BLE 08: Have Your Say

The tenth anniversary of Brand Licensing Europe promised much ahead of the event and the overall consensus seems to be that it delivered, too. Samantha Loveday asks a mix of visitors and exhibitors for their views on the showcase...
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“BLE was phenomenally busy for us with a great reaction across the whole portfolio. A number of people have told us that we had one of the busiest stands there and the amount of business we achieved at the show is staggering.”
Rob Corney, MD, Bulldog Licensing

“The show was buzzing for us from the start. We had a great cross-section of visitors including licensees, retailers and press from the UK, EMEA and Asia. The first day was especially busy and our walk-up traffic seemed much heavier than usual, which is not surprising given that we have some of the top properties moving into new CGI formats. Whilst the bulk of our visitors still came from the UK, there were definitely not only more Europeans, but also more visitors from Asia and the Americas than we have seen previously.”
Lori Heiss, Senior Director, International Marketing, Hit Entertainment

"We are all so lucky to be in an industry that can put on events such as BLE and the Licensing Awards. Both had a great atmosphere, well supported and help to define what the licensing industry is all about. We met with a broad range of buyers and marketeers from all the key retailers. The Screening Suite was really well managed and also well supported by licensees and retailers."
David Binnie, General Manager, WBCP UK

"Nickelodeon UK enjoyed a great show and were very pleased to be back. We were visited by many retailers, licensees and new prospects and also took full advantage of the passing traffic, which has all resulted in us feeling very positive towards the event. Stands this year looked very strong, with lots of effort being put into making this event the must-attend on our industry's calendar."
Clare Piggott, VP Consumer Products, Nickelodeon UK

“Our stand was pretty busy and we had everyone from UK retailers, our European agents and UK licensees coming to see us. There was good retail attendance, although they travelled in such large packs (one retailer turned up with 12 buyers).”
Melissa Brown, Director of Marketing, Chapman Entertainment

“We had a good show this year and there was a really positive buzz. From our stand it seemed that the number of visitors was on par with last year with both buyers and licensees well represented. I would say we saw more retailers than last year, both High Street and online. It was great to show the licensing world exactly how fun and innovative the Science Museum brand is.”
Ben Jackson, Brand Licensing Executive, NMSI Trading

"Attendance seemed similar to last year, with a good mix of attendees, however retail attendance could still be improved on, although I realise this is not easy. There seemed to be more Europeans than ever, especially Spanish and Italian. I do feel that the day before the show should be the screening day, especially now there is the TV Lounge. I spoke to one licensee who was attending eight hours of screenings over the two days. There is no way in this circumstance that they can get round to seeing all the leading exhibitors."
John McInnerny, Allsorts Media

“Looking ahead I don’t see any major innovations being needed. The organisers have really listened to their exhibitors and visitors over recent years and developed a product which pretty much works as well as it can, with only minor tweaking needed to meet future changes in demands from the industry. My own feeling is that, for the moment, it should stay at two days.”
David Scott, MD, Rainbow Productions

“A high class of attendees with very few time wasters. As ever, Advanstar personnel were attentive and always on hand. A triumph. It felt vibrant and exciting; business was being done. With all the doom and gloom around us, the licensing industry felt optimistic and alive.”
Janet Woodward, Head of Licensing, Coolabi

"As ever, the show was a hive of activity with a strong level of attendance from key players in the licensing industry right across the retail spectrum. One of the things that stood out this year was the strong networking element due to the fact that attendance was even higher with a remarkable increase in European representatives, which was extremely beneficial for us. With just two days it is a pretty intensive schedule for all the team and it is such a crucial show in the licensing calendar that with back-to-back meetings the time goes very quickly. We would also welcome more designated meeting areas for general use as the stand gets extremely busy."
Bernd Conrad, Head of Merchandising & Licensing, TV-Loonland

"We thought it an excellent show, though whether more busy than usual is debatable. It seemed there were more exhibitors with smaller stands, which gave the effect of a lot of movement between stands. It wasn't dominated by any one exhibitor. Most of the people we expected to see were there - but it's always rewarding to see new people with whom potentially we can do business, and we saw a good mix of those."
Jane Forbes, Licensing Consultant, Brandzoo

"I thought there were less stands and generally less footfall throughout the two days. I only came across two retailers and were already working with them and had pre arranged to meet at the show. I'm not really sure if we will be showing next year as I didn't get many leads from the show."
June Dawson, Sales and Marketing Manager, Manchester United Merchandising Limited

“We were delighted with the attendance at our suite. This format works very well for Mattel; we had good retail attendance and more visits than last year from international attendees. The best thing was connecting with the industry at a key planning time for A/W 09.”
Johanne Broadfield, Senior Director of Licensing, Fisher-Price

