IMG's Tim Smith talks the RAF's 100th anniversary celebrations

As the RAF gears up for its 100th anniversary celebrations in 2017, a series of events are underway to mark the milestone, from a concert at the Royal Albert hall and a 100-plane fly over. Tim Smith, licensing director at IMG, reveals plans to partner with a range of new licensees to showcase the RAF’s rich heritage and why the iconic brand has garnered so many fans, young and old.
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How does the RAF lend itself as a heritage brand?

The RAF, established in 1918 will be celebrating its 100th year anniversary in 2018. Over these past 100 years, the RAF has been at the forefront of many significant moments, which has defined what our country is today. There is significant history, artwork and archival stories that can be used to inspire new product creations to celebrate this heritage.

Why is the heritage sector so important to you guys?

The RAF is the oldest independent air force in the world and one of the primary objectives of the centenary celebrations is to engage and resonate with a broad audience spanning all ages. The values of the RAF have been cemented by its achievements over the course of the last 100 years and we want to highlight this through quality products that help to tell this story. The heritage element to the brand helps us achieve this.

How will you be celebrating 100 years of the RAF? What activities should fans look out for?

The RAF will be celebrating from October 2017 all the way through to October 2018 with over 50 events taking place throughout the year, including a 100-plane fly over, a televised concert at the Royal Albert hall and a parade along the Mall to name just a few. Some of our licensees will be announcing prizes and competitions to be involved in the celebrations so stay tuned.

The values of the RAF have been cemented by its achievements over the course of the last 100 years and we want to highlight this through quality products that help to tell this story.

Will you be teaming up with any new partners to mark the milestone?

Yes – we will be working with a range of partners across both adults and kids in categories such as publishing, gifting, luggage, eyewear, alcohol, collectables and model toys.

What are you looking for in licensees to come on board and support the brand?

We are looking for licensees that appreciate this unique milestone and see value in creating a range of celebratory products that translate this iconic brands history into a well-designed program that resonates with the UK and overseas consumer.

What is your most successful category with fans?

Watches is a category that continues to prove popular among the fans of the RAF because there are so many synergies between the brand and a good quality watch. Given the RAF's extensive fan base however, from veterans and severing personnel through to families and core fans, we have a very broad audience with several different categories proving to be extremely popular which we are sure will also be the case with RAF100.

What else can we expect to see from the brand this year?

Aside from product launches and targeted marketing campaigns, we will also be announcing retail partnerships and promotions opportunities to form a major part of the celebrations.

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