WHAT’S NEW FROM THE INDUSTRY MATTEL. THE SPECIAL INSERT PUBLISHING TRENDS FOCUS ON FRANCE
Welcome back to another enlightening, Bologna-inspired issue of Licensing Magazine!
The Bologna Children’s Book Fair and the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids have become one of the most important events in the licensing industry for discovering the latest trends, new contacts and business development.
The worldwide prestige and importance of the Bologna Book Fair in terms of the development of children’s content makes this event essential to the calendar of executives in content production, licensing and toys - and all the ancillary business sectors around them. Bologna is truly a huge marketplace based on the global exchange of publishing, audio-visual and licensing rights, among thousands of key-players from over 90 countries. This - combined with the special flavour of this historical city, its exceptional hospitality and excellent food - distinguishes this event as unique in the world and simply unmissable!
For us, the organisers of the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids, the area dedicated to licensing and development of ancillary rights for children’s content, it is an absolute honour to be part of the large community that revolves around Bologna. We are proud to have brought the world of licensing into the heart of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, elevating the industry itself to another level, one where business meets culture and products have a meaningful exchange with content. We hope that this issue of Licensing Magazine matches the wealth of opportunities that visitors and professionals can expect to find in Bologna.
And of course, we are also looking ahead to the schedule of events that await us immediately following the Bologna Fair with a strong focus on the French market, where our magazine will feature at licensing and audio-visual fairs in March and April.
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Alessandra Maccaferri, Andrea De Amicis, Beatrice Revello, Matteo Melani, Harry Brown, Tetiana Ruban, Rob Hutchins, Lisa Hryniewicz
PUBLISHING, ADVERTISING AND ADMINISTRATION
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The editorial staff has taken every care to obtain from copyright holders the authorization to publish the pictures in this issue. In any cases where this has not been possible, the editorial staff would like to make it known that they are available to eligible parties to settle any amounts that are owed.
The importance of the Italian market
Growing global innovations
THE POKÉMON COMPANY
Pokémon, a global success story
MONDO TV Mondo TV highlights properties with massive merchandising potential
Discovering the world of Mr Water… and more!
Exciting confirmations and new adventures for Sanrio
The prosper 2023 Smurfs publishing program
MAURIZIO DISTEFANO LICENSING
Content and trends of 2023
An exciting 2023 for ETS: established brands and many novelties
NELLY JELLY WORLD
Transformation of locallybeloved children’s character into global brand
Paw Patrol turns ten SHOWLAB
Kapuf the Little Monster: the first Italian pre-school sitcom
EMA’s new comics venture
Marvel Mission Arena conquers the market
Play is the way. A talk with Ruth Henriquez
2023, Phygital: a bridge between physical and digital
IGT – COOL THINGS Licences Trust
Mavka. The Forest Song. The international launch
The new brilliant Toy division
A toy alone is not enough
school project: the Gabri illustrated book
Retail 82 86 88 116 118 120 100 122 102 104 105 106 126 80 114 110 95 114
Publishing Marketing Trends Trends Save the Date
The strategic role of marketing in the high-end fashion industry
Making a difference
Moonbug is an amazing company that continues to grow and impress with its triumphs.
LM interviewed Francesca Romana Gianesin, Head of Consumer Products for Moonbug Entertainment EMEA, Australia & New Zealand, to know more about their success and future projects.
You joined Moonbug last May. What can you tell us today about this incredible company?
We consider Moonbug a pioneer of the next generation of entertainment. With an audience first approach, we have built our portfolio of properties through the acquisition of popular kids’ IP that was originally born in the digital space. By leveraging our creative and production expertise, we have grown these properties into global entertainment franchises.
Moonbug is also an award-winning global entertainment company behind some of the most popular kids’ titles in the world, including CoComelon. CoComelon is the largest YouTube kids’ channel worldwide, with over 175 million subscribers globally and over 4.2 billion views a month.
I had a talk with our Head of the YouTube channel in the first days of February, he told me that we reached
two billion minutes of vision in a day on our platform, a result which is really impressive.
Moonbug was born just four years ago and in a few years, it has become a really trusted brand for parents and families. CoComelon is one of our strongest properties in the world, followed by Blippi and others. Which are the added values of the company?
One thing that distinguishes us from competitors is that we are really focused on soft skills: values such as compassion, empathy, and resilience. It means that we recognize the opportunity and the responsibility to impact the minds of kids globally. We can teach them how to learn appropriate ways to handle emotions, which is a very important part of the social and emotional development of preschoolers, to become better citizens in this world.
Of course, our episodes and series also cover hard skills, like learning colours and counting, but really at the core of our shows is the social-emotional learning. This is something that families
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, social-emotional 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 150 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.
Blippi inspires curiosity in pre-schoolers 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. Blippi 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. Blippi’s buddies Meekah and Juca have spun off into their own shows and Blippi lives off the screen as well with a sold-out live musical tour, popular music tracks, and in-demand toys available at all major retailers.
love, because they see in us a tool to really understand and help with their child’s development on a daily basis. For the families our content is a toolkit to navigate these big feelings that the kids have. You will see episodes in which the kid is preparing to go to the doctor and we make it fun, so that parents find the experience much easier. In other episodes the children go to kindergarten, starting the day with the Thank you Song, thanking parents, teachers and friends, and in doing so becoming better people. The world that we live in is really tough: it’s great to be able to count, and to distinguish colours, but the most important thing is to be a fantastic human being. This is our focus.
Other digital brands are coming up: why and how Moonbug is different from its competitors?
The most important thing to remember is that we are a digital company and we
It’s Cody Time
Since his debut on CoComelon back in 2019, Cody has grown from being JJ’s classmate, to next-door neighbour, to best friend, and now he has his own channel. Similar to CoComelon’s common themes of childhood fun and celebrating big moments for little kids, It’s Cody Time includes nursery rhymes as well as original songs. The initial story arc focuses on pregnancy, becoming a big brother and the joys of family, and aims to help children learn through relatable situations and to prepare them for big-sibling responsibilities and expectations.
Oddbods is a hilarious comedy that follows the adventures of a group of very individual and quirky friends as they survive the perils of everyday life, where ordinary situations quickly spiral into extraordinary events. Oddbods teach us to discover the best version of ourselves. Everyone is unique - and that’s what makes us totally awesome.
have an audience-first approach. Our strategy has always had our audience in mind first, so we create content that kids love and parents trust and respond to. Thanks to the data we receive from our consumers, coupled with the creativity and wonderful storytelling from our Studios team, we can ensure our content supports pre-schoolers’ learning whilst they are having lots of fun.
For example, we have seen that JJ’s best friend Cody received really good
“One thing that distinguishes us from competitors is that we are really focused on soft skills: values such as compassion, empathy, and resilience. It means that we recognize the opportunity and the responsibility to impact the minds of kids globally.”
feedback from the audience. Hence, we wanted to create a channel dedicated to him, because Cody connects with audiences and performs very well. We look at the audience first, we follow the audience and we ensure the content and products we deliver are developmentally appropriate whilst remining fun, exciting and entertaining. We are data-led, and in the end, this allows us to be a globally relevant company.
It is fundamental to be very interactive with the audience. In that period that we are living, why according to you is digital-first content so important? It’s very easy, it concerns accessibility. YouTube is there everywhere you go, thanks to the smartphone, iPad, iPhone, computer, it can be accessed at any time and free of charge.
“At Moonbug, we are always looking at ways to bring the best entertainment and storytelling to our fans. Providing them with lovable toys of their favourite characters to expand storylines and bring them to life at home is a fun way to do that,” said Duncan Tate, Global Head of Hardlines for Moonbug Entertainment. “Jazwares is uniquely positioned to bring our vision to life – with Squishmallows as the number one plush brand, and CoComelon as a leading preschool show, children everywhere will fall in love with these toys.”
COCOMELON HUGMEES BY SQUISHMALLOWS
Moonbug Entertainment announced in January the global launch of CoComelon HugMees, a new collection from the number one plush brand Squishmallows by Jazwares. Following a successful launch in the US, the collection has been shown at Nuremberg Toy Fair from February 1-5, 2023.
The CoComelon HugMees by Squishmallows will be the latest addition to the squad of high-quality plush toys with ultrasoft materials. Featuring the beloved CoComelon characters wearing their pyjama onesies, the collection includes fanfavourite JJ and his best friends Cody, Nico, Nina, Cece, and Bella.
“Collaborating with Moonbug on the launch of CoComelon HugMees by Squishmallows brings pre-schoolers an ultrasoft and uniquely lovable way to play and interact with their favourite CoComelon characters,” said Gerhard Runken, Senior Vice President of Brand & Marketing, Jazwares. “We know kids and families will love discovering JJ and friends HugMees that have been masterfully designed for the most comforting of playtime moments and perfect for nurturing young imaginations.”
The CoComelon HugMees by Squishmallows collection launched first at Target in February and will be available at retailers worldwide this fall.
The other element is the importance of the Millennial consumer. Our core audience are pre-schoolers, and the parents of the pre-schoolers are mainly Millennials, who are digital creatures. This digital propensity increases the access to our channels. Just to give you an idea now of the strength of this on our YouTube channel. We currently have more than 8 billion monthly views across all our channels on YouTube, and you can find us on more than 150 different platforms globally. We launched super successful shows on Netflix and our shows are available in 34 different languages, including American Sign Language.
When we launched CoComelon on Netflix, it was the second most streamed show last year after Criminal Minds, bigger than Stranger Things and Wednesday, just to put into perspective the strength of this property and the value of the YouTube channel.
How is your licensing approach and how is it tailored-made to partners? At Moonbug we have really disrupted the studio model, for which you first launch the movies and then produce the consumer products. In our case it can be done both ways, we can develop episodes from partners’ ideas for products, or we can also develop products from episodes. We work with our internal teams and our partners, look at the content and the data, we combine all information and ideas and develop something unique. And what’s more, we can do it at the speed of light.
Blippi Franchise Expands With New Blippi Buddy and International Production
Moonbug Entertainment continues to expand the Blippi franchise with the addition of Juca, the second Blippi Buddy to be added to the franchise. Building on the success of Meekah, Blippi’s first buddy, Juca is a live-action show set in Brazil, which is currently the largest market for the franchise outside of the U.S. Juca has been launched with a distribution deal with Warner Brothers Discovery in Brazil as well as globally on YouTube on January 9th.
Juca is a live-action preschool series set in Brazil that invites little ones and their families to participate in adventures that inspire curiosity including exploring the São Paulo Zoo, playing at the Imagination Museum, and showing off their dancing skills while learning to dance the samba.
Juca has the signature Blippi curiosity and as a proud Brazilian, he will introduce preschoolers to local traditions, commemorative dates, typical foods and music of Brazil. Juca premiered on Cartoonito January 9th, with new episodes every Monday. On the same day, the first five episodes were also available in the HBO Max catalog in Brazil.
Blippi first visited international markets in 2022 with episodes filmed in the UK and a sold-out show in London. In 2023 he will continue production in multiple cities, introducing worldwide audiences to sights and culture from Canada, France, Italy, Mexico and the UAE. Blippi uses field trips to make learning fun and now will help kids around the world to discover things like the secrets hidden behind the creation of a famous chocolate egg in Milan, what it’s like to attend Gladiator School in Rome, celebrating local heroes at a fire station in Paris, and seeing the world’s biggest water park in Abu Dhabi.
For example, our Master Toy licensee Jazwares had conceived this very famous fire truck toy idea, and from their idea we generated a mock-up of the product and gave it to the producers to replicate it in the show. Together with Jazwares we created the important fire truck episodes, then launched the products ten months later to give users time to familiarise themselves with the truck in the show. Ideas can come from both parties. You start with content or with the product, with a partner, or with an idea.
The other example that I can give you is the Blippi European adventures. Blippi is our modern educator. A lot of our shows are shot in the US, so for the other territories we wanted to stay closer to the local audience, taking Blippi on a tour across Europe. Rome is my loved
hometown, so we took inspiration from my local knowledge to organise a trip for Blippi around Rome, to see the Colosseum and teach the kids about the gladiators and how strong they had to be to fight with lions. We also found an amazing place where people can teach kids how to make pasta and pizza, which allowed us to build this beautiful episode in Rome, with nice local content. At the same time, one of the places where I have lived and which I love is Paris. I thought that Blippi could also visit Paris, France, and go to the iconic places there. We have planned to launch this over the coming months as “Blippi’s European adventures” together with many partners, among these an important Italian company, Zaini, the second largest producer of chocolate in the world. They were interested in getting to know Blippi better, so they
The launch of Moonbug Kids channel in Indonesia
Moonbug Entertainment announced in February an agreement with Telkom Indonesia and IndiHome to launch the Moonbug Kids Channel in Indonesia. The new Moonbug Kids channel includes content from across the Moonbug portfolio of much-loved IPs and was scheduled to launch from 1 February 2023.
The channel is now available to more than 9 million IndiHome subscribers across Indonesia, airing in English and Bahasa Indonesia. The channel is also accessible anytime, anywhere on the IndiHome TV app and web.
The Moonbug Kids channel schedule has been carefully designed to put families at the forefront, supporting parents and carers throughout their daily routines such as mealtime, bath time and more. All Moonbug IPs are featured including CoComelon, Blippi, Gecko’s Garage, Morphle, Arpo, Little Baby Bum and recent acquisitions Little Angel and Oddbods.
“We are extremely excited to be partnering with Telkom Indonesia and IndiHome to launch our Moonbug Kids channel in Indonesia. This is a significant market for us and marks the first of our channel launches in this territory,” said Nicolas Eglau, Managing Director EMEA & APAC, Moonbug Entertainment.
brought him into their factories, to show the kids all the engineering involved in making chocolate. This resulted in the Blippi chocolate egg and chocolate bar, which are ready for the Italian launch. This was the fastest operation I have seen in my entire career, it all happened in three months.
This is the new approach to licensing in general, where tailored-made content is crucial to appeal to licensees and other partners. And for the publishing,
you can confirm the same approach, I suppose.
In Nuremberg, we presented our new consumer brands for the first time, which we then launched in February.
In Bologna we will talk more about our plans, we also have a revolution in mind on the publishing side, the approach will be the same, very innovative. Our company, however, is based on continuous renewal.
There’s so much to say about content
creation in recent years, where we have seen several evolutions in the industry. We have passed through the era of mass media in the ‘80s with the multichannel, and in 2000 the focus was OTT and new platforms. Today since 2020 the creator economy has established itself, with the dominance of bloggers, Instagrammers... Everyone creates something, so to make a difference you have to work even harder on quality and the important values you can pass on to children. In the creator economy, you need to be fast and close to the audience, and these, in my opinion are our strengths, they represent the difference we make, that’s why we have billions and billions of views, and hundreds of millions of subscribers. The numbers that Moonbug commands are still incredible to me, they seem impossible, but they are real. That is why we feel we are the next-generation entertainment company.
With Moonbug you have achieved the biggest figures. Let’s see how the classic brands will adapt to this new type of approach, the one you are adopting and which is now winning the business. In the meantime, tell us about the other innovations you have in the pipeline.
We are really proud not only of CoComelon and Blippi, but also of all our other properties, such as Lellobee City Farm, Little Angel, Morphle, and the super cute Oddbods.
And staying in the world of CoComelon, we have launched a new channel called CoComelon JJ’s Animal Time, in which
JJ and his animal friends share many new adventures. Since its launch in December, we have totalled views for two billion minutes.
The spinoff shows, definitely represent an opportunity for building the brand and product development. We are also working on the Cody character, whose channel, It’s Cody Time, launched in May 2022. The It’s Cody’s Time YouTube channel has over 2.5 million subscribers
and since February this year it has been available for streaming on Netflix for English-speaking countries.
Nina is another character in the world of CoComelon who is incredibly popular with our audience.
Nina grew up surrounded by her family’s rich Mexican culture and she is always excited to share and celebrate her heritage in the everyday aspects of her life. Young children around the world will now get to experience more stories
through the lens of an intergenerational Mexican-American family with the launch of Nina’s very own YouTube channel later this year.
There is really a lot coming up and you will see in Bologna even more, because publishing is the core of storytelling. We have hired an amazing leader, Duncan Hamilton, who is taking care of the publishing business for Moonbug, so watch the space!
CoComelon parents know the secret to toddler routines
In a recent survey conducted by Moonbug Entertainment, most parents (55%) are only somewhat satisfied with their progress in establishing their children’s routines with 74% even reporting they can feel like a battle. But 73% of parents agree their kids can learn good habits from characters on children’s TV shows and the majority of parents whose children watch CoComelon agreed that CoComelon helps to demonstrate and establish routines with their children.
More than half of parents (61%) use songs or nursery rhymes as a tool to help children follow routines. More so, 87% of CoComelon parents agree that songs can help children better communicate their needs and feelings. Maybe it’s not so bad those catchy jingles get stuck in your head after all.
Bath Song is the most-watched CoComelon episode of all time with nearly 6 billion views on YouTube alone and has also been streamed on music platforms more than 26 million times, which may be why CoComelon parents found it to be their easiest routine. Leave it to JJ to help get little ones to “jump in the water and scrub, scrub, scrub!” (especially considering parents of children who don’t watch CoComelon are almost 2.5x more likely to call bathtime a struggle).
92% of parents said that it was important to establish routines with their children, with the most followed including brushing teeth, bedtime routine, and bathtime. A surprise to parents nowhere, fighting bedtime was the most commonly (45%) reported challenge that parents encountered regularly. But maybe 2023 will offer some solace as 66% of parents felt that the new year is a good time to have a routine reset for their family
To help, here are the top 5 routines parents follow (and the CoComelon episodes to make them a little easier): Brushing Teeth - Brush It - Brush Your Teeth Song, Bedtime Routine - Yes, Yes Bedtime; Bathtime - Bath Song; Healthy Eating - Yes, Yes Vegetables; Getting ready (getting dressed/putting shoes on) - This Is The Way.
Learn more tips and tricks about #NewYearNewRoutines by following CoComelon on TikTok and Instagram.
The importance of the Italian market
LM interviewed Antonella Ceraso, International Consumer Products Director, DeAPlaneta Entertainment, to know more about 2023 projects, especially for the Italian market. Anna Campistol Agustí, Head of Digital DeAPlaneta Entertainment, answered a question on the interactive area.
What are the strengths of DeAPlaneta Entertainment today?
I think our greatest strengths are our flexibility and our ability to adapt quickly to shifts in the market, alongside an internal infrastructure that includes many of the services required to launch new brands today. Our resources have allowed us to independently respond to the needs of a changing market and implement a structure that boosts our effectiveness. This structure is shaped by departments that cover a range of areas: Content, Digital, Marketing and Communication, Sales, etc. In addition to this, the fact that we are also producers (we have co-produced the preschool animation series Milo and The Three Musketeers films, among others), and not only distributors, allows us to have a global overview of our IPs in all their stages. We complement our global approach by working closely with local teams, which gives us a unique edge that allows us to respond quickly to changes and increases our efficiency.
Why and how the Italian office is strategic for your business?
Italy has always been a strategic focus for us, and the Italian market
is closely linked both to the structure and the actual history of DeAPlaneta Entertainment. We are an ItalianSpanish company formed by two key stakeholders who play a leading role in communications, media and entertainment: DeAgostini on the Italian side and Planeta on the Spanish side. Therefore, Italy will always be a strategic market for us, and we constantly look towards them as we power our global growth, which is of high value for our company.
What are the 2023 top brands in your licensing program for the Italian market?
Miraculous Ladybug has become a flagship property in our portfolio. In addition to being an absolute phenomenon among the target audience, it is also attracting new audiences, and we hope to further this trend as the licensor roll out new content, including a feature film for theatrical release. Although the brand has a solid positioning, Zag continues to update contents to stay relevant. We are reinforcing our commitment with pre-school audience with Milo, an animated coproduction that is already a huge hit on RAI, where it is one of the 5 most-watched pre-school
programmes. The brand is growing constantly and we will be launching the first toy line in 2023, alongside other licensed products that we are confident will be hugely successful. This year we will also be implementing a 360º strategy for The Three Musketeers franchise. DeAPlaneta Entertainment will be coproducing and acting as global
licensing agent for the franchise. The release date for the first film, D’Artagnan, is set for April 2023 and will be followed by a second, even more spectacular, film in Christmas 2023. This sequel, Milady, stars a unique female lead, who is a strong, empowered woman.
What are the Meet&Greet events planned in the coming months in Italy, and for which brands?
We will announce all the events we have planned in the coming months, mostly concerning Miraculous Ladybug and Milo, which will involve our retail clients. We will soon confirm actions and meet & greets where fans can meet their favourite characters. We are also planning events for the release of The Three Musketeers: we will launch a big communication & PR campaign for both films, giving fans plenty of opportunities to engage with the world’s first superheroes who are, also, 100% European.
How is the company committed to sustainability?
A commitment to a strong sustainability position can no longer be a choice, it is a requirement for future generations. On our side, we are very intentional in choosing the partners or companies we work with, ensuring they share our concerns. We also demonstrate our commitment through the products
and brands we market, considering the values that underpin our corporate vision. Recently, these decisions have been closely linked to our relationship with technology: as we have increased our involvement in the growing NFT market, we have decided to focus on an energy platform that supports sustainability.
Tell us the latest updates and projects about your Interactive area.
Anna Campistol Agustì: We are strongly committed to developing the interactive area, as we believe it is key to adapt to new trends and be present where our audience is. Our goal is to offer extended digital universes that allow people to connect with brands across multiple platforms. Therefore, we are stepping into web3 by creating our own digital collectibles and developing interactive experiences linked to our IPs and new digital brands that we identify as promising. This allows us to act internationally and to be more agile when adapting to market needs. For instance, we’re collaborating with WonderPals and MetaGuardians; two IPs that are digital born and we are expanding across different categories worldwide. Furthermore, we are about to launch an interactive and immersive experience linked to the Three Musketeers movie, of which we will be able to reveal more details very soon.
“Italy will always be a strategic market for us, and we constantly look towards them as we power our global growth, which is of high value for our company”.
- Antonella Ceraso, International Consumer Products Director, DeAPlaneta Entertainment -Miraculous Ladybug
Growing global innovations
Rainbow’s unique talent to grasp trends puts it at the forefront of innovation with an ever growing roster of partners counting for over 500 licensees globally, and a diversified strategy now covering all target groups.
Presenting the Winx Club Lifestyle Winx Club takes YA to new heights with iconic must-haves, bringing a new wave of glam to the YA licensing scene. Global new partnerships are boarding in 2023, among which are LA based ColourPop Cosmetics. The US makeup giant has just released the LimitedEdition Winx Club X ColourPop Collection. Nostalgia, sparkle, and super colourful palettes - must-have for trendsetters, fans, and die-hard Winx Club lovers who will enjoy references to the saga throughout the collection. Among Fashion & Apparel multiterritory collabs, Rainbow teamed up with Spain-based Lefties and the teenspecialized Don’t Call Me Jennyfer –boasting cool outfits in the latest Winx anime style since 2022; leading fashion retailer in Turkey Defacto is ready to drop the YA Winx Club FW ’23 collection after a solid long-time partnership for the kids target, and Amscan is coming up with a woman collection of costumes
and accessories inspired to the first season of Winx Club.
Displate is showcasing vibrant metal posters inspired to the ever-evolving Winx Club style, while Funiglobal is following with kids and adults Carnival costumes.
Hot Topic rolled out an unconventional top selection for US and Canada in April and Mikotaku will follow next May with a full choice of daywear, cosplay, and accessories. Fun.com will join in ‘24 with costumes inspired by the first fairy transformations and a full choice of wigs, shoes, wings, and more.
Adding to the latest deals, Diamond Dotz is on board to develop a unique
collection of diamond paintings to run worldwide.
On the publishing front, Italy’s giant Mondadori will reissue the Winx original comics, and Mad Cave Studios just unveiled the 2024 upcoming Graphic Novel of Winx for YA and middle grade readers through Maverick & Papercutz.
