Licensing Magazine Jan 2023 ENG

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Welcome to 2023!

The first months of this year will be very busy for our team which is why we are excited to have two separate issues this winter: one focusing on the world of toys and the other on the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids. This issue of Licensing Magazine is dedicated to the world of toys with a focus on Spielwarenmesse, the world’s leading toy fair in Nuremberg from February 1-5, which is finally back in person for the first time in two years. For Licensing Magazine, this event is especially important as we have had the privilege of organizing four sessions at the Licensing Talks, the Toy Fair’s licensing conference program. The Nuremberg fair is a pivotal worldwide event for the licensing industry, not only for the announcement of important launches, but also for monitoring current trends and developing new business.

At the License Talks, Licensing Magazine will have the honor of interviewing keyplayers in the industry from Moonbug, Products of Change, Amuse Animation and Insights Family, to talk about the relationship between toys and digital, sustainability and animation.

We look forward to seeing you all in Nuremberg and at the main industry events in February, leading up to the big date in Bologna, for which we will publish another issue of Licensing Magazine! Stay tuned!

As always, enjoy your reading!


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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Cristina Angelucci EDITOR Rossella Arena

GRAPHIC DESIGN Francesca Wolfler

SPECIAL THANKS TO Alessandra Maccaferri, Andrea De Amicis, Beatrice Revello, Matteo Melani, Susanna Iraci, Rob Hutchins, Lisa Hryniewicz


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@LM_LicensingMag @LMLicensingMag @Licensing Magazine @lm_licensingmag EDITORIAL 4
Cristina Angelucci
Trading Card Game
CICABOOM Marvel Mission Arena
DISNEY Mickey Mouse Funhouse, a new great season
Toys and
continual innovation BOLOGNA Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids 2023: the 16th edition Cover story Interview Interview Interview Publishing 8 30 22 12 34 30 8 20
The continued success of CoComelon and Blippi
Focus on
Master, a history of
portfolio that meets the needs of all target
PLAY AROUND Play Around continues to grow in 2023 IGT – COOL THINGS Cool Things creates value over time News News News 14 16 20 26 32 28 TOY DESIGN Toys and the design factor TOTY The new TOTY winners Trends 36 38 22
MERCIS Miffy: Small bunny, big steps in The Year of the Rabbit 2023 SHOWLAB
eyes: see the world through their eyes


South Korean Entertainment makes a great business

80s AND 90s

The revival of the ‘80s and ‘90s in today’s market campaigns



The value of information: the advantages of Informational marketing inspired by Art


Social media and advertising techniques, rewarding interactions

CARNIVAL Carnival 2023, ideas for sales and promotions



Human Marketing, when promotion rediscover its truest side

The benefits of co-branding initiatives in retail ASIA Asia and the opportunities for physical and online trade


A New Dawn: Measuring success outside the linear model WHAT’S NEXT

Entertainment 54 46 62 46
New brilliant licensing partnerships ANIMATION Animation in the USA Fashion & Lifestyle
our news
Find out how to follow
TARGET TRENDS Trends by age group Trends Marketing Trends Save the Date Retail Retail 50 62 63 64 66 68 74 60 72 58 70 54 PUBLISHING AND TOYS Toys and books, a profound relationship Publishing 40


After two years of delay due to Covid, the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg is finally back in attendance! Cicaboom will also be there, in Hall 12.0 at Stand H01°. CEO Fulvio Fantino, creative director Elisabetta Insile and the rest of the team will be on hand to demonstrate all the latest developments, along with the company’s best-known products, such as the much-loved Letrabots and Elastikorps


Marvel Mission Arena Trading Card Game

The collaboration between Cicaboom and Marvel continues with the brand-new trading card game, Marvel Mission Arena. It will have its international premiere at the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg.

Cicaboom is an Italian company that started with the creation, production and sale of collectables, specialising over time in toys, publishing and entertainment products for children. In addition to Italy, the company is also present in Spain, France, England, Germany, Poland, Russia and the United States of America.

Cicaboom recently released an incredible new product in Italy: the Marvel Mission Arena trading card game. After very early previews in Italy, it

will officially be presented internationally at the Nuremberg Toy Fair. The card game combines the appeal of the world’s best-loved superhero brand for people of all ages with a multilayered depth of gameplay, ideal for satisfying the entertainment needs of children aged six and up, as well as the expectations of the most demanding gamers.

Every aspect was completely developed by Cicaboom, from conception to product development and collectability,

to graphics, with an all in-house and exnovo design.

In addition to distribution in Italy, Cicaboom holds the license also for EMEA and America territories.

Playability and collectability

In Marvel Mission Arena, every card is a HERO and both a collector’s item and a gaming tool. The illustrations of the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe turn all cards into must-have objects that also contain all the game functions, thus providing cards of interest to both collectors and gamers. The cards depict not only mainstream characters, but also other lesser-known characters found in the comic books, to satisfy fans who are passionate about the cinematic universe as well as comic readers.


An interesting collectability feature is that the cards have various levels of rarity: common, uncommon, rare, ultrarare and secret. The last three types are enhanced by three different types of holographic paper.

The cards contain the entire game system. They present the characters’ features (Name, Values, Special Abilities) but at the same time can be used as Missions and Powers or, using the back, as the activating power of Special Abilities. To ensure a flawless product, a great deal of work has been done to select and harmonise the various elements of the game. The cards are designed to play with different levels of complexity: basic, medium and advanced!

between various groups (Spider-Man Team-Up, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Villains, etc.) These groups are divided into good, bad, and neutral characters, to create customized decks based on precise strategies, or simply on their favourite heroes or villains. The characters are present in the collection as single cards or team cards (of 2, 3, 4 or 5 characters), to provide infinite game strategies and win each challenge in three different ways: Mission Complete, Total Destruction and Battle of Fate.

A younger, inexperienced player can learn the game using a simplified structure typical of many other

Product Features

The collection consists of 219 cards, and within it each player can choose

To Be a Card
Play Area Marvel Trading Card Game at Lucca Comics and Game
- Lucca Comics and Game

(4 common, 3 uncommon, 2 rare, 1 ultrarare or secret), which can be purchased in shops specialising in comic books or board games, or 5-card packs, intended for the newsstand channel.

The official launch of the product will take place on February 18th in Italy in specialized shops and newsstands.

Marketing and Communication

Firstly, the product’s marketing strategy is based on different target groups: young audience, trading card collectors, and adult and experienced gamers.

It is therefore ideal for comic and specialised shops, but at the same time is a mass market product due to its broad appeal.

The first presentation of the cards took place in autumn 2022 at Lucca Comics & Games specifically because the

successful TCGs. For this purpose there are two 55-card thematic starter decks: Avengers and Spider-Man, which are immediately engaging and can be purchased by parents for various children of different ages and experience.

Each Starter Deck, made of 55 cards, contains 1 rare card, 1 deck holder, 1 rule booklet, 1 set of 7 guide cards to quickly learn Special Abilities, 1 singleplayer game board, 24 bonus marker chips (Attack, Defense and Resistance), and 1 check list.

An experienced player can create his own customized tactics using all 219 different cards available in the packs, 55 common, 55 uncommon, 55 rare, 27 ultra-rare, 27 secret. The packs will be available in two formats: 10-card packs

Cicaboom has been EMEA Regional Licensee and Game Inventor for the Marvel brand for several years now. All Cicaboom/Marvel products are designed for maximum playability, with a 3D superhero structure that lends itself to action-packed games. The collaboration began in 2019 with the launch of the Marvel Puniz Squishy Battle collection of squishable toys, and continued immediately after in 2020 with Marvel Wooblies, 50 magnetic spinning tops.

Their next project involved the Marvel Boomez superhero collections, which depict the most famous Marvel superheroes in super deformed iconic style. Each character comes with a 20-sided die for real gamers and a card where attack, defense values and special abilities are listed. Thanks to an innovative game system, the card also becomes the playground on which to challenge friends without the need for special support. The collectability of the product is enhanced by the presence of many special chrome, metallic and glow-in-the-dark characters. The first two series, Wave 1 and Wave 2, have already achieved incredible success in the Italian, Spanish, French and German markets in the newsstand, extra newsstand and online channels. Now Wave 3 SpiderMan Maximum Venom is on its way, in which the horizons of the game continue to expand new abilities and special moves on the cards.

Marvel Boomez is a highly successful product, so much so that limited edition specials are being issued.

Marvel EMEA Regional Licensee IMPERSONATOR - Michael Paterakis (Dr. Strange); Marco Spatola (Tony Stark, Iron Man); Gabriele Sorrentino (Thor); Marco Langellotti (Spider-Man) Simone “Vking” and “Mattia “Poly” live with Marvel Mission Arena at the eVox eStudios Michela Coriandolo - MATI (Marvel Avengers Team Italia)

event was directed at the two targets, and then at Milan Games Week, an event dedicated to gaming. In Lucca, a strong interactive activity was set up, with hostesses inviting the public to a photobooth to take pictures inside a frame depicting a Marvel Mission Arena card. These were then posted on Cicaboom social networks with #marveltgc hashtag, which allowed for excellent marketing and communication of the product.

A promotion of the game through streamers and twitchers has also begun, so that it will be effectively marketed up until its launch in stores, with feedback on its use from experienced card game players So far, the feedback has been great, to the point that product exchange communities are already springing up.

The next steps are to further incentivize the core target, the early adopters, through the relationship with the

development of gaming organised for the commercial launch in core shops, an IOS and Android mobile app is being planned. It will have the dual function of displaying the game rules and being a digital place to learn how to play. A platform for participation in tournaments that will be organized in collaboration with all the core shops will be connected to the app. This will be an asset for the main target group for creating additional communities. In addition to the digital marketing activity, there will be TV promotion that will be developed initially on kids, and then other channels.

Cicaboom is online!

Cicaboom’s online presence is divided into four main platforms: a general showcase site, available in several languages, where all products are displayed; a showcase site dedicated to the rich world of the Letrabots brand; an online shop under the domain of the main showcase site, a multi-store with several target countries (Italy, France, Germany, Spain); and an Amazon showcase where a selection of products are sold.

Given the company’s focus on collectables, the online product sale was created to provide the collectors with a courtesy service and allow them to find missing pieces for their collections.

Also under the domain of the main site, there is an additional area dedicated to newsstands, for newsagents who want to have a more direct relationship with the brand, to keep up to date on products and to be able to request reorders.

Interview with Fulvio Fantino and Francesco Ghigliotti at Lucca Comics & Games

Spin Master, a history of continual innovation

The world’s leading children’s entertainment company has several success stories in its portfolio, first and foremost the worldfamous Paw Patrol, but what is the ‘secret ingredient’ of this success?

Edgardo Di Meo, Marketing Director Italy & Greece, Spin Master, tells us how continual investment in product innovation has made Spin Master the success story it is today.

Paw Patrol: a success story. It has been 10 years since the first Paw Patrol episode went on air, an important achievement because it is not common for a pre-school property to remain the undisputed category leader worldwide for that long. Some of the oldest brands on the market were created many years ago by entertainment giants. Paw Patrol, on the other hand, is one of the first TV shows to be born from a 360° approach of a toy company that revolutionized the existing business model by integrating itself upstream in the supply chain. And we are proud of this.

The numbers for 2022 (NPD) speak to the steady growth of Spin Master, what are the factors behind this trend? I believe that product innovation is the number one factor for growth in the medium to long term. Spin Master has never cut back in this area and Paw Patrol is the result. During my career I have managed many brands and have often seen companies maximize the success of a property at their peak by slowing down investment in product development, but the effects soon became apparent. With Paw Patrol, on the other hand, the company has

continued to invest, even in times of success, it has never been complacent and has always tried to innovate even further.

Spin Master is also very active in licensing. Can you tell us about the current trend?

Spin Master’s current portfolio is very broad and balanced, which is why we can honestly say there are no other companies like us on the market. The company’s growth on an international level has led worldwide licensors to see us as a potential partner for their own Master Toy licenses. The partnership with WARNER on DC COMICS is a great example of this success. Recently, NBCUNIVERSAL also decided to work with us on one of their new preschool properties: Gabby Doll’s House, already a phenomenon everywhere it has been launched. And we will soon be working once again with Disney on Firebuds, one of their new properties currently being launched.

Up until now, partnerships have always had an international scope in order to justify investments in product development. However, we do not discount the possibility that there may

SPIN MASTER Edgardo Di Meo

be regional opportunities in the future, given the growth Europe is experiencing. Locally, on the other hand, we have a small space in boxed games, but slots are limited so we have to select the ideas we want to commit to very carefully.

What are the strategies behind your portfolio?

As already mentioned, over the years Spin Master has developed a balanced portfolio of long-standing brands within which sit franchises such as Paw Patrol or core toy brands such as Kinetic Sand and Games. Through a strategy of acquisitions, we have strengthened the offer of brands such as GUND, Rubik’s, RisiKo! Meccano, Scrabble, and Being or Not Being. The real success, however, has been finding the right mix between brand building and continuous investment in product innovation, which has resulted in successes that have made their mark on toy history, such as Hatchimals (which started the unboxing craze in 2016), Atmosphere and Flying Fairy in 2013, and Zoomer in 2015. And there will be a big new addition in 2023, which I can’t reveal anything about just yet.

In addition to these in-house brands, we offer other partners our product development capability. With DC Comics for example, they revitalised the brand which has been growing steadily since Spin Master’s toy launch, due to the quality of the products on offer. Last but not least, I want to mention Board Games, an area in which we particularly excel in Italy thanks to

Risiko! and Scarabeo, games that give a tip of the hat to a more adult target group.

How important are issues such as sustainability and inclusiveness to you?

Spin Master approaches these issues seriously and not just from a marketing point of view. We have initiated many internal projects in the area of sustainability. Obviously changing the production approach of many products requires a medium-term timeline, but in 2024 we will see the first real results of these efforts.

With regard to inclusiveness, Spin Master has always made this one of its main corporate values, both in terms of internal personnel policy and at a consumer level. We strongly believe in inclusive products.

In 2023, in which areas of the world would you like to expand?

Geographical expansion is one of our growth strategies alongside innovation, brand building, acquisitions and entertainment. As of 2022 we have been operating directly in Spain, one of our latest expansions after Turkey. The goal is to implement a direct distribution model in more countries.

In your opinion, what will be the most important trend topics this year?

In addition to the Paw Patrol Anniversary, the second film related to the property will be released in the second half of 2023. We also have several other films planned including a big and important new film release for Christmas ‘23.

