Licensing Magazine May 2022 ENG

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DEAR READER After a long frustrating pause, we are finally returning – in person - to the key spring and summer events for the licensing and animation industry, where Licensing Magazine will feature once again! We are delighted to return to the US for the Las Vegas Licensing Expo, where our magazine will exhibit for the first time with its own booth (C125). Our team will be available to meet friends and companies that we have only seen remotely and online for far too long. And to honor our return in person to this leading international event, our magazine has included a special focus on the US: from current market trends, novelties in the Toy sector, and the latest news in the American retail, to exclusive interviews with key industry players in the US such as Julian Zag, David Kleeman and Jon Ollwerther, among others. From Europe to the US, we also have ample coverage of companies that are enjoying strong development in the US. Some of the interesting stories of commercial success in this issue include Smiley, the Smurfs and Jack Ottanio. Our customary in-depth look at the world of animation, to which we always dedicate a large number of pages, is present as well. This issue focuses on Spanish and Portuguese animation, as well an overview of future animation projects that have strong transmedia and licensing potential. As always, we invite you to read, share and enjoy Licensing Magazine. See you in Las Vegas!


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Cristina Angelucci

@Licensing Magazine PUBLISHER BM Srl


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Cristina Angelucci EDITOR Rossella Arena GRAPHIC DESIGN Francesca Wolfler SPECIAL THANKS TO Alessandra Maccaferri, Andrea De Amicis, Matteo Melani, Lisa Hryniewicz, Hannah Melotto, The Insights Family, Products of Change PUBLISHING, ADVERTISING AND ADMINISTRATION BM Srl - Via Po, 14 - 10123 Torino, Italy Ph. +39 011 1921 1996 PRINTING Pixartprinting SpA, a Cimpress Company Via 1° Maggio, 8 - 30020 Quarto d’Altino VE, Italy 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.

Trade publication registered at ROC number 25906





Interview 47

DUBIT LIMITED How the development of the Metaverse is impacting the Kids’ Licensing Market

Trends 50

PRODUCTS OF CHANGE Regeneration Game: Transitioning to a better business

Events 52



JACK OTTANIO The Added value of Art


Interview 14

THE SMILEY COMPANY Towards a positive future



Cover story

GRUPPO ALCUNI The Energy from being back in attendance

News 36



CICABOOM Cicaboom creates dreams, not plastic



IMPS/LAFIG The latest amazing news from the huge Smurfy world


KONAMI Why Yu-Gi-Oh! is the King of Games

ZAG ENTERTAINMENT A continuous global expansion


MOONBUG ENTERTAINMENT From the Digital World to a Successful World Brand


EL OCHO What’s New from Spain


MAURIZIO DISTEFANO LICENSING The properties’ success and innovative approaches inside Maurizio Distefano Licensing Portfolio, the n°1 agency in Italy

Media&Digital 44

METAVERSE Discovering the role of the kids’ industry in the Metaverse

RIGOTZ STORIES The Business of Writing


News 18

CINE KOREA EXPO 2022 Where Cine Technology meets Cine Content


PHILIP OSBOURNE The growth of Philip Osbourne’s Brands


Entertainment 78

CARTOON NEXT The most innovative European animated projects at Cartoon Next

Marketing 92

ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment & technology, market analysis

Trends Trends 80


GENDER Is it time to look beyond gender?


COLLEGE WEAR Fashion and trends, brands embrace College Wear

PARROT ANALYTICS Demand for anime content

Entertainment 82

ANIMATION Animated dreams from Spain and Portugal

Retail 98

Fashion & Lifestyle 66 86

News 58

LEOLANDIA “Really exists”: Leolandia revolutionizes the approach to themepark licensing

GREEN Sustainability in Children’s Fashion

Trends 88


LOYALTY PROGRAMS Loyalty programs and new opportunities, for physical and digital retail


TRAVEL RETAIL Travel Retail, airports shopping returns

PET LICENSING The growing market of pet products


Focus 60 66

LICENSING EXPO PREVIEW Welcome back to Las Vegas


U.S. TOYS The latest toy releases and trends for the American market


RETAIL What does the future of in-store retail look like?


VIDEOGAMES How celebrity and brand collaborations impact the digital world



FASHION & LIFESTYLE The reemergence of Y2K fashion

HOTEL BRANDING Brand-extension and new trends, brands invest in hospitality


ADVERTISING Advertising trends, from television to video platforms

CO-BRANDING What’s new with the latest co-branding initiatives

Trends 104

BRANDTRENDS How Covid-19 and lockdown have impacted kids’ behaviors towards brands


THE INSIGHTS FAMILY Kids demand meaningful interactions

Save the Date 103


WHAT’S NEXT The next events to follow!



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The Added value of Art LM interviewed the multitalented Italian artist Jack Ottanio, who sells his colorful pop artwork all over the world, to find out more about his business and its promising future in the world of licensing. How does Jack Ottanio conceive his art? How do you want to portray it and what emotions do you want to convey through it? My art derives essentially from the experience of life and cultural heritage that I have gained over the years. In particular, my creativity was strongly influenced by the cultural and lifestyle movements of the eighties and nineties. At that time

Jack Ottanio

Milan lived and breathed English and American fashion and culture, a period of real cultural revolution. The advent of mass television advertising, supermarkets, private radio, modern art, museums open to the public, fashion, shops everywhere, video bars and many other modern cultural phenomena, ingrained a metropolitan culture in me. Based on this imprinting, modern elements have

Memories of ‘70

Borgo Fantasia 2050

profoundly affected my artistic culture and my way of seeing the world. In addition, having visited many countries and different cultures around the world, this melting pot has strengthened my artistic soul in a multifaceted, lively, creative, open way, engendering a positive approach to life. London was a particular training ground for many artistic disciplines such as pop art. My artistic education has manifested as a “culture of colors and emotions”, framed in an anarchic but specific aesthetic sensibility. In my work, industrial and consumer

Cover Story

artistic expression in the world and consequently the easiest to understand, appreciate and convey. Pop art was born in the seventies and eighties in London and New York. At the time, these cities were among the largest and most modern metropolises in the world and consequently were overflowing with advertisements for consumer products. Pop art was born out of an art movement that was flooded with mass advertising. While many artists have been culturally opposed to the world of unbridled consumerism, I on the contrary have been fascinated by it. So, in my form of artistic expression, pop art translates into folk art, which plays with and uses the beauty of the modern world. Licensing is the perfect extension of my artistic