The brand fan community keeps growing thanks to engaging projects such as 2022’s cosplay contest, sparking for huge web engagement. After the contest’s hype at Milan Games Week, Rainbow launched the Winx Cosplay Contest World Edition in partnership with Epicos, due to tour international cosplay events and peaking with Milan Games Week in November.
New adventures for Pinocchio and Friends
Brand licensing mastery involves the ability to bring new appeal also to classic brands, tapping into the market need for originality and fun. This is what Rainbow proved with the resounding success of Iginio Straffi’s adaptation of the classic by Carlo Collodi, creating a new dimension for the audience, full of colourful hints and play possibilities.
Pinocchio and Friends has grown quickly, with season one peaking rating charts in Italy, UK, and Latin America Rainbow is already producing a second season in collaboration with Toonz Media Group and Rai, counting on prestige broadcast partner BBC, airing the show on its preschool hub CBeebies and going to premiere season two together with Rai Yoyo next fall.
Already covering the main CP categories, the brand is touring shopping malls with live events from Soluna and ZooMarine renewed the hit collaboration started in ’22 for the upcoming seasonal events; master toy
start touring kids museums in spring, debuting in Naples and Rome
Summer & Todd Happy Farmers
Rainbow’s preschool show keeps building on a core strategy focused on fun education. The marketing partnership with Italy’s ColdirettiCampagna Amica - goes on with great themed initiatives raising awareness about nature and agriculture, while licensing plays a big role also this year with partners such as Ravensburger for puzzles, Salani publishing books, longtime partner Walcor ready to launch Easter eggs and Play by Play, to release the full multisize plush collection with
Launched in 2004, Winx Club has capitalized on adventures starring the most stylish fairies ever created. Almost 20 years have flown by, and Winx Club keeps making hype, developing audacious style guides appealing to long-time and new partners.
partner Giochi Preziosi is adding brilliant releases to the toy collection on shelves - 3D figurines, accessories, vehicles, playsets, plush, and dolls - announcing the Easter hit SuperPasqualone
Adding to seasonals also a full range of inflatable beach toys to be out for summer ’23 and the Christmas collection, with the release of the anticipated pirate galleon toy set. In publishing, Rainbow’s house Tridimensional keeps growing with the monthly magazine with original gadgets and stickers for the kiosk channel. The property enjoys with excellent marketing and brand strategies, and news are on the way – Pinocchio and Friends will
all main characters in spring in Poland, Spain, and Italy. Kiosk publishing looks great too, with gadget magazines, activity, and sticker books published by Tridimensional.
THE POKÉMON COMPANY INTERNATIONAL
Pokémon, a global success story
One of the world’s most popular and successful entertainment properties, Pokémon enjoyed another sensational year in 2022.
Constant innovation and evolution across its growing portfolio of video games (VG), mobile apps, Trading Card Game (TCG), animation and movies, competitive events and licensed products keeps the iconic and trendsetting brand at the forefront of popular culture.
Another record-breaking year saw Pokémon named License of the Year by
The Toy Foundation along with 3 awards at Nuremberg Toy Fair: Global Top Toy Property, plus Europe’s Top Gaining Property for both Total Toys and Games & Puzzles.
The success was helped by the launch of Pokémon: Scarlet & Violet last November, a new evolutionary step in the Pokémon main video game series
exploring the Paldea region. With the fastest start of any title for a Nintendo dedicated VG platform, to date sales are already nudging 21 million. In January, Pokémon and Nintendo celebrated discovering over 1,000 Pokémon across all titles with the reveal of Gholdengo.
POKÉMON IN ITALY
In Italy Pokémon continues to thrive, gaining its highest ever annual NPD position at #4 in the Total Top Toys and achieving the strongest growth in the top 15 with 101% YOY in 2022.
Following 2022’s hugely successful releases of limited, numbered philatelic folders featuring Pokémon in 10 Italian cities, Pokémon and Poste Italiane partner again for an exciting new limited edition to celebrate Pokémon Day on 27th February. The new folder (1000 units) includes a special lithograph with an exclusive representation of Pikachu never before released in Italy, inspired by the “Pokémon Sepia Graffiti” series. Available from post offices, in the Spazio Filatelia and online at filatelia.poste.it.
A limited-edition capsule collection from Italian street fashion brand Dolly Noire celebrated the Pokémon adventure in a uniquely creative way. Launched in September with a three-week store takeover at Dolly Noire’s flagship store in Milan, its success has led to two new
exciting retail projects coming in 2023.
At the end of 2022 Pokémon staged a two-week takeover of Rinascente’s prestigious flagship store in Milan, with special Pokémon-themed installations and a stylishly branded 150msq immersive pop-up shop in the Air Snake area of Rinascente, packed with the latest Pokémon products and collectibles. An amazing exhibition of Pokémon video games and Nintendo consoles from across the years plus the opportunity to challenge friends with the TCG added to fans’ engagement of the exciting experience.
Now established as highly successful in apparel, Pokémon secured new licensing partners for the Italian market. Italian clothing companies Sabor is set to launch apparel and accessories collections for boys and girls and adults, available in mass market and specialised retailers and via wholesalers throughout Italy. J. Brand International has renewed the partnership to launch a strong softline programme for kids and adults, with apparel and accessories collections available in fashion retailers and online in Italy.
Pokémon’s robust appeal at direct to retail continues. Zara Kids’ successful partnership continues with the first Pokémon Zara girls’ range and Pokémon secured a new DTR with the Inditex Group brand Lefties for kids and adults softlines.
NEW FMCG DEALS
In the FMCG space, Pokémon has teamed up with Cerealitalia for the Chocolate Easter campaign covering all major Italian hypermarkets and supermarkets from 2023.
At January’s SIGEP (the leading international trade show of Artisan
gelato, pastry, bakery and coffee held in Rimini) saw the launch of a collaboration with MEC3, the Italian brand specializing in artisan gelato, their new Pokémon novelty ice cream. Set to launch in Summer 2023, the Pokémon ice cream is a white chocolate-flavoured gelato with chocolate-flavoured variegate and crackling sugar crystals. The Pokémon gelato will be available at ice cream shops across Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany.
For the third year in a row Pokémon has renewed its partnership with Ferrero
Estathe with a brand new beverage promotion set to launch in 2023.
PRODUCTS PROGRAMME IN ITALY
Pokémon has also signed a new deal with SEVEN Spa the leading Italian company for stationery and back to school ranges. The new Pokémon range will have a street graffiti look and includes backpacks, trolleys and stationery. The range will be available at mass market and specialised stores across Italy for back to school 2023.
Pokémon toys enjoyed a very positive campaign in 2022. REI TOYS is the new exclusive toy distributor in Italy and the new Pokémon toys collection, which will see the launch of new products, looks set to bring further success in 2023. Pokémon also works with MEGA (Mattel), Ravensburger and Funko on a range of toys, puzzles and vinyl figures.
More exciting new launches for 2023 include the Pokémon TCG: Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet expansion from 31 March, which adopts an updated take on the Pokémon ex gameplay mechanic; and, later in 2023, the premiere of a new Pokémon animated series following a neverbefore-seen storyline and two new characters.
With further new Pokémon releases, partnerships and products to come across the year, 2023 looks set to be another epic year for the iconic and much-loved brand.
Mondo TV highlights properties with massive merchandising potential
Grisù, the Gruffalo, Gorjuss and Bread Barbershop are four very different properties with important characteristics in common: they’re all popular, they all have massive merchandising potential and they’re all licensed by Mondo TV.
Mondo TV comes to this year’s Bologna Licensing Trade Fair (stand F/22 - G/15), highlighting a number of important properties, as you would expect from a company that is not only one of the largest European producers and distributors of animated content but a growing force in third-party licensing.
Among its own co-productions, much is expected for Grisù, an animated series about a little dragon who wants to be a firefighter rather than a fire-breather. The popular little dragon, first seen on TV in 1976, is now returning to entertain a whole new generation in a brand-new 3D CGI TV show for 4-7-year-olds coproduced by Mondo TV, ZDF Enterprises and Toon2Tango. It launches at the beginning of 2024, preceded by a carefully planned teaser campaign.
The involvement of Rai and ZDF Enterprises will guarantee the series excellent television exposure, of course, but Grisù also has enormous
merchandising potential. Mondo TV holds the exclusive rights for the development of the global Grisù licensing programme, which, in Italy, has already attracted a number of major names, including Giunti for storybooks, Pon Pon Edizioni for colouring and activity books and magazines, Europublishing for a newsstand range, including watercolour sets and stationery sets, and IdeaLab for sticker albums. Ravensburger, a major name in puzzle and memory games, has been signed up for Spain and Portugal as well as Italy.
Further demonstrating the diversity of Mondo’s representations is Santoro’s colourful Gorjuss brand, which is based on imagery featuring sweet, stripeysocked girls with big hearts. Its design appeal has also made Gorjuss a global licensing phenomenon, boasting over 160 partners and supported by comprehensive style guides. In addition, a YouTube series of short stories has been recently launched to bring the Gorjuss world to life. The property already boasts a number of important existing partners, to which Mondo TV has added Cories for rainwear, footwear and summer accessories (launching this spring). Cromo, meanwhile, is planning an entire Gorjuss-focused catalogue for its greeting cards and gift cards. Further ahead, in 2024, Emmeci, which markets confectionery products for events, is to create a special Gorjussinspired, sweet-filled Epiphany stocking. Meanwhile, Multiprint has a Gorjuss range of colouring products and stencils planned for the first quarter of this year.
The Gruffalo, the classic book illustrated by Axel Scheffler and written by Julia Donaldson, has sold over 24 million copies and inspired two successful animated films.
The story of how a tiny mouse outwits
the big, scary Gruffalo, is also a licensing hit. Global licensor Magic Light Pictures appointed Mondo to develop a licensing programme for The Gruffalo and other Julia Donaldson titles in Italy in late 2019.
Numerous licensed products have already appeared in the Italian market, including activity and colouring books from Pon Pon Edizioni, an apparel line beautifully designed by Illustrabimbi, a carnival costume from Ciao, stamps and colouring sets from Multiprint, puzzles and games from Ravensburger, sweetfilled epiphany socks from Emmeci and a massively popular line of educational games from Ludattica. RCS came out last spring with a very successful album of stickers supported by a major TV campaign.
The storytelling and singing characters from FABA, meanwhile, were so successful that the company extended its license to other Donaldson works. Indeed, Sara Visentin, Head of Brand & Content Acquisition, FABA, says: “We are really proud of the collaboration with Mondo TV and Magic Light which has allowed us to bring titles such as The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child to the FABA world and, a few months back,
Room on the Broom and Stick Man. These are certainly must-haves for lovers of Julia Donaldson’s books, as confirmed by the sales results. Our sound characters offer high-quality audio, and are based on the animated feature films, which have been adapted to the FABA audiobook format.”
As a distributor, Mondo has enjoyed big success with Bread Barbershop, a
Korean 3D animated comedy series for kids aged 6-9.
This is a makeover show – with a difference. All the characters in the show are different kinds of cake and dessert. They come to master craftsman Bread, a renowned cake decorator, in the hope he will use his skills to change their appearance for the better.
It’s produced by the animation company Monster Studio with Mondo TV as L&M agent and media distributor for the Italian market – and the response to the show in Italy, on both pay and free-to-air TV, has been outstanding.
The licensing campaign has already attracted Ravensburger, which will produce Bread Barbershop puzzles in multiple formats, along with memory games and its renowned CreArt paintby-numbers sets. A line of toys, already popular in Korea, will soon be on its way to Italy.
Want to know more? Mondo TV is looking forward to meeting you in Bologna!
Discovering the world of Mr Water… and more!
Lm interviewed Rachele Geraci, Licensing and Show Manager, Atlantyca, to learn more about the big licensing news and projects of the company.
How did Atlantyca start the year?
Give us the latest news and recent achievements.
2023 got off to a particularly great start for Atlantyca! First of all, I must emphasize the edutainment power of Geronimo Stilton, who continues to be a highly sought-after ambassador and cultural mediator thanks to the many important collaborations and workshops featuring him in museums, cultural spaces, and even shopping malls. In particular, currently underway is “Topi da Biblioteca,” a Ministry of Culture project involving live events at splendid locations, namely Historical Italian State Libraries. The project, produced by Atlantyca, features a presentation book signed by Geronimo Stilton and published by Edizioni Piemme. This project means Geronimo Stilton is in State Libraries, breaking new ground by
discovering new spaces, manuscripts and illuminated codices. Next, in Italian Embassies and Institutes of Culture there will be presentation events for the book “Mille Meraviglie. Viaggio alla scoperta dell’Italia,” in
which the mouse journalist, created by Elisabetta Dami, explores the beauties of our country. This is a special project by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in collaboration with the Italian National Commission for UNESCO produced by Piemme Publishing, with the aim of bringing girls and boys all over the world closer to Italy’s splendid artistic and cultural heritage.
Going strong is the first major exhibition of Geronimo Stilton created by Way - the “Geronimo Stilton Experience” - which, after two very important shows in Milan and Novara, expanded to the Centro Altinate in Padua before continuing its tour of Italy.
Our big news is the extraordinary
success of Mr. Water: last year, the agreement between Atlantyca’s Foreign Rights department and Scholastic Asia, brought the English version of the famous series, created by Agostino Traini and published by Mondadori LIbri under the imprint Piemme, to China and 16 other Far East territories. This series fits perfectly with the growing interest in “popular science” popular with Asian countries, first and foremost China. With over 1,500,000 copies sold in 7 languages, this is a sales phenomenon we are working on now with our “Licensing & Live” department, under the character licensing agreement signed with Mondadori Libri S.p.A.
You mentioned the popular science trend. Why do you think it is so fashionable abroad, particularly in China?
For many international publishers and producers, “popular science” books are on the cutting edge. Good “popular science” books and animated series help us better understand the world we live in and make a subject that sometimes seems complex like science, more accessible (and even more likeable!) to children. This meets the needs of readers and viewers while at the same time makes a dedicated contribution by bringing scientific culture to our countries. This is why, as demonstrated by the success of properties such as “Mr. Water”, a strong trend always succeeds in popularizing, and bringing within everyone’s reach, topics that would otherwise risk being hostile and off-putting. The character invented by Traini responds to and stimulates the curiosity of pre-school children through simple, colorful illustrations and texts that make an immediate impact. This has won over the Chinese market where “popular science” even in English, as is the case with Scholastic Asia publications, is experiencing a particularly happy phase. This is of key importance to parents in the developing countries who, through culture, want to offer their children an adequate education from an early age to equip them for the future. Even in our country, not so long ago, encyclopedias were a must in almost every home and
were purchased primarily for children and young people.
Is this applicable to Italy?
In Italy and Europe, great attention is being given to nature, the environment and ecology, meaning that “popular science” is also going through an exciting new phase. So, we signed an agency deal with Mondadori Libri S.p.A. for Mr. Water live and acquired the licensing rights as well. Today, we all give more attention to nature and the importance of sustainability and children seem to be even more attentive, sensitive and receptive than adults: being able to reach them through a fun character that conveys positive values is very easy and immediate. In Geronimo Stilton’s case the proof is in the history and Atlantyca has solid experience in the “edutainment” approach, specializing in projects that combine fun and learning.
Mr. Water is already considered a case study. What future developments are there?
The world of Mr. Water is coming to shopping malls in the next few months and we are already planning a series of educational workshops to take place in themed areas. The workshops have been specially planned and designed in line with the content of the books. We are also developing a pre-school licensing plan and have created Mr. Water’s costume character: a large blue drop of water which will make its
“The world of Mr. Water is coming to shopping malls in the next few months and we are already planning a series of educational workshops to take place in themed areas. We are also developing a pre-school licensing plan and have created Mr. Water’s costume character: a large blue drop of water which will make its official debut at the Bologna 2023 fair!”
official debut at the Bologna 2023 fair! Mr. Water will start attending events and meeting children, giving them this unforgettable experience, with an opportunity to learn how valuable it is to protect our planet and that water is such a precious, irreplaceable resource!
What are your plans in general for the future, including Geronimo Stilton as well as other IPs?
An upcoming event will be the return of our successful “Geronimo Stilton in the Kingdom of Fantasy,” musical which is set to resume touring. Scheduled dates start with Trieste on Feb. 16 and Milan at the Arcimboldi Theater with double performances on March 12 and 19. Again, the goal is to win over and amaze all young Geronimo Stilton fans. We are also continuing work on important projects with Geronimo Stilton and are setting up new, licensing and live deals for Mr. Water. In short: the coming months will be intense and full of new projects!
Exciting confirmations and new adventures for Sanrio
Sanrio continues the period of positive results, strengthening its franchise strategy and announcing new partnerships and a global anniversary campaign.
Aiming to further grow its worldfamous franchises, Hello Kitty and Mr. Men Little Miss in the first place, Sanrio relies on its successful heritage but ventures outside its comfort zone, exploring new business areas, expanding the relevance of its vast portfolio, and focusing on new customer touchpoints. In fact, considering brand evolution as “a gradual process of change and development” shaping a brand around changing consumer and market behaviors, Sanrio pushes to continually grow its properties, keeping up with fans’ needs and expectations.
Collaborations and partnerships have always been part of Sanrio’s DNA but an increasing number of brands recognize the strength of its classic characters:
Hello Kitty and Friends, the program launched in 2021 that features Hello Kitty together with My Melody, Kuromi, Bad Badtz Maru and many others. Hello Kitty and Friends, the program launched in 2021 that features Hello Kitty together with My Melody, Kuromi, Bad Badtz Maru and many others, is the protagonist of various collabs including the SS23 Adidas collection. Kuromi went solo with exclusive ranges in many global retailers and my Melody has been the face of Chloé‘s capsule collection for Chinese New Year of the Rabbit. It includes ready-to-wear, bags, scarves and accessories and has been available in Chloé boutiques and online.
Sanrio’s current strategy of expanding its customer touchpoints puts the spotlight
on new CONTENT. After the Netflix hits featuring Aggretsuko - season 5 has recently launched - and Gudetama - its “An Eggcellent Adventure” released in December 2022 has recorded remarkable popularity rates – it is Hello Kitty’s turn.
The new Hello Kitty animated series, Hello Kitty: Super Style! is co-developed with Amazon Kids+, the award-winning kids content subscription and debuted the first episodes in December 2022. The series has been picked up by Viaplay for Scandinavia, Baltics, Poland and Benelux; Super RTL in Germany; CBC Canada, Canal + Ethiopia and Poland, and Canal Panda in Portugal. These linear broadcasters join: Canal+ and M6 in France, RAI YOYO in Italy, Tiny Pop in the UK, Discovery Kids in Latin America, RTS in Switzerland and Hop in Israel, which have already acquired the show and will release it in Q3/2023. The 52 x 11’ 3D animated show is based on the iconic Hello Kitty who stars as the friendliest face in the tight-knit community of Cherry Town, where she will stop at nothing to help friends in need. In each episode, she uses the power of her magical bow to activate an amazing transformation, changing her outfit to be a brave explorer, a topnotch chef, a sensational pop star and more to help her pals overcome silly setbacks. Targeting preschoolers, the series aims to attract both children and their parents, reaching them directly and for the first time, on one of the platforms they are most used to.
Another important step forward into Sanrio’s brand evolution is represented by Mr. Men Little Miss’ latest strategic partnerships. As a result of a massive social media exposure last summer that saw the characters protagonists of a viral “meme trend” that involved both creators and corporations, the property has been selected to support a growing number of social and brand campaigns.
Going beyond publishing is nothing new for the Mr. Men and the Little Misses, being classic merchandising and fashion partnerships already established business areas, but it is worth underlining how their extraordinary ability to communicate human behavior and feelings in a simple and fun way has been taken to the next level, making them the perfect way to convey brand’s messages.
Starting off in 2022, with a collaboration with Lenor on a limited edition of Unstoppable in-wash scent boosters, and Rimmel London with a range of 12 colours of their best-selling 60 Seconds Super Shine nail polish, the brand has recently teamed up with Ecover unveiling a bespoke character, Little Miss Waste Less, who represents the Earth with her blue body and green ponytail. With her own storybook, she aims to inspire generations to reduce their impact on the planet by wasting less. Her story features a line-up of familiar Mr. Men Little Miss characters as they learn how to reduce their plastic waste by refilling and reusing.
Finally, TK Maxx and Homesense, in partnership with Comic Relief, are launching a brand-new charity line for Red Nose Day 2023, featuring the iconic Mr. Men Little Miss character designs. Showing their support for this year’s campaign, a whole host of amazing
“Aiming to further grow its world-famous franchises, Hello Kitty and Mr. Men Little Miss in the first place, Sanrio relies on its successful heritage but ventures outside its comfort zone, exploring new business areas, expanding the relevance of its vast portfolio, and focusing on new customer touchpoints.”
British celebrities have tried the line out, including actors singers and comedians. Alongside the T-shirts and sweatshirts, the Red Nose Day collection includes aprons, tote bags, lunch bags, notebooks, water bottles, plush toys and
mugs, and will be available in store at TK Maxx and online at www.tkmaxx. com.The collection supports Comic Relief’s vital work to help children and young people facing the toughest times of their lives.
Sanrio’s process of reinventing itself remaining faithful to its heritage is setting the tone for Hello Kitty’s 50th anniversary in 2024
In fact, the company is gearing up to celebrate its icon, with an exclusive program of collabs, PR and global events, praising friendship and future and how these strongly impact our everyday lives.
Celebrations start on November 1st 2023 and will continue until the end of 2024 so… stay tuned for more!
The prosper 2023 Smurfs publishing program
The Smurfs is an iconic brand born in comic books. Publishing is the heart and soul of the brand, with an impressive editorial line in over 70 territories. The worldwide right licensor IMPS/LAFIG announces the many 2023 novelties
The Smurfs appeared for the first time in an adventure of Johan and Peewit, The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, published in the Belgian comics magazine Spirou on October 23, 1958. The readers loved them so much that Peyo decided to make them the main characters of his new comic book series. Since then, 40 graphic novels of the classic Smurfs series were published, and recently a new comic book series dedicated to the Smurf girls was created. Over time, the Smurfs albums were translated into more than 40 languages all over the world and more than 50 million copies were sold over the years!
An exclusive graphic novel
A major new feature of this year’s publishing program will be the release of a graphic novel for the Smurfs’ 65th anniversary. It will be a one-shot graphic novel created by Tebo, a French cartoonist, with an original story. Tebo will draw the Smurfs in his own style, while keeping their genuine values and spirit.
Sébastien Dumont, Marketing & Communication Manager at IMPS, commented: “It is an absolute experiment for us, we have always created all the albums from Peyo’s ideas and designs, but this time the approach
is completely different, and we are extremely curious of the fan feedback.” Louise Busseniers, Licensing & Production Manager - Publishing & Event at IMPS, added: “We’ll start to publish this album in France from May, then in Belgium: we hope to have enthusiastic audiences, and to receive interest from many foreign publishers to translate it. And maybe in the future, we could plan new graphic novels with the collaboration of other talented cartoonists”.
The album is targeting mainly the adult fans of the Smurfs, but also the kids of
course, thanks to a great story and lots of humor!
The new releases
First released in the 1960s, the worldfamous collection of Smurfs comic books is based on Peyo’s originality and creativity and forms the cornerstone of the Smurf works. In October this year, the 41st classic album, called Gargamel, friend of the Smurfs will be released. But that’s not all!
After The Lost Village, the third Smurfs movie in 2017, the Smurfs’ world was enhanced with a new girly village. The Smurfs Girls Village comic books, dedicated to the Smurfs girls, are more fantasy-like and magical than the classic Smurf comics. In May this year, the 6th title of this series, The Wandering Island, will be published. The 5th, 6th and 7th titles of this collection are part of a trilogy.
In the educative collection Growing with the Smurfs, each album is focused on a particular Smurf, associated with an evocative issue for parents and children (topics of daily life and educational message). The children can easily identify themselves with the protagonist, and the parents get a little help from the Smurfs on how to react in different situations. At the end of every book there is a professional approach of a psychologist. For this special series, we are working with an Italian duo: Antonello Dalena (illustrator) and Paolo Maddaleni (colorist).