Finally, there we

also have some important news on RisiKo! and Scrabble, which will get a graphic makeover, along with

new products.
“Spin Master has always made inclusiveness one of its main corporate values, both in terms of internal personnel policy and at a consumer level. We strongly believe in inclusive products”.
- Edgardo Di Meo -


The continued success of CoComelon and Blippi

Moonbug Entertainment is the award-winning global entertainment company behind some of the most popular kids’ titles in the world, like CoComelon and Blippi. Moonbug’s line-up includes global sensations CoComelon, Blippi, Little Baby Bum, Little Angel, Oddbods, My Magic Pet Morphle , Supa Strikas, Go Buster, Playtime with Twinkle, Gecko’s Garage, ARPO and many more.

Moonbug is a subsidiary of Candle Media, an independent, creatorfriendly home for cutting-edge, high-quality, category-defining brands and franchises. By bringing together elite talent operating at the intersection of content, community, and commerce, it helps to position leading entertainment businesses for accelerated, sustainable growth in the current market and beyond. Candle is run by its Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs, leading entertainment executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, and backed by investment capital from funds managed by Blackstone’s flagship private equity business.

Moonbug’s shows are known worldwide, now available in 32 different languages and on more than 150 platforms, including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sky, Super RTL, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Tencent, Youku and Roku.

The company’s portfolio currently stands at 29 IPs and 100+ brand partners, with top infant and pre-school properties.

In fact, Moonbug is the leader in infant and pre-school entertainment on YouTube. The company owns the most popular pre-school properties across the platform starting with CoComelon, with

an impressive 170 million subscribers worldwide on YouTube. Not to forget Blippi, with 60 million subscribers worldwide to its channel and over 1 billion views a month.

CoComelon CoComelon’s mission is to support kids in their foundational years through positivity. The franchise models positivity and supports pre-schoolers’ learning through songs. The learning themes include developmentally appropriate milestones, socialemotional learning, and hard skills such as colors, shapes, numbers and letters.

CoComelon is the most-watched brand on YouTube Kids globally with more than 4 billion monthly views and 170 million fans, and is available in more than 20 languages, including ASL. The franchise has expanded rapidly since it was acquired by Moonbug Entertainment in 2020.

Families can now experience CoComelon across music streaming services, consumer products and live experiences. CoComelon and its spin off shows, including “Cody Time,” “JJ’s Animal Time” and the upcoming Netflix Original “CoComelon Lane,”


are distributed by more than 40 global broadcast and streaming partners across 80 countries.

Several experts over the past years have pointed out that CoComelon’s success is not due to ‘just luck’, but is the result of the careful design and writing of the product, which helps the youngest children to learn and encourages parents to accompany them in this activity. As Licensed psychologist Nicole Beurkens, PhD states, children love the show because “Young children are drawn to the bright visuals — especially the focus on big eyes and faces — the repetitive music and sounds, and the constant movement and action on the screen”. This, however, adds Dr Beurkens, without being overly overwhelming: “With its bright colors, it helps babies - whose eyesight is not fully developed - to see what’s going on, and the repetition of the music is educationally valuable for children”.


Another of Moonbug’s most famous properties is undoubtedly Blippi. Blippi inspires curiosity in preschoolers around the world by creating content and experiences that are relatable, accessible and make learning fun. Blippi has become a worldwide sensation with more than one billion monthly views on YouTube and 60 million fans around the world. The franchise has expanded rapidly since it was acquired

by Moonbug Entertainment in 2020. The show is available in more than 20 languages, including ASL, and is distributed by more than 30 global broadcast and streaming partners around the world including Netflix, Warner Discovery and the BBC.

The universe of Blippi is constantly growing. The Blippi franchise has recently announced new Blippi Buddies and international productions.

Juca will in fact be the second Blippi Buddy to join the franchise, building on the success of Meekah, the first Blippi Buddy to join the team. The live-show Juca will take place in Brazile, currently the property’s largest market after the U.S., distribution deal with Warner Brothers Discovery. Juca premiered on 9 January on Cartoonito and the first five episodes are already available in the HBO Max online platform catalogue. Based on the success, Blippi will continue production in multiple cities, introducing worldwide audiences to

sights and culture from Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Mexico and the UAE.

“Blippi has become an important part of kids’ lives all around the world, making learning fun and accessible by going on field trips, meeting people and visiting places that are familiar to kids in any neighborhood. It’s very exciting to bring Blippi and his buddies to many more neighborhoods around the world and see kids relate to these characters and stories”, said Katelynn Heil, General Manager of the Blippi Franchise for Moonbug Entertainment. “It was a natural next step to expand Blippi’s universe with a new character and show in Brazil, the franchise’s largest market outside the US, while we continue to take Blippi on more international field trips bringing him closer to kids across the world”.

Thanks to its famous IPs, Moonbug remains the leader in its field with impactful and quality infant and preschool products, known worldwide and appreciated for the support they provide when it comes to young viewers’ learning.

Young children are drawn to the bright visuals — especially the focus on big eyes and faces — the repetitive music and sounds, and the constant movement and action on the screen

The portfolio that meets the needs of all target consumers

The licensing market is constantly evolving and is showing us how the space dedicated to different targets is becoming more and more extensive. Even in a sector that has always been largely dominated by children’s licenses, such as toys, today it is also increasing its offerings dedicated to an adult audience.

Companies that are looking for new creative cues increasingly rely on lifestyle brands to inspire new narratives in an older target group. The change is also taking place in the kidult target group, whose main channel of communication is no longer traditional media but social networks, which speak the same language as children, boys and girls. As a result, the models and idols of the new generation find themselves in a world of their own, among celebrities and Youtubers. The Maurizio Distefano Licensing agency offers a portfolio of IPs that can travel across different targets: in this article we take a closer look at some winning licenses for 2023.



More and more Youtubers and Influencers have become ‘entertainment characters’ for the licensing world. One example is Charlotte M. whose popularity has been growing steadily, in part thanks to her first film “Charlotte M. il Film: Flamingo Party”, released in cinemas on the 31st December 2022 to great public acclaim. Produced and distributed by Notorious Pictures, the film is a teen romance that tells the story of Charlotte, a girl who learns to come to terms with adolescence and much more. This big screen debut

follows her voice acting in the animated film released last November, ‘The Nutcracker and the Magic Flute.’ Young, multitalented and professional, with over a million followers on YouTube and TikTok, Charlotte is the perfect personality for licensing projects targeting female audiences. Companies on board include Mondadori for publishing, which has also launched the book based on the film under the Fabbri Editori brand; Giochi Preziosi for electronics and school supplies; To BE Too for apparel; Pon Pon Edizioni with magazines and activities; Easy Shoes for footwear; Salati Preziosi with crisps; Dolci Preziosi with 2023 Easter eggs; Mitama for slime and glitter sets; and Grani for kiosks.


Created by the famous Venetian cartoonist Hugo Pratt in 1967, Corto Maltese is the protagonist of adventures all over the world and the subject

of watercolours, black and white sketches, and graphic novels. The famous character is a traveler, an ironic sailor capable of taking us to the most fascinating places in the world. GUESS identifies with the same values and included prints of Corto Maltese and his adventures on its apparel for the SS 23 capsule collection. A 3D animation video combining Corto Maltese in cartoon and real-life versions was also launched as part of the promotional campaign. The GUESS e-commerce website also features a dynamic avatar dressed in some of the looks from the collection in partnership with Corto Maltese, which will be available in stores and online from early February. With Corto Maltese, the agency has also partnered with a major yacht manufacturing company to develop customized luxury yachts available from next summer.


Nostalgia and a sense of belonging are drivers for music brands in licensing.

Maurizio Distefano Licensing represents T-shirt Corto Maltese X GUESS Sweatshirt Corto Maltese X GUESS Book Charlotte M. Flamingo PartyFabbri Editori

more than 130 IP bands and artists in Italy, collaborating with the strongest global music master agents to propose the best choices in terms of awareness and iconic recognition. The most desired bands and artists include Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and Motörhead, which convey a vintage flavor and embrace multi-generational consumers. The music licensing market is well suited to soft lines and accessories: many Italian licensors have realized that this type of offer inspires a ‘nostalgia’ effect and gives

the collections a distinctive style linked to the most passionate fans - and to those who would just like to be a part of it. In the apparel category, there are several partners: Aniye By, Sabor, BLT Distribution, and J Brand.

bowler hat and Einstein’s hair are elements based on their image that are immediately recognizable to everyone. The style guides available for the two properties decline these graphic connotations into numerous options that inspire the development of iconic Consumer Products collections. The agency is in the process of acquiring other popular celebrities to enrich their IP offerings, to be announced soon.


The kids’ market is the main driving force behind the agency, which represents the most popular animated series of 2023. On the rise is Bluey, whose second season premiered on Rai Yoyo on December 26th, while the third season is also available on Disney+. The hit Australian animated series, produced by Ludo Studio and co-commissioned by BBC Studios Kids & Family and ABC


Celebrity brands reflect the iconic allure of the individual celebrity and are suitable for products aimed at adults and young adults, with high positioning. In Maurizio Distefano Licensing’s portfolio, Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein, are two personalities of global and iconographic relevance: Chaplin’s

T-shirt Pink Floyd – Sabor Iron Maiden X Aniye By Bluey Giochiamo insieme! (Let’s Play Together) – Pon Pon Edizioni

Children, centers on a Blue Heeler puppy who loves to play and turn everyday life into a new adventure. Its Italian YouTube channel was launched in 2022 and already boasts more than 68,000 subscribers. Bluey’s toy line was successfully launched in Italy by Giochi Preziosi; other partners include Dolfin, Ciao, Pon Pon Edizioni, Diramix, Multiprint, Adriatic, Clementoni, Dulcop, Grabo, Ravensburger, Halantex, Lisciani, and Soluna.

Currently the most popular preschool series on Rai Play, Bing has been a huge success in Italy, depicting typical situations from early childhood life with extreme authenticity. Bing is available on Rai Yoyo, Disney+, Prime Video, TimVision, Vodafone TV, and DeA Junior. It is broadcast in 130 territories around the world and continues to engage and entertain Bing fans and their parents in Italy through exclusive interviews on Rai Radio Kids, the official app, and live shows at Leolandia, as well as an extensive Consumer Products program with Giochi Preziosi for toys and licensees in numerous merchandise categories, with products that are ideal for the target audience.

CoComelon, the No. 1 most viewed children’s brand on YouTube, generates over 4.3 billion monthly views and has over 163 million subscribers. The brand is a leader on major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Roku, and Netflix, where it has set records over multiple consecutive days as a Top 10 most viewed program. CoComelon’s mission is to inspire positivity and good behavior and support preschoolers’ learning through music. In a show that celebrates life’s big moments for young children, the main characters JJ and his friends and family share their funny daily adventures exploring and learning through recognizable situations and songs that inspire them. Giochi Preziosi distributes the toy line in Italy, but active licensees also include Clementoni, Coriex, Headu, Mondadori, Panini, Zaini and many others.

Masha and The Bear is one of the most beloved TV series in Italy and has become a classic for preschoolers. The year 2022 represented a year of renewal in licensing, thanks to Animaccord’s rebranding and release of a new Core Style Guide Style Guide with a more modern and elegant logo design and an updated, enriched color palette that provides additional creative opportunities. Masha and The Bear’s partners in Italy are many: Ravensburger launched new puzzles this Christmas and Diramix recently released its new sticker album. Gedis will be in kiosks with two launches in 2023 with a collection of Masha and The Bear characters and houses, along with Play Press with activity books. Panini is on newsstands every month with the official magazine and crisps from Preziosi Food are in all supermarkets. Soluna Eventi, Animaccord’s current partner for Meet & Greet events in Italy, has extended and expanded their agreement to include thematic branding in hotels across the country.

Masha and the Bear sticker album The Big House of Bing – Giochi Preziosi CoComelon Doll Interactive JJ – Giochi Preziosi

Miffy: Small bunny, big steps in The Year of the

Rabbit 2023

Creator, artist and graphic designer Dick Bruna was born in the Year of the Rabbit (1927) and gave us Miffy in 1955. From humble beginnings 68 years ago, Miffy has slowly but surely become a global classic brand.

Miffy since its inception is therefore closely linked to the Year of the Rabbit. Over time Miffy evolved from a purely book-based character into a symbol for simplicity, fun, design and quality. Mercis’ mission is to ensure that these uncomplicated, innocent, positive and open to new experience values are omnipresent in all our global partnerships and applied from the youngest age possible.

Keeping respect for art and the world of a child at the core of everything, including the child in all of us, has made it possible to extend the brand into many different categories but also age groups. Lunar New Year is a significant event with celebrations stretching across the APAC region and nowadays audiences around the world. It is a moment that centers around the idea of welcoming in the new and feasting with friends & family. The Year of the Rabbit more specifically symbolizes mercy, elegance and beauty, so what better way to start this year with some new and elegant partnerships?

Recently there have been very successful launches with brands such

as Speedo, Baccarat, Adidas and Liberty of London.

Mulberry x Miffy

British luxury leather brand Mulberry collaborates with beloved animated character Miffy on a collection celebrating the Year of the Rabbit for Lunar New Year. This collaboration with Mulberry is

focussing on highlighting simplistic design details and sparking the imagination of audiences around the world through a collection of handbags and accessories.

Building on Mulberry’s history of unexpected collaborations, the limitededition Mulberry x Miffy capsule sees Dutch bunny Miffy curiously adventure across a series of bags and accessories


including keyrings, travel and tech accessories, small leather goods and iconic Mulberry bag styles. Miffy peeks from behind envelope wallets and plays on the straps of Mulberry’s timeless Bayswater bag, as well as appearing on several new tote designs created specifically for the collection. A 360 campaign, which aims to engages with a younger target audience, creating cut through with locally and seasonally relevant, emotion-led content. Supported by window campaigns in Mulberry’s Flagship stores, physical experiences, social media and a limited-edition collection customers will be immersed in the campaign and interact with the Miffy character and products first-hand. The campaign will bring Mulberry x Miffy to life with relevance for China, South Korea, Japan and the key markets UK and North America.

Tommy Hilfiger X Miffy

Preppy classic with a twist meets Playful whimsy and simple elegance.

“Our collaboration with Miffy embraces our playful passion for pop culture and our imaginative, irreverent spirit. It’s a canvas for creativity that celebrates our brand vision: adventurous and expressive, with a touch of playful fun”, as Tommy Hilfiger says.

An extensive apparel line with Tommy Hilfiger has recently been launched in China, followed by a global roll-out to include a specific Year of the Rabbit

capsule collection and collections for both men and women, young and old, including accessories and shoes.