Sunset on Castellamare 2050 progress is expressed in a positive light, without conflict. My conception of pop art translates into a colorful, clear, lively and highly stimulating vision. My works are made using primary colors and I carefully avoid using shades, specifically because I want to hit people’s hearts with the emotions generated by a colorful world. The chromatic composition of my work represents a good, positive and reassuring message for the soul. I want to know that when people are engaged with my artwork, that they are flooded with positive and joyful emotions. This is my art. In your opinion, what is the crossover point between pop art and licensing? By its nature, pop art is the most popular

Pop Buildings 2050

AWARDS, VERNISSAGES AND RECOGNITIONS Thanks to his originality, the popularity of the artist has grown exponentially, as have the various prizes and awards received by authoritative Italian and international art critics. The work “Mars Tree” was exhibited at MAG 2020 in Montreaux. In the recent Biancoscuro Contest two of Jack’s works were awarded in the “Collective Art” category: “Stone Garden” and “One Hundred Faces.” Many of his works have been auctioned and exhibited in several famous national and international galleries including the AKRILIKA 2022 collections:, Smart Coast Gallery and the Pop Art Museum Collection. The “African Faces” work is being exhibited at the MACA Museum in Anagni, and others in Paris, Budapest, Zurich, Milan and Capua. Jack was also included in the Mondadori Artisti 2021, and Artisti Italiani 2020 and 2021 catalogues. In 2021 a prestigious solo exhibition with 37 works was held at the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM of Capua. The famous art magazine ARTNOW dedicated two covers to the artist in September 2020 and January 2021. Other recent awards and recognitions include: Art Expo Paris 2021, Vittorio Sgarbi Award 2021, Creativity Award 2021, Artist of the Year 2020, Creativity Award Palermo 2020, and inclusion in the influential 21 MONDADORI ARTISTS YEARBOOK, with a profile by Vittorio Sgarbi. From March to August 2022, 20 works will be exhibited at the Asti Biennale at the famous Asti Art Gallery, and in November a solo exhibition, “Creative Anarchy,” will be held in a famous historic building in Bologna. In October, a photographic book by Jack Ottanio will be published by the Letteratura Alternativa publisher.



Cover Story

arm to create artistic reproductions on wonderful collections of plates, bags, thermoses, duvets, tablecloths, clothing and much more. By doing so, my art becomes “everyone’s pop art,” I would also add that art is an excellent tool for creating added product value. Licensing is the winning formula that allows both artists and companies to create highly appealing consumer goods. The success that a beautiful collection of products, based on the design of artistic work, can achieve is undeniable. Not surprisingly, there are many companies in the world that use art to sell products with high added value. What licensing strategy do you have in mind for the Jack Ottanio brand? In 2021, together with the team at Alisei Licensing, we kicked off a fiveyear, worldwide licensing strategy with ambitious goals: to become the market leaders in Italy, a leading art brand in Europe, and a highly visible brand in the rest of the world. We have targeted 50 priority merchandise sectors in consumer products where the Jack Ottanio brand could become an excellent market driver and create real added value, both for our licensees and for final consumers. The strategy

Jack Ottanio with his work Italian Pop Icons

THE OPINION OF CRITICS Ottanio’s canvases are a synthesis between the Gothic windows of Chartres, American Pop Art and Futurism. The stained-glass windows of Chartres Cathedral seem to be at the origin of the author’s research, chromatic choices, geometric shapes, and function. Jack Ottanio wants to entertain, diverge from a dark and tiring reality, and he does so by reproducing it in an exasperated and deformed way, critically and ironically, a style typical of American Pop Art. (Vittorio Sgarbi) Having travelled extensively has brought the artist into contact with different cultures, opening him up to a multiplicity of viewpoints and the diversity of every single human being, discovering the beauty of empathy and inclusiveness that leads to serene communication. It is precisely this need to narrate the singularity of the observed that becomes the main feature of Jack Ottanio, whose canvases present a synthesis between Geometric Abstractionism, in which he depicts Italian landscapes and metropolitan scenes giving buildings a less rigid aspect, made less rigorous by the intense, lively, joyful chromatic range; Cubism, that emerges most notably in portraits that also feature Pop colors; and Futurism, using fragmentation to infuse movement into the waves of the sea, often co-protagonists of the works dedicated to the wonderful islands of our beautiful country. The link with Italian Pop culture is fully represented in the work “Italian Pop Icons,” which highlights all the food brands dear to our culture, thus mocking the work dedicated to American soups by the founder of Pop Art, Andy Warhol. (Marta Lock) Shapes, colors, signs, subjects of various kinds and post-modern iconographic references are all elements that appear in Jack’s painting, merging in harmonious pictorial chaos in which his vision of the contemporary world tends to become a concrete figurative reality. Jack’s artistic production is already considered a testament for posterity, the legacy of a painting style capable of manifesting a “metropolitan” vision heralding joy, but above all, of a chromatic vivacity and an informal vision unique in its kind. (Luigi Fusco)

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Calata Ammare is working better than expected: we have already signed agreements with prestigious companies including licensing agencies as well as five licensees. As part of our commercial plans, we have signed a highly strategic partnership with Rainbow spa, a major licensing agent for about 20 premium product sectors. Rainbow will be in charge of appointing international licensees. By 2024, we expect to have over 500 Jack Ottanio branded products placed in Italian and foreign markets. Which target does the Jack Ottanio brand appeal to and which one does it aspire to? Today Jack Ottanio is a brand with clear positioning. Each product depicting my art is aimed at a transversal audience by age,

Montecarlo 2050



Cover Story

From the left, Alessandro Russo, Jack Ottanio, Andrea Mandelli

Torre Del Mosaico

ALISEI IS WORLDWIDE MASTER LICENSOR FOR JACK OTTANIO Alisei creates and develops loyalty, incentive and corporate gift programs. It manages prestigious brands which give a high added value to products used in the promotional and gift campaigns of large-scale retail, GDS, industry, services and finance. In recent years it has expanded its scope of business, creating commercial opportunities with the brands it manages, and promoting continuous supply relationships with important large-scale retailers in Italy and abroad. It stands out in the market thanks to a significant marketing commitment that is the driving force of every activity and proposal, both for its brands and customers. A strong creative component makes Alisei a partner that can fully exploit the DNA and positioning of a brand in terms of contemporary lifestyles, and to develop licensed brand extensions that can support a collection of products, leading to win-win initiatives for both the customer and the brand. Alisei is part of the Promo Gruppo, a group of synergistic companies, with an aggregate turnover of over 20 million euros. For the last three years Alisei has invested in the development of its Licensing Division, capitalising on some developments that have allowed it to enter the industry as market leaders. The three partners of Alisei Alessandro Russo, Andrea Mandelli and Alessandro Campetella commented: “The experience gained in developing ideas, partnerships and licensed projects has been instrumental in developing the licensing division that is delivering important success and results. As master licensee of our managed brands, we work directly with licensee companies and licensing agencies. We develop licensing relationships with a broad and unconstrained vision, which allows us to create new opportunities, such as building synergies between various licensees that can consolidate results in a partnership, if geographically possible. In 2021, Alisei Licensing signed a Worldwide Master Licensor contract with the famous Milan-born artist Jack Ottanio, a winning partnership. The Jack Ottanio brand, thanks to the fantastic art created by the artist, has achieved extraordinary success with the public on an international level. In a short time, we signed several prestigious Italian licensees for the development of Jack Ottanio branded product collections. We have also signed agreements with international companies, such as Licensing Agencies. We have a busy operational program, with various long and medium-term objectives. Our primary goal is to make the Jack Ottanio brand the leading artistic brand in Italy and Europe. We will measure our success in terms of notoriety, trust and volume of turnover of all licensed products branded JO.”