Initially the collection was to be of 10 titles, but with the great success encountered, it is already translated in 15 languages and will reach a 15th title at the end of this year!
“Publishing was the first step for the Smurfs, and although over time the brand has grown by generating animated series, merchandising, movies, we are very proud of this origin and we always keep it in mind in our marketing choices. It’s not only a part of the brand’s 360-degree method, we consider it its heart”.- Sébastien Dumont, Marketing & Communication Manager at IMPS -
The new animated series is inspiring a lot of Smurfs publishers. New TV tiein books based on the new show are published every month and the Smurfs publishers worldwide are being very enthusiastic about it. Among these Hachette, Ravensburger, Harper Collins in Poland and in the US, Tridimensional, Thomas Nakas, Blue Ocean, and many more.
Audio and digital
The Smurfs figurines created with the new partner Tonies can be placed on top of a dedicated speaker box, to listen to some fun Smurfs stories. Two first figurines were released in France in September last year: a smiling Smurfette and a cute Smurf jumping on a mushroom, both containing audio stories based on the Smurfs classic graphic novels. There will be more in the following months, and a German release based on stories from the new TV Series is also on its way with Tonies!
And finally, the Free Comic Book Day will happen in the US on Saturday 6th of May and the Smurfs were selected to be part of it! To celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the little blue characters, their new comic books publisher for the US, Mad Cave Studios, will release a special issue of the Smurfs albums that includes an AR experience. For the future, they are already planning a lot of interesting projects with the Smurfs: watch out for the blue wave!
Paw Patrol turns ten
This year the popular children’s property, Paw Patrol, turns ten years old. A great milestone for the IP and for Spin Master, which has believed in the project from the very ‘first steps’ and has been the #1 preschool property in many countries around the world for a decade.
Edgardo Di Meo, Marketing Director Italy & Greece at Spin Master, tells Licensing Magazine what it means for the company to celebrate ten years of Paw Patrol and what new projects are in the pipeline for the puppy property.
Paw Patrol turns ten this year. A big milestone for the IP...
Ten years may seem irrelevant in a market where there are brands with a history of over 50 years. If we stop to think, however, how many properties born in the world of toy entertainment in recent years manage to survive, then the 10 years of Paw Patrol, still the #1 preschool property in many countries around the world, is a great achievement. The historical brands were born in a completely different context, in times when supply was scarce and penetrating demand was much easier. Furthermore, Paw Patrol is one of the first examples of an all-round property conceived by a company in the toy industry and not by third-party publishers.
In your opinion, what are the strengths of Paw Patrol that have allowed the IP to become the success it is today?
I believe that the success of the property
is based on several aspects. First of all, partnership. Paw Patrol is the result of the value of partnership in the entertainment world. Spin Master has managed to bring together the best of the various internal and external stakeholders creating strong synergies. Secondly, it was able to develop licensing potential intelligently. The key aspect is not to have tried to squeeze in any category on the basis of commercial success. If the category suits the property well, then it is developed, otherwise better not to force it. Paw Patrol has been able to maintain its integrity, as should be the case for all franchises. Often we try to follow the same pattern as the previous or most successful property, without assessing whether those same ingredients go with the new brand. If we reason with the many successes throughout history, we realise that these have always been disruptive to the past, precisely because they were true to themselves. There is no need to be afraid of being new and different.
The thing, however, that I consider most important to the success of the brand is the ability to have brought the essence
of the brand to life. At the heart of any property entertainment is the story and the characters. The question we have always asked ourselves is: why would a child want Paw Patrol in the real world? Animated series are children’s first love: they want to play with these characters, they want to be part of that world of adventures and of course they want them to become their friends.
What events or projects are on the calendar to celebrate ten years of Paw Patrol with fans?
We are creating an integrated plan with the aim of involving both children and parents, obviously on different aspects. For children, the anniversary will be an evolution of the already consolidated birthday tentpole, with activities that will start from the Nick Jr and Cartoonito TV channels on which the property is aired, up to the point of sale, with promotions, competitions and live appearances. With parents, there will be an opportunity to continue to convey the brand values and quality of the show, reinforcing the messages that the Paw Patrol adventures seek to convey. The slogan NO JOB IS TOO BIG, NO PUP IS TOO SMALL sums up this message well.
If and how will the Paw Patrol brand change in the future?
The strategy is to create new stories while maintaining the DNA of the brand, otherwise the strength of the property would be lost. A current issue is the distribution of content, which is becoming increasingly complicated in relation to the fragmentation of consumers’ media viewing. New multiplatform content is needed.
Now that the property is ten years old, what are the next plans for Paw Patrol? There are already two seasons ready for the Italian market and more in development. For this year, there will also be the second theatrical movie, THE MIGHY MOVIE. After the success of the first movie in 2021, the company wants to focus even more on this release with very strong investments. An important role in this film will be played by Skye, who has always been the second most popular character among children. As always, the film will have adventures, but also many emotional moments. There will also be new locations, vehicles and headquarters that children will find in the toy line to be released for Christmas. For the time being, the release date is set for 13 October and we are planning a lot of marketing and retail activities for this occasion, obviously with the cooperation of the PARAMOUNT team and the local film distributor.
Content and trends of 2023
The 2022 ranking of the most important Licensing agencies by License Global places Maurizio Distefano Licensing as the number 1 agency in Italy, 2nd in Europe and 37th in the world.
This achievement makes the agency proud and they want to maintain this position in 2023. The agency’s success is underlined by its ability to successfully manage a portfolio of properties with a wide variety of categories and brands. At this year’s BLTF/Kids the agency is presenting its news: in addition to their
established cartoons and TV seriesincluding flagship properties airing on Rai Yoyo there will also be several adulttargeted brands and two new entries from the digital world, which they invite you to come and discover at their stand in Bologna.
Let’s explore the specific themes and
interesting projects they are offering for the upcoming spring/summer season together.
Corto Maltese and the maritime style
Created by the famous Venetian cartoonist Hugo Pratt in 1967, Corto Maltese is the star of stories and adventures from all over the world, and the subject of watercolours, blackand-white sketches and graphic novel illustrations. The famous comic book character is also a literary myth of the 20th century. He is a traveller, a sardonic sailor who combines Mediterranean looks and character with an AngloSaxon culture. Corto is an anti-hero who prefers freedom and fantasy to wealth, he is a modern Ulysses who transports us to the most fascinating places in the world.
There are a total of 33 Corto Maltese stories of varying lengths. They are
distinguished by the inclusion of specific historical references, accurate geographical details and in-depth depiction of the characters, elements that make the stories appealing to anyone who loves adventure and escapism.
GUESS has drawn inspiration from Hugo Pratt’s comic strip for its GUESS Marine collection, in shops from midFebruary and on www.guess.eu. This iconic capsule collection includes a selection of pieces featuring illustrations of Corto Maltese on his adventures, along with other elements, borrowing style codes from the sailor’s wardrobe and maritime lifestyle. As part of the collection’s promotional campaign, the first animated avatar of Corto Maltese was created produced in powerful 3D video animation that combines images of the character with garments from the new GUESS collection. The highly
emotive video transports the audience to the middle of the ocean. In addition, on the online shop visitors can enjoy the dynamic avatar dressed in the various looks from the new collection.
Greek luxury boat manufacturer Olympic Ribs partners with Corto Maltese to create a line that celebrates passion for the sea, travel, freedom, and speed. Unleashing the full potential of customisation for luxury RIBs, this synergy will lead to a unique and creative incorporation of brand characteristics into the OLR line. The CORTO MALTESE® upgrade will be available for the OLR 30SR, 45SRC and 45SRC STERN DRIVES, elevating the OLR model to an even more exclusive, first-class, on-board experience, exceptional offshore performance and now the hypnotic atmosphere of the most elegant graphic novel ever written.
As the No. 1 most viewed children’s brand on YouTube, CoComelon generates over 4.3 billion monthly views and has over 163 million subscribers worldwide. The brand has become a
perennial leader on major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Roku and Netflix, where it continues to set daily records within the Top 10 most viewed TV shows. This is a big responsibility that CoComelon takes seriously, as a brand that follows young children throughout their growing up years with their engaging videos and catchy songs. The franchise models positivity and good behaviour and supports pre-school children’s learning through music. Special emphasis for this spring season is placed on Potty Training, a dedicated song that accompanies children during this important transition time.
Bing is now known throughout Italy as the quintessential companion for preschoolers, delighting families with the tender life stories it tells in each episode. The Potty Training topic was addressed in a dedicated episode where the show, as it often does in other episodes, offers useful tips and ways to help children in
their ‘little daily dramas.’ Further support was given in the accompanying book “All aboard the Toilet Train!” published by Feltrinelli together with the Oled children’s toilet reducer, available in the best children’s shops. Bing episodes are also available in Italy on Disney+, DeA Junior, TIM Vision, Prime Video, Netflix,
and Vodafone TV. Adapted for television from author Ted Dewan’s beloved books, with more than one million subscribers and over one billion YouTube views in Italy, over 384,000 followers on Facebook, 42,000 on Instagram, and with distribution in more than 130 countries, Bing continues to entertain entire families - adults and children alike.
Playing in the open air
With the arrival of spring, the agency’s properties encourage outdoor play: launching this spring is Colzani’s new line of Bing bicycle accessories, which join the real Bing bicycles from Dino Bikes. Smoby is also offering a Bing outdoor line with tricycles, scooters, and ODS a first step ride-on. Bing also continues to air on Rai Yoyo with special events such as ‘Bing’s Animal Stories’, a compilation of the best animal-themed episodes with some unreleased content, aired on on the 11th of December 2022.
Bluey, on the other hand, makes playing in all its forms its distinctive mark, featuring it in both its animated series and in its support of the brand in Italy with activities and ideas for family fun. The ‘Dance Mode’ campaign has just started to accompany the release of
Bluey’s album of songs on all music platforms, where fun and dancing is the main objective. Bluey’s second season made its grand debut on Rai Yoyo on the 26th of December and is now winning over a huge audience following on the channel. Bluey episodes are also available on Disney+.
Additionally, BBC Studios Kids & Family launched Bluey’s Italian-language YouTube channel earlier this year, which now boasts more than 75,000 subscribers! The series, which the Italian audience is becoming increasingly enamoured with, centres on Bluey, a Blue Heeler puppy who loves to play and make everyday life into a new adventure that always turns out to be unpredictable and hilarious, bringing her family, friends and community into her world of fun.
In 2023 Masha and The Bear, after a revolutionary re-branding featuring an updated logo and other graphic embellishments of the characters, will focus on sustainability and nature conservation education, with
a dedicated style guide on the theme. In the first months of 2023 Rai Yoyo doubled Masha and The Bear’s schedule, adding three daily slots for a total of 11 episodes per day. Masha and The Bear is also available on many other platforms such as DeA Junior, Netflix, Prime Video, and TIM Vision. And on YouTube “Shorties”, a new format of short videos in which the hilarious Masha is the star of unpublished stories, has just been launched. The show is a global phenomenon on YouTube, with over 130 BILLION total views and 200 million followers, as well as 54 Creator Awards (including 6 Diamond Awards). And finally, Animaccord has just announced the new Master Toy for Europe, Giochi Preziosi.
Digital proposals: NFT and video games
The digital world, the metaverse and gaming more specifically, are increasingly playing a leading role in licensing as a viable alternative for the kids and teen target audience. Suffice
it to say that at the end of 2019, just before the explosion of COVID-19, the gaming sector was worth an impressive USD 145.7 billion and is a market in continuous expansion where the most recent projections foresee it reaching over $250 billion in value by 2025. This opens up opportunities for brands to develop very interesting licensing projects that allow them to take advantage of very specific profiling. NFTs are another noteworthy opportunity because they consist of creative collections that reside in the digital world, but which, available as a brand, can also be applied to the licensing world.
The agency is riding this trend by adding two new properties to its offer for its Italian clients, one from gaming and one from an NFT collection, which they invite you to discover in Bologna by visiting their stand.
An exciting 2023 for ETS: established brands and many novelties
ETS Licensing is increasingly focused on offering a diverse licensing portfolio that reflects market trends.
HELLO MAESTRO: AN EVERGREEN BRAND TO DISCOVER THE WORLD WITH FUN
ETS expands the licensing portfolio with the educational brand Hello Maestro! Hello Maestro! includes the seven series of the ‘Once upon a time’ saga (26 x 26’), including the best-known Siamo fatti così (Original title Il était une fois). Born from an idea of Albert Barillé in 1978, the brand of the French company Procidis has become a staple of edutainment for several generations of children, teenagers and families. The 180-episodes animated series explores different areas of discovery from the human body to history, from space to the environment, ...remaining more relevant than ever after more than 40 years.
In Italy, Siamo fatti così is part of the childhood of 86% of parents and about 80% of children know the famous Maestro and appreciate the series that airs on Cartoonito, Italia 1 and in streaming on Netflix, Prime Video and Tim Vision.
The series’ popularity is also due
to its long-standing partnership in the publishing field with DeAgostini, which over the years has developed various products such as book series, numerous partwork editions including booklets to build a model of the human body.
In recent years Procidis has been engaged in the complete HD restoration of all the animated series
and has started to develop a new chapter in the saga entitled Once Upon a Time…The Objects (co-production Samka Productions -78 x 7’), coming out 2024
BURAGO: FROM MODELLING TO LICENSING
New to the world of licensing is Burago (May Cheong Group), the well-known model car brand that has been part of the world of motoring and model car enthusiasts for almost 50 years. Burago, which is positioned in a mainly male target group 0-99 years, has over the years become one of the strongest brands on the global market thanks to its longevity, its extensive product catalogue and the quality of the materials used.
The company has always paid a lot of attention to the consumer, and in recent years there has been an increased demand to develop products that take the brand beyond the model car world. Burago has chosen ETS Licensing to embark on a new adventure with a ‘brand extension’ project. The historic brand, synonymous with loyalty but also with constant innovation, is perfectly suited to the world of licensing.
SIMPLE&MADAMA: EVERYDAY LIFE IN COMICS
ETS is pleased to announce its new collaboration with Simple&Madama, the comic strip by Lorenza Di Sepio and Marco Barretta that since 2012 has been illustrating the everyday life of the eponymous couple with clean irony. Simple&Madama’s graphics have a unique, fresh and original style that has moved from social media to printed paper with the publication of 11 comics Simple&Madama is easily adaptable to the world of licensing thanks to the imagination of the authors who customise each product making it unique.
CRY BABIES AND BFF: CONQUERING THE WORLD
ETS is constantly involved in supporting the development of its brands with IMC Toys, a leading Spanish toy company. In 2022, Cry Babies were at the top of the sales charts in the toy sector. Numerous new partnerships were developed throughout the year, touching on new sectors such as seasonal foods and luxury apparel (stay tuned!) Similarly, BFFs (Best Friends Forever), the teen version of the dolls that cry magic tears are rapidly conquering the European market. IMC Toys’ strategy started with the conquest of the 3-6 year old pre-school segment and then developed a line that engaged the interests of older girls in every category, from toys and animated series, to licensing and marketing. Within only
six months BFFs have positioned themselves at the top of a very competitive slice of the Italian market: fashion dolls. They were even the bestselling dolls in the month of December. The BFF animated series (13 x 7’) also quickly achieved impressive audience figures, leading to the commissioning of a second season that will be available from September 2023. The first series aired on Super! and is available for streaming on Prime video, You Tube Kids and on Kitoons, the innovative OTT app that combines video and e-commerce covering a wide range of audiences.
The brand has also developed a concrete marketing strategy that includes, in addition to various projects supported by a social campaign, live events and the development of new technologies to keep up with current trends. For example, last September a BFF Live Event was held in Miami in partnership with Warner Music, where the first avatar-signed IMC Toys were presented. The Jenna Avatar is one of
the latest digital innovations that allows fans to interact with the character for a truly immersive brand experience. There are numerous companies that, after having previously developed successful Cry Babies products with ETS, have decided to extend their lines with BFFs with the expectation of more success in the future
CARLETTO: THE WORLD’S FUNNIEST CHAMELEON!
Carletto, the irreverent chameleon born as a Sofficini ‘testimonial’ has become a real brand thanks to a ‘character extension’ strategy. Despite the fact that the character originated as an icon of the Sofficini product, Carletto’s awareness has risen to 84% with a strong appeal to both children and Millennials.
Thanks to his likability, iconic status and a specially designed style guide, Carletto is the perfect character for licensing projects such as games, publishing, apparel, and promotions. This year Carletto turns 25. Since his first appearance in 1998, entire generations still recognise the cheerfulness, authenticity and fun in the charming chameleon.
KIMMIDOLL: THE VALUES OF LIFE
Kimmidoll is the Japanese Mini Doll collection inspired by the kokeshi mini doll tradition. The Kimmidolls consist of three lines: Classic, Junior and Love, covering three female target segments from pre-school to adult. Over the years, several partnerships have been developed with the brand such as the BTS Pigna line and the school collection for the Love line by GUT. One current successful partnership is with the Biembi company specialising in the design, production and distribution of freetime products. The collection includes key rings, mugs, scarves, notebooks, pochettes – with a new 2023-2024 line in the works.
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING: FROM BOOKS TO THEATRE
Pippi has arrived in the theatre, with her red braids, coloured stockings and free spirit ready to amaze the children and families of Italy. This winter, the show Pippi Longstocking - The Musical, a project born from an idea by Gigi Proietti and brought to the stage by Sagitta Alter and Carlotta Proietti under the direction of Fabrizio Angelini, went on stage at the Teatro Olimpico in Rome. With a cast of extraordinary actors, singers and acrobatic dancers, the pages of Astrid Lingren’s book came to life telling the story of the timeless icon.
ETS collaborates for years with the French animation studio Xilam.
Oggy Oggy and the Cockroaches Next
Generation confirms itself as a solid and comforting property with a strong awareness and a wide and multigenerational target. The series, renewed in both graphics and storytelling, continues to entertain children and families. The series is available on K2 and streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube.
Oggy Oggy is the pre-school series starring Oggy in his childhood. One of the most striking elements of the series is the CGI graphics, a valuable “tactile”
element perfect to be transferred into consumer products with effective merchandising developments. Simba is master toys of the brand that launched a first collection last Christmas with the plush and toys reproducing the main characters of the series. Oggy Oggy was also one of the stars in October at Cinecittà World, where children and families were able to meet the loved protagonist during several Meet & Greets.
The second half of 2023 will see the launch of the new season of Zig&Sharko, the comedy series that tells the wacky adventures of the hyena Zig who, with the help of the pagurus Bernie, tries every day to eat the mermaid Marina but Zig has to contend with Sharko, the mermaid’s shark protector. Each season is set in a different location, and stay tuned to discover the new adventures of Zig&Sharko!
Transformation of locally-beloved children’s character into global brand
Since the release of the first book about Nelly Jelly in Lithuania, the beloved children’s character has burgeoned into a competitive and modern IP. Looking towards global expansion, the brand is building on their current portfolio of content and is looking for suitable partners to launch an animated series.
Nelly Jelly — the character of an illustrated book — is the most recognizable children’s IP in Lithuania. Nelly Jelly is a small girl ruling a big universe: a 5-year-old who tames monsters, pirates and gnomes, travels in her vast magical world and finds all the needed solutions to her problems without leaving her home.
Problems that arise in Nelly Jelly’s universe are common to children in any place in the world — for example — why are parents always so busy? Why is being lazy bad? Or why should I always listen to my Mom and Dad? Inspiring other little girls and boys to be like her, Nelly Jelly proactively looks for solutions to her problems and enables her imagination.
All of a sudden, a whole magical world opens up, where she faces unlimited tools, space, and solutions to problems.
Nelly Jelly was initially born as the brainchild of writer and artist Lina Žutautė, who had promised her son to tell a different bedtime story every night. The artist realized that her son was getting excited about endless stories of an inquisitive, witty girl, always in the mood for something extraordinary — such as traveling to space, baking pies or fighting with a giant. This was how the first book of Nelly Jelly was born.
The success of the first book gave way to launch the Nelly Jelly brand in the home market.
“The amazing popularity of Nelly Jelly meant a huge brand was starting to enter the market,” says Greta Stankutė, Brand Development Manager of Nelly Jelly. “The children and their parents have spoken they loved the new character. Our research shows that the young generation is curious, creative, and with a passion for technology. A team of toplevel professionals joined in, and soon it was developed as a very successful local brand.”
Nelly Jelly’s achievements in publishing and licensing in the home market are noteworthy, as it has released over 100 various publications since the first book. The brand’s current portfolio of content answers various “what & how” questions for children in the form of 13 picture books, 6 encyclopedias, 4 family books, 3 sound books, and 9 activity books.
“We support building traction for our products by increasing brand awareness through different channels and touchpoints such as books, toys, edible items, clothing, theater productions and musicals,” says Greta Stankutė.
Nelly Jelly has a successful track record in 9 different categories, from supplements to consumer electronics, proving their wide applicability and relevance for preschoolers and their families. The brand sold 1.9 million consumer products in 2022 (the TA size in the country is 140 000).
The brand’s digital products are built to be creative, witty and fun — just as the younger generation or Nelly Jelly herself. For example, if the brand releases a new speaker, it doesn’t only play sound, but also dances. The scent diffuser is also a night lamp that narrates fairy tales.
Nelly Jelly is now expanding from its local market and looking for suitable partners.
“Nelly Jelly has great potential, and we aim to take the IP on a global journey,” continues Greta Stankutė. “We know our consumers and we know their needs. After years of experience in the local market, we also understand global digital trends and the preferences of the youngest generation worldwide. This is why our next step is focused on animation.”
Animation is the tool that Nelly Jelly is planning to use that will, the company says, encompass all the functions of their IP. At the same time, animation will meet the combined needs of all interested parties: kids who are hungry for inspirational, attention-grabbing content as well as content producers who are increasingly focusing on specialized content channels.
“We realize that the current market situation is very beneficial for children’s content channels — industry giants such as “Sky” or YouTube’s “CoComelon” already have their own children’s channels. Nelly Jelly’s current goal in the global market is an animated series, and we are currently looking for co-producers, distributors, and broadcasters to work with”, she noted.
The team behind Nelly Jelly is already laying a strong foundation for global expansion by finding partnership opportunities in publishing and licensing. They aim to realize these ambitions by attending some of the biggest industry events this year — such as Bologna Book Fair, MIP TV, Annecy Film Festival, BLE 2023, MIP JUNIOR — and understanding the necessity to have a strong 360° plan for global exposure from day one.
Talking about the future and the market situation, Greta Stankutė believes that: “The world is becoming “kid-first,” and more and more brands will make radical changes in product design to better meet the needs of children and their parents. Finding like-minded partners with a shared vision could be the key to reaching an audience of millions. The brands need to produce content that is ready to be immediately consumed — and loved”.
For more information contact: email@example.com
What’s new with Topo Gigio
Topo Gigio is a classic brand, which has made an international comeback thanks to the launch of a new TV production, now in its second season. Licensing Magazine interviewed Elena Picco, the brand’s agent for Italy.
Best Upper Preschool Series and the 2021 Moige Award.
Giochi Preziosi is among the many partners on board. Tell us about Topo Gigio’s Toy Line and other product developments with other licensees to date
And not just in Italy: Topo Gigio is a real icon in places around the world like South America. Can you tell us about the international development of the IP?
Topo Gigio. A great classic is back in the news thanks to a TV series that already has two seasons under its belt. Tell us about this development?