Miffy since its inception is therefore closely linked to the Year of the Rabbit.


Miffy was “born” on 21 June 1955, when Dutch graphic design artist Dick Bruna first drew the character to entertain his young son whilst on a rainy seaside holiday in Holland. The series of picture books which followed used simple illustrations and rhyming text to explore the universal experiences of childhood, immediately earning Bruna international critical acclaim as an illustrator, author and artist. 68 years later, the Miffy books have sold more than 85 million copies and are currently published in more than 50 languages. Exhibitions, merchandise, media, collaborations and special projects support Miffy’s global explorations. Through highly integrated business units in the fields of publishing, media and licensing Mercis continues to share the timeless appeal of Dick Bruna’s design philosophy. For Miffy’s global explorations and more information about Dick Bruna’s life and work, visit


The Smurfs: Focus on Toys and Gaming

At occasion of return in person at Nuremberg Toy Fair, LM interviewed two important representatives at IMPS/LAFIG, Sébastien Dumont, Marketing & Communication Manager and Guillaume Baudoul, Licensing Manager Hardlines & Video Games, to know more about the toys and gaming’s projects of this beloved brand.

Like many major children’s companies, you will be present at the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg. Would you like to share your latest Toy projects with us?

The Toy category is one of the pillars of the Smurfs brand. It all started nearly

60 years ago with our historical partner: Schleich. So many of us can remember with nostalgia the Smurfs Schleich figurines we all grew up with. And this has never stopped since then, as new lines of figurines are being released every year, with both classic characters and new themes such as the new series, sustainability, gaming, and much more. We believe it is fundamental for children to play and experience the Smurfs’ universe from the TV series, the books or the video games, enjoying physical toys. They can have more fun and learn to express their creativity. Starting with publishing we cultivate all categories, but for us toys are an important key “to spread smurf happiness all over the world”. Nevertheless, boardgames are remaining a strong audience driver, especially among kids with partnerships such as Ravensburger and Clementoni. New games are now more and more designed to bring parents and children

to play together around the table. As a family brand, The Smurfs fits perfectly in this trend.

Two years ago Jazwares became our Master Toy, mainly for the Englishspeaking market. This year we are expecting the new toy lines inspired by the new TV series to hit North America, the U.K., New Zealand, and Australia.

For European countries, we have a new licensing partner that will help us in our expansion and will be announced soon. It is a strong partner who will enable us to strengthen our toys presence in Europe.

In 2023 the Smurfs will celebrate their 65th Anniversary with the special theme “From Paper to Metaverse”, and we know that Digital is becoming

IMPS/LAFIG Sébastien Dumont Guillaume Baudoul

increasingly important for brands. How is your experience with video games going?

We have three mobile games from PopReach and Viva Games that are performing very well with +25M downloads.

May it be the classic hit The Smurfs’ Village, The Smurfs Bubble Shooter, or The Smurfs Magic Match just released last year, they all have their own faithful community of smurfy players. For consoles games, we can proudly say that the Smurfs are making a solid comeback in the genre with a successful first release in 2021, an adventure called The Smurfs - Mission Vileaf. Last November, we have released the multiplayer family Smurfs Kart game on Nintendo Switch, a smurftastic racer game to enjoy with the whole family. The game will have a PlayStation and Xbox One release in the Spring. And there will be two other console games release in 2023, again with our great partner Microids, the French studio and publisher. Their talented and creative teams are developing magic and quality games, and the community loves it!

With the expansion of the digital field, did you gain a new audience?

Our audience has grown since we added the digital area, but many loyal

customers have also moved to it. Our two core historical target audiences are the nostalgic grown-ups; the parents who have been following the Smurfs since they were kids, who have experienced the Smurfs’ universe firsthand, and who are introducing their own children to the Smurfs’ world. They love the good values of the brand: there is no violence, there is the love of nature, the fun...; and the children from 5 to 11 years old who discovered us on their own, thanks to TV, movies, books, and all the products, including digital.

The adult target group includes not only parents, but everyone interested in having fun with the Smurfs!

Will you have a target core for gaming and toy in 2023?

The Smurfs is an inclusive brand, so we aim to engage everyone who wants to enjoy our content.

For gaming, we search for different types of games to make our audience as broad as possible, from mobile, consoles, to NFT projects.

Generation Z and young adults have been booming audiences and customers lately, especially in the apparel and digital categories. There are some products created especially for them,

such as the first “Smurfing” clothing collection for gamers with Cloud9, the L.A. based global sports brand. The collaboration includes a complete line of uniquely designed hoodies, tees, jerseys, and accessories, featuring the new “Gamer Smurf” character.

Also for this target, we will be launching in May THE SMURFS x B@ERBRICK collectibles by Medicom Toys. The first bear figures, the Purple Smurfs and The Astrosmurf, will be available from May in 100% and 400% sizes. MediCom Toys delivers iconic designs and qualitative products, and we think that two iconic brands together will bring wonderful results. With this collaboration, in addition to creating products for young adults, we want to bring more and more smurfiness into pop culture.

What about NFT and Metaverse projects?

We entered the NFT’s world thanks to the partnership with The Sandbox in 2021. Of course it was something new for us, but we like to go where we are not expected, and we thought bringing some smurf fun out there in the Metaverse would be something meaningful for the adults fans. And we must say this is very successful and exciting so far.

Today we have the new project The Smurfs Society, which started a month ago, an NFT collection for people with sustainability goals. The project is enhanced by a PFP collection featuring stunning renditions of your favorite Smurfs plus an all new cast of “cyber” Smurfs, with exclusive collaborations from celebrated artists and creators. A gamification experience, with great storytelling where people must accomplish certain quests and tasks. The first week we had a great response with 20000 players, so much that we had to change the server! The complete reveal of the collection and images will happen during NFT Paris in February 2023.

“We believe it is fundamental for children to play and experience the Smurfs’ universe from the TV series, the books or the video games, enjoying physical toys. They can have more fun and learn to express their creativity.”


Unique eyes: see the world through their eyes

Unique Eyes is a new 26 x 7-minute 3D CGI animated series coproduced by Showlab and Giochi Preziosi. The project stems from Giochi Preziosi’s toy line launched in Italy in Christmas 2021 currently being distributed throughout Europe.

The series follows the adventures of five 16-year-old girls, Amy, Sophia, Rebecca Victoria and Lucy, inseparable friends who love fashion, sport and the environment. Each of the girls has a special talent, and thanks to their unique way of looking at the world, with enthusiasm and sweetness, they are able to improve themselves every day and learn new things all the time.

By joining forces and using their unique talents, they can overcome any challenge or adversity! During their missions, they experience various challenges and adventures, but thanks to their proactive spirit they overcome any obstacle. Small actions can lead to big results!

The series allows little girls to believe in themselves and their abilities. The overwhelming optimism and cheerfulness of the Unique Eyes in the stories will send a positive thought to everyone: if Unique Eyes can help change things for the better, so can we!

“Be unique, be yourself, be confident, we all have our own special talents, spread positive vibes and develop a Can-Do attitude, never surrender and never give up, take care of each other and the world will be a better place.”

New collections are planned for launch in 2023, each representing the glamorous personality and style of Unique Eyes.

As co-producer Showlab holds worldwide licensing and TV rights and has already initiated negotiations with both Italian and international broadcasters as well as a comprehensive licensing programme.


Cool Things creates value over time

For this news year, Cool Things is ready for the challenges of a changing world. Small customers and people are looking for more and more products that also represent their own values and follow them over time.

With this idea Cool Things has created their magical Unicorn Dolls, talented little girls whose tenacity, positivity and mutual support are able to overcome any obstacle.

Thanks to their positive energy, Unicorn Dolls have crossed all borders: starting from San Marino, they have reached 26 countries around the world with more than 10,000,000 products sold. The secret of their success is that the good values they represent are universal and adapt well to different contexts. In this way, girls feel empathetically involved in a beautiful and better world, where no one is left alone, and every problem can be solved together.

This storytelling, turned into simple, collectible products, has proven to be a success.

Brand new Cruel Fuel brand will also arrive this year on the shelves: super muscle cars, SUVs, vans, buggies, fast, powerful and modern vehicles. Powered by the explosive energy of fossil fuels or by the silent and interminable force of the sun, electric, thermal and hybrid engines capable of formidable and unbeatable performances.

Different styles to face every situation at the top, Cruel Fuel will lead children

to discover the new world of mobility, competitions, explorations. Fantastic vehicles, capable of adapting to any battlefield, climbing steepest and the most dirt paths, darting and drifting through city streets or on the track to break every record. Cruel Fuels are for smart “kids”, gamers, lively, curious, gritty, and for any brave children ready to face the future. Cruel Fuels keywords are: Fast, Powerful, New Technologies, New energy, Empowerment, Eco Friendly. Cool Things guides and leads children to the ecological transition in a very fun way.

For all little ones comes Puppy Club Friends Farm. Puppy Club Friends are a line of cuddly puppies that accompany children on their discovery of animals: pooches, kittens, savannah, arctic and farm animals. Puppy Club Friends are


faithful playmates that every child can take with them, all the time to play with them and their playhouses.

The beauty and importance of animals are represented with a careful selection of the most beloved subjects for adults and children, who thus learn to recognize the different types. Puppies, beloved by children, have become an evergreen property of Cool Things and is enriched year after year with new collections.

Cool Things express the commitment in the content including in the enhancement of the territory and culture through the game, an example of this is the case history of the MONOPOLY of San Marino Limited Edition; a Hasbro / IGT - Cool Things project that Jessica Gasperoni (CEO-Cool Things) elaborated over several months with her staff, who created a unique and valuable product driven by a great enthusiasm. With Monopoly, a brand well known all over the world, players and collectors are able to discover San Marino, its

history and its features. The value for the community was demonstrated by the patronage of the Secretariats of State. The dedication was then also recognized by the people, but also by the greatest Monopoly’s collector in the world, Guinness World Record, Neil Scallan, who came from UK to San Marino Republic to buy a copy!

“Cool Things puts a never-ending commitment into everything they create: in capsule toys, in blind packs, in special projects alongside customers, partners, suppliers, and friends to help creating a better world.”

Mickey Mouse Funhouse, a new great season

The second season of Disney Junior’s Mickey Mouse Funhouse is streaming on Disney+ from 18 January 2023. It includes actionpacked pirate-themed adventures for Disney’s #1 star, Mickey Mouse, and his pals, as they visit real-world and fantastical locales with Funny, an enchanted talking playhouse. LM interviewed Phil Weinstein, Executive Producer and Supervising Director, and Alan Bodner, Art Director.

What are the most important themes of the second season and what do you hope young audiences will take away?

Phil Weinstein: The most important themes are friendship and adventure! Mickey and the gang travel to all kinds of wonderful new places in season 2, but no matter where they go they always learn from each other. Lessons like working together to solve problems, how to care for your pet,  being polite,  and not being afraid of your dreams are some of the themes we explore.

Which are the most innovative elements of this new season on a visual level?

Alan Bodner: The idea from the start of the “Mickey Mouse Funhouse” was to capture the spirit of Classic Disney. We looked at the original The Mickey Mouse Club of the 1950s and 1960s and

we were inspired by those beautifully styled sets behind the Mouseketeers. In Disneyland, we looked at the styling of Toon Town, The Alice in Wonderland ride and many other Fantasyland attractions. The thought was never to copy those things, but to be inspired by them.  The show is in CG, but we are still keeping a very traditional look to the world that is both graphic and full of color and depth.

In this second season we have continued to keep this magical style alive, creating the perfect and most familiar place for all these classic characters to live in.  It has been absolutely joyous to see this land come alive in our second season.

How did you choose the guest stars to collaborate with?

DISNEY Phil Weinstein Alan Bodner

P.W.: We always start with who feels right for the part. From there, we reach out to the  casting department at Disney to help us find a good fit. The casting team at Disney is remarkable! When we needed an actor who speaks Korean, we were introduced to the amazing  Alice Lee, who plays Ye  Eun in an episode that takes place in Seoul.  We cast Yvette Nicole Brown to play Pirate Pepper Lemon opposite John Stamos’ Captain Salty Bones. Yvette and John’s characters are kind of frenemies. The two actors have a similar relationship with the characters they play in the Disney+ show  “Big Shot”  (which I am a big fan of!), so it seemed like it would be fun to have them as pirates in the same way.

Tell us more about the characteristics of the new characters.

P.W.: They’re all a bit different. The one thing we try hard to do is not turn FUNNY into a grown-up or a teacher. FUNNY is just a pal who travels with the gang, a buddy.  This opens the door for our new characters to be the ones to help Mickey and his pals learn something. The Royal Troubadour, for example, is King Von Drake’s announcer. We have a fun episode where he is worried his job is on the line when another Troubadour shows up. We cast Broadway star Ashley De La Rosa as the new Troubadour, because she has a really sweet voice that balances against Rogelio Douglas Jr. over-the-top Royal Troubadour. But it’s Mickey and the gang observing the dynamic between the two Troubadours that helps them teach the Royal Troubadour about overcoming fear and helping new friends when they are in need.

Can you share with us some details about your experience working on the second series?

A. B.: Working on the  “Mickey Mouse Funhouse”  is pure joy. Being able to go to so many lands allows us to be even more creative. The second season of this series just gets better.  All the artists have settled into their groove.  I love to see this because they take ownership of their part, and because you know the world the characters are acting in, you can try new designs out.  The main sets have been created but additional areas add to the story. This season we go to Musicville.  I love this land because trees and landscape are shapes of instruments. The story lets us hear different kinds of music styles as well.  This was great for being imaginative and especially for our young audience.

In another episode we go to a Korean village.  It was challenging to create the look in our style yet be true to Korean architecture.  Keeping each environment different in appearance and color schemes brings a great dynamic to the episodes. I believe everyone designing and painting on this series is having a terrific time each day.

What is the role of music in the new series?

P.W.: Music is 50% of a show. A great score can make a visual moment soar, and a bad one can sink it. Our composer, newcomer Natsumi Osawa, absolutely knocks it out of the park on that front. I’m a fan of big orchestral scores but recognize it’s especially tricky in preschool to make sure things aren’t too intense for a young audience. Natsumi  understands how to dip in and out of big moments while keeping it gentle enough for preschoolers.

