The Mandalay way - Licensing.biz

The Mandalay way

We ask what's in store for visitors to Licensing International 2010.
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After a successful debut last year, Licensing International is returning to Las Vegas and the Mandalay Bay this month. Samantha Loveday asks show director Liz Crawford what we can expect from the show’s 30th year…

What a difference a year makes. When Advanstar revealed it was moving its flagship trade show for our market – Licensing International – to Las Vegas in early 2009, it split the industry. However, it won over its critics with a successful debut at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center – overall attendance stood at 18,000 – and this year’s event is shaping up to surpass this.

At time of writing, over 340 exhibitors – more than 120 of them new to the show – had signed up. In addition, pre-registration figures are pacing close to 20 per cent ahead of last year, with a 22 per cent increase in international attendance from this number and ten per cent being brand new companies.

A number of the mid-tier firms are upping the size of their booths, while Advanstar has also seen an increase in sponsorships, as well as firms wanting banners, branding in registration areas and hotel room items among other things.

2010 also marks the 30th anniversary of Licensing International and, as show director Liz Crawford explains to Licensing.biz, there are a number of activities planned to celebrate – even if her lips were sealed on some of them. “We are celebrating with Facebook and social media outreach where customers can post their photos and memories of the show or the industry on our pages, while there’s also an on-site ‘anniversary poster’ promotion,” she says. “If the exhibitor had an anniversary of a brand, or product, and they want to promote it through posters, we are pushing the distribution of these for our attendees. We are also working on producing a commemorative 30th anniversary poster of our own by a well-known artist to sell, with the proceeds going to our host charity, The Children’s Brain Tumour Foundation.”

Work has also been done to tackle some of the issues from last year voiced by visitors and exhibitors. “We are increasing signage and will be building feature areas across the show floor,” says Crawford. “Each corner will have something noteworthy and exciting to see, along with some great new exhibitors featured in these areas.”

Other new initiatives will include a fashion avenue café, an online art gallery and fashion gallery, where artists can display their work for the first time on the website. The conference programme is also looking very well put together, with some high profile keynote speakers – including execs from Disney Consumer Products, Mattel, Hasbro, Toys R Us and Li & Fung USA – while the popular retail tour will also be returning the day before the show kicks off.

It’s set to be a packed three days and Crawford is quick to point out that the show reaches all aspects of the licensing business: retailers, entertainment firms, licensees, manufacturers, brand marketers… “If a toy company has their own brands, or is responsible for licensing the brand, then everyone they need to be involved in this process is at the show, either as an exhibitor or attendee,” she says.

“The most important reason to make the trip to the show is that this is the only event of its kind that has at least 90 per cent of the major players in attendance or as exhibitors. With 400 exhibiting companies, Europeans will see everyone they need to see involved with this market. There is very little crossover in terms of both exhibitors and attendees between this show and our sister event, Brand Licensing Europe. In addition, the Las Vegas show has seen a very, very strong influx of Latin American and Asian attendance, that probably can’t be duplicated at this point.

“If you truly want to reach the global market, you need to be at both Licensing International and Brand Licensing Europe.”

Licensing International 2010 runs from June 8th to 10th at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Visit the website – www.licensingexpo.com - for further details.

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