Topo Gigio has represented gentleness and naivety for generations. In 2018, the creator Maria Perego committed herself to a modern, animated version of her character shortly before her death at the age of 94. The new animated Topo Gigio is produced entirely in Italy by Movimenti Production and Topo Gigio srl in collaboration with Rai Kids, with the first episodes of the second season currently airing on RAI YOYO. In this version Topo Gigio retains his original characteristics but is set in a family environment that allows him to experience new adventures together with his friends Zoe, Bob and the G-Team, getting into mischief and cuddled. From the very first moment, the ratings on Rai YOYO rewarded the editorial choices made with Rai Kids during the development phase, and we are proud of the awards received from Cartoons on the Bay for
Giochi Preziosi, our master toy licensee, was the first partner in this adventure and has created a collection of almost 100 playthings for the pre-school target group. From character playsets, talking soft toys, and ride-on toys, to beach toys, musical toys, and back to school. Topo Gigio’s licence stable has since expanded to other merchandise categories, with first-class partners such as: Gribaudo, Clementoni, Edizioni Playpress, Dino Bikes, Officine Comunicazione, Sabor, Salati Preziosi, Più Buono, Easy Shoes, Dulcop, Hopplà, and Soluna.
What some people might not know is that Maria Perego took Topo Gigio around the world in the 1960s with her prime-time show. So, generations of children - who are now parents or grandparents - grew up with the character and enthusiastically welcomed the new animated project. The series is now on air in all Latin American countries including Brazil (on Discovery Kids), as well as Spain, Portugal and Poland with very high ratings and a great fan base. It will also soon be in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. A social data point that I think is interesting to share, demonstrating his current popularity in the world, is
the number of followers on Facebook: Topo Gigio has over 5.2 million and only 5% are Italian. On social media platforms, Topo Gigio’s GIFs have been downloaded by 207 million users.
In the development of this historic brand, are you targeting both a ‘nostalgia’ and a ‘kids’ audience group?
The values of Topo Gigio have not changed in over 60 years of its existence, but since the launch of the new animated series we have felt the need to differentiate the target audience of the classic puppet from the new animated Gigio. The classic puppet, still animated by the team of animators trained by Maria Perego, speaks to an adult audience and selects his
appearances very carefully by teaming up with unique personalities such as Drusilla Foer or singing together with Valerio Lundini. And more recently by adorning the shoes of the interviewer of illustrious journalists such as Marco Travaglio, Peter Gomez, Andrea Scanzi and many other celebrities from the
world of show business on TV Talk Shows.
The new animated Topo Gigio, on the other hand, prefers live events with a family target audience, delighting children with gentle bedtime songs on YouTube and entertaining them every day on Rai YOYO with a modern language more in tune with younger generations. Starting from April 2023 there will be a Topo Gigio themed area inside the Zoomarine Park in Rome where children and their families can enjoy a magical moment with their favourite character, with a live show to dance and sing along to.
What new things can we expect in the near future?
Many new products are on the way. Since October 2022, the animated Topo Gigio series has become part of the Banijay Kids and Family group, which is handling audiovisual distribution and licensing worldwide under the leadership of Delphine Dumont. Many more investments are planned in the digital and social world as well as in marketing and content starting this year: a music project, a live action, a documentary and much more. And last but not least... 13 more new episodes are coming soon to Rai YOYO.
Kapuf the Little Monster: the first Italian pre-school sitcom
Kapuf the Little Monster is an original series co-produced by Rai Kids, Showlab and the RAI Turin Production Centre, consisting of 26 11-minute episodes. The project is produced in mixed media with live-action footage, and 3D CGI animation filmed with a brandnew real-time motion-capture system.
asked by children at the same age as the series’ target audience.
The design of the settings, as well as that of the characters, is characterised by bright colours and a style that borders on cartoonish. This helps children to see the programme in a fantasy context while telling stories related to everyday family life.
The motion-capture system involves capturing body and facial movements of a mime in volumetric perspective via Bluetooth sensors which are converted in real time to the CGI character. The result is that the cameras captures the little girl and the mime but on the monitors you see the little girl and the animated character interacting.
The series follows the story of a 6-year-old girl and a small, lost alien, who accidentally ends up on Earth at Kiki’s family home. While Kapuf waits to return to his own home far away, he tries to understand and fit into the world of humans, causing a thousand little daily disasters. Kiki can actually see the real Kapuf, but her parents think their daughter is just talking to the puppet she always carries around with her, an imaginary friend typical of that age.
The tone of the sitcom is funny, tender and sometimes pushes boundaries but is always respectful of the world of children. The many ‘whys’ Kapuf asks are the kind of existential questions
The aim of Kapuf the Little Monster is to create a hybrid show in which the editorial novelty of a pre-school sitcom
goes hand in hand with a fresh and innovative aesthetic that can surprise both the target audience in Italy, as well as international platforms.
EMA’s new comics venture
EMA Entertainment, part of EMA Srl, is back again this year at the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids, with its wellestablished brands and a great new venture.
EMA Entertainment is a new venture aimed at young people and a breeding ground for ideas. The concept came from the experience of EMA Srl and its sole director Edoardo Lombardi.
EMA Entertainment will once again attend the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids, to present the results of its world-acclaimed IP project The Witch, and to announce a wonderful new project in the world of comic book publishing.
The comic book The Witch was first announced at last year’s Bologna Fair and is now an internationally known brand with huge success, especially in the Asian market. In Asia, the IP has in fact gone beyond being just a print property, with a TV series produced in collaboration with Netflix Asia, based on The Witch - The Origins.
With the success of the comic book project The Witch, EMA Srl continues in this direction with the launch of a new publishing project this year: The Mystery of Tortuga - The Pirate’s Cove
The new comic book adventure The Mystery of Tortuga - The Pirate’s Cove tells the story of a young couple in love, Henry and Nila, who find themselves catapulted into a whole new world.
As a lifelong pirate fan, Nila is looking forward to trying out the attraction The Mysteries of Tortuga in the ‘Pirate’s Bay’ theme park. On their way through the attraction, however, the two youngsters find themselves in another place, a swamp, where a mysterious woman gives them an object and predicts their future. It’s time to get out of the hut, but the two find themselves separated by a thick fog, in different places: Henry is on a beach in the middle of a battle against the English colonisers together with the pirate Blackbeard, while Nila is in a large English palace where the Governor is waiting for her.
The Mysteries of Tortuga is a new
adventure designed for a young target group as well as adults, following in the footsteps of an iconic graphic adventure: Mokey Island, published by Lucasfilm Games in 1990. This is one of the inspirations for the project, the brainchild of Edoardo Lombardi: a video game mixed with a passion for pirate adventures, something that has not been seen on the market for a long time (with a few exceptions).
The project is currently in development with the first storyboards and designs of the main characters already produced. The team of EMA Srl is seeking new valuable partners with whom to grow the IP. Edoardo Lombardi and his team look forward to seeing The Mystery of Tortuga - The Pirate’s Cove as a comic book, a TV series and - why not? - also a video game.
Marvel Mission Arena conquers the market
The Marvel Mission Arena Trading Card Game created by Cicaboom is the flagship of a whole series of interesting licensed products.
Marvel Mission Arena is the new collectible card game that combines the appeal of the world’s best-loved superhero brand with an addictive multilevel game, designed for both younger and more experienced players. Featuring carefully crafted illustrations of heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe, Marvel Mission Arena cards are both complete gaming tools and fascinating collectors’ items.
The two thematic starter decks dedicated to the Avengers and Spider-
Man and his friends will help younger players learn the basics of the game. More experienced players, on the other hand, can immerse themselves in the complete rulebook using the cards available in the packets, a fun expansion that will enlarge the collection and provide increasingly powerful cards for ever more compelling game strategies. Soon to be released, the new App will act as both a game instructor, and a source of news related to the world of Marvel Mission Arena.
Marvel Boomez 3D Card Game, superheroes for all ages
The Marvel Boomez 3D Card Game further elevates the concept of collecting, thanks to the beautiful super deformed figures of the most iconic characters in the Marvel universe. In addition to containing the beautiful collectible figures, each Marvel Boomez 3D Card Game pack also contains a 20-sided die and a skill card associated with each character which easily turns the collection into a quick and fun game suitable for all ages and playable at any time.
The success that Marvel Boomez is achieving is undeniable, so much so that the Wave 1 and 2 produced so far
have literally sold out, and the eagerly awaited, soon-to-be-released Wave 3, characterised by the venomisation of the various Marvel characters, is generating great interest among fans! The “Maximum Venom” range offers two great novelties: a gold and silver character and an exclusive limitededition version with only 4000 units.
Elastikorps fighter and the return of He-Man and The Masters of the Universe
Cicaboom’s licensed products are enhanced by the Elastikorps fighter from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, a series of stretchable action figures based on the iconic Mattel characters.
The Elastikorps from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe stretch to three times their original size, but they always regain their original shape.
The most recent version of the Elastikorps fighter He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are based on the Netflix animated series that kicked off in 2021, and is now in its third season. These provide both an extremely playful product for children, and a cult product for all the adults who grew up with the very first animated series from the 1980s!
Letrabots school project: the Gabri illustrated book
Among its many ventures, Cicaboom is launching a brand-new project starring their iconic Letrabots: an illustrated book entitled Gabri, which will bring the famous transformable letters to Italian schools.
Letrabots is a Cicaboom srl registered trademark, which over the years has become increasingly popular among children, but also among parents and teachers because of its special playfuleducational features. Now the property has landed in schools as part of a crossmedia project in full Letrabots style, with the illustrated book Gabri.
Fans of the property are able to get personally involved with this new project thanks to Letrabots Mail, one of the channels through which users
can communicate with the world of the brand and children can send drawings, thoughts and letters dedicated to their transformable heroes.
The illustrated book Gabri was primarily inspired by its audience, from the stories of people who saw their children or pupils playing with the famous letters that turn into robots. Over the years, many mothers and teachers wrote to Letrabots Mail explaining how these toys were making learning more fun, even in more difficult
or problematic situations. And so, the picture book project began with the stories of parents and teachers who saw Letrabots not just as a toy, but as an important learning and play tool for children. From there, the idea of helping and supporting children’s learning began, including the illustrated book Gabri, from the pencils of Giorgia Matarese and Giorgia Larosa. Anna Rosa Giaccio, Anna Russo and Raffaella Ceres were also involved in the project, to best combine pedagogical aspects within the narrative.
In the 30-page book Gabri tells the story of two countries - that of the Vowel Letrabots and that of the Consonant Letrabots – that don’t really want to cooperate with each other. Thanks to a curious child, Gabri, Vowel Letrabots and Consonant Letrabots finally manage to make friends, creating a world of sharing and fun.
In addition to the picture books, the Cicaboom team has also provided fun Play Suggestions: activities that can be carried out with a Kit included as a gift with the book and the Letrabots toys. Gabri is not just a picture book but also a project characterised by interactivity and cross-media elements that allow adults and children to experiment together.
Letrabots is a property that goes beyond the marketing of toys and into the production of entertainment and publishing-related content.
This continues onto who we partner with, we want the best partners in the industry to come on this journey with us and ensure we are telling the correct story to our consumers through a common shared goal. We marry ourselves to partners who share our vision for brand purpose, designled innovation, cultural relevance, and executional excellence. We have partners who we’ve been building our brands with for over 30 years, such as Egmont and Panini, but we also like to evolve with the category and explore what that means with the likes of Toniebox.
Play is the way. A talk with Ruth Henriquez
At the occasion of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/ Kids, Licensing Magazine interviewed Ruth Henriquez, EMEA Head of Consumer Products at Mattel, sharing her thoughts on brand purpose and evolution, as well as what makes Mattel so unique.
It seems to be an exciting time to be working with Mattel, what makes it so special for you?
For me it’s simple, the brands and the teams behind them. On average toys have a lifespan of just three years, yet at Mattel we have so many brands that are over half a century young! From Barbie who turns 65 next year, to Thomas and Friends who’s been entertaining children for over 75 years. Brands don’t stay around that long by pure chance, it’s thanks to the investment of world class teams, we have to continually ask ourselves what’s our purpose and who do we put in charge of telling our story to the world, helping our employees align their own intrinsic values to the work we do. We believe in maintaining a strong culture, culture at Mattel is about collaboration, innovation, creativity, execution and team work – it shows itself every day in what we do and we certainly couldn’t do the kind of work we do without the teamwork, passion, and perseverance of
You mention brand evolution, what does this mean for Mattel?
We are evolving from a toy company into an IP driven company, we have so much in development - 13 films, over 30 television shows, live events, and of course consumer products. This truly has the potential to be one of the biggest unlockers of our business. Our evolution comes in three parts, strategy, structure, and talent – this includes putting the right people for the right roles throughout the team and empowering them to go do great work by eliminating the barriers. We created a playbook to win and more importantly a playbook to lead. The Mattel playbook balances the art and the science of creativity to deliver brand longevity. Our playbook focuses on four principles, brand purpose, design-led innovation, cultural relevance, and executional excellence.
And that’s all without mentioning the individual brands projects that are transforming how we operate!
I think it’s safe to say the Barbie movie is one such project, tell us more about that.
Back when Ruth Handler created Barbie as the first girl empowerment brand, the formula was simple – purpose x relevance = impact. This is something we are carrying with us into what promises to be the best chapter in the brands history yet. What would be more culturally relevant than headlining one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, it is the perfect demonstration of doll to IP. The movie will deliver purpose, epic fashion, irreverent humour and explore really important topics like gender equality and what it means to be human. Barbie has a global recognition of 99%, it’s important to us to imagine the potential of Barbie beyond the doll
and this movie perfectly encapsulates that.
The movie has also provided us this amazing jumping off point to explore so many other licensing and franchise opportunities, you won’t believe some of the partnerships we’re going to unveil in the coming months across consumer products.
But of course, Barbie is only one part of Mattel - what else is happening?
The Mattel playbook is the spark that’s
lit the fire behind this turnaround, and it is a blueprint that’s reenergising our entire brand portfolio. You’ll have seen in the news recently that we’re bringing back Barney. Mattel’s comprehensive
revitalisation of the Barney brand will span television, film, and YouTube content as well as music and a full range of kids’ products including toys, books, clothing, and more. Apparel and accessories for adult fans, featuring classic Barney, are also in development. Mattel’s Barney relaunch is emblematic of the company’s strategy to mine the incredible depth and breadth of our IP portfolio to relaunch legacy franchises. More recently, we successfully brought back our Monster High property which is of course a content brand, but it definitely goes beyond that. Since the beginning, the Monster High brand has advocated for a more accepting world, a message which strongly resonates with consumers having sold 150 million dolls in over 60 countries. The brand is allowing for even more storytelling opportunities by representing a wide array of body shapes and styles. Further to this, Fireman Sam is back in action, with series 14 expanding the storytelling ability of the brand, as well as teaching important safety lessons. There is so much fun to be had with Sam, as his universe expands with the arrival of Pilot Krystyna Kaminski and her all-new air and eco-electric fire rescue plane, FireSwift, which is located at the first-ever Pontypandy Airport. New characters, new locations, new ways to tell the story.
With so many brands, how do you stay relevant?
Having a voice in the cultural conversation is hugely important for every brand. From Versace to Puma, Balmain to Keith Haring – fashion houses have seen the power of brands like Barbie and its voice in society, pushing forward in collaborative work with us.
The Balmain collection was hyper relevant to consumers and straddled both the digital and physical world including dolls, fashion and Barbie’s first NFTs. Oliver Roustang was inspired
by Barbie’s signature pink and he’s not alone, this movement is everywhere, it’s not called pinkcore, it’s called Barbiecore. Barbiecore isn’t just in fashion, it’s fashionable and right now we’re not only in the conversation, we’re leading it.
It’s also important to listen to the world around you, like so many we are openly committed to issues such as sustainability – meaning for every new partnership we can open up the dialogue to be able to truly make a difference and help create the world our consumers respond to.
What’s the future look like for Mattel?
At Mattel, we’re passionate about the positive impact that our brands can have in the world and the purpose led initiatives we can activate. Purpose can equal immortality, which is why our brands are based on an idea that’s bigger than the product itself. Ultimately, evolution makes a brand relevant, but purpose creates immortality. As powerful as our brands are today, there’s so much more to come.
2023, Phygital: a bridge between physical and digital
Pea (formerly Pea&Promoplast) has been a world leader in development and production for the promotions and publishing market for over 40 years. Now Pea is celebrating its financial successes achieved in 2022 with some exciting news.
Pea ended 2022 on a very positive note. As CEO Gianluca Aprile di Cimia said, “We attended the Nuremberg Toy fair celebrating our significant increase in sales revenue achieved in 2022, confirming our company as the Italian leader in promotions. This is the synergetic result of an effective business model that allows us to be flexible to market demand, and which is further
enhanced by the support we offer in the digital world.”
Despite the difficulties of the international market, Pea has made a significant change from physical to phygital experiences, which has given the company an ideal positioning in terms of skills, quality and service. Now Pea is able to fully service its clients by implementing its own expertisein the licensing /promotional/ publishing markets while continuing to compete and generate value.
A return to the future
2023 has just begun and it will be an exciting year for Pea, starting with a major change that represents ‘a return to the future.’ The new company name celebrates the one used in the past and emphasizes the new company’s identity and values.
P.E.A. - People, Engage, Achievement People: to continue to put people and the knowledge of its users at the center; Engage: to retain users thanks to Pea’s ability to read data; and Achievement: to remember past achievements and future goals.
The word Promoplast has officially been dropped to represent new values, stressing an increasingly green and smart soul, capable of growing with the market and with technology. The focus has now shifted to sustainability, with a clear plan of action in support of people and the planet.
The company has a new name, a new website (www.peaitaly.com) and an enhanced staff able to respond proactively to the needs of its customers around the world.
Kintana, the digital soul of Pea
Kintana is Pea’s new digital competence center, created with a very specific task: to make physical products smart But there is something more: a real interactive phygital experience that will bring never-before-seen results in terms
of engagement, storytelling, and data management to generate new business opportunities.
Kintana has two patented digital ecosystems built around its customers’ needs: TATA APP and TATA AI.
TATA APP is a mobile application that offers its partners a deep knowledge of the consumer, tracking data and behaviors through advanced gamification and loyalty. By getting an RFID device closer to the product or scanning the Bar/QR code on the packaging, the app can provide personalized content consistent with the brand values. TATA APP is able to support the client with in data profiling and data management, customer clustering, user engagement and conversion, creating a solid community of real-world life consumers, and lead generation.
TATA AI, on the other hand, is an artificial intelligence app designed and trained to interact and work with kids as well. It just requires an input chosen
by the user (picture/word/etc), and its algorithm will come up with something unique and original that will belong only to that individual customer.
TATA AI aims, not only to entertain the users, but also to collect users’ habits and preferences to create the most precise buyer’s profile possible. Users are invited to input their contents and the algorithm automatically generates a story containing their preferences. The key goals of TATA AI are to focus
on the interests and habits of cross age end-users, generate exclusive contents, and to provide uniqueness to each individual user.
This is how Paolo Rigobello, General Manager, Kintana describes the Digital Competence Center’s know-how:
‘Kintana’s mission is to make product intelligent, capable of creating an immersive and fully interactive phygital experience. A product recognized by the TATA platform becomes a link between two worlds, the physical and the digital, connecting the consumer directly to the brand. The digital competence center is our B2B bridge, built on exclusive information and content, for a profitable one-to-one relationship with the end consumer.”
Kintana technology enables the full spectrum of tracked data to be collected, processed, and transformed into competitive advantages for companies. This data reflects the end users and their way of relating to the consumer product, thereby becoming the most reliable and accurate measure. Pea and Kintana have redefined the concept of a product completely changing the way users interact with the objects, making a step into the future. Are you ready for new and unique experiences?
‘Kintana’s mission is to make product intelligent, capable of creating an immersive and fully interactive phygital experience. “
- Paolo Rigobello, General Manager, Kintana -
IGT-Cool Things main focus, this year, will be on licenses and properties.
PawPatrol, Bing, Baby Shark, Smurfs have given to IGT – Cool Things so much satisfaction, prompting them to enrich their vending machines and pocket money toys catalogue with new lines of licensed products.
They have also launched new collections with their best IPs. In fact, the new Puppy Club Friends - The Best have arrived. They are very cute dogs in their houses, and Puppy Farm, the most desired farm animals, while the Funkymals have become both squishy and stretchy.
They have also enriched their portfolio with three brand-new properties: Cruel Fuel, fantastic vehicles capable of facing different challenges, leading children, through storytelling, to the ecological transaction; Weirdones, nice characters, all different and equal at the same time, beautiful, colorful and “diversity” champions. Finally, the new Dyno Squad lead children in the discovery of dinosaurs’ world.
The Unicorn Dolls and Cruel Fuel app games will also come soon, easily downloadable using QR codes. Cool Things are constantly looking for partners who help them to sell their products in different markets and countries: it is important to have
the chance to satisfy customers both in Europe, in the United States and throughout the world. To do this, they constantly monitor emerging innovations and the trend over the years of well-known properties, handed down from mother/father to son/daughter. A mix of exciting novelties and reassuring ever-green landmarks.
Licenses must therefore represent certain kind of values, be close to the spirit of the very young customers and let children seeing the world from an optimistic perspective: they must be fun, positive, engaging in order to encourage impulse purchases.
IGT-Cool Things are open to all types of licenses, from those born from animations that involve children through stories, to those conceived as videogames, where the game is crucial instead of the story itself, and therefore very engaging. The group chooses partners in the licensing world according to shared values and passion, that are mainly represented by the characters and storytelling, but also by the people who are behind the success of certain brands. In February, at the latest
Nuremberg Toy Fair, IGT-Cool Things got feedback on the effectiveness of their strategy, meeting many partners, customers and licensors. With all of them, there was a great desire to create new partnerships or consolidate the existing ones, and therefore opportunities within this world have not been lacking. They have received numerous visits to the stand, full of curiosity, resourcefulness and desire to collaborate after a long time of physical absence from trade shows, making them perceive and feel the passion for their products and ideas!
Mavka. The Forest Song. The international launchBy Tetiana Ruban, CEO of Nerd agency, 2022 Licensing International Rising Star
MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG is an animated movie that premiers internationally in Spring 2023.
Mavka — a Soul of the Forest and its Warden — faces an impossible choice between love and her duty as guardian to the Heart of the Forest, when she falls in love with a human — the talented young musician Lukas. It’s a fantasy, love story, and comedy.
The film is based on the classic Ukrainian poem THE FOREST SONG by Lesya Ukrainka and Ukrainian mythology about forest creatures and magical runes.
The property is 100% Ukrainian. Nerd agency (FILM.UA Group) represents the brand licensing rights globally. The release will be in Europe, North America, Middle East, and Africa. For example, NBC Universal International acquired French rights, Shout! Factory is going to distribute the movie in the U.S. and Canada. The premiere in Ukraine is set for March 2.
The core target audience of MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG is kids 4-14 years
old. Nevertheless, there is an additional audience of women as the brand has a unique lifestyle visual identity. The main values are respect for nature and its resources, authenticity, an eco-friendly way of life, and natural beauty. The brand has two strong missions. First, the ecological mission is to raise awareness on the problem of deforestation and the extinction of animals and plants registered in the Red List. Second, the cultural mission is to present the authenticity and beauty of Ukrainian culture to the world. Since the plot and characters were well known in Ukraine, the brand started getting popular after the very first teaser of the movie, which generated 54M views on YouTube.
Our first collaborations were with fashion designers that were engaged in the development of characters and props. We collaborated with a premium clothes designer Navro and a jewelry brand Oberig. Then we licensed books based on the original poem with initial artworks from the movie. Also premium handmade toys and home textiles were launched. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Lesya Ukrainka, we launched a postal collection with the
national post Ukrposhta.
The brand was getting more and more popular. The artworks were really appealing. Among the several initiatives, we’ve got a request from Silpo, one of the biggest retailers in Ukraine, to decorate their new flagship store with Mavka Universe: 6000 sq meters supermarket in Kyiv was fully branded with the artworks from the movie. After a successful branding of the retail space, we continued our partnership with Silpo and launched a loyalty campaign. There were random collectible figurines of MAVKA
characters and licensed goodies. The plush toys and the activity book with AR were sold during the first 2 weeks of the campaign (the book’s print run was 2.5 times as big as the average in Ukraine). The program itself was supposed to last for 2 months but has been extended to 3 months due to huge demand. We’ve reached over 25M contacts through ads during the loyalty campaign and achieved high engagement of the audience thanks to the collectible mechanics, AR and BTL.