Supervising all the music and writing songs along with lyricist Loren Hoskins is the tremendously talented Beau Black. I’ve known Beau and Loren for a number of years, and one of the more fun things is challenging them because they can go anywhere stylistically. One example is an episode where Mortimer Mouse is boastfully singing like a big know-it-all. Mortimer’s catchphrase is “Ha cha cha,” so I asked Beau and Loren if they could write Mortimer’s song in the style of a Cuban Cha Cha. The result was hysterical! I don’t know how they do it; it’s magic, and always a lot of fun hearing what they come up with.


Play Around continues to grow in 2023

The Play Around toy company is ready for its in-person debut at the upcoming Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg, where it will present its exclusive new product lineup for 2023.

Play Around will finally make its debut at the Nuremberg Toy Fair this year, which is back in business after two years of entirely digital fairs due to the Covid pandemic. The successful toy company, driven by a mission to help children play and have fun, was founded in 2020 by the Pea & Promoplast group, by an experienced team specialised in multichannel concepts for premium collectibles and toys.

As quickly as 2021 Play Around saw strong results. It was appointed Master Toy licensor of the MeteoHeroes and developed the Masha Racconta Storie (Masha Tells Stories) project, in collaboration with Simba Dickie Group,

owner of RFID technology, which was a huge success that reached the top of Amazon’s Best Sellers list.

2022 was also very successful. The company’s e-commerce business unit was restructured with a new manager, and with the launch of branded Amazon pages in Spain and Poland. Innovative products and properties were developed, which will be showcased at the next Spielwarenmesse.

At the Nuremberg Toy Fair, a bright orange colour will distinguish the company’s ‘Orange Box’, located in Hall 12, at Stand H14. The entire Play Around team will be present, available to demonstrate established projects,

including Tata World, the phygital brand created by Pea&Promoplast which combines the physical and digital assets of Toys together, via the Tata online platform. Tata is a huge success in the toy and partwork world, with over 30 million pieces distributed across the globe in 2020. It led to the creation of a storytelling device in collaboration with Giocheria, one of the main Toy novelties of Christmas 2022. It is called the L’Orso Giò Raccontastorie (Giò Storytelling Bear), inspired by Giocheria’s historic mascot. The new device, conceived and developed in just a matter of days by the two companies, contains over ten stories totaling 60 minutes of listening; it has all the features of an audiobook, but is less expensive than any of its competitors.

In Nuremberg there will also be some exclusive previews, such as the launch of the Satysfriends line, Play Around’s fidget toy label. The aim is to keep up with the times, following trends in the world of toys as they emerge, with fresh, fast and fun products.

The first two projects developed within this new label are Tuuubalù and Fruity Pets Tuuubalù is a line of soft toys with never-before-seen playability, a perfect stress reliever! The first collection consists of six different subjects in cute, detailed and colourful shapes.

Fruity Pets, on the other hand, are squishy toys for a female target. Until now, the market for stretch toys was exclusively male, with subjects such as dinosaurs or monsters. To make the toy attractive to little girls, small animals


with colourful and interesting details were chosen. Each of them wears a ‘dress’ in the shape of a fruit, which, in addition to making them appealing and playful, is intended to communicate a message of health education, encouraging the consumption of fruit. The Kawais licence, on the other hand, will see a new phase of development in 2023, with experienced new professionals joining the development team to work on the licensing plan. Kawais is the first major project entirely conceived and produced by the Play Around team, in which cute animals live in a community on a fantasy island. The toy line has always focused on playability, combining different materials, unexpected functionalities and unpredictable outcomes. After the toy line is created and the first projects finished, the contents of the IP will be presented with an initial twelve stories created by the writer Valeria Bellobono,

Andersen Prize winner in 2019. These stories will be the focus of the first twelve web-episodes, supported by very creative marketing and promotional programme to promote the licence,

in collaboration with some of the top digital platforms.

Argon, the brand that encompasses all of Play Around’s blaster and soft gun projects, will be launched in the next few days. The entire proposal is designed to guarantee outdoor and indoor fun for children and young people, both through the organisation of challenges among friends and at home with the use of a special home device. The first line will be dedicated to infrared blasters, which in terms of features and functions will

be at the top level of the market and will first be available on the company’s branded Amazon page. This will be followed by the soft gun line by the end of the year

Other big news of 2023 is the Disk Blast, a genuine innovation in the toy world: it is a game that combines the modes of a trading game with the challenging elements of an action game. Disk Blast will be developed under different licenses.

In short, 2023 will be a year full of distinctly new products, ideas, and projects, which Play Around will present at major trade events over the next few months. For instance, two new lines will be previewed in the Spring, at Distoys in London (30 May-2 June).

“2023 will be a year full of distinctly new products, ideas, and projects, which Play Around will present at major trade events over the next few months.”

Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/ Kids 2023: the 16th edition

Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/ Kids, the only trade show devoted to brands for children, teens and young adults, in the heart of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, is ready for its 16th edition, from 6 to 9 March 2023!

The Bologna Licensing Trade Fair / Kids (BLTF/Kids) is undoubtedly one of the leading licensing event in Europe dedicated to children’s, teens and young adults brands and content, organised from 6 to 9 March 2023 in the heart of the prestigious Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF), the world’s leading event in the children’s publishing industry.

After the resounding success of the once again in-person event of Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2022 (+1500 exhibitors, over 28000 professional visitors, and over 100 countries represented), the organization worked hard to build a brilliant 60th edition BCBF will be celebrating this major milestone together with the 16th edition of the dynamic (BLTF/Kids) (BLTF/Kids) is the only event in the frame of a Book Fair where licensors,

licensees, agencies, distributors and children’s content professionals from all over Italy and Europe have the opportunity to make networking and business in the licensing market.

The figures of the latest edition are impressive: +1000 showcased brands, 80 exhibitors, +6000 visitors, + 600 brands. The space dedicated to licensing within the BCBF has grown by over 1000 (+100% if compared to the 2022 edition!) square meters, and the overall initiative has also benefited from this, acquiring more and more commercial impact.

Among the expected exhibitors for the 2023 edition, we can quote Rights & Brands, The Pokémon Company

International Kids Licensing Days – 3rd edition

Following the success of the first digital edition in 2021, and the one in presence in 2022, with over 100 attendees and 40 speakers, the event curated by BCBF and BLTF/Kids, in partnership with Licensing Magazine, is back! One day in February and three half days in March, in hybrid digital and in-person mode, together with the major international industry key players, on the main global topics related to licensing and content devoted to children, kids, teens and young adults.

A day of webinar on February 23rd will be focused on Toys, Licensing, Publishing and all the necessary liaisons among them. These topics will be discussed with key experts in the animation, licensing, publishing, and toy fields.

In the BLTF/Kids live event, the International Kids Licensing Days continue with three half days, on 6-7-8 March, dedicated to all the most important and current topics related to children and young adult content: Metaverse, Digital Brands, Publishing, Animation, Omnichannel Retailing, Sustainability, Toys and much more.


BCBF 2023, with the renewed support of the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) will present its impressive flagship initiatives: above all BolognaBookPlus (BBPlus), the brand extension dedicated to general publishing with the new Bologna Rights Centre, open to both children’s and adult professionals.

BCBF 2023 will also welcome a larger Comics Corner, with comics’ publishers from across the globe, and a further in-depth look at African publishing with a new edition of the Spotlight on Africa.

The BCBF celebrates its 60th anniversary with the exhibition 60! Landscapes & Portraits of BCBF, in which illustrators selected over the last ten years were invited to create an illustration depicting one of their fair’s highlights, inspired by the colours and tones of the BCBF logo.

Each year the international jury selects the BRAW winners and mentions from more than 2,000 picture books from over 60 countries. The award honours the best graphic and editorial production in children’s publishing, and creates buzz and rights sales for all those selected, opening up to audiovisual developments. There are four categories: Fiction; Non Fiction; Opera Prima (debut work) and Comics. In 2023 the annual special category will be dedicated to photography

International, Sanrio, Paramount, NBCUniversal, Mattel, Banijay Kids and Family, DeAgostini, DeA Planeta Entertainment, WildBrain CPLG, MondoTV, RaiCom, Maurizio Distefano Licensing, TF1 Licensing, Starbright, Cicaboom, Sbabam, Pea&Promoplast, Clavis Publishing, Mediatoon and many others!

This rich edition offers an exhibition area for all companies wishing to present their brands, products and services, consisting of booths, private rooms and a business lounge; an Events Room, with all the necessary

audiovisual equipment to present the latest exhibitors’ novelties, previews and brand-new launches for the professional audience; the 3rd Edition of International Kids Licensing Days, an international conference dedicated to the latest Children’s Content & Licensing Trends.

With facilities such as the Global Rights Exchange, a digital platform running all year long, which includes all the info on the brands represented at the show, and special initiatives with a Focus on Retail and Fashion, there will be a themed exhibition on the latest trends in Sustainability and Eco-friendly products, with the active involvement of exhibitors and in partnership with the major international institutions.

The awaited Bologna Licensing Awards reaches its 6th edition To be awarded together, there will be both licensors / agencies, licensees and retailers, to further enhance the link within the entire supply chain as the basis of great successes. For 2023 a new category, the best licensed toy of the year, the best Toy launched in the previous year and inspired by a brand for children and teenagers.

To learn more www.bolognachildrensbookfair. com

BCBF 2023: the 60th edition

Toys and the design factor

“Have we been getting playthings all wrong?” wonders Alex Blasdel in a recent article published by The Guardian, where he keeps going: “The best new toys are the best old ones – sticks and blocks and dolls and sand”.

In the years of my industrial design training, I have been taught that the terms design and innovation go handin-hand: but can we still speak of innovation when it comes to toys? What is the role of design in the development of quality play experiences targeted at children, and can it really make a difference? While my experience as a mother - especially after being handed down yet another pebble that my daughter must absolutely keep for her collection - sometimes makes me wonder whether I’ve gotten on

a completely wrong career path, my answer to that is a loud yes: I do believe that design can absolutely make a difference in the market of products and services targeted at kids.

Toys have an almost magical power: powerful tools for the discovery of the world, they accompany our tiny humans throughout childhood from crib days and up till their teenage years. Yet, the over-abundant offering found on the market nowadays doesn’t always reflect the level of attention that

Susanna Iraci

such a big responsibility comes with, often resulting in products that don’t withstand the test of time.

At the other end of loop, in a postCovid world where despite recession signs the toy market hasn’t stopped its constant, exponential growth ($104.2bn in 2021 - source: The NPD Group) an ever stronger environmental awareness is loudly demanding for sustainability to have a major part in the mix: whether it be in the choice of materials and manufacturing processes, or in the longevity of a design that may make a toy timeless, it is definitely time we rethink and take action.


Susanna Iraci is an Italian industrial designer graduated from Milan’s Polytechnic, whose initial work has gravitated around sustainability and service design. It was only after a few roller coaster rides and becoming a mother that she decided to shift the focus of her career and head back to school, to enroll in the Master in Design for Kids and Toys at That lead to the start of design studio BICCO, a creative space dedicated to design for kids. Sometimes, with kids too!

Enthusiastic designer, child at heart, avid tea drinker, bookworm and a language - nerd. She likes to seek beauty in the details while working for clients big and small.

You can get in touch at To learn more

the design and marketing phases in the development of a design aimed at kids?

The set of multidisciplinary skills required to successfully place a product on the market necessarily imply more teamwork: products and services for kids that would take this consideration into account are more prone to not only satisfy the needs of their users but also educate buyers into which are the best solutions in terms of developmental age and areas.

Ours is a child-centered business, definitely more market than user oriented. For a sort of genetic bias, we revolve our efforts around a user - the

child - while the result of our work needs to appeal to a different actor - the buyer, who is ultimately a parent or caregiver. Where is the meeting point between

The curiosity to explore different play modalities is already there. Instagram streams are populated by parents, play experts and small shop-owners showcasing the beauty of open play and loose parts.

From an academic perspective Luca Fois, co-founder with Arianna Vignati of the Master in Design for Kids and Toys at Milan’s calls for a “desaturation” of toys to offer multiple play options and less closed instructions - crowning a Lego brick as the most iconic example of his theory. With her platform Katja Runge has been an early advocate of adding meaningfulness into the design for kids’ equation.

Adopting a design-oriented approach opens up the possibility of carefully thinking through every detail of the play experience a toy offers. Lowering our perspective to equal that of a child will enable that toy not only to be fun and challenging, but also understandable, beautiful, and ultimately to create long-lasting memories. Combining technical skills with passion for playing, a theoretical background in developmental psychology with creativity, a new generation of toy designers is on the rise.

Developed in collaboration with Team Design Hape Italy

The new TOTY winners

Hosted by The Toy Foundation, the TOTY Awards recognize the top toys, games and licenses across 17 categories of play. LM selected some 2022 winners, announced last November.

The wildly successful Squishmallows® plush brand of Jazwares secured the coveted License of the Year Award and the 16-inch Squishmallows nabbed Plush Toy of the Year. Since Squishmallows debuted in 2017, the brand’s vast global audience and multi-generational appeal have led the popular plush to squish through the roof, hitting the 125 million plush sold milestone, in more than 55 countries. Such strong brand recognition has resulted in multiple line extensions, such as HugMees™ and Squishville™, and robust consumer products ranging from apparel and accessories, to home decor and pool floats, and more. On social media, Squishmallows content continues to skyrocket, generating nearly 8.5 billion video views on TikTok,

and @squishmallows (and related hashtags) has been tagged in more than one million Instagram posts.

The winner of Outdoor Toy of the Year is Twister SPLASH! by WowWee, which from the last spring is releasing a wave of products inspired by classic titles from the Hasbro Gaming portfolio.

The first project is Twister SPLASH! Just like everyone’s favorite Twister game, players of Twister Splash Game

follow hand and feet placements directed by the included spinner, but now, the colored spots SPRAY water! Twister Splash Game is easy to set up in your backyard: connect the included Twister Splash Mat to a hose, spin the wheel, and start playing! Fun for the entire family, Twister Splash Game is a blast for everyone 6+. There will be new SPLASH games based on Hasbro Classic Games in Spring 2023.

Mattel won the Action Figure of the year with Jurassic World™  Super Colossal  Gigantosaurus. With this toy, you can live thrilling action and adventure inspired by the new film  Jurassic World Dominion. At approximately 12-in high and more than 3 ½ feet long, this Super Colossal Gigantosaurus figure features realistic skin texture and color, articulated arms and legs, extra-wide jaws that can open and close, and it can swallow up to 20 mini dinosaurs!

Moose Toys won the Creative Toy of the Year for Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball.