Cover Story

gender and nationality. This is because pop art is appreciated all over the world, as is my art. All these factors making up the brand are conveyed on the products, appreciated by a vast and international audience, from 15 to 70 years old. My original paintings are also purchased by a transversal audience, and it has been the same for the Jack Ottanio branded products. Our ambition? Very simple: make art available to everyone through quality products that best represent my artistic expression. For which product categories do you consider the brand particularly appealing, and which would represent a risk? I consider it a priority to create licenses on products that can best convey my artistic forms. Clearly, artistic expression works well on products that have a good facade, so that they can easily support my work. These include plates, tablecloths, carpets

Pagnossin transforms home decor together with the Italian artist Jack Ottanio

Nicolò Mussetto

Pagnossin, a brand that has made history in Italian ceramics, has stood out for a century for its quality of materials, innovation and creativity, with an Italian flavor and proximity to the artistic world. Its goal is to create collections with a strong identity, rich in color, shapes and emotions that have the strength to transform an environment and bring beauty to the table, the kitchen and the home. A continuous challenge that inspires the brand to seek new ideas in the contemporary world and blend them with the very rich tradition of Italian art, style and way of life, often with the contribution of artists. In contemporary artist Jack Ottanio Pagnossin has found a perfect partner to create a new collection that makes a statement: an original but simple and direct style, a colorful world with a pop soul, and a celebration of intense, lively and joyful places inspired by works like “Bel Paese.”

Contemporary Museum Collection - dining tablecloth

Contemporary Museum Collection - ceramic plates

Nicolò Mussetto of Pagnossin comments: Art creates languages that excite the senses every time the eye observes them, so we want to transform a collection for the home into small art objects that give value to everyday life. We are delighted to collaborate with Jack Ottanio.” A partnership that started in spring 2022: the new Contemporary Museum Collection, a wonderful collection of ceramic plates and dining tablecloths, will be presented in the fall. The products are on presale on the Pagnossin website, where you can also buy the brand’s recent creations dedicated to kitchen appliances and the world of pizza.



Cover Story

and tapestries, ceramics, tables, fabrics, apparel and dozens of other products that we have identified. We are also working on packaging, where the artistic design and the brand must blend harmoniously

Matteo Olivetti

to best enhance the product it contains. The risky categories? Food items, such as chocolate and sweets. I would like to “melt” my art on products such as

chocolate, panettone, biscuits... I find the fusion of pop art and food truly magical, a real marketing driver for the product and a big satisfaction for the artist.

Torre De Cuatro Vientos

Interview with Matteo Olivetti, Sales Director of Global Consumer Products at Rainbow What prompted you to welcome Jack Ottanio among the brands of your licensing agency? Rainbow is investing heavily in the art field, art licensing is a trend that is currently hugely successful and well-received in the market. Brands from the international art scene offer great opportunities, and at the moment the adult licensing sector is in full swing in terms of licensing for a very wide range of possibilities. We were immediately attracted by Jack Ottanio’s explosion of colors and the versatility of his portfolio of work. His designs with a metropolitan touch, innovative but also familiar, are the ultimate expression of design and creativity. We are happy to welcome this license, young and looking towards the future. Ottanio’s work continues to grow and feed a compendium of versatile, unique and collectible works that Rainbow will represent to bring its original pop style to the licensing market, bypassing any boundaries of genre, geography and age. What strategy do you have in mind for the development of the property? Are there already any initiatives you can announce? We are sure that working with Jack Ottanio will be very exciting and will usher in a wave of beauty and big news into the licensing field. The licensing team is already fully engaged working on our development roadmap. We are used to rethinking our models and strategies with each new license acquisition, drawing up customised plans and always pushing the limits of what we can achieve in terms of results. Every time it is a more exciting challenge, and the one with Jack Ottanio will certainly be among the most innovative. We will initially start with the positioning of the brand in the categories that best lend themselves to Ottanio’s style, in line with the themes addressed by his work, to then proceed with a gradual and targeted development in other categories, but without rushing to expand the ranges of the market, except for some product categories. In which foreign markets do you think the IP can be more successful? The potential of Jack Ottanio is truly enormous and allows us to think about this brand without geographical limits or target audience. Color, liveliness, pop, originality and dynamism: these metropolitan traits make Jack Ottanio’s art a very promising starting point for success in the world of licensing. We aim to anchor the brand in various foreign markets, but will start in Italy where we will begin testing different options for the brand. We are confident that the domestic market, always very demanding and competitive, will help us develop Jack Ottanio’s potential and prepare to launch throughout Europe, then the United States and Latin America, areas that we consider very important.

Cover Story

Stone Flowers In Hawaii

Farovecchio Trittico

CONTACT Website: E-mail: Facebook: Instagram: Linkedin:

Edmond The Pop Jazzman





Towards a positive future LM interviewed Nicolas Loufrani, Founder and Ceo, The Smiley Company, to know more about the participation of the enterprise to the Licensing Expo (Las Vegas, May 24-27), and all the other novelties. Nicolas Loufrani This is an important year for Smiley. How have you decided to celebrate the 50th anniversary of your brand, and together with which key partners? We started working on the project around a bit more than two and a half years ago, to realize an outstanding anniversary. We wanted to build a program that was about bringing to the public a unique experience and a message of positivity, with very interesting activations, using street art, big events, marketing campaigns, music, and also coming up with special collector’s editions from iconic brands. We managed to sign more than 60 big brands, collaborations, in luxury and fashion, in home, in beauty with some of the most iconic brands, to open more than 95 corners with the biggest and best department store chains in the world in 18 countries. We obtained deals with some of the biggest chains in the world, like H&M, Zara, Pull&Bear, Bershka… In the first four Eastpak