Food producers became interested in the brand, and we made limited editions of licensed confectionery, cereals, and yogurts. As well we got a partner with paper tableware for parties. The movie has been so anticipated that one of our licensees produced MAVKA calendars for 2022 and 2023.
A national fashion retailer Anabel Arto launched a collection of home apparel in the summer of 2022. Duna, the socks
producer and retailer, released the products in February 2023.
We partnered with Ranok, the biggest publishing house in Ukraine, and developed a wide range of products ready to be launched with the movie première. There will be a book based on the film’s script, the original book, coloring and activity books, sticker packs, etc.
Several companies will produce different kinds of toys. Kiddisvit will launch soap bubbles with MAVKA right before the première. We’ve got a stationery partner Vivat (Kite), a DTR partner in back-toschool products.
MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG works excellently for women’s audience. We’ve inked an outstanding partnership with SOVA golden jewelry producer and retailer. They used floral elements and runes from the MAVKA Universe. The licensee integrated with the animated movie promotion and placed the product into the romantic OST of MAVKA that was released on this year’s St. Valentine’s Day. Besides, SOVA prepared an animated commercial that combined the jewelry and the MAVKA world. The closer to the première, the more requests we receive. During the last month to the release time, we’ve signed new licensees in home textile, arts & crafts, fashion retail, and souvenirs. And all of them manage to produce some products until the launch date of the movie.
We believe - once the world will see the charm and beauty of MAVKA. THE FOREST SONG - it will become a beloved licensed brand across many countries. The international releases will take place till the end of the year. Following the theatrical premières, there will be VOD and TV releases, so we expect the brand’s life cycle will last at least 2 years from its official launch.
The new brilliant Toy divisionBy Rossella Arena
The new incredible product lines of Zag Play Toy have been presented at Spielwarenmesse 2023.
The goal is to offer fans rich and full brand experiences, working in parallel with the company’s licensees to ensure a comprehensive and complementary offering across the globe. The ZAG Play Toy Division is part of ZAG Play which includes the licensing and merchandising, promotions, and gaming groups, headed by Julian Jacob Zag, EVP, Global Operations and Head of Consumer Products, to whom Perheentupa reports.
“At the new ZAG Play Toy Division, we will leverage our unique point-ofdifference as both an animation content powerhouse and a high-quality toy company to develop state-of-the-art products that empower children to see themselves as heroes through imaginary and aspirational play” explained Jeremy Zag, Founder and CEO, ZAG
Award-winning global independent animation studio ZAG presented at the latest Toy Fair 2023 the product lines of ZAG Play Toy. The new global toy division, headed by Helena Perheentupa who serves as SVP (and based in Frankfurt, Germany) develops a broad range of innovative toy products that aim to offer synchronization between storytelling and the physical and digital world that are deeply tied to the DNA of the company’s brands.
The first toys, across ten categories, all feature the company’s flagship brand, Miraculous™ – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, to be followed with products for the fun-filled action-adventure series Ghostforce, and the animated feature Melody, created and directed by Jeremy Zag, starring singer, songwriter, and actress Katy Perry
”We have worked closely with Playmates, our master toy partner, and other trusted licensees in the toy space, to develop imaginative and complementary products that keep our brands highly visible at retail” added Perheentupa. ”Among the products are toy lines that for example, due to economies of scale, are not viable at the regional level for licensing partners, but with global retail placement, we have reached critical mass to manufacture them. Together with our partners, our new ZAG Play Toy Division will offer fans a wider range of inventive and original toys for fans to engage with our brands.”
“I’ve been observing ZAG’s phenomenal growth over the last couple of years and am delighted to be joining the company at such a transformative time” declared James Nunziati, Head of Global Sales, ZAG Play Toy Division, who recently joined the company. “ZAG has developed
amazing content, and it will be exciting to create and deliver imaginative toys that will empower children through aspirational play”.
The new Miraculous Toys will all be available from Fall/Winter 2023. There are items for 3+, like the Miraball range. Inside the packaging, the Miraball first reveals a 2 ¾” (<7cm) metal ball, inside of which an even larger surprise awaits - a mighty Kwami plush that expands to become much larger than the ball it’s hidden in - 4 inches (>10cm) - thanks to the innovation of a new ultrashrinkable memory foam plush. Marinette (aka Ladybug) lives above her
family-owned Boulangerie Patisserie and regularly helps her parents. Kids can play out the scenes from the famous Parisian bakery with the Coffee Machine and Bakery, and the Macaron Stand. The set includes a coffee machine and cash register featuring lights and sound, and a bakery display case, along with bills/ coins, bakery items, coffee cups/lids, creamer/sugar, and credit card.
For 5+, the Sprinkles ‘n’ Slimy activity collection has six fun-filled creations: Cake, Donuts, Ice Cream, Macaron, Waffle, Milkshake. Box includes a silicone or plastic mould, dish, or tumbler, to create an amazing creation with foamy, fluffy crunchy, smooth, and slimy ingredients with sprinkles, glitter, and charms, to top off!
For 6+, the Time to Transform Cosmetics presents various sets with nail polish, eyeshadows, multi-color
gloss, pompom hair ties, Glitter-Scent Lip Gloss in many colors.
Miraculous™ Secrets is the first trading card game to feature heat-reactive cards to conceal and reveal exclusive
information to Ladybug and Cat Noir’s fans. It features a ready-to-play starter deck with 29 cards and 10-pack booster sets consisting of more than 200 different cards, including characters, events, bonus, and mystery cards. More than 70 cards will be released in the special rainbow foil design. Players will try to uncover the secrets of their opponents as they help the teen superheroes defeat the villains and defend their city of Paris.
For 8+, the Marinette’s Atelier range. Marinette - Ladybug dreams of becoming a fashion designer. She has had four sewing machines in the series and carries her distinct notebook with her in which she sketches her many beautiful creations. Who better can inspire and teach fans to spark their inner creativity? Marinette’s Atelier range introduces a fully functioning two-thread mini sewing machine that features an automatic sewing function for perfectly straight lines. Includes two 36 cm x 36 cm non-fringe fabrics, four sticker sheets for customization, two prethreaded bobbins, extra needle, pedal and charger, a pattern for a ladybug mask. The machine has a battery option for portability.
“At the new ZAG Play Toy Division, we will leverage our unique point-of-difference as both an animation content powerhouse and a high-quality toy company to develop state-of-the-art products that empower children to see themselves as heroes through imaginary and aspirational play”
Founder and CEO, ZAG -James Nunziati
A toy alone is not enough
Jiella Esmat, Chief Revenue Officer of Amuse Animation, was one of the experts at the License Talks of Spielwarenmesse 2023. LM interviewed her to explore the possibilities of collaboration between digital-first animation companies such as Amuse, and the toy industry.
How can the animation industry help the sales of toys?
Children lean into brands that engage and connect with them in a relatable way. Leading toy properties must provide 360 immersive play experiences to stay relevant and maintain demand. Animated content can help supercharge toy sales, ensuring longevity and deeper connection.
As the Insights Family suggests “Preschool children are the most likely to own licensed toys related to their favourite characters from films, TV shows and Youtube channels” - content and toys really are the perfect marriage.
Children today expect to see toys integrated into animated content and their favourite characters on retail shelves. Content creates greater excitement for the physical product and multiple touchpoints for engagement.
How does digital content differ from traditional animation, and what is its importance now?
Digital-first content offers a vast number of data points which translate to a richer understanding of the audience. With that data at hand digital-first creators are able to remain in a constant state of development, iterating and tweaking to deliver truly audience centric content. Unique access to the audience via YouTube enables direct communication with and participation from billions of viewers globally.
Combining these factors provides a clear path to engineering scalable success. Mastered, it is a complete game changer for any company looking to build a global property.
Other notable benefits of digital content production are reduced budgets and speed to market, with agile workflows
that are disrupting the way things have been done in the past. Animation quality is no longer compromised as the model has seen huge advancements in the past 24 months. These are significant advantages in today’s economic climate.
What services could Amuse Animation offer toy companies?
There are exceptional synergies to be forged between toy companies and digital-first animation studios such as Amuse. We share a vision to create 360° IPs from the ground up, conceiving toy and content concepts from the outset.
We offer 2D and 3D animation servicing for digital-first and premium properties. Partners can access our data-driven conception methodology, agile production workflow, strong experience creating preschool animation, and some of the the highest tax incentives globally via The Canary Islands (up to 54%).
We are also developing an IP coownership model for toy companies to unify our expertise in a unique way, sharing in equity and global backend revenue. Already incubating properties with strong visibility and demonstratable proof of concept, we’ve begun pitching to strategic toy co-producers. New concepts created from scratch in partnership with toy companies is also a compelling proposition, offering a shared stake in concepts with global potential.
We’re actively engaging with global toy companies looking to build the next generation of animation franchises and are thrilled to be in production on a digital-first series for Hasbro’s EOne.
Tell us more about Amuse’s IPs.
At Amuse we’ve been focused on building a catalogue that engages children’s imagination, inspires curiosity, and promotes kindness and empathy. We’re responding to industry demand
for content that is relatable, addresses diversity and inclusion, and encourages awareness of sustainability and universal positive values.
Our library comprises more than 30 self-financed preschool properties that we’ve conceived with toys in mind from inception. We distribute globally from the US and Europe to China where we have long-established partnerships with 15 of the top OTT and CTV platforms.
“A toy alone is not enough. Every CP strategy now needs to be supported by a robust content plan. By producing great animation, ideally at low costs, the manufacturers can demonstrate they’re listening to retailers and consumers.”
We have content to suit the entire preschool demographic, from music and dance-based shows for the lower end of the age range, to vehicle-based series for boys and fairy tales for girls aged 3-5. Some of our strongest IPs include Super Truck, Robo Fuse, AnimaCars, Increditales and Shark Academy.
We’re currently in the midst of rebooting our shows and developing premium spin-offs that will align with preferred broadcast durations of 7’s and 11’s. Our goal is to generate 360° entertainment touchpoints for children from video and audio distribution to eBooks and gaming apps, leading to full CP programs.
What are the benefits for companies in producing animated content?
A recent conversation at the London Toy Fair demonstrated the clear need to launch toy ranges in tandem with animated content – retail buyers expect it. Brand presence is non-negotiable with L&M licensees requiring broad distribution and mass awareness. Children mirror this expectation as toys and animation are increasingly accessible in the same ecosystems. Within a few clicks they migrate from viewing a show they love to buying the related product and having it delivered to their door a couple of days later.
A toy alone is not enough. Every CP strategy now needs to be supported by a robust content plan. By producing great animation, ideally at low costs, the manufacturers can demonstrate they’re listening to retailers and consumers. Getting the algorithm game right on Youtube and securing linear broadcast distribution guarantees mass global awareness leading to stronger sales.
The French FactorBy Andrea De Amicis
The French market is rich in winning content and licenses, especially in the kids’ sector
Annick Bizet, New Business and Strategic Alliances Director, Banijay Kids & Family, shared the 2023 projects: “Last year we grew our footprint with the addition of two exciting new labels to our family (Kindle Entertainment and Movimenti Production) and celebrated great successes with our shows including Zodiak Kids & Family France’s preschool comedy series Mumfie, which won the Best Pre-School TV Series at the 2022 Cartoons on the Bay Pulcinella Awards; and mystery live-action, sci-fi Silverpoint, from Zodiak Kids & Family Productions UK, which was nominated for two BAFTA Children & Young People awards: Best Scripted and Best Writer (Lee Walters). With a strong content pipeline of new IP and established brands, I’m sure that 2023 will see us build on these performances. One of the iconic franchises in our catalogue, Totally Spies!, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, will be a focus of our efforts, with several celebrations around the series already planned. We have audiobooks to be released in collaboration with our partner Bookwire
on all streaming platforms (Apple, Deezer, Spotify, Amazon etc.), and an exciting new deal with publisher Dupuis, which will offer a world premiere of the series as a webtoon. We are gearing up for the launch of the 7th season of the series in close collaboration with our partners, M6/GULLI (France) and Discovery Kids LatAm. Scheduled for release in 2024, the new season will feature the Spies in a new city, facing allnew villains”.
Procidis is an independent French production company: today many series were all restored and encompassed with the licensed products under the umbrella brand Hello Maestro!
In 2024, Maestro returns in Once upon a time… the Objects (78 x 7’ ) a new series dedicated to everyday objects in a resolutely cartoonish and contemporary spirit! The 7 first series are evergreens and have been a reference in the educational program due to historical and scientific topics, through screens for the past 40 years. Translated into 40 languages, they are well known in more than 100 countries.
To date, more than 40 licensees are on board with games, figurines, publishing, DVD, music, audio stories, digital
games…. More than half a million family board games were sold in the last 5 years only, whereas 100 million DVDs and 200 million books were sold since the launch of the IP.
Tailored-made content, involving Maestro’s digital avatar, is also developed to leverage partners’ messages. A digital shorts collection is already available on Lumni, the French national educational platform. The Adventures of Colargol, the preschool musical tale with universal and family values, is coming back in 2023 in a wonderful HD remastered version. A feature film based on the series is now in development.
Piwooz, created by Giovanni Gasparetto, is the new Mini Coach to help children with their emotions and feelings. He has just released his first books, and a music video and an animated series are in preparation. Topics such as friendship, spirituality, meditation, sharing, courage will be treated in fun and educational ways in collaboration with childhood and family professionals.
Brigitte Bardot embodies a positive sensuality that is at once authentic, daring and resolutely French. She reflects the joie de vivre of the 1950s to 1970s. The brand celebrates all the facets of this icon, actress, singer, model and dancer, through unique licenses and collaborations.
With the success of the Brigitte Bardot x François Pinton collection launched at the end of 2021, the high eyewear craftsman since 1953 has just launched the new sunglasses model Buzios as well as new colours for the already iconic models: Paris, Madrague, Méribel and Cancun.
The Supplément d’A.M Paris brand has decided to expand its Brigitte Bardot range by offering weekend bags with revisited toile de Jouy-inspired prints played with bayadère stripes. These new coordinated models complete the range
What are the main new features of Chefclub for 2023?
Klépierre Group, the European leader in shopping centers, will host a series of live events called “Playfood x Chefclub” - aimed at offering gourmet and shareable culinary experiences to kids and families from February to May 2023.
In March, our first Chefclub lifestyle magazine, with an initial run of 200,000 units, will be launched by Burda in France. We also teamed up with the #1 Meal-kit service in France, QuiToque, to provide kits for children.
And lastly, we are currently working on two important promotions that will be disclosed at the end of the second quarter!
of stoles/pareos launched last summer. Furthermore, autumn 2023 will see the launch of a new Brigitte Bardot readyto-wear license; the collections bearing her name will reflect the interpretation of the style of the 50s, 60s and 70s through iconic pieces worn by this timeless figure, to imagine the dream wardrobe of today’s woman.
How is the French children’s content market evolving today?
French animation has a long history and is still a leader in the industry standing up to giants like the US and Japan with big production champions such as Mediawan Kids & Family, Xilam, TeamTO or Zag Toon to name a few. French television broadcasts a total of nearly 15,000 hours of animated programs for younger viewers among which 65.5% is produced by French studios (source CNC in 2021).
Traditional terrestrial TV market share is declining slightly while VOD offerings are growing. This has a direct impact on the licensing industry where historically IPs were mainly driven by terrestrial or movie successes and we are already seeing new emerging properties coming from digital or streaming platforms. Another particularity of the French market is that it has become the second biggest territory after Japan for manga
Last but not least we see a growing demand for Made in France and sustainable products which is driven by consumers and retailers more and more.
TF1 reports on Barbapapa’s new lifestyle line, Barbalouvre. On January 19th, paying tribute to iconic cartoons and their limitless creativity, Merci transformed its store into an imaginary hotel lobby, the Cartoon Palace, an opportunity to present the Barbalouvre collection.
What are the main new features of GO-N Productions for 2023?
This year we have a new series in production, Monster Shaker, a very funny fast paced comedy for M6/ Gulli based on a series of comic books by Mr Tan and Mathilde Domecq, that we are thrilled to coproduce with DeaPlaneta Kids. First episodes will be available after Summer on screen.
We are also delighted to announce that France TV commissioned a 5th Season of Simon Super Rabbit, following the incredible success of the launch of Season 4 in terms of audience ratings both on linear
In stories, on its publications and on the web, Barbalouvre is everywhere. On January 30th, Merci announced that the Barbapapa were walking the red carpet at the Cartoon Palace. For the occasion, the launch of a capsule collection including Totebags (sold-out), and T-shirts for adults and children. In Japan the successful BARBAPAPA x RMN-GP collection was born, curated by Plaza Styles and themed Barbalouvre.
Cobrandz is the collab’, licenses and partnerships exhibition entirely dedicated to the brands’ ecosystem. Since 2004, Cobrandz (formerly Kazachok Licensing Forum) has also changed and is always looking to adapt its offer for business efficiency.
and i-player. This phenomenon replicates in most countries the show is broadcast and also on digital platforms (Netflix, YouTube where Simon hits 3 Billion views), which allows the IP to expand its Licensing & Merchandising program in 2023 and beyond.
In your opinion, how is the French children’s content market evolving today?
Like the rest of the world French market is largely impacted by the development of streamers and AVOD, which changed the way kids and families are actually watching programmes.
Kids want to see their favorite shows on all screens whenever they want, which is quite a challenge in terms of rights negotiations, but created a positive impact: a high demand for kids’ content.
France, with a strong network of experienced producers and a large reservoir of talents is ideally positioned to respond to the high demand.
In 2023, 1,000 brands from the entertainment, fashion, publishing, art, video game and food industries will present their news for 2024. From ChefClub, through The Three Musketeers, Kellogg’s, DC Comics, One Piece, Breaking Bad or even Japanese icons such as Aggretsuko and Rilakkuma, brands are not mistaken...
At the same time, we propose conferences and invite experts to share their visions on current topics, such as the behavior of young consumers in 2023, the management of fan communities, particularly in video games, the Metaverse, and brands and retail.
Finally this year, we will have our WebTV Brands to be alive, broadcasted on our Youtube channel and our website, to interview the major players in the industry, find out how they feel about the market and reveal the latest product trends.Nathalie Chouraqui-Gerson, Founder, Cobrandz
To learn more www.cobrandz.fr
In recent months, the Sophie la Girafe license has welcomed many licensees and licensed products with exciting plans.
The specialist in personalised wallpaper Wallgroup has teamed up with Sophie la Girafe with a common ambition: to invite all parents to personalise their baby’s room and make them dream.
Citron has developed toxic-free products with a stylish design that will help every child to have a full school day by keeping their food and water fresh. Dan Dee is currently developing a whole collection of plush toys. Sophie la girafe BABY CARE, is a new brand created by Adrienne Kramer, which develops hygiene and cosmetic products for babies and children.
Sophie la Girafe and the renowned publisher Templar have created a set of educational books to help babies learn their first words and develop their imagination in a fun way.
Founded in 2011, Home Made Licensing is an independent licensing agency, representing 3 categories of licenses. Perpetual and heritage licenses such as The Little Prince, which turns 80 in 2023, and Le Petit Nicolas, the iconic schoolboy, a success in publishing,
cinema and TV. For Oum le Dauphin Blanc, following the success of the first two seasons, TF1 has ordered a third, which will be broadcast in 2024. Highpotential lifestyle licences, such as Isa/ Nasa, Pringles, and an iconic character from the 1980s, Fido Dido Publishing successes such as Simon Superlapin, with 4 million copies sold in France and also a big success in animation, and Seuls for 10/14 year olds, with 2.8 million albums sold in France. The agency works with sub-agents in Europe, Asia and the United States and is always looking for new agents to cover different territories.Annick Bizet, New Business and Strategic Alliances Director, Banijay Kids & Family
How is the French children’s content market evolving today?
Using the example of children’s books, in 2021 more than 74.2 million children’s books were sold. While lockdown has had a positive effect on book sales, the numbers remain significant to date. The French market is not limited to a few flagship productions such as Asterix, but can also count on numerous contemporary titles such as Mortèle Adèle
Audiovisual production and streaming platforms have grasped the importance of the children’s content market: series and edutainment content for children is flourishing and many of the titles offered are French. Indeed, French animation has also established itself as one of the major players at an international level: France is the 3rd country in the world and the 1st European country in terms of the volume of animated series being commissioned, with 65 programmes
It is difficult to predict how the licensing market will fare in France in 2023, but we can bet it will continue to be a robust and agile industry that will grow and adapt to new challenges, technologies and media.
The latest French Children’s Booksby Andrea De Amicis
Children’s publishing, with more than 65 million copies sold in 2022, remains a heavyweight in the French book market.
According to GfK, this niche represents one book out of four purchased in France. Illustrated books remain the mainstay of sales, covering 55% of the children’s publishing market. Here are the latest releases and previews from some major French children’s publishers.
In A Funny Monday by Jeanne Macaigne, Nena, displeased with her fate as a child – the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence! –offers a little ant that runs on her hand to switch life with her. Then, the child discovers the hard, laborious life in the anthill, and the ant discovers that of a child, admittedly comfortable, but in
which you have to go to school every day. Problems begin when they want to make a difference, to bring a bit of ant strictness in class or a bit of human poetry in the anthill... Overflowing with details, Jeanne Macaigne’s illustrations take us away. The illustrator sometimes flirts with the comic book genre and has fun comparing those two universes that everything opposes.
In That Day by Pierre-Emmanuel Lyet, one afternoon the grandma is no longer here, and the grandson escapes to the countryside. Then begins a dreamlike stroll, where splendid scenes of snow-covered nature are intertwined with the memories of a dearly loved grandmother: the course of the river
reminds him of her long hair, the tangled trees her knobbly and old fingers...
This book could be sad, and yet it is the opposite: the beauty of Pierre-Emmanuel Lyet’s line, his shining colours enhance the little child’s mourning and transform it into a joyful and universal ode in memory of those we love.
Mortelle Adèle is a comic book series created by Antoine Dole under the pseudonym Mr Tan. It deals with strong themes such as the right to be different, the development of creativity, but also the fear of growing up.
training!) the lively protagonist this time uses all her energy to transform herself into a real superheroine! All the books in the series investigate important topics in children’s daily lives, such as building self-esteem.
Another February’s novelty is Un Morse pas si banal (A not-so-ordinary walrus), by the author and illustrator Dasha Dimitrova. A sensitive book to discover polar life and to think about the strength of our differences.
A beautiful picture book for the little ones in five Pantone shades and a film to filter the red colour and see how the hidden images appear. An original, interactive and educational treasure hunt to peacefully accompany such a particular moment.
Among the latest releases, Debout, les Bizarres! (Wake up, Weirdos!). In this third novel, the heroine with the red pigtails conceives a new invention to propel herself into the future, far from the homework given by the teacher and the vegetables cooked by her parents! In the meantime, Adèle finds herself face to face with a strange babysitter who loves cookies, is passionate about her inventions, and orders her to cultivate her seed of weirdness… A joyful novel, full of surprises and twists.
Face de Beurk! (Yuck face!) is the last publication in the series, currently the number one in Amazon sales, for the best humorous books for children. Whether it’s in the playground or at home, it’s out of the question for Adèle to let herself be teased or stepped on! No matter who wants her to keep quiet, this little queen intends to say everything she thinks.
Albin Michel Jeunesse
At the beginning of February, Albin Michel Jeunesse published a new volume in the Rosemonde series by Didier Levy and Ronan Badel. In Apprentis super-héros! (Superheroes in
La Martinière Jeunesse
A new world by Nathaniel H’limi (March 2023) is expected as a picture book to offer to all young fathers. An adventure told with poetry and humour about the marvellous arrival of a child, in which all young dads will see themselves. A nice reading time to share with the children, always eager to hear about their life as a baby.