With this toy, kids have the power to create a Magic Mixie and beckon it to the Crystal Ball, using an interactive spellcasting wand. After a flick of the wrist and some very magic words, the Crystal Ball awakens, and real mist fills the sphere. Kids continue the spell

Hasbro Twister SPLASH! by WowWee 16-inch Squishmallows by Jazwares

as the wand’s lights interact with the Crystal Ball giving the Mixie color, a voice, fortune-telling powers and more. The magic and the fun continue with the Magic Mixie’s four modes of play: Fortune Telling, Spell, Game and Tickling. And when play and the day is done, the Crystal Ball can be switched to Night Light Mode.

The category Preschool Toy of the year has seen the triumph of Crayola, introducing an exciting less-mess art experience with Color & Erase Reusable Mat! The large reusable mat offers enough drawing space for multiple artists, giving kids a giant and reusable drawing space for hours of creative and colorful play. The set includes 1 Giant (32” x 23”) Reusable Drawing Mat, 6 Washable Markers, 1 Wipe Cloth.

LEGO won five TOTY awards: Collectible Toy of the Year for The Muppets Collectible Minifigures, a Disney’s Limited-edition of 12 Muppets characters, each in a mystery bag; Construction Toy of the Year for Marvel I am Groot, to build the Groot alien and arrange the cute character to recreate his favorite dance moves, just like in

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy 2 movie; Grown-up Toy of the Year for LEGO Ideas The Office, to recreate an iconic workplace with a display model inspired by the hit mockumentary sitcom; Playset Toy of the Year for Super Mario Adventures with Peach Starter Course, that has many digital tools, for example the figure Peach

shows reactions via LCD screens and a speaker, and can connect via Bluetooth with extra figures for social play; Vehicle Toy of the Year for LEGO Technic McLaren Formula 1 Race Car, to enjoy an immersive building experience crafting all the details of this model.

Like the real car, this model features a V6 cylinder engine with moving pistons, steering, suspension and differential. PlayMonster Group conquered the Specialty Toy of the Year category with Ann Williams Craft-tastic Nature Scavenger Hunt Potions. This kit is perfect for getting children out into the environment and appreciating their natural world. You can go outside and collect magical, natural ingredients, then combine them to create special magic potions! The other winner of this category is Snap Circuits: Green Energy by ELENCO, with over 125 projects and 45 parts to learn the basics of electronics and modern alternative energy. It is possible to explore clean energy concepts, such as electric cars, windmills, and hand-generated power. Perfect for environmentalists and future engineers!

Learning Resources, Toty 2022 nominee

Learning Resources, the award-winning educational toy company, was a 2022 TOTY award nominee in the Vehicle of the Year category for Switcheroo Coding Crew™ - a 3-in-1 coding robot featuring screen-free rescue missions that encourage preschoolers aged 4+ to practice early STEM and critical thinking skills.

In the STEAM category, Learning Resources was nominated for the concept of STEM Explorers™ Brainometry™ - a series of hands-on STEM puzzles built designed to boost a child’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This brain-teasing toy is packed with fun ways to learn STEM fundamentals like engineering and early geometry.

Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball by Moose Toys Marvel I am Groot by LEGO

Toys and books, a profound relationship

Books and toys can have a very close bond. Here are some products that represent a point of contact between the two worlds: the common mission is to educate and awaken the potential of every child.

Toy Books

BBC Studios has expanded its multiterritory licensing deal with VTech to produce interactive electronic roleplay toys for Bluey, including a Games book. With this special electronic book you can play pretend with Bingo and Bluey, using things found around their house; 14 interactive pages showcase adventures from the show. You can press the Bluey, Bingo, Dad and Mum buttons to hear phrases about each character, and explore Bluey and Bingo’s favorite games, hearing their voices in Story, Play Together, Music and Follow

the Leader modes. The product is planned to launch at retail in the US, Mexico, Canada, France, Belgium, Spain, UK and Australia from Q3 2023

Clementoni, that celebrates 60 years of history this year, created Baby Mickey First Stories, a soft and sweet storytelling soft toy to carry with you at all times. Baby Mickey tells four stories, one for each different moment of the day, from waking to sleeping, and is associated with one of the four illustrated books included in the product. By pressing the coloured buttons

positioned on the plush toy’s belly, the child can listen to the stories, each characterised by a keyword repeated to encourage learning, made even easier by a slow pronunciation enriched by sound effects.

Manhattan Toy has many activity books, soft books and board books.

The Songbird Activity Book is a folding soft book 0+ that includes a tetheredon crinkle bird, colorful illustrations, a squeaker, a baby-safe mirror, engaging textures and a silicone corner teether. Encourages motor development, cause and effect learning. Pierre learns to wait patiently is a combo book and plush, the perfect baby and toddler gift set. The

Bluey Games Book by VTech Baby Mickey First Stories by Clementoni Bluey Games Book by VTech - internal pages

From Publishing Properties to Toys Creativity for Kids (Faber-Castell) proposes The Very Hungry Caterpillar Story Puppets, a complete toddler arts and crafts kit with everything you need to create your own caterpillar and butterfly puppets inspired by the beloved storybook character from The World of Eric Carle. The kit includes 2 fuzzy socks, 10 finger puppets and selfadhesive felt shapes.

socio-emotional book subtly explores positive ways to overcome the common childhood struggle, impatience, through the feelings and reactions of the little Pierre, the French Poodle who lives on a windy French street above a sausage shop. If Pierre waits patiently enough, will he be lucky enough to receive one of these tasty treats?

Melissa and Doug’s exciting paintwith-water coloring book Water WOW! includes four reusable pages and a refillable water pen. Simply use the pen to color in each scene: details and vibrant color appear with every stroke! Then let the page dry to erase the pictures and fill it in again and again. The chunky-sized water pen is easy for kids to hold and stores neatly right on the front cover, so these books make ideal travel activity books and travel toys for kids! Promotes fine motor skills, early writing skills, and visual discrimination.

Kids Preferred presents The Very Hungry Caterpillar Wooden Stacker, a charmingly detailed activity toy featuring a stacker with five colorful rainbow wooden rings. A toddler essential, this cute item is an ideal gift for birthdays and is popular for boys and girls ages 18 months and up, to build fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and a sense of order. The Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit

Poppik, promoting curiosity and concentration

A Poppik is a large educational poster to unfold, which the child completes with large, repositionable stickers. Each Poppik provides knowledge on a fascinating subject: animals, geography, history, science, the human body, world cultures... Poppik products promote curiosity, motor skills, concentration and autonomy, with enjoyable and pleasing activities that can be shared. The brand was created in 2016 by two cultural and educational product experts, Delphine Badreddine and Françoise Baglin. They imagined their products as a cultural journey where colors and pictures are used to introduce the user to the diversity of the world.

Songbird Activity Book by Manhattan Toy Water WOW! by Melissa and Doug Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit Wooden Tea by Kids Preferred The Very Hungry Caterpillar Story Puppets by Creativity for Kids (Faber-Castell)

Hedwig is the best-loved animal of the Wizarding World in the entire saga! The plush 30cm tall reproduces realistic movements and sounds, reacting to voice and touch.

30cm long and rich in details, the 7.5cm high small dolls reproduce the best-loved characters from the saga. Equipped with articulated arms, legs and head, the Hogwarts wizards and witches are available individually or in the “Hogsmeade set”, a kit that also contains the accessories that characterise the weekends away from the Castle.

Catch the Golden Snitch encloses the magic of Quidditch in a board game for the whole family, set within the magical walls of Hogwarts. The goal of the game is of course to catch the Golden Snitch, but to do so, players will have to accumulate points throughout the challenge, drawing -and “stealing” with the appropriate Hunter cards- cards from the deck to compose tic-tac-toe magic items or team roles.

Wooden Tea is a super cute, charmingly detailed wooden tea set. This adorable 11- piece set features wooden Peter Rabbit themed items including 2 cups, 2 saucers, 2 spoons, 1 teapot & lid, and 1 plate along with 3 plush treats. The plate features beautiful artwork from the storybook along with the words “Once upon a time, there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton Tail and Peter”

Spin Master in its rich portfolio of licenses has two classic publishing properties, Wizarding World Harry Potter and DC – Batman. The line dedicated to Wizarding World includes collectable dolls, fashion dolls, accessories and boardgames inspired by the Harry Potter saga.

Disney Princess and Disney Frozen by Mattel

Mattel has introduced to consumers the all-new Disney Princess and Disney Frozen product lines. The line takes its cue from the desires of the youngest children, proposing more animals and secondary characters, castles, houses and vehicles, different play possibilities with hair and colours, all to create endless narratives. The range includes the beloved Disney Princesses and the protagonists of Disney Frozen along with companions such as Queen Elsa together with her horse Nokk ready to live a thousand adventures beyond the borders of Arendelle.

Mattel’s Disney doll line also includes a collection for adult fans to celebrate the Disney Princesses and Disney Frozen Characters like never before, with high-end products to expand the collection for all fans. Together, Mattel and Disney will bring the Disney Villains out of the shadows with a curated collection of premium dolls designed to showcase these characters in a new light.

Hedwig - Wizarding World Harry Potter by Spin Master Dc- Batman figures by Spin Master

The line dedicated to the world of DC and Batman is back, with innovative superhero-themed toys, action figures and R/C vehicles. A new collection sees Batman and supervillains in a 30cm scale for “maxi” adventures. The figures have 11 points of articulation and hyperrealistic details faithful to the films and comics. All 30cm characters are compatible with the new Batmobile, the iconic Bat-Man vehicle that combines design, technology and adrenalinepumping performance. With an even more “urban” trim, wheels that move and a matte finish that makes it invisible at night, the new Batmobile is ready to surprise a new generation of gamers. Straight from the Wayne Enterprises research centre comes Batman Battle Strike, an even more powerful edition of the Gotham superhero. Moving the action figure’s legs triggers a hidden mechanism and activates “throw and punch fatal” mode, ready to take down the most fearsome enemies. Included in the pack are four batsignals and a net to catch nemeses once they have been beaten.

From Toys to Books

Bimi Boo realizes high-quality cartoons, apps, and fun and educational toys. Bimi Boo toys are made from the highest quality materials and manufactured in an eco-friendly manner: they use only natural wood, such as beechwood or rubberwood, and are sturdy and long-lasting. Their toys are designed with Montessori Method objectives: make learning joyful, encourage curiosity, and grow self-confident children. In 2019 they introduced the kids’ series The Incredible Stories of Bimi and Friends, which features the adventures of beloved heroes. The series has valuable lessons about self-awareness, agency, self-control, and interpersonal skills

Hasbro’s new toys

Among Hasbro’s latest novelties, My Little Pony - Sing ‘N Skate Sunny Thanks to the included microphone, you can control the movements and make the cute Sunny move while on skates, even spinning her around. There are over 50 different combinations of sounds, lights and movements that allow you to live and imagine stories and adventures from the film My Little Pony: A New Generation By playing with Peppa Pig’s Clubhouse, true fans will feel like full-fledged members of Peppa’s exclusive ‘little ones’ club. Inspired by the locations of the well-known animated series, the playset has a movable wall that can easily become a bakery or even a shop offering different play modes. Stepping into the shoes of Peppa Pig and Rebecca Rabbit, children can enjoy the sound effects and dialogues taken directly from the cartoon, while with the many accessories available they can play anywhere, inside and outside the clubhouse: there is even a slide and a swing.

The Incredible Stories of Bimi and Friends by Bimi Boo Bimi Boo toys

that are important for children to find their place in the world and their communities. The show helps kids learn in a сalm, joyful, and pleasant manner. Now they’re super excited to announce that they’re planning to expand their product line in the future. They’ll be creating books with virtual reality and other products for wholesome kids’ development under 5.

Chronicle Books and LEGO continue their prosperous and prestigious publishing partnership, creating new products such as books and stationery.


Autruche (Canada), Hutter Trade (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), JPM Toys (Benelux), and CMC (the Middle East).

Marie-Laure Marchand, SVP Global Consumer Products & Business Development, Chefclub, declared: “The success of Chefclub’s own kids’ line is helping to establish the brand in many markets and is providing a solid opportunity to expand into toy aisles. With the help of our licensing partners, we look forward to expanding our toy line categories, especially in role-play, games, and art & crafts”.

Chefclub’s kids’ product line has been designed entirely in-house with the primary objective of giving kids autonomy in the kitchen, and making food preparation a whole-family, sharing experience. Further support for the Chefclub brand comes from live events and promotions, such as its recent collaboration with Klepierre Shopping Malls and the lunch restaurant chain in France, as well as a new animated series Chefclub Adventures (52x11’) launched at Mipcom with Somewhere Animation, Mediawan Kids & Family’s 2D animation label.

All of Chefclub’s consumer products stand apart for the in-house research and development that integrates the needs and trends of their vast online community of content consumers: with 150 million global subscribers –half in the US and UK - the company has become an unrivaled producer of food-themed entertainment from its ten in-house studios in Paris.

Chefclub will attend Spielwarenmesse in Nürnberg at the Hutter Trade Booth (Hall 10,1 Booth A 08), and the Atlanta Market show with US distributor White Knight Toys.

New books include LEGO The Art of the Minifigure, which celebrates the brand’s colorful history, milestone moments, evolving design and lasting impact through interviews, essays, photography and never-before-seen visuals from the LEGO archives. LEGO Build Every Day: Ignite Your Creativity and Find Your Flow is a collection of bite-sized lessons on creativity, perspective and process, that can inspire other areas of life –taught through LEGO brick building. LEGO Master Builder Notebook is a guided notebook filled with LEGO facts, building prompts, quotes and goal trackers—it’s the perfect place to write, sketch, plan, and dream up new ideas on one’s journey to becoming a Master Builder. Three sections of the lined, grid and dotted pages provide plenty of room to record notes and drawings. LEGO In Focus is a vibrant and adventurous photography book that sees the world in LEGO bricks and minifigures, through the lens of 30 toy photographers.

is delighted to announce five new toy distribution partnerships with White Knight Toys (USA), Five New Toy Distributors for CHEFCLUB LEGO The Art of the Minifigure by Chronicle Books LEGO In Focus by Chronicle Books


Animation in the USA

The latest animated projects and novelties from USA animation studios and companies that will attend the Kidscreen Summit 2023

Moody Studios is a storytelling studio specializing in original children’s animation and interactive content. One of their projects, Mia & Codie, is an educational preschool comedy that teaches pre-literate children how to code. It follows the story of 8-year-old Mia, who wants to make the world more marvelous through code, and her little bro-bot Codie. It’s slated for a 2023 release on TVO, TFO, and Knowledge Network. Created by Don Moody, the 40×4.5-minute show will be produced by Epic Story Media, with Relish Studios in Vancouver leading on animation.