months of this year, we generated more than 30 billion media impressions for our campaign: almost 15 million people write the hashtags #takethetimetosmile or #smiley50thanniversary. I’m really happy of what we’ve been able to build with my team, our licensing partners, these brands and the retailers. What is your sustainable strategy and how will you work with partners and retailers for this purpose? We trademarked our next huge campaign, called Future Positive™, which is going to be about sustainability, and we want this to be the turnkey marketing concept for the brands and retailers who are going to develop sustainable products with Smiley. We’re going to build a really important project about sustainability in licensing. We hired a new head of sustainability who’s responsible for ensuring that this project is going to be a really deep because

we don’t want to do greenwashing. We are committing to the public that within five years, 100% of our licenses will have sustainable products in their offering, and 25% of all our offering is going to be made of sustainable products. We also have the legitimacy of having our nonprofit, the Smiley Movement, which has been, for the last five years, working around the sustainable development goals of the United Nations and promoting those and engaging the public with them. We really have a complete key offering that is enabling big brands and manufacturers, to join the project and be aligned with a more positive future for the world, for our communities, for the environment. You have established a non-profit organization that is called the Smiley Movement. Can you tell us something more? Concerning The Smiley Movement, first you have to follow us on social media: Smiley news on Twitter or Smiley Messika Campaign


Movement on LinkedIn. Our goal is to support all the change-makers in the world and all the people who work in the Charity sector, helping protect our communities, and the environment. We have an editorial team of journalists who are publishing everyday news about the charities, talking about their projects in order to help them scale up, become bigger or scale out, which means, promote the ideas so that other people in other parts of the world can use the same models for their community.

Celebrating 50 years of Smiley

Born in 1972 to spread feelgood news, The Smiley Brand celebrates 50 years through a series of collaborations with some of the most exciting brands across fashion, lifestyle, home and beauty. As part of the leadup to The Smiley Company’s 50th anniversary in 2022, an animated short was produced to show why defiant optimism is the way we manifest a better future in 2022 – and beyond. Through partnerships with designers from luxury to sport & street, beauty, design and advertising, Smiley continues to embrace Dalloyau chocholate What is Smiley’s current stance towards the Metaverse’s opportunities? We just launched last week some apparel products in the Metaverse, where people will be able to dress their avatars in some Smiley clothes. We’re going to launch very soon our first art NFTs. There will be an auction with a big auction house that will soon be announced, and we’re going to release our original smileys from the late nineties and build a whole program around the art and creativity. We were setting up a team with people in the Smiley studio, who are going to be focused a 100% of their time on NFTs and the Metaverse. In terms of target, who do you address most with your products and projects? Do you have the aim to broad further your target through your next plans? Smiley is very unique in the sense that it is strong on different targets. Recently we developed H&M collections for men, women, boys and girls. It is the first time


collaboration as an opportunity to spread this important message. Sarah Andelman, co-founder of the legendary Parisian concept store Colette has come on board to curate over 50 halo partnerships across 12 product categories. To mark this milestone anniversary, Smiley enlisted renowned graffiti artist André Saraiva to reimagine the iconic Smiley logo. Merging both icons, Mr. A and the Smiley face, Saraiva has created a truly unique design to celebrate the brand anniversary with his signature spray cans. Conveying both this collaboration and the 50th anniversary in a truly subversive fashion, Smiley ran a guerilla fly postering campaign across nine major global cities, as part of the street art manifesto for positivity. This street art campaign was heavily featured in French dance music powerhouse David Guetta’s music video for ‘Silver Screen’. To mark International Day of Happiness 2022, the Smiley logo was projected onto some of the most iconic cultural landmarks around the world.




chains in the US such as American Eagle, for example, and have many launches that are planned this year with some other chains. Our global partners, whether it’s brands or retailers like H&M or the Inditex group, are launching our products on the US markets. Actually it’s the most successful market for most of our launches. It means that when we work with the fashion chains and we launch products globally, the US always comes as the number one in terms of sell-through.

The Future Positive™ campaign

Philosophy Clothing that they have one brand that is realizing huge collections and marketing activations with them on all these targets. This unicity is something that I’ve always cultivated by creating programs that would be relevant for each target. Every season we develop more than 25 style guides and hundreds Carolina Herrera - dress

of product concepts, and our team is always thinking about how we design for each specific target consumer group. In particular, regarding the US, what are you planning to bring to the Las Vegas Licensing Expo? In the US market we had plentiful of a very significant activations and partnerships in the past few years. We’re very strong in the streetwear world, through our collaboration with markets: for example for our 50th-anniversary campaign we had the pop-up shops in the Nordstrom stores with all our brands’ collaborations. We collaborate also with a lot of fashion

Moschino - earrings

Future Positive, the new campaign of Smiley for 2023, will take place at 360°, curating a range of limitededition sustainable lifestyle products, infused with brand experiences and charitable giving opportunities. Just a few key points from this rich campaign. Smiley will choose to work with brand partners who have environmental or social innovation. On the retail front, it has curated in-store experiences to drive the consumer back to physical retail. Smiley will collaborate with leading artistsactivists and charities to upcycle and re-purpose waste, to create a variety of inspiring large-scale sculptures and installations, as well as street art murals to highlight environmental challenges. These will all come to life during key calendar milestones, including World Earth Day in April 2023. The campaign will be supported with online communication (website & social media), aimed at more than 5 million consumers. For further details please contact:




The latest amazing news from the huge Smurfy world New partnerships, gaming and publishing releases, sustainability initiatives… the Smurfy world is always full of exciting news! The Smurfs is a well-known brand with an unstoppable big international success, born from the little blue characters created by Peyo in 1958. The cute creatures are known around the globe thanks to movies, tv series, video games, licensing partnerships and their original tool, comics and books. Here are the latest news from their amazing world.

New collaborations The Smurfs love to create exciting partnerships to continue expanding their world. Like the one with Cluedupp Games, the world’s leading geogaming events company. This app was created to share outdoor experiences in 80 countries worldwide. Since 2017, CluedUpp has welcomed over 1 million players to more than 5000 events across the globe, creating exciting adventure days such as Witchcraft & Wizardry, Jack the Ripper and Alice in Wonderland. IMPS and CluedUpp Games have recently announced a brand-new licensing agreement that will transform hundreds of

cities into a giant Smurf-tastic experience in 2023. In many city-wide events, players will immerse themselves in a unique experience which combines augmented reality with the physical world to turn their hometown into the setting of a brand new Smurfs adventure. Exploring city streets, solving wacky challenges, and meeting their favourite Smurfs characters along the way, players will attempt to save the

day from the evil wizard Gargamel. Tref Griffiths, founder and CEO of CluedUpp Games, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be developing a new range of events alongside such an iconic brand as The Smurfs. This partnership presents a wonderful opportunity for families to explore their city and discover The Smurfs in a completely new and exciting way”. Véronique Culliford, President of IMPS and daughter of Peyo, the creator of the Smurfs said: “We’re so excited about this new collaboration with CluedUpp Games. Getting together and having fun, this is what every Smurf likes to do. We can’t wait to see blue waves of Smurfs fans from all around the world exploring their city and thwarting Gargamel’s plans”. Events are scheduled to take place in more than 800 cities and over 20 countries worldwide. Tickets will go on sale to the public from October 2022. A brand new collaboration concerns The Smurfs x Healthy Lifestyle Brands & Growve to create Smurfs Gummy RomWe X The Smurfs