Little Fox becomes a big brother (May 2023) by Sophie Ledesma is a tender and funny book to accompany the arrival of a baby. It is the Fifth title of the series Little Fox, which sold 40,000 copies in 6 languages.
Editions Animées publishes the Cartoon Books, to read, colour in and turn into cartoons using the free BlinkBook application. Every book encourages children to start reading in a fun and innovative way. Because it combines plastic expression, orality and written comprehension, it is aimed at all those involved in education.
With the book In the time of the dinosaurs you can find fearsome predators or peaceful herbivores, adorned with crests, horns, spikes, each one competes with the other in ingenuity to organize its parry, its attack or its defence. Invent and draw the dinosaurs of your dreams, then use the BlinkBook app to bring your drawing to life! You can also record your voice to tell your story. The book won the Silver medal at the Lépine Contest 2022.
New awesome children’s booksby Alessandra Maccaferri
The latest novelties in Italian children’s publishing. Many will be previewed at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair
There is an abundance of new releases by author and illustrator Nicoletta Costa Panini in February released Il Domino di Giulio Coniglio (Julius the Bunny’s Domino), a timeless game in an all-new version dedicated to the sweet rabbit! 30 cards, each one with characters and elements from the colourful world by Nicoletta Costa.
Two new Giulio Coniglio titles will be published by Panini in March, in the Le Parole Magiche series. In particular, the volume Giulio Coniglio e il Gufo Brontolone (Julius the Bunny and the Grumpy Owl) will be presented at the Bologna fair. The book has as its protagonist an owl who spends his time complaining and grumbling, but Julius the Bunny and his friends will show him that in everything there is a positive side to be happy about! The other title is Giulio Coniglio e il cavallo disobbediente (Julius the Bunny and the Disobedient Horse), in which the horse
Furio doesn’t feel like doing anything and disobeys the rules of the stables. EL published two new books with a 5+ target audience, perfect for the very first reading: in February, La Nuvola Olga e le rondini (Olga the Cloud and
the Swallows), which celebrates the return of spring; in March Le più belle storie della nuvola Olga. Avventure al chiaro di luna (The most beautiful stories of Olga the cloud. Adventures in the moonlight), a collection of some of the most beautiful stories about this beloved character.
Ludattica presents three new curated playbooks, suitable for ages 3 and up. With texts and illustrations by Nicoletta Costa, Nell’Orto di Giulio coniglio (In the Garden of Julius the Bunny) helps children discover the world of nature, the seasons and the secrets of the vegetable garden, while Più grande o più piccolo? (Bigger or Smaller?) allows them to learn the concepts of size with Olga the cloud and her tender friends. Nina e Olga - Che colore ha la felicità? (Nina and Olga - What colour is happiness?), set in the colourful world of the protagonists of the beloved TV series inspired by Olga the cloud, teaches how to recognise and name emotions.
Edizioni Arka (Il Castello Group) published two new titles in February. Ella nel giardino di Giverny (Ella in Giverny’s Garden) is dedicated to one of the founders of Impressionism, the great Claude Monet. Ella, the daughter of one of the many painters, mostly American, who travelled to Giverny in the early 20th century to study the great master’s techniques, sneaks into Monet’s garden and befriends him. Together, the two guide us to discover
the spirit of Impressionism that has influenced and still influences artists young and old, past and present. With illustrations by Monika Vaicenaviciené, already author of the award-winning book “What is a river? “(Topipittori, 2019), and the text by Daniel Fehr
Minimoni at Bologna Children’s Book Fair
What is love about, Minimoni? is the third title of the cute and charming little girl created by Rocio Bonilla, which has more than 400,000 readers around the world! Rights were already sold in German, Slovenian, Portuguese (Portugal), and Italian.
The publisher Bromera is waiting for you at Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Hall 29 / E 13, with this and more new releases.
himself with pointed ears, a bushy tail and hairy ‘socks’ to become in the eyes of his parents... a fearsome werewolf! This well-thought-out move grants him many rights, including staying awake at night or not being able to sit and do his homework or even sitting politely at the table.
A naughty children’s/wolf book, age 3 and up.
In Sono un lupo mannaro! (I am a real werewolf!) by Lia Dalu, illustrated by Francesca Carabelli, the protagonist, shrewd and clever as few (or perhaps many?!) children know how to be, arms
Active for years in the world of television production and animation, since 2021 the Rigotz Stories writing agency has expanded its services to the field of publishing.
The agency has conquered important feedback from major Italian publishing houses, resulting in profitable and ongoing professional relationships with Mondadori, Giunti, Rizzoli and DeAgostini.
Unpublished books by Rigotz authors have thus become publishing novelties in the windows of Italian bookshops. In October 2022 Piemme published Banshee - Gli amori impossibili non muoiono mai (Banshee. Impossible loves never die), a debut novel by Vernante Pallotti, aimed at the YA
audience. In 2023 Il Battello a Vapore will publish two more novels born from the collaboration with Rigotz Stories: Fiabe su Misura (Tailored Fairy Tales) by Alberto Bordin and Sei Semplici Favori (Six Simple Favours) by Lorenzo Molino Meanwhile, the research and development of new titles continue: with Mondadori a historical novel is being written by Valentina Cambi, an author with long experience in children’s publishing who is making her debut in adult fiction. At the Milano Pitch 2022, Turbanti, a title that won first prize in the Novels section by Alberto Bordin, attracted great interest among publishers.
True to its transmedia vocation, the agency also follows authors in the film and television adaptations of their works, aware that publishing and audiovisuals are now two increasingly close worlds.
Interview with Valentina Colombo, Phileas Fogg Agency
The range of children’s books is wide. How do you choose the publishers to work with and the projects/professionals to promote?
There are two criteria that guide me. The first concerns the evaluation of the potential abroad of the catalogue or project that is proposed to me. The other criterion is more personal. I often fall in love with impossible projects, but I still decide to represent them because I am convinced of their uniqueness. It is also important to look for those professionals who are reliable, who honour agreements, who work with the necessary quality.
What do you think of the current Italian publishing industry for children?
It is complicated to summarise the state of Italian publishing in a few lines, there are contrasting aspects. It is wonderful that Italian production is of a high quality in terms of form and content, which allows foreign sales to be in constant growth. But other aspects, including structural ones, are less uplifting: remuneration for illustrators and authors is increasingly tight, translation support programmes are not accessible to all publishers, publishing concentration makes it difficult for small publishers and bookshops to survive.
In this complex context, not unlike other markets, there are people, publishers associations, who operate with the highest professionalism and strict ethics. To these realities I look and with these realities I try above all to interface.
Which countries would you like to expand to?
I founded the agency in 2014 and I can say that I have worked with publishers, authors, illustrators and agents from all over the world. I would like to improve relations with Japan and the Scandinavian countries. I really admire their output, as a reader, and it would be exciting to work with them more often.
Among the novelties of Il Castoro, Awa libera tutti (Awa frees all), a new adventure novel by Francesco D’Adamo, illustrated by Lorenzo Sangiò, among the 80 artists from around the world selected for the Illustrators Exhibition at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2023. In the Village of Free Minds, atop footbridges and stilts built on top of tall, ancient baobab trees, lives a group of youngsters from different places and different stories, but ready to fight to defend children in danger or in difficulty. The leader is little big Awa, a little girl as tough as a coffee bean. Di cosa abbiamo paura (What we are afraid of) by Davide Musso is the story of a harsh and difficult adolescence, narrated without filters by an authoritative and authentic voice, with characters multifaceted and full of contradictions. Mille briciole di luce (A thousand crumbs of light) of Silvia Vecchini talks about passion for a sporting discipline, on the topical and not taken for granted theme of gender sports, in this case declined to the male.
The Best Polish Books for ChildrenBy Rossella Arena
According to Poland Book Institute, Children’s books are considered true “Polish export goods”; for many years, the works of the youngest readers have enjoyed great recognition abroad. Here is a selection of titles.
No one is home, written by Mikołaj Pasiński and illustrated by Gosia Herba, is published by HarperCollins Kids for 5+
Leo and Kimbo are best buddies. Despite living on two opposite sides of the city, they meet almost daily. One day, each of them leaves home, wanting to surprise their friend. However, this time nothing is going as planned. Their paths get tangled and lead to new, unknown places. The city takes them on an adventure. Will they manage to meet?
No one is home is a simple, unpretentious story of friendship; a eulogy for spontaneity, gaiety, and openness to new experiences
Illustrations from this picture book
will be shown at Bologna Illustrators Exhibition 2023 (Gosia Herba is the winner for the 3rd time). The rights are sold for Spanish, Catalan, Lithuanian, French.
Letters to Mr. A, published by Poradnia K, is written by Anna Sakowicz and illustrated by Ewa Bieniak-Haremska, for 7+ years old.
Mr. A moves into Aniela’s home and turns the family life upside down. It’s his fault that grandma is forgetful, confuses names, doesn’t recognize the family members and doesn’t cope with daily activities. Aniela doesn’t like Mr. A. She writes letters to him and urges him to move out.
the Best Book by IBBy Polish Section. The rights are sold for Spanish and Russian.
Detective Sparrow is published by Agora for 6+. It’s written by Adam Wajrak, with the illustrations of Tomasz Samojlik Something suspicious is going on in the city! The sparrows chirp that things have turned dangerous. Out of nowhere, birds have started falling from the sky. Who is attacking them: falcons, crows, sparrowhawks? How do we find the culprit in the urban jungle? This is a bigger issue. A case for a real detective,
Letters to Mr. A
A unique, moving, warm and full of humour lined with a melancholy book on the struggle of the family with an incurable disease – the Alzheimer. The readers will find questions about how to deal with helplessness, transience, illness and old age. The unique perspective of the child appeals to everyone, because when faced with a huge problem, which is an incurable disease, we all become helpless like children. The world seen through the eyes of a child is also created by magical illustrations that show lost or damaged objects, the grandmother’s helplessness, but also happy moments when the grandmother was still healthy. The title has received a nomination for
Karolina Jaszecka is a Polish translator who lives in Barcelona. With her agency KaBooks she promotes illustrated children’s literature from Poland. She grew up reading Polish classical authors, and can’t stop discovering new wonderful books with consistently highquality text and illustrations, written and created by Polish authors. Her goal is to make these wonderful books reach readers all over the world. For further information: https://ka-books.com
Detective Sparrow. He may not have a lot of experience, but he does not lack enthusiasm. And he is accompanied by the curious boreal owl Pu. Great fun, hilarious dialogues, a good portion of knowledge about nature, and a mission that can change the city for the better!
Wajrak is a nature conservation activist and journalist, author of articles and best-selling books on nature. Samojlik is one of the most popular creators of comic books for children, he has a Ph.D. in biology and works at the Mammal
Children’s Literature Festival (ChLF) in Poland is one of the biggest, annually held European festivals dedicated to children’s literature.
During the Festival, young readers might meet with their favourite authors, take part in a series of creative workshops with illustrators and watch literary-inspired theater shows. Cooperation with several cultural institutions like art and science museums, cultural departments of the city councils, theatres, cinemas, sites of cultural heritage allow the Festival to invite children into non-obvious (in terms of books’ context) festival venues, what, in turns, presents the broader cultural and educational context of reading. ChLF is a founder of the well-established award for the best polish children’s book of the year.
To learn more https://fldd.pl/en/
Biology Department of the Polish Academy of Science in Białowieża.
Be brave, Pink! is a book aimed at 4+ published by Sensus, written by Urszula Młodnicka-Kornaś and illustrated by Agnieszka Waligóra.
Pinku is a best-selling series in Poland, with almost 250.000 copies sold, addressed to children and parents to help to boost children’s self-esteem and
mental resilience. This is the newest volume and the rights are already sold in Slovak. The books teach how to deal with difficult emotions, build relationships with peers, and acquire a sense of identity. Don’t silence, underestimate or ignore children, just make them feel IMPORTANT. Make sure that their issues, emotions, and experiences are not lost in the race course of a hectic life. The previous volumes are You are important, Pink! and You are a real friend, Pink!
Be brave, Pink!
The great success of children’s booksBy Rossella Arena
According to WordsRated statistics, in 2023, the US children’s book market is projected to reach $2.62 billion. Here is a selection of some titles recently published in the US, and some previews for 2023.
Among the best 2022 children’s books
As of 2022, 32.8% of all books sold in the United States are children’s books: 1 in 4 books sold in the United States comes from the children’s fiction category.
The latest beautiful picture books deal with important themes such as love of the earth and inclusiveness. Berry Song, by Michaela Goade, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is a Caldecott Honor Book and an Indie Bestseller. Michaela Goade’s luminous rendering of water and forest, berries and jams offers an invitation to readers to deepen their relationship with the earth. Gibberish by Young Vo is published by Levine Querido. Dat moved to a new country: he doesn’t know the
language, so everything everybody says sounds like gibberish. Luckily there’s a friendly girl in his class, who knows that there are other ways to communicate, besides just talking.
Freestyle, by Gale Galligan, published by Scholastic/Graphix is a fun, highenergy graphic novel about friendship, family, and the last hurrahs of middle school. Cory Tan’s breakdance crew is rehearsing hard for a major competition: things go bad when Cory’s parents ground him for not taking his grades seriously. He is forced to work with a tutor, a studious classmate named Sunna. Cory’s discovery of Sunna’s unexpected yo-yo talent helps him to see her and everything in a new light, improving his life.
2023 new licensed releases
Random House announced new licensed amazing children’s books, to be released in Spring- Summer 2023. The Story of Barbie and the Woman Who Created Her (3-7) by Cindy Eagan, illustrated by Amy Bates, tells the story of Ruth Handler, the creator of the most famous doll ever. To inspire children to believe that anything is possible, especially with Barbie.
Various releases are based on Minecraft, the most popular video game of all time. In Minecraft Sticker Adventure: Treasure Hunt you can find treasure maps and search for buried chests with the challenging puzzles and mazes, featuring over 500 stickers. For Minecraft fans ages 6 to 9. With The Sky’s the Limit! - Minecraft by Nick Eliopulos, learning to read has never been more fun for 4-7 years old. They’ll get a great introduction to the game through the adventures of two young players, Emmy and Birch—and their tame wolf Byte—who are new to the
world of Minecraft but always ready to explore.
To Bee, Or Not to Bee! (Minecraft Stonesword Saga #4) by Nick Eliopulos is an all-new chapter book series that takes a group of intrepid Minecraft players deeper into the game than ever before. This time, Harper and her friends tackle a real-life ecological crisis. The bees around their school and the Stonesword Library are disappearing— and a splinter of the Evoker King has taken on the form of a bee colony with a hive mind! In volume #5 of the Saga
Green Kids Club focuses on spreading the word about environmental issues. They work with conservation groups such as Elephants Without Borders, Saving the Survivor, and Blood Lions, and write children’s books related to their experiences.
Grizzly 399 and her Four Hungry Cubs is part of the Animal Environmental Heroes series from Green Kids Club. In the Summer and Fall of 2021, Grizzly 399 would take her cubs back and forth between Grand Teton National Park and up to 60 miles south, looking for food left by people in the area. Grizzly 399 and her Four Cubs is a beautiful children’s picture book that follows Grizzly 399 as she leads her cubs outside their den to find food. A truly standout feature of the book is the real-life story behind the story, showcasing the real Grizzly 399 that inspired the book. In addition, the story and illustrations have wide commercial appeal and are reminiscent of the quality of Disney or Pixar. The book conquered the Maincrest Media Book Award and is also the 2022 Winner of the Purple Dragonfly Book Award in the Green Books/ Environmental category.
Lili the Brave Bee’s Flight for a New Home also conquered the Maincrest Media Book Award. Princess Lili Bee and her friends are in trouble, because a new farmer is using pesticides to kill weeds, and he is also killing bees and bats. This book contains a photo and fact section about bees, bats, and butterflies as pollinators that affect our world.
for 4+, is focused on the importance of being yourself. Sandy isn’t like the other kids in her town—she loves to wear her unicorn costume all the time. People think she’s odd, but when there’s a mystery that only she can solve, they see the power of Sandy’s creativity and teamwork.
The Golem’s Game!, Morgan feels his leadership of the team slipping away as the next splinter of the Evoker King takes the form of a golem and challenges each member of the team to run a dangerous obstacle course.
How to Be a Unicorn (LEGO) by Matt Huntley, illustrated by Golden Books
Back to the Future (Funko Pop!) by Arie Kaplan, illustrated by Meg Dunn, is a little Golden Book that allows reliving all the best moments of Marty McFly’s time-traveling journey to 1955, and then back again. Featuring cute Funko POP!–style illustrations, this storybook is perfect for children ages 2 to 5 and a must-have for collectors and fans of the original hit film from 1985.
“According to WordsRated statistics, in 2023, the US children’s book market is projected to reach $2.62 billion.”
EASTERN EUROPE ANIMATION
Eastern Europe Animation continues to enchantBy Rossella Arena
The latest projects of quality Eastern Europe animation studios.
The Budapest based animation studio Umatik is dedicated to creating unique contents and delivering the highest quality in animation. It started to focus on the production of its own IPs in the last few years. Its latest project is Pixie Fix and the lost dewdrops (13x11’)
and its 2nd season Pixie Fix and the Amazing Planet (13x11’). Targeting kids from the age of 6, the tv series are aiming not only to entertain the audience by its adventurous story, but the show has strong educational content on environment protection The series shows what is going to happen to the Earth if we do not take care of it. Through the different locations of the episodes, the story drives us around the continents of the Earth. Among other things, deforestation of the rain forests, overmining, air
pollution of the factories will be shown to the audience. In each episode, our heroes will be facing different problems which they can solve with the help of the local wildlife. Friendship, taking care of each other and selfishness will be playing important roles all along the story. The tale will be flavoured with humour, kindness and loveliness to be entertaining.
Pixie Fix’s 1st season is already completed, the 2nd one will be delivered by November 2023.
Since 2003, MAUR film has been one of the biggest animated film producers in the Czech Republic with a wide range of genres, formats and animation techniques.
MAUR film is currently developing three animated features - two of them have already been presented at Cartoon Movie, and Of Unwanted Things and People won the Eurimages Co-production Development Award. This film is directed by four directors from the same four countries as the
producers MAUR film (CZ), Vivement lundi! (FR), Artichoke (SK) and ZVVIKS (SI). The film is based on the children‘s book by Czech author Arnošt Goldflam and contains a lot of fantasy, humor and imagination. It is a plea for the art of storytelling as an ideal means of accepting the sometimes difficult sides of life. The project also holds book rights and is currently in production. Steampunk polar road movie Rosentaal tells the story of 16-year-old orphan Nab, who has lived since birth on a huge ship, which is at the same time a factory, a town and a permanent home to several thousand people. The script was written by the award-winning Czech author Marek Epstein and the art designer
Václav Švankmajer created a very unique visual style.
Trinity completes the project The Eleven, a combination of real puppet decorations and 3D/CGI character animations. The film is based on a well-known book about eleven boys who built a football team. But real life is never a clear victory and the players soon understand that “Football comes second...”. The project is in development and the merch concept is being worked on at the same time.
The production company MAUR film also has 13 short films in development or production, which the festival audience will surely hear about soon.
Badi Badi is an animation and postproduction studio based in Warsaw, Poland.
Currently, one of Badi Badi’s departments - Badi Originals - focuses on productions for children and family audience.
The company’s portfolio includes both 3D and 2D productions. To date, Badi Badi has produced four seasons of the pre-school series Agi Bagi. This series
shows the adventures of the inhabitants of the planet that has two sides: Agi and Bagi. Each episode focuses on an environmental theme where Agingas and Bagingas work together to take care of the planet. This educational series has been translated into 11 languages and sold to over 60 countries. The Your Family Entertainment distributor is responsible for distribution outside Poland. The experience gained in the production of Agi Bagi convinced Badi Badi of how to successfully create more brands.
Another series produced by the studio is called The Flying Bear. It is an actionpacked animated adventure series for children over the age of six. The series features the adventures of a pair of siblings: 7-year-old Jake and 11-year-old Madeline. Madeline and Jake, together with the magical Bear defend mythical characters against a computer virus called Cyber. This antagonist tries to kidnap the heroes of folk tales and legends to create an army to conquer the world. The second season was produced in 2022 and will be released the following year. International distribution is handled by Sola Media Badi Badi is also developing four other TV series for children: Crazy Inventions, a series that tells the stories of modern inventions in a funny way; Giggle Wiggle, a story about the friendship between a big green gnome, Giggle Wiggle, and a little girl, Blabberina; Witty Kitty, a series for young children, that tells the story of a resourceful black and white cat and his friends; Robot and the Martians, a science fiction series, full of slightly abstract, ironic and situational humour. For all these series, Badi Badi is looking for funding opportunities and partners. The studio also produces featurelength animated films for family audiences. Currently, three films are in
“The series Pixie Fix and the Amazing Planet shows what is going to happen to the Earth if we do not take care of it. Through the different locations of the episodes, the story drives us around the continents of the Earth. Among other things, deforestation of the rain forests, overmining, air pollution of the factories will be shown to the audience”.
- Éva Konrád, General Manager, Umatik -
the development phase: Agi Bagi. The Universe Is Not Enough, Cyber versus the Guardians of Legends and Zu
The director and scriptwriter of most of the studio’s productions is Tomek Niedźwiedź, who is also one of the founders of Badi Badi together with Tomasz Paziewski and Arkadiusz
At the same time, the studio also works with other directors and screenwriters on selected productions and is open to collaborations.
All the animations created in the Badi Originals department are non-violent, educational and entertaining for the youngest and their parents. This year the company celebrates its 20th anniversary on the market!
Letko is a 2D animation studio from Warsaw, Poland, that in the last few years specialized in developing highquality TV series for kids. They’re currently working on the development of Happy not lucky, a series for 6-9 years old. It’s a detective comedy about black cat Teo and black sheep Lu solving mysteries and fighting crime in their home – a calm and peaceful Happy Fields farm. This series explores in a light and funny way the stereotypes held against different animals in order to show that it doesn’t make sense to judge the book by its cover (or a sheep by its fur). If our two heroes dealing with bad luck and constant troubles can embrace who they are, so can we.
Their most recent production is a series for preschoolers called Odo (52x7’) which they created and co-produced together with Sixteen South Originals. Letko was responsible for the visual development of the series as well as all visual aspects of the production. Odo teaches young children self-efficacy and to believe in themselves to help combat the troubling rise in anxiety and
depression levels in today’s children. Comedic and warm, with a genuine hero – a little owl called Odo, the stories also deal with important themes such as immigration, racism and respect for others. Odo and his bird friends are building their nests thanks to the best broadcasters all over the world, such as KIKA, Milkshake or Canal+. It has been sold to more than 150 countries. In addition to working on their own IPs, Letko also performs service work for renowned Animation Producers all around the world.
For further information
Umatik www.umatik.eu, firstname.lastname@example.org
MAUR film www.maurfilm.com, email@example.com
Badi Badi www.badibadi.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Letko https://www.letko.co/, email@example.com
The new book-based projectsBy Alessandra Maccaferri
Ellipse Animation, a renowned French animation studio, is developing new book-based projects for children and teens.
Trotro & Zaza is a 2D Series (78 x 3’30) aimed at 3+, based on Benedicte Guettier’s famous books, published by Giboulées – Gallimard Jeunesse. Trotro, our favorite little donkey and everyday hero for so many little children, will now have to confront a new challenge: sharing his childhood with Zaza, his new baby sister!
In each new episode, Trotro will take on his new role, which is magical, gratifying and sometimes even a bit disconcerting: the role of big brother. During the episodes, Trotro is going to have to share everything he learns, his emotions and even his toys! Lots of important daily moments as brother and sister will spice up his adventures and bring about the whole gamut of emotions that every little child experiences.