Buck creates original animation across a wide range of styles, genres, and formats to tell stories that connect with audiences of all kinds in weird and wonderful ways.

Among their recent projects, MyHeadspace, a campaign for Headspace that reflects on real members and their personal journeys

to living more mindful lives. After a cross-country trip focused on live action, they jumped into bringing Headspace’s friendly force of geometric shapes into each member’s story through a mix of

design and animation. The idea guide is to take a minute for yourself and savor the present. Illumina is the leader of genomic sequencing, pioneering technology to help solve humanity’s

Kidscreen Summit 2023

The next Kidscreen Summit, renowned as the kids entertainment industry’s most important annual event, will be in Miami from 12 to 15 February 2023.

They bring together creators, producers, distributors and buyers of kids programming for meaningful pitching and business networking opportunities that make it easy to connect and do business.

Their conference program delivers high-level insight into the business of kids entertainment from the industry leaders who are driving trends and change. Signature sessions like Speed Pitching, 30 Minutes with…, Coffee with…, Lunching with… and Cocktails with…, allow all partners to meet up easily.

Mia & Code by Moody Studios Netflix “We the People” by Buck

most complex problems. For their first ever brand film they wanted to avoid the traditional hype film so prevalent in the worlds of tech. Instead, they set out to capture the soul of the company and pursued deeper truths through fluid animated visuals that lead the audience on a journey from dream to reality. Netflix “We the People”, made in collaboration with the Obamas and

MIMO STUDIOS is developing animated content for The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian

MIMO Studios is developing a variety of animated content extensions based on the awardwinning, serialized kids’ podcast

The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian from Gen-Z Media. Launched in 2016, the podcast has released eight seasons of Finn’s adventures and has been enjoyed by millions.

The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian is a serialized sciencefiction story for kids, told in 15-20 minute episodes for parents to put on when driving around town, or to marathon on road trips, or to bond over before bed. The story centers on Finn Caspian, an 8-yearold boy aboard The Famous Marlowe 280 Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station. He and his friends Abigail, Elias and Vale are Explorers Troop 301, taking off from the Marlowe to explore uncharted planets, help the occasional alien, and solve a mystery that threatens to destroy the Marlowe. The story is written and performed by Jonathan Messinger, author of Hiding Out and former web editor of Time Out Chicago Kids.

Netflix, is a Schoolhouse Rock-inspired musical anthology series from Chris Nee and Kenya Barris that aims to give a civics crash course to a nation that thinks the filibuster is a topping at Cinnabon. At the first annual Children’s and Family Emmy award show in 2022, the series took home a statue for Outstanding Short Form Program. When their frequent collaborators at Microsoft needed a campaign for their new Surface laptops 5, they conjured up some visual metaphors and packaged them into a smooth, ASMR-style film. To accompany the release of Transportation Alternative’s new Spatial Equity NYC tool, they created a short film that highlights how data can reveal the inequities across NYC streets and city planning—and provide positive solutions for the people of New York.

iKartoons is an animation studio based in USA, Mexico and Colombia. It has several projects, between feature films and series, with many interesting characters.

In the Feature film Catalina La Catrina, the protagonist travels through Mexico in search of the elements for the best

approach younger audiences with positive messages in a funny and nonconventional way. In Galapafenders, an original series in development, three inexperienced little animals endemic to the Galapagos Islands must learn to respect their differences and

Day of the Dead offering. Still, she has a grumpy and demanding boss who always complicates this mission. Fortunately, there is always a girl or boy near her who will help her achieve her goals and have the most fun.

The Short-form clips of Miauricio, a peculiar and charismatic character,

personalities while working as a team to rescue animals in danger, a vital mission entrusted by Mother Earth. Froui is a custom-made miniseries inspired by a brand. Here, an odd but charismatic superhero overcomes the consequences of global warming while trying to keep his company running; no matter how complex the challenge, happy customers and a healthy planet are a core mission! Space Dog is a fascinating blue dog superhero, always focused, super strong, lacking in charisma, and with a big heart, rescues the world from the most bizarre supervillains. This ultra-fast-paced miniseries captures the attention of the most demanding audiences!

Netflix “We the People” by Buck

Invisible Universe is an internet-first animation studio that develops original character IP on social media and web3 platforms, in partnership with some of the world’s biggest celebrities. Their mission is to create the next household name animated franchises faster and more economical than traditional models. They believe the next generation of animated franchises will be born on the internet. The company is backed by some of the best media and technology investors in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, including Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, Initialized Capital, The Chernin Group, Dapper labs, Serena Williams, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, CASSIUS Family, Spencer Rascoff’s 75 & Sunny VC, and many more.

Among their amazing characters IP there is Kayda. Just like your Google Home or Amazon Alexa, Kayda is a virtual assistant. Unlike your typical virtual assistant however, Kayda and her docking station Kai have become TikTok influencers in their own right. Kayda is your pop-culture, beauty and fashion obsessed aspiring social media star, while Kai is there to remind her when to charge and that she actually has a day job working as supermodel Karlie Kloss’ assistant. The IP Qai Qai is a baby doll

with over 4 million followers on social media. She’s the best friend of Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian’s daughter Olympia, and you can find her on social media crushing the latest TikTok dance trend and even remixing your favorite nursery rhymes. Qai Qai has a penchant for making people laugh while always remaining true to herself. She’s confident, positive, the life of the party, but most of all she’s a boss.

Invisible Universe recently hired former Spin Master exec, Shane Mang, to head up licensing

He will spearhead consumer products strategy and programs for the studio’s suite of IPs, including Serena Williams’ Qai Qai and TikTok personality Ember

Saving Me

BYUtv’s new family animated show Saving Me premiered in October 2022 and has already been renewed for a second season. Season one is available to stream for free on the BYUtv app and at

Saving Me, produced by Sphere Animation (“Curious George”) and BYUtv, is the story of a grumpy old tech billionaire from the distant future who has royally screwed up his life, his relationships, and the world, and who goes back in time and teams up with his eleven-year-old self to figure out together how to be a better person and prevent their miserable future.

Principal voice actors include Ivan Sherry (“Inspector Gadget”), Adam Sanders (“Clifford the Big Red Dog”), Jonathan Tan (“My Little Pony: Tell Your Tale”), Amariah Faulkner (“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”), Ana Sani (“Strawberry Shortcake: Berry in the Big City”), Dan Chameroy (“Hotel Transylvania: The Series”), Cory Doran (“Total DramaRama”) and Jamie Watson (“True and the Rainbow Kingdom”).

Shane Mang Invisible Universe characters IP

Double Scoop is a project of Duke & Duck, an animation content studio that’s been telling stories that matter since 2009. In 2019, their dedicated children’s programming grew to include the Pedro the Penguin series and a pitch in development with PBS Kids.

The Prepare With Pedro series follows Pedro the penguin and his friends as they learn about disaster preparedness. Double Scoop worked with The American Red Cross to create meaningful education for children, and help provide them with agency in the event of an emergency. Double Scoop was tasked to develop the existing

this series was key! This series was a key component of an established learning curriculum. Each video was paired with additional resources that could be used by educators.

The project Sunny in the city, currently in development, is an educational animation series about functional literacy. It follows the adventures of a unicorn named Sunny who moves to the big city and has to use her functional literacy skills to navigate her new surroundings. Each episode features Sunny encountering a problem that can be solved by reading, writing, or speaking.

Pedro the Penguin property into a series. Episodes were fully crafted by our talented studio team, taking the production from script to storyboard to animatic to animation to compositing, music and mix. Song lyrics were written in-house and composed with a mission to get stuck in your head. Learning through song is a powerful tool, and for

A new animated preschool series, Princess Power, will be on Netflix on January 30 It is based on the No.1 New York Times Bestselling book series Princesses Wear Pants by Savannah Guthrie (co-anchor of Today) and Allison Oppenheim. Princess Power is a celebration of girl power and self-expression that follows princesses of four major fruit kingdoms: Kira Kiwi, Beatrice “Bea” Blueberry, Rita Raspberry and Penelope “Penny” Pineapple. Not only do they love their crowns, balls and gowns, but they also know the importance of jumping into action together to help their fellow fruitizens and make their worlds a better place.

Princess Power Prepare with Pedro by Double Scoop Prepare with Pedro by Double Scoop Sunny in the city by Double Scoop

South Korean Entertainment makes a great business

The latest updates from some successful South Korean entertainment companies, delivering amazing animations, games and dramas.

The Pinkfong Company is the global entertainment company behind the cultural phenomenon Baby Shark. Bebefinn, Pinkfong’s latest brand-new 3D animated sing-along series about the fun-filled adventures of three babies and their parents, debuted on December 15, and made Today’s TOP 10 Kids on Netflix in 9 countries around the world, ranking No.2 in the U.S. Launched in April 2022, this hit sing-along series surpassed on YouTube nearly 3.3 million subscribers and 700 million views.

Pinkfong Sing-Along Movie 2: Wonderstar Concert will arrive in U.S. theaters on January 28 and 29, 2023, and be rolling out internationally across South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and more.  The Pinkfong Company launched with Biz Trends Media Pinkfong HyWorld Adventure, the company’s firstever indoor theme park, in Singapore, which has 14,000 square feet of indoor space at Marina Square.


title), the first-ever feature-length original animated film based on the globally beloved preschool property is set to premiere during holidays 2023 in the U.S. Co-produced by The Pinkfong Company and Nickelodeon Animation, and directed by Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Award-winner Alan Foreman (The Casagrandes, Welcome to the Wayne), the movie will follow Baby Shark and his family as they move to Chomp City, the big city of sharks.

Bebefinn by Pinkfong company Pinkfong HyWorld Adventure

PH E&M Corporation

PH E&M Corporation produces OTT content (drama, broadcasting, film), K-pop music, OST, musical, concert. Through the strong network of the Korean entertainment industry, they collaborate with famous K-pop idols to produce various original content.

Broke Rookie Star is a comic drama about the desperate survival of an unpopular member of a popular group. K-pop idol group “X-PIERS” became a popular group as their first album gained popularity belatedly. However, WheeYeon is still the least loving member, being shunned by fans; he has still not been settled due to the high debt that he has on the company. His purpose is one. It’s survival. Without knowing the company members, he decides to make money out of product placement (PPL). Will he ever see the light? In the romance drama Two Different Woojoo, Kim Byeol lost her parents at a young age and lives alone with her brother. Her first love, which she thought was fate, ended with a womanizer. She thought her fate had always been unhappy. One day, She goes to the fortune-teller with her friend to have her fortune told. The fortune-teller said her future husband’s name is Woojoo. She thought it is such a ridiculous story, but two Woojoo appear like fate as fortune-teller said.

By the way, both Woojoo ask her out! Which of the two is her real destiny?

CookieRun game franchise by Devsisters has sweetened over 200 million players globally! In 2023, 3 new CookieRun IP games are scheduled to be launched: Real-time Battle Arena CookieRun: Oven Smash, Puzzle adventure game CookieRun: Witch Castle, and Casual cooperative action game Project B CookieRun IP’s new

and Strawberry Cookie who is timid but warm-hearted!

New partnerships have emerged with BTS, for 7 types of BTS cookie characters, and Disney, with 20 kinds of Disney cookies. There are also many products dedicated to CookieRun in allround categories from food to board games and household goods.

experience will further expand through new genre games into a cross-multi platform (Mobile, PC, console games). For Q3 2024 is scheduled the launch of CookieRun Animation Series. A fantasy action comedy, 26x22’, with two seasons. Somewhere in this world, there is a tiny kingdom established by Cookies. Although it might seem very small and insignificant to you, if you look closely into their lives, you can find them living their lives to the fullest with laughter and tears … and some troubles of course! The protagonist are Ginger Brave who longs for freedom and adventure, Wizard Cookie who is cynical but is filled with passion for knowledge,

CookieRun Edition Galaxy Z Flip4 & BuzzPro2 CookieRun comics

COMICCITY was established in 2019 as a Korean animation company producing global kids’ edutainment content. Founder Yoojin Lee and her team worked and participated of Pororo, Robocar Poli, and Kakao friends. They’ve been making new IP Joodyssey and Dancing with Joody with the best creative team in animation & television. In particular, Joodyssey is currently airing on Cartoon Network Korea after a KBS broadcast. In this new interactive animation series, a curious girl named Joody who loved to read lived in a small town. Joody and her friends are sucked into the magic book and begin their adventure as the protagonists of the story of Red Riding Hood, but they run into danger when they meet the mysterious thief Wolf, who has entered the magic book together. In Dancing with Joody, when you dance, magic happens. Ask for help when you have a difficult and difficult situation, Joody and her friends dance in front of those in need. Dance with Joody and solve problems!


Qtizz means “cute friends” and is a character entertainment company that conducts a comprehensive business using characters. They want to deliver happy smiles, joy, and loveliness to people all over the world through the newly created Goodnight Pajamals from Qtizz. It is the story of plump animal friends from all over the world having a fun and entertaining pajama party in the dormitory of the International School of the Arts in Hawaii. It is designed to give comfort to the mind through the plump cuteness of Goodnight Pajamals.

RED Q is a production studio that

its YouTube channel, which now has 150,000 subscribers.

In Girlfriend project Day 1, Hee Ram and Ga In met in a general education class, Psychology of Love and Sex class. In this class, students have to perform a dating mission as a mock couple. A hard-working student Hee Ram and an easy-goer Ga In don’t quite get along with each other from their first meeting.

Rowoon Lee, CEO of RED Q, commented about this project: In Korea, fans said the chemistry between the two main characters was very good. Fans in other countries also liked the visuals of the two a lot. I think Koreans enjoyed watching it because of the charming queer characters and the clichéd story. GL and BL stories are increasing in Korea as well. I expect stories like this to become more and more accepted in Korea.

In Love Tech Jae-young and Soo-hyun matched on a dating app called [Destiny]. By the third year of their relationship, frequent conflicts start shaking them. When “Do you want to check the expiration date of Han Jae-young and Kim Soo-hyun’s relationship?”, the push notification about this exhausted couple’s relationship expiration date from [Destiny] appears, both Jae-young and Soo-hyun hesitate to go ahead and see the date or not.

In More than or Equal to 75 Celsius, Jae Eun Hong, the winner of an annual Winter Menu Tea Sommelier competition held by ALTDIF (a popular tea café franchise), is the tea master of their Hongdae branch location. She has to collaborate with Song Ju Cha, ALTDIF’s corporate marketing manager, to create a new winter tea course menu. However, the two are in regular conflict and disagreement over how the menu should be constructed. Will the two be able to work out their differences? Will their working relationship lead to something more?

broadcasts live series on

New brilliant licensing partnerships

The use of licenses becomes more and more fundamental in the fashion world, ranging among important brands from gaming, art, entertainment... Here are the latest novelties in the rich world of Fashion Licensing.