Vitamins for kids. A tasty and fun way to help support children wellness. “We’re thrilled to be part of introducing the Smurfs brand to a whole new generation— and in a really healthy way” declared Stewart Brennan, CMO at Growve. “Kids are going to love these delicious gummies with the iconic Smurfs characters boldly displayed on the bottles. And because they’re made with real fruit juices/purees and no high fructose corn syrup, they’ll be a big hit with moms too!” For the apparel, the coloured RomWe X The Smurfs summer collection is now available worldwide. A new official Smurfs webshop is going live in September! The Smurfs e-commerce experience will be managed by The Wildflower Group. TWG is a strong partner with the ability to quickly create new POD products and apply integrated marketing communication strategies across all digital channels.

Gaming There are plenty of novelties about gaming. A new consoles game with Microids will be soon announced and more will follow in the coming years. The Smurfs Magic Match by PopReach Corporation is now also available in French and German. A worldwide update of our hit game has expanded to meet a growing audience base, while continuing to develop fun game levels and of course, rewards for the dedicated fans. Concerning NFTs, you can expect more fun for fans and gamers from the collab with The Sandbox, a virtual world where players can build, own, and monetize their gaming experiences in the blockchain. Smurfs avatars will drop in the Alpha Season 3 of The Sandbox metaverse in June.

Audiovisual & Publishing The new 3D Smurfs series, launched last year, continues to spread around the world on many free to air channels, in Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Scandinavia,

The new Smurfs tv series Poland, Indonesia, Japan… A new Free TV broadcasting deal takes place in Bangladesh (DurontoTV), with the launch in August 2022 (TBC). Season 2 of The New TV series will air worldwide starting this fall on Nickelodeon (TBC), and will follow on other free channels. Thanks to a new partnership with Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Animation, new Smurfs Movies will be realized soon. The first movie is slated for December 2024 and will have a special Musical touch! For the Publishing sector, the Tome 5 from the Smurf Girls Comics series has been released in French. The new tome is the first act of a trilogy, introducing Mint as a new character. It is available in France/ Belgium fr/Switzerland (Le Lombard), and coming soon in Germany (Splitter), Poland (Egmont), Belgium nl & The Netherlands (Standaard). In the US, HarperCollins published the picture book How Much Farther, Papa Smurf? by Robb Pearlman, illustrated by Melanie Demmer, and will soon release many other Smurfy books for every reader.

Sustainability For the Smurfs, sustainability is a very important issue, to which they are dedicating style guides and they are keen to disseminate in every way, from the smallest as the Whatsapp themed stickers developed with Bare Tree Media, to initiatives of a certain depth. Such as the annual appointment EU Beach Clean Up. Every year, millions of tonnes of waste end up in the ocean. To protect marine life, the United Nations is teaming up with the European Union and the Smurfs to inspire everyone (young or old!) to take action to

clean beaches or riverbanks across the world. This year the #EUBeachCleanup campaign will be both online, with the ACT NOW app, and live, with beach cleaning events being organized all over the blue planet. This year’s edition will have a special focus on Youth, because 2022 is the #EuropeanYearOfYouth! It will start the second week of June and last during a month. The Smurfs are also proud members of Products of Change, the global educational hub aimed at driving sustainable change across consumer product markets and beyond.

2023: an important year

2023 will be the year of the Smurfs’ 65th anniversary, and our blue friends are already preparing many initiatives. On the licensing front, a special style guide will be released for the occasion… more details to come soon!





Why Yu-Gi-Oh! is the King of Games What a crazy two years it has been! We all know about the disruptions faced by almost every business around the globe. Buisness owners and consumers are still adapting to the “new normal’ we now live in. Throughout the past two years – which was a very challenging time for all people were able to discover some familiar things that brought comfort, familiarity and even

Kitsune Studios

joy to those who found themselves with a lot more time spent at home. One of those things was Anime. Fans old and new clamored to discover more about or reengage with their favorite Anime characters, especially Yu-Gi-Oh! The Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise has been going strong for over 20 years. With a library of over 900 episodes that span seven different series as well as three theatrical length movies, Yu-Gi-Oh! is a bingeable treat for fans around the globe. The vast library of content helped to entertain and distract so many in the dark days of the pandemic. Fans rediscovered Joey, Tea as well as Yugi, Kaiba and Dark Magician. Top streamers, Netflix and Amazon Prime, both offer Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, in multiple languages for fans around the world. With localized streamers such as Joyn and Sky also making different series

Funko and episodes available as well. Fans came back and rediscovered a familiar favorite and they have not let go. Yu-Gi-Oh! fans will be happy to learn that In June, the newest series in the franchise, Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS, will make its debut in both the United States and Internationally in late May/early June. In the new series, Yuga Ohdo may seem like any other 5th grader in Goha City, but he’s about to take his favorite game to the next level by inventing a whole new way to duel - Rush Duels! Unlike previous duels, Rush Duels are faster and simpler, but with awesome new strategies that make each duel more dynamic than the last!


to rediscovering anime content during the pandemic, many fans also took the opportunity to dust off their old trading cards and start playing again. Others, not familiar with Yu-Gi-Oh!, who were looking for a new activity, discovered the fun and strategic game play for the first time fueling sales of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game to record numbers around the world. The game provided legions of fans a fun way to pass the time and remain social during a global pandemic. Supply chain issues thwarted many business sectors globally and trading cards were not spared. Nevertheless, KONAMI released numerous Collector’s Sets such as Yugi’s Legendary Decks, TCG Masterpiece Series: Platinum Blue - Eyes White Dragon, Maximum Gold, El Dorado

Yuga can’t wait to share Rush Dueling with every Duelist out there, but Goha Enterprises - the megacorp that controls the whole city - is having none of it! They’re the ones who dictate how Duels are supposed to be played, so they’re going to use everything in their arsenal to crush this kid! But if they think that’s going to stop Yuga from building his road to freedom - they don’t know Yuga! YuGi-Oh! SEVENS - Get Ready for the Rush! At the core of this evergreen brand are the Manga comics and the beloved YuGi-Oh! Trading Card Game. In addition