Marsupilamis is an Adventure & Comedy 3D CGI series (52 x 11’ ), based upon the Belgian comic book series Marsupilami, created by André Franquin, aimed at a 5+. Twins Jade and Mica’s lives change forever when three legendary creatures land in their garden! The Marsupilamis Hope, Twister and Punch are three
adorable fur balls with amazing abilities, super-long tails… and bursting personalities. Yet one thing is for sure: they must remain hidden! Despite their different characters, nine-yearold siblings Jade and Mica team up to protect their friends from the dangers of the city.
Dreamland is a 10 x 22’ 2D Series for teen & adults, moving between genres Comedy, Adventure and Fantasy. The story is taken from Reno Lemaire’s mangas Dreamland: 21 volumes are released to date, and over 550,000 copies of the series have been sold in France. Ever since his mother died in a fire, Terence has secluded himself in
an emotionless world. He goes through his daily teenage life apathetically… with one exception! The simple sight of a flame plunges him into a world of fear, an awaken version of his nightmares – for, every time he falls asleep, he helplessly relieves the tragic event, thus rekindling his pyrophobia. Until that one night, he can’t bear it anymore and stops running away from the devilish flames. Little does he know that, by doing so, he overcame his greatest fear and became a Traveler: a very special kind of Dreamer, able to explore Dreamland, the dimension born from mankind’s dreams… and nightmares!
The new European animation cinemaBy Rossella Arena
Everything is ready for a new edition of Cartoon Movie, which will take place in Bordeaux from 7 to 9 March 2023. It’s the right opportunity to preview new European animated films.
According to the report Europe Animation & VFX: Strategies, Trends & Opportunities (2022-26), Europe produces about 40 animation films every year, and the European animation industry is growing fast, with a worldwide distribution.
Cartoon Movie, the annual forum aimed at strengthening the production and distribution of animated feature films in Europe, is coming back from 7 to 9 March 2023 in Bordeaux. This year it will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an outstanding selection of 85 new animated films, at different stages of realisation. During the event, films in sneak preview will also be presented.
Four Souls of Coyote (104’, Cinemon Studios, Hungary) is an alternative creation myth, in which humans are not at the top of the food chain, but only
fed up to be stuck in old stereotypes –his only silver lining is his wild fantasy, which takes him to imaginary worlds and makes him the hero of epic rescues. One day, determined to prove himself that he can become for real the hero he has never been on stage, Don ventures into Central Park. He accidentally crosses path with DJ Doggie Dog, an abandonned talking plush toy looking for a crew, a shy wannabe rapper who keeps repeating cheap prerecorded lines instead of speaking his own rhymes.
Four Souls of Coyote
one among creatures. Billed as an epic adventure based on a Native American creation myth, the film highlights the increasingly pressing need to live in harmony with the environment, before it is too late. Through adventures filled with animals, magic, hunger, greed and the sacred circle of all creations, the story gives us hope that humans can correct course and preserve our species’ existence on Earth.
The creator and director Áron Gauder explained: “With the help of the animation, I would like to tell this story in an adventurous way to point out that we should live an environmentally more responsible life and that we should respect Mother Nature. The film goes back to the creation of the world, when Old Man and Coyote created life from mud. His every creation is new and unknown and affects the rest of the world. Desire and emotions are
unknown, and with their evolution, the world becomes more complicated.
As long as the grass grows, the Native Americans once said, and they meant eternity. They did not know it might be endangered in the future. Earth has tolerated everything so far but its strength is reducing quickly. We can only save it together.”
Aimed at audiences of all ages, the project makes use of 2D and 3D, paintings and drawings created by Áron Gauder himself. The film’s music was selected from authentic Native American songs.
What if you were forced to play the same stupid act every day of your life? In The Inseparables (90’) Don is a daydreaming puppet who’s sick of always playing the fool at the Central Park puppet theater. Apart from his best friend Dee – the «damsel in distress» puppet who’s also
No Dogs or Italians Allowed
Director Alain Ughetto’s stopmotion feature No Dogs or Italians Allowed (France, Italy, Switzerland) is the winner in the Best Animated Movie category at the last European Film Awards.
The movie tells how Ughetto’s family left their home in northern Italy, to find a better life in France, despite the many hardships they encountered in their new country.
Ughetto’s feature was nominated for a Cristal and won the Jury Prize at Annecy in June. The other high-profile nominated titles in the category were Little Nicholas: Happy as Can Be, My Love Affair with Marriage, My Neighbors’ Neighbors and Oink. The five films competing in this category were all either 2D animated or stop-motion projects, meaning there is less interest in Europe at the moment for CG-animated features.
When all puppets suddenly disappear in a mysterious robbery, Don and his new clingy friend embark on their biggest adventure yet, beyond the gates of the park. From living vicariously through their inner fantasy world, the unlikely duo will learn throughout their epic quest that the best part about imagination is to be lived with others, for real.
The Inseparables is a delight for the eyes and an uplifting tribute to the limitless power of imagination, creativity and friendship for dreamers of all ages. The movie is produced by nWave Pictures (Belgium), Octopolis (France), and A Contracorriente Films (Spain).
Chicken for Linda! (75’) is a feature film by Chiara Malta & Sébastien Laudenbach, realised by Dolce Vita Films (France), Miyu Productions (France) and Palosanto Films (Italy) Paulette has scolded her daughter Linda unjustly. To make up for it, she promises to cook her some chicken with peppers, her dead dad’s favorite dish. But how do you go about buying chicken on the day of a general strike? All the shops are closed. So you go to a farm in the country and persuade the old farmer’s wife to sell you a
Chicken for Linda!
bird. But then, on the drive home, you have to explain to a policeman what a living chicken is doing in your car. And while you’re doing that, the chicken jumps out and runs off. What follows is a frantic chase: Paulette after the chicken, the policeman after Paulette, then others including a truck driver allergic to chicken feathers and two other zealous cops along with every kid in the neighborhood! What Linda doesn’t know is that the chicken her father cooked so well is the key to her buried memory...
Rosa and the Stone Troll (75’) is an adventurous family tale, for the target group of 4-8 years, about small
Barletta Productions is a progressive film, commercial and service production company. They are just in the production phase of an animated feature film Living Large, based on the book La Vie En Gros by Mikaël Ollivier and directed by Kristina Dufková. 12-year-old Ben has just hit puberty and suddenly his weight’s a problem – for him and everyone else. The other kids bully him, his divorced parents don’t know what to do… Even the school nurse is worried about him. So, despite his love of food and his emerging talent as a chef, Ben decides to take drastic action. He starts to diet. Maybe that can turn things round. And even win the heart of Klara, the girl of his dreams…Finally Ben will learn that what truly matters isn’t how you look - it’s how you feel. The film is a co-production of the Czech Republic (Barletta), Slovakia (Novinski) and France (Novanima).
creatures, great courage and an even bigger friendship. It depicts both the good and bad sides of friendship and it shows that achieving a friend requires courage. The flower fairy Rosa meets the butterfly Silk and together they experience how their differences give them a greater understanding of each other and the world around them. Rosa learns not to be afraid anymore and that life in the bush might have provided her with a feeling of security, but it also made her lonely. The film is also about daring to make choices and living up to your dreams, even if it comes with a
audience which are both dramatic, poetic and relevant. And not least with strong women in the lead roles. Rosa and the Stone Troll tells children about friendship and love, but also about the feelings that can put a friendship to the test and it tells that everyone needs friends and love, both good and evil. The film is also about being brave, daring to make choices and following your dreams, even if it comes with a price. And it is about finding balance in our shared relationships, our role in the world and in nature. Rosa and the Stone Troll is a fantasy film for the youngest, with characters and themes that they will recognize. A film where magic, poetry and dreamlike images are prioritized over the action and violence found in many American animated films.”
The movie is based on the danish book series Roselil og hendes venner (Rosa and Her Friends), by Josefine Ottesen, originally released in 1994. The script is written by Toke Westmark Steensen and Marie Bro produces for Dansk Tegnefilm, in collaboration with DR and A.Film Productions, and with support from the Danish Film Institute, Nordic Film & TV Fund and the West Danish Film Fund
“As a child, my dad read aloud from the Rosa books, and this amazing universe has followed me ever since” declared the director Karla Nor Holmbäck “With Rosa and the Stone Troll, I want to create an adventurous film about friendship, and about how we each try to fit into the community based on our individual prerequisites and challenges”.
The producers added: “There aren’t many feature films made for the youngest
Aparte Film’s first productions involved documentaries, scripts and books for children. The studio, based in Romania, specialised then in fiction film projects. Their projects have the main purpose to open the heart through art.
The Island (2022, coproduction Romania, France, Belgium) is a musical fable on the Robinson Crusoe myth: The Little Prince meets Monty Python. Robinson is a doctor and his solitude is voluntary on an island invaded by migrants, NGOs and guards. He saves Friday, a castaway, the only survivor of his illegal refugee boat.
Marona’s fantastic Tale (coproduction Romania, France, Belgium) is a poetic and touching film from director Anca Damian, that follows an optimistic stray dog named Marona as she looks back on the human companions she has loved throughout her life. Delivered alongside dazzlingly colorful, sweeping designs produced in part by acclaimed artist Brecht Evens, Marona’s fantastic tale is a life-affirming tale told with the patient, boundless love of a dog, and reminds us that happiness is a small thing.
In The Faun (Coproduction France, Romania, Poland) Andreas wishes to find his missing twin sister, Elise. In Paris he continues his double quest: find Elise… and become Elise… both on stage and in the city. Little by little, the latter seems to supplant the former: André feels more and more like a woman.
In Starseed (Coproduction France, Romania) Loveness, a little albino girl, tries to survive in a poor neighborhood in Zimbabwe ironically named Los Angeles. One day she has a strange encounter in the King Black forest. The danger is near, she risks her life but eventually, her choice makes a difference to the world.
PRODUCTS OF CHANGE
The cost of sustainabilityBy Rob Hutchins, Editor and Community Manager, Products of Change
Products of Change looks at the reality of the ‘hidden costs’ in sustainability, and how the bravest business can pioneer in this untapped gold mine of opportunity
Brands with sustainability woven into their operations, the kind that place purpose and a solid ESG strategy front and centre of what they do, are growing 175% faster than those that don’t. When met with the growing discernment from today’s customer, purpose driven businesses are reaping bigger commercial rewards.
We want to talk about sustainability, so let’s tackle the biggest elephant in the room right away. It’s the same elephant tackled by Helena MansellStopher, founder of Products of Change when she spoke at Spielwarenmesse last month. The perception that sustainability is a cost-heavy pursuit is a myth that needs debunking. Boxing an ESG strategy off as a ‘nice to have’ is an act of self-sabotage that will come back to cost your business a whole lot more in the future. And we don’t just mean in terms of money.
But let’s focus on the money for now. The potential revenue sitting in untapped opportunities in sustainability right now is mind-blowing. According
to Kantar’s #WhoCaresWhoDoes 2020 survey, the spending power of the most sustainably engaged customer in the FMCG sector alone is at $382 billion. The Ellen McArthur Foundation suggests that the net material cost saving to be had if the circular economy is adopted in manufacturing sectors is $630 billion, while there’s currently an untapped $12 trillion to be grown in four key economic areas in the next seven years.
Legislation is starting the process of nudging behaviour. The Plastic Packaging Tax is playing its part in reducing the amount of virgin plastic used in single-use packaging, while Extended Producer Responsibility will begin to shift businesses towards a more circular way of thinking through initiatives like refill and reuse. But we are only on the precipice of something much larger.
While we’ve seen shoppers propel the pre-loved economy to new heights in recent years, they won’t be the ones to lead the transition to wholly circular
business models. The expectation is for brands to lead and supply the new parameters in which to operate. The question is, how do we do that?
Maybe it’s time to rethink our relationship with our customers? Are they ‘consumers’ that we feed product to? Or are they stakeholders in our business with whom we can converse and provide a service for?
According to Kids Industries research, the average UK family today has 5.1 subscriptions running on a yearly basis for entertainment content. It’s a model we appear to enjoy. Mobile phone contracts, streaming services, online video gaming. Could it work for the services we provide?
Take your next step and visit www.productsofchange.com today.
Marketing and holidays: Easter 2023by Matteo Melani
From Europe to Australia, Latin America to Africa, Easter is a holiday celebrated all over the world and for sellers it can be an opportunity to launch new products and attract new customers.
Some companies, like Dolfin, launched Easter eggs as early as February as a late afternoon snack for those who can’t wait to eat chocolate.
Confectionery brands are in fact the sector that carry out most of the promotional Easter campaigns and set up in-store pop-ups. One example is Caffarel, which already released chocolate eggs with exclusive Ravensburger surprises this year. Co-branding is a great tool to celebrate brands involved in holiday promotions and offer the user a unique product.
Easter sweets are beloved not only by children but also by young people and the over-50 crowd, so focusing on innovative elements can attract customers from all age groups. For example, Walcor renewed its partnership with Elettra Lamborghini for a second year, featuring the artist and influencer’s cartoon-illustrated face on Easter eggs. Starting with the packaging, the chocolate eggs immediately showcase Elettra’s image, with entirely new graphics inspired by the unmistakable style of the Italian singer and influencer.
The distinctive spotted pattern on a white background that is a feature of Elettra’s style, is on the wrapper and reproduced on a wide range of products, making the design even more iconic. Walcor also contracted DinsiemE (Erick and Dominick), a couple from Palermo that became famous by publishing funny videos every day on their YouTube channel. In a short time, they have become one of the web’s best-loved couples, thanks to their jokes, challenges and songs that have captivated an ever-growing audience of boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 10. The result of this collaboration is an Easter egg made from the finest milk chocolate, available in a double version (240g and 320g) with surprises inside made directly in partnership with DinsiemE.
If co-branding makes it possible to capture the attention of a targeted audience, licensing initiatives make it possible to conquer market segments of all ages. For Easter this year, Kinder created products with brands such as Disney and Mattel for the launch of different types of sweets, such as the Avatar eggs (with 3D figures of Neytiri holding a bow, Jake Sully and Ikran, the faithful predator ridden by the Na’vi); Stranger Things (with 80s-style mobile phone holders shaped to resemble a jukebox, a videotape or a set inspired by Dungeons & Dragons); Marvel (with Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor vehicles); Star Wars (like last year’s dark chocolate only version
with three surprises inspired by The Mandalorian series: Yoda, Boba Fett and the Mandalorian); and Barbie (with four figurines with different accessories such as skateboard, skates, guitar, DJ). So, in addition to food, it is also possible to enhance one’s products by focusing on other elements, as in the case of Kinder that is offering a selection of surprises that provide an added value to its catalogue. These eggs can appeal to people who love animation, who are nostalgic for the 1980s or who just have a passion for iconic characters.
From Physical to Online: Easter and Marketing
In addition to selling products, Easter is also an opportunity for promotional campaigns on social media and in
physical shops and can apply to all businesses: from large retail chains to smaller shops. One example is setting up pop-up stores within a supermarket with a space dedicated to sweets or doves , creating a children’s entertainment area or having people dressed up as super-heroes. At Easter time, many people like to eat artisanal or zero-kilometre products. Another strategy to attract the public can be to offer discounts on certain items or by promoting events in one’s local community.
Social channels can also help to promote activity-related initiatives, for example by organising a creative competition on the best Easter photos, egg designs, basket building or with fundraising charity posts. From children to adults, Easter remains a holiday with a thousand surprises.
The most important celebration days of the yearby Matteo Melani
If Christmas and Easter represent huge commercial occasions for trade, special festivities also provide opportunities for promotion and sales.
One example is World Nutella Day which is celebrated on February 5th every year. This day is dedicated to the world’s most famous spread when, in addition to the Ferrero brand, various retailers set up shop with offers on jarred treats and biscuits. Or National Pizza Day (February 9th), a US event celebrating
pepperoni pizza during which pizzerias and retail chains offer discounts on pizza.
But in recent times there have been two celebrations commemorated around the world that have become increasingly important to many people: Earth Day and Labour Day.
From the environment to labour issues: when marketing meets human
Respect for the environment is a value shared by young and old alike, just think of the success of environmental organizations and the spread of good practices in recent years. Since 2007, World Earth Day (Earth Day) has been celebrated every year on April 22, an anniversary established by the United Nations observed by 193 countries. It is also an opportunity for brands to show their concern for the future of the planet with marketing campaigns that feature sustainability at their core. Last year, to celebrate Earth Day Australian plant-based snack brand, Fancy Plants launched an initiative with The Tree Project to plant at least 5,000 trees. The environmental campaign involved all marketing channels: shops, websites and social media.
Even for Labour Day (which, depending on the country, is celebrated on the 1st of May, the first Monday in May or the first Monday in September), companies can implement marketing strategies to enhance their brand with, for example, videos championing workers as CocaCola or McDonalds have often done. And if companies want to extend their campaigns to the subject of inclusion, they can share content on women in the workplace, or if they have factories abroad, on the certification of compliance with labour standards. So, with the use of both online and offline marketing tools on official and unofficial holidays, companies can communicate their values and introduce new products.
How to enhance a point of sale with creativityby Matteo Melani
In order to enhance the perceived value of a shop, providing quality furnishings is essential – but not everything. Other ways of capturing the attention of customers must be employed and one effective ally is scent-marketing.
By using the strength of smell, an enticing experience can be created for a customer as soon as he/she enters a shop.
One brand that consistently uses this technique is Victoria’s Secret, the scent of its stores changes whenever a new fragrance is launched. In this way shoppers have the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity and discover new products. Scent-marketing is also a good tool for outlets that have areas for on-site consumption. For example, when entering a Starbucks coffee shop, the smell of coffee can be enjoyed, in addition to taking in the products on shelves and the food in the counter displays.
Depending on the size of the shop, businesses can choose between air fresheners or electric devices that release scents, like the Interactive Scenting Kiosk by Aroma 360, which can diffuse scent over 370+ square metres. Scent-marketing should of course be related to the business of the
establishment, while with fragrances it is best to opt for one that is delicate and not too overwhelming. In individual shops or those located in shopping centres, smells can enhance the buildings, while in railway stations or airports smells can actually improve the entire shopping experience of the user. For example, the Denver airport
applied the advice of the expert Tiffany Rose Goodyear to improve the olfactory sensory experience of the entire facility, which benefited all the shops there. For the confectionery brand Cinnabon, the smell has always been a distinguishing feature, so much so that when approaching its shops at airports or train stations one can immediately smell cinnamon. For a traveller just off a train, the smell of cinnamon is undoubtedly pleasant and entices him to approach the shop to buy a doughnut or look at the products on sale.
Advertising and TV content, opportunities on digital platformsBy Matteo Melani
Although today they account for only 10% of the time spent on television, on-demand platforms represent the future of audiovisual.
To improve their content offering, operators have updated their catalogues adding genres other than films and TV series. One example is Disney+ which signed a contract with Fremantle for the distribution of Italia’s Got Talent, a talent show that has been broadcast for 12 Seasons in Italy and has been adapted in 72 countries worldwide. This is an historic accomplishment because it is the first time in Europe that a talent show has been broadcast on a platform. Italia’s Got Talent was broadcast for 12 seasons, five on Canale 5 and seven on Sky, and introduced talents such as Claudio Lauretta, Max Angioni, Aurora Leone, Francesco Arienzo, and Mary Sarnataro to the general public. “I am thrilled to be able to announce the arrival on Disney+ of a well-established
and beloved format such as Italia’s Got Talent, an addition to our collaboration with Fremantle. Italia’s Got Talent represents a further milestone in the construction of an increasingly broad and complete general entertainment catalogue for the Disney+ audience,” commented Daniel Frigo, Country Manager, The Walt Disney Company Italy, at the time of the announcement. Netflix is also adding content from other genres to its slate. One example is Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, the first streaming production to air in the US featuring the stand-up comedy star. But on-demand platforms are by definition a service product and by offering diverse content they can reach users who enjoy a variety of other genres, such as sports. Because of closures due to the pandemic, smartphone apps and online fitness courses greatly increased over the past two years. Even Netflix decided to expand its offerings of workouts viewers could enjoy from the comfort of their own home with the Nike Training Club programme from the sports apparel brand. The programme contains multiple episodes for a combined total of 30 hours of workout sessions published in sections such as Kickstart Fitness with the Basics (13 episodes), Two Weeks to a Stronger Core (7 episodes), Fall in Love with Vinyasa Yoga (6 episodes), HIT & Strength with Tara (14 episodes), and Feel-Good Fitness (6 episodes). Netfilx subscribers can access curated programmes or select workouts by type or duration, and programming is available in 10 languages across all Netflix plans. Nevertheless, the main genre on platforms is still cinema. On Disney+, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was the most-watched Marvel film premiere on the channel worldwide, based on hours streamed in its first five days. Also on Disney+ was White
Men Can’t Jump starring Jack Harlow making his film debut as Jeremy, a former star player whose injuries have stalled his career, and Sinqua Walls playing Kamal, once a promising player who has derailed his own future in the sport. The two athletes, amidst rivalries, women problems, and a desire for redemption, discover they have much in common. Directed by Calmatic, the film also stars Teyana Taylor, Laura Harrier, Vince Staples, Myles Bullock, and Lance Reddick.
Amazon Prime, on the other hand, has focused on nostalgia by adding films that have made history in cinema to its catalogue, movies ranging from comedy to drama, for adults and fans of the big screen.
Opportunities for advertisers
Obviously, this change in content has been accompanied by a revision of the platforms’ business plans, starting with subscriptions that include advertisements. Netflix launched a Basic Plan with advertisements, at a cost of Euro 5.49 with 4/5 ads. To date, the advertisements last about 30 seconds and include spots from big brands such as L’Oreal and Budweiser. In recent months, advertisements for major events such as the latest Sanremo Festival or the Superbowl can also be seen on Paramount. But in addition to commercials, audiences on digital platforms can also be approached with other content, such as branded content This is entertainment content created by a brand without an advertising message with the aim of conveying and consolidating brand-related values to increase its quality. For example, the Nike Training Club which recently aired on Netflix, and the well-known Lego TV series from the last few years. But advertising does not only include video, and in order to associate one’s brand with that of a TV platform, one can also focus on co-branding operations, e.g. on promotions for one’s customers.
In short, platforms continue to represent an area to be explored and where different products can be experimented with.
Preparing a 2023 amazing edition
Brand Licensing Europe returns for its 23rd outing on 4-6 October in London this year, and hot on the heels of a brilliant event in 2022.
Despite facing several unexpected challenges, including the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2022’s BLE was – in the words of event director Ella Haynes – “amazing from start to finish. Everyone was talking about how busy the show was and how the buzz was back.”
Exhibitor Start Licensing’s Director Ian Downes agreed, saying “One of our measures of success for BLE is the number of retail buyers we meet – by that standard BLE 2022 was one of our best ever.”
There was, indeed, a significant rise in visitor quality. Retailer numbers as a percentage of total attendees rose by 4% and European attendee figures were on par with 2019.
Repeat attendance was also higher with people spending more time in
meetings and on the show floor. While opening day is always the busiest, BLE’s second and third days broke attendance records.
“You don’t often see a trade show so busy on the last day, but people were still on stands having meetings right up until the shutters came down,” said Ella. ”These achievements are so important for our exhibitors. It means they’re spending longer with more, better-quality, visitors and new business leads. The brands were so happy with the quality of their meetings and the appetite from visitors to secure deals and buy licenses
despite economic challenges”.
And then there was the catwalk – the pinnacle of last year’s fashion theme, with nine runway shows, including a Culture & Unity catwalk in partnership with Black Lives Matter.
“The Culture & Unity catwalk was just stunning and so powerful from start to finish,” added Ella. “And our Sustainability catwalk with amazing Junk Kouture collections and content from the UN’s Caroline Petit and Products of Change was really inspiring. They were both up there with some of my proudest moments ever.”
Planning is well underway for BLE 2023 according to Ella, with the event’s popular Retail Mentoring Programme having to close entries two months early after accepting applications from 90 retailers. This year’s theme is focusing on a category that’s seen significant growth and is attracting a lot of interest from the licensing industry as a whole. More details will be revealed later, in the meantime you can register your interest in the event on the trade fair website.