Pacsun delves into the world of fine art with the release of The Study of Fine Arts: Highlights from The Met Reimagined by Pacsun, an exclusive capsule collection in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. With 30 quintessential Fall and Winter pieces, including sweatsuits, t-shirts, hats, socks, and more, the debut collection draws inspiration from late 19th-century paintings, with a focus on florals and luscious landscapes.

“The arts continue to be important to our consumers and community, and partnering with such an iconic museum that has resonance in the fashion world, felt like a natural collaboration for us” said Brieane (Brie) Olson, President of Pacsun.

The design language of the collection is informed by the beauty found in simplicity and a keen attention to detail. The collection references muted tones

seen in artworks by Tiepolo and Latour, juxtaposed with more vibrant works in shades of green by Van Gogh. The artworks are applied directly to the designs, and elegantly transformed as all-over prints in unique knit and woven fabrications.

The collection is portrayed through a gender-free lens, with sizing ranging from XS-XL. The Study of Fine Arts: Highlights from The Met Reimagined by Pacsun is available now at 200 top Pacsun retail locations and on Pacsun. com. In celebration of the collaboration and launch, whitespaces at select Pacsun stores will be designed around the capsule.

Global lifestyle brand Blvck announced its latest partnership with Epic Games’ Fortnite. The striking capsule collection debuts a monochromatic color palette spanning a range of premium quality clothing and lifestyle products. Customers can view and shop the entire collection from January 2023 at Blvck Stores and at, with products shipping worldwide.

Introducing a sleek lineup of modern minimalist designs, the Blvck x Fortnite collection consists of T-shirts, hoodies, shorts, and lifestyle accessories, featuring iconic characters and references from the popular game such as Peely and Cuddle Team Leader

All Blvck x Fortnite products have been meticulously created by Blvck CEO and Designer, Julian O’hayon, together with his team. The collection’s aesthetics reflect the quality and ethos behind the popular lifestyle brand with its texture variation, artistic prints and embroidery. Additionally, the promotional video in this collection was carefully rendered in Unreal Engine, Epic Games’ real-time 3D creation tool, by Blvck Paris designers, bringing an authentic state-of-the-art celebration for this partnership.

FASHION Capsule collection Fortnite by Blvck

2Brothers, an Italian production and distribution company for clothing, has signed a licensing agreement with Top Gun, the American brand known for its jackets and clothing inspired by the American aviation heritage for men’s and kids’ collections.

After the release of the “Top Gun: Maverick” film last year, a line of men’s and kids’ jackets inspired by how the authentic pilots wear them, is available from the fall/winter 2022/2023. The leather jackets are available in vintage brown leather and black tones. Patches adorn the sleeves, chest and shoulders to capture the essence of the Top Gun aviator style.

The design and manufacturing of the garments are based on the use of the same materials that pilots wear during their training: fabrics suitable for extreme uses and genuine leather, with a focus on usability and durability. A more expansive collection will hit shelves in spring/summer 2023, which will include denim, knitwear, T-shirts, trousers and sweatshirts in a wider color palette.

Finnish streetwear brand Billebeino just launched their latest collaboration with The Smurfs!

The collection consists of accessories, hoodies, sweatshirts and t-shirts in black and white with the colorful blue Smurfs in playful artworks. Billebeino says about their collection: ”The carrying theme in this collaboration is the Smurfs playing around and doing things on classic Billebeino designs. Rope climbing on side seam of the pants.

Walking through Kangaroo pocket of hoodie and tripping. Peeking behind the brick logo. The collection is overall very playful and not so serious, like the Smurfs”.

Carpisa launches a capsule collection with the legendary design house Pininfarina, for 90 years the emblem of Italian style in the world.

The capsule collection, designed for both men and women, will include abag and a shoulder bag, all characterised by a high technological and stylistic content enhanced by unique details: in fact, the contemporary design, the very high research of the materials used, the versatility and practicality of the models developed are the common denominator

of all the products in the line.

The trolleys, available in two colours, black and grey, are made of the ultraresistant CARPISA GOTECH, a material composed of a mix of 70% recycled materials, with an inner lining of 100% R-PET. They are equipped with a telescopic trolley system, double wheels made of specific materials that make them ultra-quiet to guarantee resistance and maximum versatility for all types of use.

Eight new licensing partnerships for Ground Up International

Ground Up International, the New York-based footwear company, announced it has eight new licensing partnerships set to launch in the coming year, with Bluey, Mattel, Hasbro, Chainsaw Man, Afro Unicorn, Miraculous Lady Bug, WWE and Billy Footwear.

With Mattel Ground Up will have the chance to work with the Barbie and Hot Wheels brands, among others. Through its licensing deal with Hasbro, it will explore the popular properties

My Little Pony, Peppa Pig, and through its partnership with the inclusive brand Afro Unicorn, will help to promote a vision of fashion that embodies diversity.

2Brothers and Top Gun’s collection The Smurfs collection by Billebeino Pininfarina collection by Carpisa

Nordicbuddies’ new apparel collection, exclusively available in the Moomin Shops, highlights the magical feeling of the first snow, thanks to a Tove Jansson’s Moomin illustration, from the novel Moominland Midwinter published in 1957. The collection, consisting of hoodies, beanies, socks and a tote bag, features Moomintroll staring at a snow-

covered tree. The simple colours of the items, beige and black, match the blackand-white illustration beautifully.

Another novelty is  Nordicbuddies’ new seven iPhone cases  with Moominous designs. They are made from corn starch, wheat straw and soil, making them fully compostable. Despite the natural materials, the cases are durable and strong and are guaranteed to protect your phone on your travels and adventures. The cases have a matte, silky and soft finish which offers a solid grip to your phone and feels nice in your hand.

Premium sock brand FALKE has collaborated with popular confectionary brand HARIBO to launch a sustainable sock collection, in a deal facilitated by

HARIBO’s global licensing partner IMG The joint collection features the sustainable socks in five different colourways: the range includes black and white socks for both men and women, as well as white and dark blue socks for children, which are adorned with the original HARIBO Goldbear wearing the red bow. In addition to the embroidered socks, a “Design Your Own” white pair of socks is also available with Goldbears print and textile pens for children to unleash their creativity.

“The arts continue to be important to our consumers and community, and partnering with The Met, an iconic museum that has resonance in the fashion world, felt like a natural collaboration for us.”
- Brieane (Brie) Olson, President of Pacsun -
Haribo sock collection by Falke Nordicbuddies’ Moomin collection Haribo sock collection by Falke Nordicbuddies’ Moomin collection


Carnival 2023, ideas for sales and promotions

From Europe to Americas, Carnival is a festival celebrated all over the world. Up until a few decades ago children were the predominant target audience for manufacturers and retailers of carnival products, but more recently young adults have also started spending money on iconic costumes.

Carnival is in fact the dress-up festival par excellence, with a larger turnover than Halloween.

From costumes to make-up and even food, focusing on the right products and appropriate marketing campaigns can help companies to successfully target every age group. Major events provide a great opportunity to publicise a brand, so much so that several shopping centers have already planned carnival parties for young kids, with people dressed up as superheroes or cosplay. Some supermarkets, in addition to expanding their products with festive items such as confetti and streamers, set up pop-up stores of food brands with gadgets or packaging with a carnival theme.

Carnival can also be an opportunity to offer discounts or limited-edition

promotions such as Mc Donald’s and Sephora have often done. Here are some ideas for planning sales and communication strategies for the next carnival.


With the success of TV series and films, many people take inspiration from characters seen on TV for their carnival outfit. Starting with the mermaid costume, the most popular amongst girls and women which can express a woman’s strength and determination, as well as her sensuality. To dress as a mermaid, one can buy an entire costume or individual items of clothing and accessories such as tops, leggings, and gloves. Also for women, costumes inspired by heroines of the past such as Lara Croft or hippie costumes will be popular. The Mom Fun brand has also extended its collections to adults with men’s and women’s outfits inspired by myths of the past like Elvis and Fonzie, or Spanish traditions such as flamenco dancer outfits. On the Mom Fun website, you can even buy fancy dresses for pregnant women such as one with a skeleton, in the shape of an avocado

Between evocation of the past and current developments, the demand for carnival costumes embraces all age groups: from children to adults.

or a cow. These products reflect the tendency of many mothers-to-be to post cute pictures with their baby bump. The pre-school and school segment is different, with many parents dressing their children as superheroes such as Super Man and Spiderman, with readymade Carnival costumes. This is what Ciao Srl does, having signed licensing agreements with the biggest brands of the moment including PJ Masks, Disney, Paw Patrol and Looney Tunes. For this year’s carnival, they have made costumes inspired by superheroes such as Superman and Supergirl, timeless cartoon characters (Mickey Mouse, Minnie, the Smurfs, Bugs Bunny), and cartoon series that have more recently appeared on television (Fireman Sam). From past memories to current developments, the demand for carnival costumes embraces all age groups: from children to adults.


But commerce is not only about selling products, it is also about communicating the business, and a masquerade party can be a cue to spruce up a shop. In New Orleans, where carnival is a popular festivity, several shops usually decorate their space with streamers at the entrance, masks on the

shelves or silhouettes near the shelves. Some very suggestive ideas might be to make up staff with wigs or promote discounts on individual products on Carnival Day alone or throughout the week.

As far as digital promotion is concerned, online tools can be useful to advertise other products than clothes or sweets, e.g. make-up, with tutorials by make-up

artists or hair treatments (with tips from hair-stylists). One of the most attentive is Clio Zammateo

Web stars can also help celebrate carnival products. For some years, in Italy, the Me Contro Te duo has been making funny carnival-themed videos with dress rehearsals or sketches at home.


The benefits of cobranding initiatives in retail

With co-branding initiatives a brand can be promoted through physical retail channels making a mark in even the most competitive sectors.

One example is Ovs, which launched the UTOPJA brand collections in its shops. UTOPJA is a streetwear 3.0 brand beloved since its first season and supported by influencers, rappers and tiktokers from all over Europe, launched by Filippo Tamburi in 2021. Ovs carried out this commercial operation with the aim of updating its offer and extending it to a younger public. In the last few years Ovs has moved towards Millennials with the Piombo collection, choosing as a spokesperson for its Christmas promotional campaign the singer Francesca Michielin, loved by young and very young people in Italy. With UTOPJA, Ovs addresses the values that new generations have made their own and which can no

longer be disregarded: inclusiveness, commitment to safeguarding the planet, genderlessness. As for the collections, the garments are inspired by streetwear classics that will never change and that are a solid link with the past: cargo pants, crewneck sweatshirts and French Terry cotton hoodies. Also on the experience front, collaboration between two brands can lead to common benefits. After a first experiment in December 2020, Walmart installed Blendids in two of its California supermarkets (Dixon and Fremont). Blendid is a kiosk with a robot that prepares fresh smoothies provided by the company Jamba. The Blendid robot has a fresh fruit and vegetable ingredient selection system and an

automated payment device. Once the order has been chosen and paid for, the fully automatic robot prepares the smoothie for pick-up. The preparation takes about three minutes. Other places that offer the benefits of co-branding campaigns, sometimes with discounts, are petrol stations. For many years, Coop has been allowing membership card holders to accumulate points on fuel purchases at participating petrol stations that can then be used for gifts or a discount on shopping. These are some insights into different ways of collaborating that can attract new customers and retain regular ones.

Blendid kiosk at Walmart UTOPJA x Ovs

80S AND 90S

The revival of the ‘80s and ‘90s in today’s market

In an age dominated by advanced technology, reminders of happy times from the past can help products stand out in the marketplace. Several brands have recently launched products that evoke the atmosphere of the past but with modern materials and functionality.

Evidence shows that focusing on celebrations of the past can attract the interest of all age groups: of seniors (who want to remember their childhood and adolescence) and of younger people (who can experience first-hand what their parents and older siblings have often told them).


To make a product desirable on the market again, it is not enough to recreate the original profile, but find solutions that are in synch with the times, starting with functionality since today’s toys have increasingly innovative technological content. Bandai, one of the world’s leading toy company based in Japan, has moved in this direction, creating the Tamagotchi Pix Party, an updated version of the famous video game launched in 1996. When playing Tamagotchi Pix Party, users can take pictures with the built-in camera and interact with other people thanks to the linking systems.

In addition to product innovation, crossmedia promotion remains crucial to reach targets from every generation. One example is One Shot Group’s advertising

campaign for the launch of Canta Tu, a karaoke game by Giochi Preziosi launched in 1994 and re-launched in 2022. The new version features Mattia Stanga, creator with a social community of about 4 million people, Gigi D’Alessio and his son, the singer LDA, as testimonials. The campaign was divided into two parts: the first with two initial TV commercials featuring Stanga with content on Tik Tok and Instagram; the second with Gigi D’Alessio and LDA starring in the latest spots.

Without a doubt evoking sports memories lend itself very well to the creation of new products, one only has to think of the successful sales of football jerseys of past legends such as Diego Armando Maradona, Roberto Baggio and Alessandro del Piero. There are also companies that have made nostalgia from the ‘80s and ‘90s a real core-business, for example, the Nike-owned brand Jordan, which makes clothing inspired by the feats of the NBA basketball phenomenon, Michael Jordan.

Jordan shoes


The value of information: the advantages of Informational marketing

From children to adults, education provides an opportunity that brands can rely on to enhance their name and products. Compared to other promotional models, informational marketing allows a company to communicate the value of its brand to its customers in all areas.

Informational marketing is not only useful for companies working in the education sector but also has benefits for any business regardless of its industry. The purpose of informational marketing is specifically to educate the user and to accomplish this the content must be tailored to the audience.

Content can be offered across any communication channel: the internet (newsletters, podcasts, blogs, videos), in print (papers, illustrated books) and live (demonstrations, courses and meetings with thought leaders). The target audience of this kind of inclusive marketing is suitable for all kinds of customers, from consumers to businesses.

Obviously, it is not enough just to list the features of a product or service, rather it is necessary to develop engaging content that educates by

creating empathy. One example is Opel’s YouTube channel, where you can find instructional videos on maintenance, for example how to change a battery or replace light bulbs. In addition to Opel,

a brand that has frequently promoted Informational marketing campaigns is Apple, which in 2018 launched a series of demonstration videos entitled ‘Today at Apple at Home’ in which the group’s creatives share tips and tricks on how to make the most of drawing or video-editing software. The series is still featured on YouTube and continually registers new views.