Difuzed and the Tin of Ancient Battles. Of course, Booster Packs remained a staple item for card aficionados. At the height of the pandemic and the supply chain disruption that ensued, many retailers had to limit the number of cards that could be sold to stop fights from happening when there was not enough inventory the demand. While cards may have been difficult to purchase in stores due to supply chain issues, fans were also able to duel digitally thanks to the mobile gaming app Duel Links which now boasts over 140 million downloads worldwide. Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is the latest addition to the digital gaming collection. KONAMI released the game early in 2022 without much fanfare or marketing. The game has gotten positive reviews, climbing quickly to the top of the Steam charts. It currently has over 30 million downloads. Fans are eagerly awaiting the next digital gaming launch from KONAMI, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Cross

The Good Smile Company Duel – a four player card battle that will be available for IOS and Android with a planned release in the second half of 2022. With the resurgence of Yu-Gi-Oh’s popularity among the Millennial and Gen Z demographic, fans have been clamoring for more Yu-Gi-Oh! merchandise to demonstrate their love of the brand and passion for the game. As a result, retailers have been asking for more YuGi-Oh! merchandise. In order to meet the demand for product that has grown during the last two years, Konami Cross Media signed numerous licensing deals throughout the pandemic that brought in a wide array of new Licensees who are now creating goods that fans want to wear, display, collect and play. Collectibles are a key category for the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand. With partners like First 4 Figures, The Good Smile Company, Hobby Japan, Kotobukiya, MegaHouse, Taka, and Kitsune, and in the mix, fans are able to purchase and enjoy a wide range of figures at different price points that enhance any collection (provided one has the display space.) For fans

Pyramid International




Funko of any age, Funko offers a broad range of POPS! featuring favorite monsters and characters from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters series. And if it is a fan exclusive or a limited release item that one is after, Fanattik has probably already thought of it. With their experience creating and selling product at fan events, Fanattik/ Iron Gut Publishing develop products for the most avid Yu-Gi-Oh! fans out there. Their collections and limited-edition items repeatedly sell out in Europe and in the US. Now, with even broader retail distribution in the US and Australia, fans can anticipate even more collectibles from Fanattik/Iron Gut Publishing that highlight their love of Yu-Gi-Oh! Whether it is a 24k gold plated limited-edition Kuriboh card, the Millennium Premium box set or a Pot of Greed Tankard, there is more coming in store and on- line from Fanattik/Iron Gut Publishing. Difuzed

Yu-Gi-Oh’s popularity with the Gen Z crowd has ushered in a new range of products and licensee creating a design aesthetic that is in tune with them. Hypland has introduced a range of apparel and home décor products that were featured at two different pop up events in New York City and in Los Angeles. Each event had lines of fans waiting patiently to gain entry and spend their money on hoodies, shirts, rugs and more while capturing Insta moments posing near custom made, life-sized Blue Eyes Toon Dragon and Millennium Puzzle statues that were featured in-store. The products were all made available for purchase on-line at the Hypland shop

FaNatTik/Iron Gut Publishing as well as at select Zumiez stores in the United States two weeks after the events. Plans are underway for pop up events to take place in Europe later in 2022 or early in 2023 as the pandemic and travel restrictions/quarantine rules continue to ease. Difuzed, Abysse and Pyramid International are some of the other top partners offering Yu-Gi-Oh! licensed merchandise for almost all occasions to the global fanbase. From apparel to messenger bags, keychains to door mats, magnets to wall décor, one of these three companies are creating just the right product for that discerning YuGi-Oh! fan. Globally in 2022 and 2023, Yu-Gi-Oh! will have a bigger presence in the toy aisle thanks to the addition of Phat Mojo, Super Impulse and Heathside Trading as licensing partners. Phat Mojo, based in Los Angeles, CA, is one of the fastestgrowing toy companies in the industry. With a focus on creativity and community, PhatMojo is in business to build memories with people who share their view of what’s cool. Their action figure collection

along with carrying cases, plush and Duel Disks will allow children and fans of all ages to act out their favorite duels with their friends. Trading Cards will not be the only Yu-Gi-Oh! game in town thanks to Heathside Trading who will develop and release a Yu-Gi-Oh! board game so the whole family can get in on the dueling action. And Super Impulse will introduce a line of Yu-Gi-Oh! action micro figures and classic action figures. The figures will feature non-playable mini cards from the anime series in time for the 2022 Holiday season. The products will be sold as single figures and also as a blind box collector program. There is no doubt that now is the “time to duel” for Yu-Gi-Oh! With record breaking trading card game sales that show no sign of slowing down, digital games topping the Steam and Twitch charts as well as pop up collections selling out, a new toy collection launching and so much more, the brand is well poised for continued growth and sales worldwide. Yu-Gi-Oh! is only getting started since the recent focus has been on developing products that cater to a Millennial and Gen Z fanbase. With a new Yu-Gi-Oh! series launching in 2022 Gen Alpha is about to learn what so many fans already know. From its origins in Manga to the beautiful and captivating Anime to the fun and strategic gaming options and the various licensed products available, Yu-Gi-Oh! is the omni-brand that truly has something for everyone. Across multiple generations, with numerous content engagement touchpoints and worldwide distribution, Yu-Gi-Oh! is and remains the King of Games.

FaNatTiK/Iron Gut Publishing




WHAT’S NEW FROM SPAIN El Ocho is a leading Spanish Licensing Agency, which represents and manages classic and well-known brands such as Asterix and Mafalda, until brand-new phenomenon as Cocomelon, Blippi and many others. Let’s see in this article what’s new from Spain by El Ocho. stick and stack), Play by play (3D cushions), Safta (BTS), and Penguin Random House (educational books). All this work is supported by Bandai as official Distributor of the Jazwares Toy line. El Ocho is adding more and more licensees to its impressive and growing lineup of partners. The main goal of the agency is to position Cocomelon as the children’s favorite preschool brand in Spain.


Cocomelon Cocomelon is the world’s number one children’s channel on Youtube and the first educational channel on this popular application, with a whole series of children’s animation and a global potential, including impressive figures. Other breaking-record numbers include an average of more than four million views per month, over 102 billion views and 102 million subscribers. As if that wasn’t enough, after its inclusion in the Netflix streaming platform, it has reached the Top 10 charts in the United States for 258 consecutive days, and in the United Kingdom it has appeared in the Top 10 charts for 98 consecutive days. In Spain El Ocho has signed licensing agreements with well-known licensees and manufacturers in the national and international market such as: Air Val (shampoo/hand sanitizer/hand soap/ toothpaste), ATTA, CefaToys (Toys), EDUCA (educational games), Leya (publishing), Panini (stickers/trading cards/

Blippi is one of the most popular children’s TV series in the Moonbug portfolio. Blippi is enthusiastic and energetic; he is the children’s best friend and involves them into play in each video. He is the “fun guy” that kids look up to and the ideal friend to have the best adventures with. He is naturally clumsy and makes the kids laugh. He teaches them about the world, inciting their curiosity and having a unique style - he wouldn’t be himself without his hat, glasses and shoulder straps! With more than 90 episodes already available, and more than 30 hours of content, Blippi is one of the most successful TV series for the children. It is available on the main streaming platforms such as Netflix, Youtube, Prime video and has a great global reach.