For further information: www.brandlicensing.eu
Positive signs, but more training
With a total turnover of EUR 542 billion and 663,000 companies (source: Ambrosetti), retail is still a strategic sector for Italy. Nevertheless, it is suffering from the economic difficulties that have hit Italy and Europe in recent months.
“Inflation and increases in raw material costs are complicating the scenario, but with companies we observe confidence and a sense of openness towards new things,” says Marco Zanardi, President of Retail Institute Italia in an interview with Licensing Magazine. Today more than 2 million people work in retail and 60% are women. “Technological innovation,” he continues, “has changed the relationship between the retailer and the customer and we are moving towards a hybridisation of the sales experience in which digital and physical are increasingly complementary.” One example is the launch of smartphone applications by several retail brands, which can be used to view promotional offers, new product arrivals, service demonstrations or
end-customer support. Social-media is also useful for presiding over the brand-customer relationship, providing content to promote new products or services and leading the consumer into an omnichannel experience. Virtually all modern distribution chains have distinguished themselves by adopting hybrid communication techniques (Aldi, Conad, Esselunga, Lidl, Vegè and many others), i.e. they have combined digital tools with physical ones (e.g. retailers’ apps that works in synergy with the physical store, loyalty cards, and in-store services). “Obviously, technological evolution is not only about offering
services, but also helping to understand users’ tastes and needs and to formulate personalised treatments and activities. In this sense, artificial intelligence and automation are useful for managing repetitive activities, monitoring in-store movements, distributing content and collecting data,’ Zanardi says. If digital devices make it possible to develop initiatives that improve the shopping experience, focusing on environmental friendliness can expand one’s customer base.
In fact, more and more consumers are choosing products and brands based on their environmental sensitivity,
and this also applies to Italy. But how are Italian retailers relating to sustainability? “Investments towards innovation and sustainability are under way and taking time to develop, but I see that we are on the right track and even the smallest businesses are reviewing their processes. Certainly, budgeting for investments in sustainability encourages change (ESG),’ Zanardi explains. ‘Small and medium-sized companies,’ he continues, ‘have started programmes with a concrete path towards sustainability; large companies are at an advanced stage, because they have greater resources and more highly developed expertise. Respect for the environment is a value that can be implemented in several ways. For example, by installing clean source systems or by setting up return points for old material, like Ikea does (RESALE). Even products can be a vehicle to show one’s concern for the planet by choosing suppliers who respect environmental standards or, as Danone has done, by
suggesting to the end customer not to throw away/get rid of the product on the exact day it expires as it in fact still has a useful life for consumption (this helps reduce food waste).”
The value of training and pointof-sale opportunities
Applying the principles of innovation and sustainability require not only investment, but also training of staff to prepare for everyday challenges and continuous innovation. “University and vocational education are undergoing a profound renewal to be increasingly hybrid, open to anyone, at all professional levels. Employees can update and gain knowledge with a view to ‘life-long learning,’ i.e. constant ongoing education. Learning opportunities are improving in Italy and we should be happy about that’. The training model of those working in retail is one of life-long education, i.e. constant learning of new content Several universities have extended their training courses for students, graduates or workers who wish to broaden and deepen their knowledge through channels such as MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses, e.g. Polimi). And many companies have set up Internal Academies called Corporate Universities (https://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Corporate_university), to improve the skills of their employees or ecosystem in order to better compete in the market. Retail Institute Italy constantly monitors the market aiming to be a reference for the creation of training courses designed to implement and update the skills of people working in the retail industry. The institute organises courses for anyone in retail, recently collaborating with Carrefour’s School of Leaders.
Even in a changing environment, physical shops provide great opportunities. The physical store is an ‘epicentre’ in shopper marketing dynamics. To respond to these, many brands/manufacturers and retailers organize joint initiatives, for example Retail Media, i.e. the use of the retailer’s digital and physical media. One concrete example among many others is the partnership between Mediaworld and the household appliance brand, Dyson: the retailer sends an invitation to a targeted customer base via ‘DEM’ (direct email marketing) to bring end customers in-store e.g. to present a new product/ service with in-store live demonstrations of the products.
Another example comes from Apple: in their Milan Piazza Liberty store they organises meetings with new customers to offer support and teach them how to use all the applications on their products in order to benefit from their full potential. Increasingly, there is a tendency to build a retail journey that sees both physical and digital means integrated to improve the end customer experience. For example, in-store digital devices can be installed to enhance the experience, such as digital-signage devices to be managed by remote automation with content updates.
“To deal with change and complexity,” concludes Marco Zanardi, “we need dynamic people who are able to combine the past with the present and a forwardlooking vision of the international market and Italian specifics.”
“Technological innovation has changed the relationship between the retailer and the customer and we are moving towards a hybridisation of the sales experience in which digital and physical are increasingly complementary.”
- Marco Zanardi, president of Retail Institute Italia -
E-commerce in Europe, the advantages of a growing sectorBy Matteo Melani
While individual countries such as the US and China offer interesting opportunities, Europe is the continent with the most e-commerce sales in the last period.
According to the EUROPEAN E-COMMERCE REPORT 2022, the total European e-commerce reached a value of EUR 718 billion last year, a growth rate of 13% compared to 2020 (EUR 633 billion). In 2022, the forecast seems to be in line with previous figures, although slightly lower (+11% and a total value of € 797 billion). Compared to sellers, Europeans tend to buy on sites in their home countries (84%).
In short, all indicators show the potential of the online market in Europe. But what were the development factors?
First of all, the increase in internet connections, to the extent that 91% of European users have an internet connection; the closures due to the pandemic (which have increased sales of products that until 2019 were the prerogative of physical shops) and the spread of mobile devices (with 75% of users having made purchases on
marketplaces at least once in their lives).
A demonstration of the impact of online shopping concerns Malta, where online trade has been one of the sectors driving the post-pandemic economic recovery.
Today, Europe represents an undoubtedly valuable business area that has prompted several brands to invest in improving services for their customers, starting with customised offers and ending with the use of low-emission vehicles for transport.
Between opportunities and regulatory gaps: the European online marketplace Germany has always been regarded as one of the leaders. Well, in online trade this is not the case. The first country in terms of the number of users connected to the Internet is Iceland, while in terms
of the number of purchases it is the Netherlands, with 95 percent of users habitually buying products online. Germany, however, remains the leading nation in terms of efficiency in logistics and infrastructure. As for the types of goods, Europeans have no preference, in fact, 98% of respondents said they buy according to their needs, while others said they use the Internet for purchases
of clothes and accessories, household and personal care items. For services, on the other hand, TV series excel followed by food deliveries and song downloads.
While in terms of numbers, the EU market has lived up to expectations, in terms of regulation, gaps remain to be filled. As Marc Lolivier, Executive Director of Fevad (French federation of online merchants), explained, Europeanwide laws are needed to compete with foreign e-commerce giants, while for Marlene ten Ham, General Manager of Thuiswinkel.org (an e-commerce brand based in the Netherlands) a more harmonious exchange of data between member states would help prevent cyber attacks.
The strategies of foreign brands
In the wake of this growth, several online sales brands have strengthened their presence in Europe with new activities. Such as Amazon, which has renewed its agreement with the ICE Agency to assist small and medium-sized Italian companies with cross-border sales. The agreement between the American colossus and ICE was signed for the first time in 2019, and in these three years, some 2,200 Italian companies have benefited from the aid to promote almost 280,000 products, synonymous with Made in Italy excellence and quality.
The agreement provides for the implementation of a promotion and development plan for companies with products in the Amazon showcase exclusively dedicated to Made in Italy, as well as a training plan for online sales and marketing activities to promote products and increase sales abroad. The showcase includes more than 1 million products and counts 4,500
Italian companies exporting beyond national borders, and is available in the Amazon shops of Amazon.it, Amazon. de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es, Amazon. co.uk, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.jp and Amazon.ae to which the Amazon.nl, Amazon.pl and Amazon.se shops have recently been added, with a selection already available of more than 60,000, 48,500 and 47,000 Made in Italy products respectively in each shop. More cautious was Lazada (of the Aliexpress group), which last December
launched Miravia, a marketplace for Spain, on an experimental basis. This is a test operation that, if successful, could be replicated in other countries on the Old Continent. Alibaba only has Lazada as a similar platform, but oriented towards South-East Asia. For the opening of the marketplace, there is free shipping for any order over EUR 10 and there are various discounts on products on sale, although a 30% welcome coupon is available for each new customer.
These two cases demonstrate that favourable conditions exist in Europe for the further development of online trading activities.
The action of influencers beyond fashionBy Matteo Melani
Social media makes it possible to reach users of all types - age, gender, interests - and by collaborating with influencers, it is possible to advertise a product or brand with originality.
While influencers are generally associated with the world of fashion, there has recently been an increase in the number of content creators on social platforms reaching into other areas, such as home care and DIY. One example is Sophie Hinchliffe, a British influencer who is famous for her house cleaning tips. She has an Instagram account (@mrshinchhome) with more than 4 million followers where she posts content of her cleaning and tidying up the rooms in her home. Sophie Hincliffe’s fame has reached beyond social media, to the point that Procter & Gamble wanted her to launch two limited edition products - two laundry softeners. Home care is an area
that lends itself well to social-media communication registers because short videos can convey the name of a product, its applications and results. The brevity of the content arouses interest in the user who, if positively impressed, may go looking for the product itself in order to buy it or get more information. Another opportunity to be exploited in social media concerns discounts. Indeed, more and more brands are relying on influencers with exclusive promotions reserved only for their audience.
Design also goes well with social-media communication, as pictures immediately give the idea of the product. On Instagram you can find severalFabio Novembre
experts in the field, who post pictures of furniture, carpets and statuettes suitable for every style of interior design. Some of them are architects or interior designers. Like Fabio Novembre, an Italian designer who not only promotes his own work but also displays photos of installations by other artists. Among Fabio Novembre’s collaborations is the project for a gaming-room inside the Defhouse (a house in Milan where influencers are trained) reserved for Favj and Pow3r. It is a solution that combines Defhouse’s expertise and innovation with the popularity of all three influencers involved. The room offers an all-encompassing yet comfortable experience because there are not only
elements of the game, but items of furniture for relaxation.
Also in Italy, an influencer known for her commitment to popularising design is Camilla Bellini, who not only has accounts on Facebook and Instagram but also her own blog. She too has been called upon for various collaborations, such as an invitation to the 79th Venice Film Festival by Inspiring People Relations. Besides being a reference personality in her field, Camilla Bellini represents an icon of courage and stubbornness.
Compared to other media audiences, those who follow an influencer want specific information even on sensitive issues such as products for children. Sharon Vinderine, an entrepreneur in various sectors, now heads the company Parent Tested Approved, which is responsible for quality control of toys and childcare items. Well, she is also present on social channels achieving great success, so much so that she has been invited on several
television programmes to talk about her company and the methods she uses to certify products. Obviously, the success was the result of hard work, as each product is tested by parents and checked in strict terms. Companies that receive the Parent Tested Approved seal of approval have a profitable advantage in that. It indicates to the consumer that this product has been tested and approved by others rather than by conflicting committees. Parent Tested Parent Approved has worked with many brands over the years, including Disney, Dyson, toy companies and private label retailers such as Aldi and Walgreens. Thus, between hosting and social content, she has become a real authority on the subject and,
as she herself stated, several parents have applied to become testers. As for social media, the platforms they focus on the most are TikTok and Instagram, while on the content side, the style of the videos (sponsorships and advice) is educational and entertaining at the same time, precisely because the aim is to communicate complex topics but without burdening the user too much. So, the performance of influencers holds opportunities for visibility that are not just limited to technical advice, but range to what they represent in public life: attention to taste, courage, reliability.
Environmental Marketing, ways of promoting sustainabilityBy Matteo Melani
Reforestation, circular economy, saving resources. Sustainability can be a path to attracting new customers and with the right marketing methods companies can communicate their environmental credentials in a positive way.
According to a recent Google survey, the search for the word ‘sustainability’ has greatly increased, underlining a growing focus on the topic for one out of three of the respondents. Indeed, 31% of respondents value environmental friendliness over design and style of their purchases. Among 1824 year olds, this number rises to 37%, demonstrating the younger consumers’ interest in the planet and their desire to improve society. However, 74% of the consumers surveyed would like more information and better transparency in brand communication on the subject of sustainability. People don’t want to make additional efforts to know what is sustainable, and prefer for their choices to be made easier, so much so that almost half of the consumers surveyed say that poor communication is a primary obstacle to buying sustainable
products, even more than availability and quality.
Environmental communication is key to winning over user preferences. The first step to avoid is green-washing campaigns, i.e. giving misleading information for the sole purpose of getting the public’s attention. Instead, effective communication can focus on the concrete results of environmental actions, for example offsetting carbon emissions through reforestation programmes.
Video is the most useful method for mass communication. To promote the opening of the 3SUN Gigafactory construction site in Catania (which will be the largest solar panel factory in Europe by 2024), Enel launched a TV commercial on February 6th that communicated the company’s
commitment to Italy’s energy independence. The 15-second TV spot was aired on the main national networks, Rai, Mediaset, La7, La7d, and Sky.
Croci, an Italian company in the pet accessories industry, chose the big screen to promote its flagship Eco line product, Tofu Clean litter. The litter is a 100% natural soya-based granulated vegetable litter. Tofu Clean was created to meet the growing consumer demand for a natural, biodegradable, and chemical-free product. Tofu Clean offers unique features such as odour control and long life, and is 100% vegetablebased and agglomerating, i.e. it can be disposed of down the toilet. The campaign includes a 30-second video spot on vegetable litter followed by an Earth Day Italy spot. The video was also broadcast in the chain of UCI Cinemas and The Space facilities, which have over 770 screens throughout Italy.
is in the upper Salento region, in the province of Bari, a stone’s throw from the WWF protected area of Torre Guaceto and the Parco Regionale Dune Costiere.
This community had tagged the area as an infected zone, destined for the certain disappearance of the olive trees. The actions of Finish and the Future Food Institute focuses on areas at risk of desertion and abandonment, identified by the members of the Cooperativa Agricola Sociale di Comunità ‘Borgo Ajeni’, a group active in the area and dedicated to the production of quality extra virgin olive oil. This was a useful initiative that showed it is possible to win the trust of all kinds of audiences by respecting the environment.
Product efficiency and commitment in one place: the example of Finish
Whether for idealistic reasons or for the benefits, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of good practices. Finish’s latest TV commercial, in addition to advertising the Ultimate All in One product, highlighted the benefits of being environmentally friendly. The video features a voice-over saying, “38 litres is the amount of water saved if you choose not to rinse your dishes; just remove the residue and put the dishes directly into the dishwasher. You will still get shiny dishes while reducing water consumption.” It also includes the logo of the Acqua nelle nostre mani (Water in our hands) campaign, carried out in 2022 with the Future Food Institute. The campaign supported the planting of a young olive grove in San Michele Salentino with a large variety of olive trees resistant to xylella (a devastating
disease for plants) on land equipped with sensors to control and ration water consumption. San Michele Salentino
The strategic role of marketing in the high-end fashion industryBy Matteo Melani
Marketing strategies have a crucial role in the high-end fashion. While social media allows companies to reach users all over the world, offline communication through live events can gain the attention of industry experts and enthusiasts.
Since the end of the pandemic, fashion shows have re-emerged at both individual events and exhibitions. In addition to classic catwalks at events such as Paris or Milan Fashion Week, several fashion brands have chosen extremely beautiful and famous locations with an important history to present their clothes. One brand that pays close attention to its fashion shows is Dolce & Gabbana, which presented a show in Syracuse last July to celebrate 10 years of Haute Couture. In 2020 Dolce & Gabbana also presented its Haute Couture collections at Villa Bardini in Florence. The gardens of the villa were a perfect backdrop for the dresses, whose main inspiration was flowers.
Another brand that is meticulous about the details of its fashion shows is Christian Dior, who chose the city of Seville to present the Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior Cruise 2023 collection. The creative director’s designs were inspired by the famous Spanish flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya who, with her style of dancing, represented a revolutionary figure not only for dance’s world but the
whole of Spain. She never gave in to any canon and was also the first woman in Spain to dress like a man. Dior chose the Plaza de España, where Amaya danced, to present this collection. Side events such as press conferences, shows and dinners are often organised at outdoor fashion shows. In addition to individual brands, organisers of fashion festivals also schedule outdoor fashion shows because compared to an indoor presentation, the outdoor elements enhance the experience.
The value of museums
A city is not only a place from which production starts, but also invokes a reminder of origins and traditions. A museum located in the hometown connects people with local values and communicates all these inspirations; it is a place where works of timeless cultural interest are preserved, be they artistic, scientific or military. Even fashion collections can be counted among the works to be protected precisely because they have educational and historical value. A brand that chooses to exhibit its works
in a museum increases the value of its name. Florence is home to the Gucci Museum, an exhibition space where the brand’s creations from the past six years can be seen. Also in Florence is the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, inaugurated in May 1995 on the initiative of the Ferragamo family with the desire to make the public all over the world aware of Salvatore Ferragamo’s artistic qualities and the role he played in the history not only of footwear but also of international fashion. Compared to the Gucci museum, there you can find collections from the birth of the brand to the present day.
Both museums represent a hub for new opportunities for their respective brands. In fact, in addition to the permanent collections, the Gucci Garden houses the Bookstore (with antique magazines), the boutique and the restaurant. You can also buy Gucci Garden Eau de Parfum, a perfume available in a limited edition of 1000 lacquered glass bottles with an identification number. Exhibitions and meetings are held at the Ferragamo museum.
Collections in cinemas and theatres
But the catwalk and the museum are not the only ways to tell the story of one’s work: several brands produce docu-
films on the history of their brand or live shows with their collections. Compared to a TV commercial, a film has a longer runtime and is therefore useful to bring in a variety of content to arouse greater interest in the viewer. In addition to producing film events, one can showcase one’s own collections by providing costumes for actors, as Prada did with Elvis, Chanel with Spencer and Gucci with the performers in House of Gucci. Concerning theatre performances, in order of time,
the latest brand to supply a dance performance with its clothes was Dior, which specially made the costumes for Eleonora Abbagnato for The Four Seasons, a ballet by Giuliano Peparini to the music of Antonio Vivaldi staged last 13, 14 and 15 January in Paris.
The key kids and parents trends to be thinking ofBy Harry Brown, Product & Marketing Executive, The Insights Family
At this year’s Nuremberg Toy Fair 2023, The Insights Family presented a speech which covered “The Key Kids and Parents Trends to be Thinking Of”. This session was hosted by Licensing Magazine, as Content Partner of the Spielwarenmesse’s License Talks programme. Nick Richardson, Founder of The Insights Family, delivered the presentation to a busy and diverse crowd of professionals across the toy industry, and the kids, teens, parents, and family space.
Opening the presentation, Nick showed how today’s consumers are not the same as yesterdays. The next generation of consumers and families are fast-moving, and their attitudes, behaviours, and consumption patterns are quickly evolving to the environment around them.
• There are approximately 1.5 billion Millennials or Gen Z parents around the world.
• 35% of all parents globally have never known a world without VOD.
• 1.4 billion people across the globe don’t know a world without YouTube.
• 440 million people don’t know a world without TikTok.
Further to this, the pace at which new product releases develop and reach their audience is accelerating at incredible speeds.
• Automobiles: It took 62 years for 50 million users.
• TV: It took 22 years for 50 million users.
• Internet: It took 7 years for 50 million users.
• Pokémon Go: It took 19 days for 50 million users.
Our Industry Voice 2021 report revealed that even industry professionals across several markets aren’t confident they understand what is happening within their marketplace:
• 89% of industry professionals agree the world is moving faster than ever before
• 80% believe they will be operating completely differently in two years’ time
• 94% of industry professionals state they do not have complete understanding of their audience
The Insights Family is the global leader in kids, teens, parents, and family market intelligence, providing real-time data on their attitudes, behaviours, and consumption patterns.
Broken down by country, we survey c400 kids between the age of 3-18, and c200 parents of children between the age of 1-16 every week. Equating to c21,000 kids, and c10,500 parents per year, per country. This means that the company interviews a new family member somewhere in the world every 45 seconds.
Kids Insights and Parents Insights operates in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Poland, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UK, and the US.
Clients include Amazon, BBC, Danone, Disney, Initiative, Kraft, LEGO, Mattel, MediaCom, PBS, Paramount, Pokémon, SEGA, T-Mobile and Warner Bros.
To learn more
• 80% of professionals working in the kids, teens, parents, and family space say they do not feel they have access to reliable market intelligence
These are eye-opening stats about how industry professionals and experts feel and demonstrates how important it is to have access to independent and realtime market intelligence. To take part in our Industry Voice 2023 Survey: click here
This next generation of families are becoming more and more democratic. Household autonomy is changing, and kids are becoming more influential over household purchasing decisions made by their parents. According to our data, kids’ influence over household purchases has grown in 17 out of 22 categories since 2021.
• 86% of all toy purchases are influenced by their kids.
• 79% of all board game purchases are influenced by their kids.
• 73% of all app downloads are influenced by their kids.
• 65% of all smartphone choices are influenced by their kids.
Not only are kids influencing decisions from their parents but are also influencing their methods of play and how they spend their free time. Kids’ time is becoming increasingly fragmented. The digital landscape is impacting their day-to-day lives on an unprecedented level. On average 3-12s across the EU5 are spending:
• 55 minutes playing with toys & games on a typical day.
• 1h 10m playing outside and being
games in the same time period.
As the day-to-day lives have changed over the last few years in regard to toys & games, so have their attitudes and behaviours within the house. Mental health & wellbeing continues to be a prominent issue amongst both kids, teens, and parents today.
• On average mental health ranks as the #1 concern for parents globally (27%).
• 12% of kids aged 3-12 globally have ranked mental health as their #1
• This has seen a +53% year-on-year increase since 2020.
• Parents concerns around mental health have increased by +11% since 2021. This shows how prioritising themselves and ensuring they are happy, and content is extremely important to kids today.
This presents a huge opportunity for the toy industry. For kids, toys can actually help to promote positive mental health, and bring happy emotions. Toys, and soft toys in particular can help to make young kids feel happier and more active. Within the UK, kids aged 3-9:
• Soft toy preference has increased by +7%.
• Kids that report soft toys are their favourite toy type are +5% more likely to say they feel happy frequently or all the time.
• This is a trend that has seen +300% growth in since Q2 2021.
For older kids and teens, this trend is also translated into video games. Gaming as a pastime grows significantly as kids grow older and become teens.
active on a typical day.
• 43 minutes playing video games or on apps on a typical day. This is something that continues to rise as the lines between gaming and reality become increasingly blurred.
Gaming’s explosive rise in popularity has been no secret. As a result of increased favouritism and time spent on video games, the opposite has been occurring for traditional toys & games.
• In 2022, 3-5s globally have spent -20% less time playing with toys & games compared to 2020 & 2021.
• Additionally, 6-9s have spent -23% less time and 10-12s have spent -27% less time playing with toys &
• For both boys & girls, gamers are more likely to be happier compared to non-gamers.
• Italian gamers are 10% more likely to say they are happy compared to non-gamers.
• This is a trend that we began to spot at the start of the pandemic.
As for parents, they believe this trend goes in the opposite direction. Across the EU5:
• Parents who are most concerned with mental health are +4% more likely to think their kids spend too much time online.
• Since Q2 2021, French parents’ concerns about mental health have increased +28% and worries about their children spending too much time online have increased by +110%.
• These concerns are also weaker for Millennial and Gen Z parents across the EU5, who are accustomed to spending time online.
• With so many exciting new toys releasing constantly, predicting what kids would like can seem impossible. Changing trends are
difficult to keep up with. Without reliable, independent, and real-time market intelligence, it is impossible to stay ahead of the curve and relevant amongst your target audience.
The Insights Family recently released their annual Future Forecast 2023 report, which predicts twelve key trends in the kids, teens, parents, and family universe to watch out for next year.
The report is available to download for free by visiting: https://get. theinsightsfamily.com/futureforecast/
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