The iconic bitten-apple brand also engages in live demonstrations and in one of the latest campaigns it launched the Apple Learning Coach, a free professional educational programme for teachers and educators who use Apple apps and devices. The programme is held periodically and attracts people from all over America. In addition to teachers and educators, Apple organises new learning courses for other customers that take place on the premises of Apple Stores.

From professionals to end consumers, companies can use informational marketing to strengthen their bond with their target audience.



Social media and advertising techniques, rewarding interactions

Social media is a valuable tool for selling and advertising products online.

In order for a brand to achieve a good reputation, marketing methods must capture users’ attention. Socialengagement techniques, such as ads on Facebook’s marketplace and Instagram’s shop, which use algorithms to show content to their target audience, are an excellent tool. The ads, however, only include text and images, whereas short videos engage the user. For video marketing Tik Tok, which can even upload augmented reality videos, is undoubtedly the most suitable socialmedia platform.

One very active brand on Tik Tok is Tower 28 Beauty, which hired several influencers to promote its products and then uploaded the external videos on its own e-commerce site. The strategy proved so successful that visits to the site increased by 16% in one month.


If Tik Tok is useful for commissionbased promotion, Facebook and Instagram offer advantages in user engagement. Pandora recently launched

a campaign on its Facebook page for the Pandora Me bracelet with an accompanying discount.

Facebook and Instagram are also valuable platforms for contests.

The US brand Doritos launched #NameThatTriangle, a month-and-ahalf-long nationwide contest inviting consumers to sport triangle-inspired haircuts for a chance to win Super Bowl tickets. For the contest, the Doritos marketing team was inspired by Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller, who recently started sporting a shaved triangle haircut.

The competition is not just limited to Super Bowl tickets, but maintains an ongoing relationship with the public. Every weekend Doritos selects a photo with the most whimsical hairdo to post on their Instagram profile, and the five weekly winners win an autographed Von Miller helmet and a Triangle Hair Kit designed to help maintain the characteristic triangle hairstyle. The initiative encompasses all the elements needed to engage users, even those who don’t follow the Super Bowl or sports in general.

From product advertising to co-branding initiatives, social-media interactions can reach users of all ages.


Human marketing, when promotion rediscover its truest side

Quality, empathy, simplicity. Human marketing excites those who receive a message, evoking experiences close to their own heart. This kind of promotion puts the person at the centre and brings the brand closer to the consumers’ reality.

One example is Belvedere’s latest commercial starring Daniel Craig, known for playing James Bond in the 007 film series. In the video Daniel Craig has a different personality to the tough and impenetrable James Bond. In fact, the actor moves wildly as he walks carefree, dances and has fun. A Director’s cut video can be found on YouTube in which director Taika Waititi invites the actor to remake the scene by telling him to be “more himself.” The light-hearted atmosphere does not detract from the prestige of the product.

Humanising the brand means making it more recognisable and accessible to customers, creating a personalised connection with them. This can be done by all brands: from luxury brands to those with low-priced products. One human-marketing concept that was a real school case was Zara’s ‘Shot-fromhome’ campaign, carried out during the lockdown, which featured models taking photos of themselves in the

brand’s latest fashion collection. For the catalogue, the models photographed themselves at home doing their daily chores or just relaxing. In 2021, Google launched the video Near Me, in which it covered all the drama of 2020 (including

the death caused by the pandemic), but with a message of unity at the end. So, even at a difficult time for everyone, Zara and Google managed to find ways to enhance their brand and products and bring the public closer together.

Even with ordinary website communication (text and images), companies can implement human marketing strategies to connect one’s customers. On Amazon India’s website, on the Amazon StoryBox web page, customers can read stories and profiles of some of the retailers on the famous e-commerce site. StoryBox writes about the motivations that prompted artisans or shopkeepers to collaborate with Amazon, with quotes that are links to their products.

Even the smallest brands can benefit

from human marketing and in this area the most innovative channels can be useful. One very good technique is to post photos of your team or customers on social media or share motivational posts.


A New Dawn: Measuring success outside the linear model

As we head in to 2023, craftsmanship is a sentiment too often over-looked in business. Innovation, inspiration, imagination –the toy industry is brimming with the fun stuff.

Want a magic potion kit that turns your ingredients into a fluffy toy animal? Who doesn’t? And who doesn’t want to celebrate such a thing?

That’s the measure of a product’s success, isn’t it?

For the avoidance of doubt, business is wonderful. It’s a beautiful construct, abstract enough that every day we pioneer within it, yet concrete enough to sustain and uphold life and society.

Where governments falter in their own aspirations, business is a vehicle for change – fast moving, dynamic, and lifegiving.

At the same time, business has gone beyond what is sustainable. Its linear ‘take, make, break, and throwaway’ model is a pathway to the devastation of the resources that the planet offers all life upon it. If you want a second opinion on that, look to the European

Commission who, last year, presented its strongest package of Green Deal proposals to boost circular business models, to date.

Among them is a proposed new set of rules to make almost all physical goods on the EU market more friendly to the environment, circular, and energy efficient throughout their entire lifecycle, from their design phase through to daily use, repurposing, and end-of-life. And it’s arguable that central to a model based on circularity, is a return of emphasis on craftsmanship. It’s a term that inherently encompasses an appreciation of the time, labour, and resources given to a final product. We all know that the planetary cost of a ‘pocket money’ plastic toy – the resources and energy used to produce it - stretches way beyond its £3.99 price tag, yet too often its play pattern suggests it’s sooner to be thrown away than cherished for its ‘impact value.’

This way of thinking needs to change. And no industry is better placed – in the hearts and homes of increasingly eco-conscious families – to do that than toys.

The question is then - as posed by a member of The LEGO Group’s senior leadership team when Products of Change hosted its latest toy workstream meeting in 2022– how do we end ‘take, make, break, and throwaway’ thinking when it comes to toys? And how can we emphasise a product’s true value way beyond its first life?

Looking at initiatives and sustainability plans launched across the last year by the likes of The LEGO Group, Hasbro, Schleich, and many more, the pathway is now well and truly being paved. Companies are looking beyond the misconception that recycling is a circular economic principle and deeper into what true circularity actually is. Maintaining products and materials at their highest value state. Keeping products in the loop. Repair, Refurb, and Reuse.


Products of Change recently partnered with Toy Industries of Europe and its Play for Change Awards to establish a framework for its Sustainable Toy category. Under that framework some very deserving European toy companies took home the covered Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards in the form of Mattel’s Matchbox, Dantoy and its Blue Marine Toys, and Juguetes Cayro, respectively.

Celebrating business for the good it does – for people and planet - is paramount in this fight for a regenerative future.

The yard stick by which success within business is measured needs to change. The world is not meant to sustain an unbridled growth model. Sustainability is the process of striking a harmonious balance between business and nature and that’s why Products of Change exists, to support you on that journey and help close the knowledge gap we have in industry.

And we’re serious about taking this across Europe. The Products of Change team will be at Nuremberg’s Toy Fair this year to discuss all the upcoming European legislation and future industry innovation. Catch us on Thursday, 2nd February at 10.30am in the frame of the License Talks, organised by Licensing International and Licensing Magazine. In particular, Cristina Angelucci, Editor-

in-Chief of Licensing Magazine will talk with Helena Mansell-Stopher on new legislation and requirements, who is

Helena Mansell-Stopher is CEO and founder at Products of Change, a membership organisation and media platform that provides a safe place for industry to learn, connect and transition to a more sustainable future. Helena also curates the Sustainability in Licensing Conference, the first of its kind.

Products of Change is a membership organisation for the consumer products and brand licensing industries to drive positive, sustainable change. We produce the Sustainability in Licensing Conference which takes place both physically and digitally this year on 8th November.

For more information, check out

leading within industry and how the industry needs to adapt to support the consumer of tomorrow.

“How do we end ‘take, make, break, and throwaway’ thinking when it comes to toys? And how can we emphasise a product’s true value way beyond its first life?”
- Helena Mansell-Stopher -

Trends by age group

While the pandemic and inflation have brought several sectors to their knees, retail continues to offer opportunities for manufacturers and retailers alike. In fact, with the right formula it is possible for retailers to target the interests of younger and older consumers. This applies to all major markets in the world such as the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

A common feature is the tendency towards online commerce, which caters to both young people and adults, with differences mainly in payment methods. As for physical commerce, shops continues to be a point of reference for purchases by people of all ages, even though Millennials and those born between 1997 and 2012 go to shopping centres for leisure in addition to purchasing. However there are differences in the motivation for buying: while people in their twenties and thirties buy more frequently after watching influencers’

videos and reading reviews, over50s tend to shop after a TV or radio advertisement or upon the advice of friends or acquaintances.


From Generation Z (18-24 year olds) to the over-50s, the internet is an important sales venue for all age groups. In addition to marketplaces such as Amazon, Americans also buy directly on the e-commerce sites of product companies such as Nike or

H&M. In particular, according to the U.S. STATE OF CONSUMER TRENDS REPORT, on weekdays 31% of millennials buy new products via smartphone from home. This trend is mainly dictated by the offers that many e-commerce companies schedule on weekends or near holidays. Social-commerce is still low, while physical shops remain the preferred place to buy and try out products.

The situation in the Old Continent is different. Although Europe has made progress in digitisation, consumers still prefer traditional shopping methods According to the latest EU report, people between the ages of 18 and 24 made fewer online purchases than the 25-39 year old age group. The reason


for this is that consumers under the age of 24 have less frequent access to payment accounts than other age groups, specifically because youth unemployment in Europe is high. The over-65s also prefer to shop in person rather than order products on the internet, despite the fact that they make more purchases online today than they did three years ago.

What were defined as ‘emerging’ countries just a few years ago have now consolidated their economies with the main beneficiaries of this growth being younger people. However the over-50s segment still represent a main pillar in retail sales. E-commerce has grown

there too, but buying and selling in physical locations remains a solid habit for all age groups.

In addition to distribution channels, psychological views about a product or brand have an impact on a consumer’s choices. A large proportion of young people prefer brands that take a stand on social issues, in particular racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender inequality and climate change. When companies support these issues, the impact on the younger generation resonates. It is different for the over-50s, as the consensus is that when it comes to influencing their purchasing decisions, social issues simply have no impact on their preferences.


Data shows that physical shops remain a point of reference in retail and e-commerce continues to grow. Younger consumers look at the position of brands on social issues as opposed

to older people who consider the quality of a product or the reliability of a brand. If a company wants to offer products for people between 18 and 40 years of age, it is essential to invest in social-media content with collaborations with wellknown personalities.

In addition to the involvement of influencers, the creation of apps for smartphones is also useful for building loyalty with younger audiences, offering discounts and new products available in shops. McDonald’s was among the latest brands to revisit its app, adding a mobile Order and Pay service that allows you to conveniently order your meal from your mobile phone. Advertising on streaming platforms is also effective since the core audience is made up of younger viewers.

For audiences over 50, Facebook and Instagram ads can be useful, as are online or printed catalogues. A mailing list is undoubtedly a good tactic to reach users of all ages because it combines innovation with completeness of information.



Asia and the opportunities for PHYSICAL and online trade

Despite Covid-19, Asia continues to offer opportunities in the retail business. The increase in sales has been boosted by the reopening of borders and the consequent increase in tourists spending money on their trips.

A case in point is Singapore, where retail sales grew by 8.7% in November to USD 3.6 billion. In traditional retail, the growth sectors were food, clothing and footwear, which rose 57.6% and 34.1%, driven largely by alcohol products (including those sold in duty-free shops), as well as handbags and footwear. In department stores, sales of cosmetics and leisure articles increased between 16.2% and 22%. Other Asian countries also recorded increases in retail sales, starting with India, where retail is a strategic sector in the national economy. China is in a category of its own.

Although it remains the richest country in Asia and the second richest in the world, recent reopenings have not yet compensated for the losses incurred during the lockdown. The Ministry of Transport has estimated that during the national holiday period (which this year runs from 7 January to 15 February) there will be around 2.1 billion journeys. But despite doubling the previous year’s levels and reaching 70% of 2019 levels, the majority of these trips will be by Chinese people travelling to visit family, while only 10% will be for leisure or business trips. Even subsidies were not enough to revive retail sales


because they were distributed by local governments and only for certain activities (for example, Guangzhou issued vouchers worth a total of 30 million yuan for catering, retail and hotels).

As for shopping habits, online shopping events in Asian countries continue to attract more and more customers, starting with Singles’ Day, followed by major events such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday.


Together with China, India is one of the most polluting countries in the world. Since the COP 27 conference, both politicians and the Indian people have realised the value of respecting the environment, so much so that the Modi government has presented an ecological transition plan and people have started to review their habits in terms of energy (preferring renewable sources) and recycling of waste. Even in retail life, this trend has increased as sustainable brands are increasingly succesful. One example is Starbucks, which, after opening several locations, launched its first Reserve flagship store in Mumbai, Maharashtra, in 2022. The 5200 m2 Starbucks Reserve Fort Mumbai sells Reserve drinks, food and merchandise, such as black and gold cups and glasses with the Starbucks Reserve branding. The chain has been present in India since 2012 and now has 300 shops in India in 36 cities, all operated in partnership with Tata Consumer. Besides sustainability, technological innovation is also an important tool for those looking to invest in Indian retail. Retail accounts for about 10% of

India’s GDP and, with rising disposable income levels, technology adoption and changing lifestyles, it is expected to grow by more than 12% over the next five years. By mid-2022, the country had more than 830 million Internet users and is expected to add another 500 million in the next four to five years. The unprecedented increase in Internet penetration is expected to increase e-commerce buyers from 150 million in 2020 to 350 million in 2025.


While China struggled to regain its dominant role, other states such as Japan and South Korea benefited from reopening retail. According to a study by the Tokyo government, retail sales grew by 2.6% year-on-year, albeit below a median forecast of 3.7%. Driving

the growth were tourists, who totalled almost 1 million in December. Several shop operators located at airports in cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka started to reopen.

Travel retail is also catching up in South Korea. In order to stimulate the travel retail market, the Korea Customs Service (trade authority of the Ministry of Economic Affairs) announced that all airlines flying from regional airports to foreign destinations can conduct inflight duty-free sales, whereas previous regulations required duty-free items to be loaded directly by the airports from which the carriers fly. This reform is also of interest to smaller airlines that do not have an exclusive airport.

In short, even with the individual differences of each country, Asia remains a reliable location for investments in physical and online trade.


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