Since El-Ocho has been appointed to manage Blippi, the agency’s goal is to encourage the brand growing every day, thanks to its potentialities. So far El-Ocho has achieved already some great results in the digital platforms where the brand is present, starting with Toy Partner as Master Toy.

Simon Simon is a French preschool animated TV series aimed at children between 3 and 6 years old, inspired to the books by Stephanie Blake. In just a few years since its TV launch, Simon has become a “star” for children thanks to its funny stories. The add values of Simon are evident. Among them, we could quote joie de vivre, family healthy life, positive education, brotherhood, friendship, playfulness, competition and fair play, a sense of wonder and respect for nature, and curiosity about everything! Since El-Ocho has been managing the brand, it has achieved several deals in different product categories such as:


Famosa (plushes), Educa (educational games), Safta (BTS), Random House (educational books), General Juguetes (outdoor), Zero Oito (magazines), Jugavi (personal care). Thanks to El-Ocho management, in the upcoming months Simon will be part of the event My First Festival by the hand of Lemon to be held at the Wanda Metropolitano football stadium in Madrid on June 11th and 12th. Simon will also participate at the Panda Channel Festival scheduled for June and July this year.

Dragon Ball The incredible ongoing success for many years of Dragon Ball has made it to become an icon in the world of anime and manga, and of course in the world of licensing. El Ocho has witnessed its success since its appointment as agency back in 2015, watching closely how every day it has become a reference point in the manga world and a “success’ case study” in the licensing industry. El Ocho has obtained licenses with wellknown apparel brands such as Zara, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Sprinter (sport clothing), Tempe (footwear), Comic Studio, and Sun City (T-shirts, Sweats, pajamas). In addition to the apparel category, which gives the brand a great exposure touching all targets, El Ocho continues to increase its licensing program with more than 27 licensees among which are: CyP, Educa, Grupo Erik, Karactermania, La Casa de las Carcasas, Panini, Play by Play, SD, Stor, Viving and many more.

Furthermore, we will work closely with the marketing departments of the distribution in Iberia to give greater visibility to Dragon Ball during the Spring, Summer, BTS and Christmas campaigns, with a prominent presence at the Manga Show 2022 as in previous years.

My Hero Academy Considering the popularity of manga

at these times, another of El Ocho’s big bets is My Hero Academia, since its appointment in 2021. This brand has sold 50 million comics worldwide, of which 10 million only in Europe, as well as a fastgrowing licensing program. In addition, MHA has a strong presence in all the major distribution channels, both online and offline. Since El Ocho manages this property, the





growth of the licensing program has been spectacular. In less than a few months, the Spanish licensing agency has signed together with the following partners: Comic Studio (apparel/accessories), Grupo Erik (notebooks/calendars/posters), Jugavi (Toiletry bags, bath sets and cosmetic sets), and Karactermania (fashion bags/ bags coin purse /card holder). For 2022, El Ocho’s goal is to increase licensing agreements and sign with the main retailers in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. On the other hand, El-Ocho will work closely with the marketing of the main retail companies in Iberia to give a greater exposure to the brand during crucial periods as the Spring, Summer, Back-toSchool, and Christmas campaigns, with a prominent presence at the Manga Fair 2022.

Since El Ocho has started managing Mafalda in 2003, it has signed deals with the major textile retailers in the Spanish market and has collected more than 30 licensees within its rich and long-lasting licensing program. Mafalda, the girl who hates soup and worries excessively about everything that happens in the world around her, but always with the hope that someday it will be fixed and world peace will be definitely achieved. Mafalda is one of the most outstanding classic brands that El Ocho has been managing for so many years and that has been always very successful.

Asterix Another great classic brand that El-Ocho has been managing for years is the wellknown Asterix comic cartoons. Since El Ocho has been managing the

brand, it has reached agreements with different licensees to further expand the Asterix licensed consumer products offering and thus broaden its licensing portfolio in the Iberian territory. Among the licenses that El Ocho has achieved to expand the Asterix licensing portfolio, it’s possible to highlight: Barrado (plushes), Grupo Erik (posters, year calendars, agendas etc.), Lefties (apparel), Really Nice (apparel), Salvi (home shoes), S Gramage Hogar (bedding), Women Secret (apparel).




THE PROPERTIES’ SUCCESS AND INNOVATIVE APPROACHES INSIDE MAURIZIO DISTEFANO LICENSING PORTFOLIO, THE N°1 AGENCY IN ITALY First months of 2022 have brought many satisfactions to the agency, such as the awarding of prizes, the arrival of many new products and the entry of new properties in the portfolio. First among all the successes, the recognition given by the best 2022 agents ranking drawn up by Licensing Global magazine, where the agency is positioned as the Number 1 agency in Italy, 2nd in Europe and 37th in the world. Moreover, attending Bologna Licensing Trade Fair 2022 has given, in addition to the development of business, other fruits, because, on the occasion of its opening, the winners of the prestigious Bologna Licensing Awards were announced: a recognition to the best licensing project

developed during 2020 and 2021. The awards were presented on March 21st during the Awards Ceremony at Palazzo Re Enzo, in the heart of Bologna and, after a careful evaluation by the jury of the many candidate projects, the agency received two awards, in two different

categories: the Clementoni for LIFE project won as “Best Adult Licensing Project”, with a collection of LIFE licensed jigsaw puzzles that made its mark for their distinctive design, which created strong branding thanks to the iconic images on a challenging product type. On the other hand, Benetton for LIFE Project won the “Best Adult Fashion Project”: Benetton’s collection convinced the jury for its design and its excellently developed campaign, with high-quality coverage in all areas. LIFE is the American magazine which made the history of photo reporting and, thanks to Maurizio Distefano Licensing, some of the most iconic photographs are available for licensing in Italy. With regard to the new acquisitions which have joined an already well-stocked portfolio, the agency is pleased to present


