains, stickers, badges, mugs to accompany this. Man of Steel will be the film of the summer and will reinvigorate the Superman franchise in a big way. We are creating poster programs for Tesco on this shipping in May as well.

DC classics still represent a major part of our range. The comic book look is so iconic and loved by fans. We carry a full range of wall art covering some of the most iconic classic covers. This is also being translated into a cool range of retro stationery launching this spring.

Paul Bufton, general manager at Warner Bros. Consumer Products, commented:

"Pyramid is one of our longest standing licensees, and over the term of our ten-year relationship, the team at Pyramid have been dedicated to developing our franchises and have displayed a unique respect, knowledge and passion for our properties.
They possess a unique sense of innovation which has seen them launch 3D posters for Harry Potter, through to a reinvention of its product offering to including gifting items and stationery. It's an intelligent approach and one which I'm sure will reinforce the strength of our relationship for the next decade to come."