"It seemed busier but that might be due to our location; we had a lot of footfall going past our stand. There were a lot more potential licensors attending, as well as designers or representatives of designers who see the opportunity to licence their work. I think there were certainly as many retailers as we have seen in the past. I guess to some extent it depends on the properties you are representing. We would love to have some information on which retailers attended."
Jane Evans, MD, JELC

“It was our first time and our team all felt that we had a very productive show, which was even busier than we had thought it would be for us. There was a good mix of attendees overall and we were very pleased with the number of retailers that came to our stand. Two days is really too short to form really meaningful meetings/discussions, I’d prefer three days. The more peripheral service companies and smaller licensing firms felt out on a limb at the show. I’d like to see a better overall balance where the large entertainment brands do not tend to dwarf the remainder of the show.”
Sam Johnson, Kids Brand Manager, JCB Consumer Products

“We saw a positive mix of attendees (licensees, retailers and other partners) and our whole team was back to back with meetings on both days. The timing of the show meant that we had the perfect platform on which to launch our major new strategic initiative for The Simpsons – Ladies of Springfield. This is the third year we have used the Screening Suite and it offers a very useful platform for us to present our portfolio of brands.”
Carl Lumbard, SVP & MD, Fox L&M Europe

"We were definitely busier than last year with both pre-planned meetings and interest from passing trade, which was unexpectedly high. I loved the idea of the Screening Suite, which is a great opportunity for big content creators to showcase brands. But I would like to see slots being offered to independent producers who may have, say one or two big properties to show, but don't need the whole hour. Also lots of licensees commented that these screenings took too much time away from meetings."
Claire Potter, MD, Metrostar

“Overall it was a very successful show for us. We felt our stand and activity showcased our key brands, reflected our corporate brand, had real impact and buzz drawing in the crowds, resulting in numerous leads and deals being done on both days.”
Rob Wijeratna, Joint MD, Rocket Licensing

"BLE 08 was the best yet. It was much busier than usual and there was a better mix of attendees - more retailers, more European licensing agents and more licensees. There were definitely more retailers and several buyers from the less 'mainstream' retailers which was great, especially when you have quirky properties like we do. The number of European attendees this year was fantastic."
Caroline Mickler, Brand and Licensing Consultant, Parthenon

"This year's show was extremely busy, there was a great buzz and very good traffic. The traffic to the stand - both scheduled and walk-ups - exceeded expectations. I felt the best thing was that despite the current economic environment and the turbulence in the outside world, the buzz and energy at this year's show was as good as, or even exceeded, that felt at previous shows. The mood seemed cautiously optimistic and enthusiastic."
Andrew Kerr, Executive Director, Consumer Products & Marketing, International, Entertainment Rights

“I noticed a healthier balance between brand licensing and character/entertainment licensing, and a number of companies who had returned to the show after a few years’ absence. Olympia is an ideal location; flooded with natural light from the glass ceiling, the hall has a unique ambience that sets it apart from other shows. The timing of the drinks reception on day one was great, too.”
Ciaran Coyle, MD, The Beanstalk Group

“I thought it seemed more focused in terms of visitors. I had the impression the organisers worked harder on qualifying visitors so that in the main they were there to do business. It seemed pretty busy and most visitors seemed to be satisfied with the mix of stands at the show. I would still like the show to run over a third day – it would help, I think, in managing the flow of business particularly now there are more presentations within the show format. I think it would also be good to consider some kind of breakfast networking event for new companies that are visiting the show for the first time.”
Ian Downes, MD, Start Licensing

“It was as busy as usual for us and definitely a good show. Olympia is a good venue and it all works well and is a good place to showcase our brands. I think it should be three days though.”
Alicia Davenport, DRi

“We missed day one, but day two was busy up to 3pm and then it tailed off rapidly. I would say that it was as busy as last year from what I saw, but still no Disney and no CPL. It’s a very good way of networking with old friends and contacts. We have about a dozen serious leads to follow up on.”
Neil Rodol, Commercial Director, Alligator Books

"I thought that the show was very well attended and we were very busy, almost too busy and I think that there is a strong case for having it over three days with perhaps a slightly shorter show day. Retail attendance was up, which was great, and the number of European visitors to our stand was excellent."
Denise Deane, Brand Champions

"For us it was busier. But it is too small compared to the US show, when you think the EU is a much bigger marketplace."
Nicolas Loufrani, Smileyworld

"The show was very busy for us. We did great business across both our entertainment properties and brands. TLC Germany and France were there too, as this show has definitely become more European in its reach. The best thing overall is that it's great to be at the show again. We were buzzing."
Lisa Shapiro, The Licensing Company

“For Ignition, each year keeps getting better. We had a terrific show; lots of new contacts and a positive response to all of our brands. I think it was busier than previous years and the atmosphere seemed very buoyant despite the outside world news.”
Maggy Harris, Ignition Licensing

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