two world-famous personalities, whose respective brands are now available in the Italian licensing market: Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein. Charlie Chaplin is the brand of the actor who gave life to one of the most emblematic characters since his first productions in the ‘20s: Charlot brought the figure of the tramp to universal fame and was able to speak to the public with elegant irreverence, highlighting with purity and simplicity the problems of that society of the years. His intelligent and sophisticated comedy is always appreciated and he boasts a collection of more than ninety films of which he is the author. The iconographic elements related to Charlie Chaplin are truly unique: the creased clothes, the ever-present bowler hat, the funny walk, the cane and that unmistakable mustache have created an

iconic and exclusive image. The Albert Einstein brand celebrates the man who inaugurated modern physics: his discoveries made an unparalleled contribution to civilization today, through the development of revolutionary theories of electronics, microbiology, astronomy and quantum mechanics, of which he was one of the founders. His Theory of Relativity is one of the most important scientific revelations in the history of man and consecrated his fame and notoriety. It




is useless to deny that in the world popular iconography Einstein represents a symbol, rooted in human thought. In the collective imagination, the image of the scientist is linked to him: the genius represented with disheveled hair that defies gravity and an unkempt mustache. Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein have collections of beautiful Style Guides that can be used in the various product categories. Highly impactful and highly recognizable products can be created with a strong push to purchase. Looking at the category that is making room in licensing, that of creators, Charlotte M. (1.05 Mln subscribers on YouTube, 1.1 Mln on TikTok and 150K followers on Instagram) projects herself into the scene showing off her many passions: she loves to sing (she has already launched 4 songs, “Best Friends”,

“Hola Flamingo”, “I loove you” and “Buum Buum”, available on YouTube and streaming on Spotify) and she also loves to write: she has already published three books with Fabbri Editori, “Un’estate al college infestato” (2020), “Un amore oltreoceano” (2021) and “Charlotte M. La mia vita segreta”, released last February. The latter book, that this time is a comic, tells of a magical adventure, where Charlotte’s signature animal, the flamingo, plays a crucial role. The plans for 2022 don’t end: this spring Charlotte M. is the star of a line of sneakers produced by Italian footwear specialist Easy Shoes. These beautiful sneakers in four different colours (pink, white, black and denim blue) are now available in major shoe stores and retail chains throughout Italy. Not only that, each purchase includes a special gift, a pair of super cool cat-eyes sunglasses by Charlotte M. To support the launch of the sneakers, Charlotte M. herself has started a campaign on her hugely popular social media and is also starring in the supporting TV commercial airing on the main children’s channels. Charlotte M. products, inspired by her hugely popular videos, are already on the market and many more are on the way: in addition to Easter egg from Dolci Preziosi, products from Mitama, Giochi Preziosi, Salati Preziosi and many more are being added, also in view of the release of the movie, where she will be the main character, to be filmed this summer. As anticipated, the successes for the

brands of the agency do not end: excellent audience results for the TV series Bluey, which debuted on Rai Yoyo in December 2021, positioning in the first month as the number 1 series among children’s programs (Auditel 30 January) with more than 19 thousand viewing hours in just one week! Bluey has also made the YouTube community fall in love with the Italian channel, which already has more than 21k subscribers, in addition to those already existing in French, Spanish, Danish and English. Bluey conquers with his simplicity, his charm and his sense of humour. The series follows the adventures of Bluey, a lovable six-year-old Blue Heeler puppy whose inexhaustible vitality, imagination and constant curiosity about the world drive each episode. The little dog lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, together with her family: her dad Bandit, her mom Chilli and her little sister Bingo. The Heeler family is joined by the two cousins’ and the community’s group of little friends (each belonging to a different dog breed) who are involved in their games and adventures. The world of Bluey is playful and full of joy: will this be


an extensive licensing program managed locally by the agency.

the secret ingredient of the success of the award-winning Australian TV series that has thrilled families? In the meantime, licensees’ first products are arriving on the market: Giochi Preziosi with toys, Multiprint with the stamps sets and many other agreements are being signed. The success of the agency is underlined by its ability to manage a portfolio of properties with a wide variety of categories and brands, among the most popular in Italy. In fact, animated series such as Bing, CoComelon, ALVINN!!! And the Chipmunks, Gigantosaurus and Masha and the Bear, always rank among the first places in market surveys of the field. Bing has surpassed 1 million subscribers on his Italian YouTube channel, proving how much Bing is loved by the Italian audience, who follow his adventures with passion

and assiduity. Bing is already a star of the screen, stage and radio with his debut on Rai Radio in the children’s program “Big Bang” on Rai Radio Kids. Since its launch on Rai Yoyo in 2018, Bing has become a top show. It consistently ranks in the top 10 on digital TV and is the most watched title on RaiPlay for children ages 4-7. In addition to its massive popularity on TV, Bing also has a free interactive app and

Iconic brands that are part of global culture such as Asterix, ISA (International Space Archives) and La Gazzetta dello Sport are also managed by Maurizio Distefano Licensing in Italy, as well as some of the best-known bands in music history: Motorhead, Backstreet Boys, Whitney Huston, David Bowie, The Police, Pink Floyd, to name but a few. Reinforcing the strong reputation Maurizio Distefano Licensing enjoys, the recent addition of comic book legend Corto Maltese to the portfolio was also announced.





The Energy from Being back in Attendance LM interviewed Francesco Manfio, General Manager and cofounder (with Sergio Manfio) of Gruppo Alcuni, to find out more about the company’s upcoming news and objectives. Trade shows are finally back in attendance, what are Gruppo Alcuni’s expectations? For our company, it is very important to be able to resume participation at trade fairs, so we were really happy to have been back in Cannes for MipTV and to confirm our presence at upcoming events like Mifa, Kidscreen, Mipcom, etc. Of course, expectations are high as we have many new TV series that we can’t wait to share with buyers. What are the main objectives of your participation? We have four goals. The first is the launch of the TV series that we have just completed or are in the process of completing. The second is to pitch the new ideas we are working on for which we are seeking partners (independent producers, broadcasters, platforms, etc.). The third is to finalize some co-productions we have been discussing “online” with our partners. The fourth, perhaps the most important, is to meet with the many friends we haven’t seen for much too long. Has the time come to unveil the new Gruppo Alcuni series? Of course! I am pleased to start with Vlady & Mirò

“Vlady & Mirò”, a co-production with RAI Ragazzi, supported by the Veneto Region’s POR FESR 2014/2020 funding programme. This is a series we are very fond of because it represents a challenge that we wanted to take on, given that there is very little non-verbal comedy in the industry. The storyline is deliberately simple: in a cave, a bear and a raccoon prepare for a long hibernation. As soon as the bear falls asleep, he begins to snore and throughout the winter (and all 26 episodes) the raccoon has to invent a thousand ways - crazy, brilliant, unlikely, dangerous and stupid ... but all funny - to make it stop.

Francesco and Sergio Manfio, founders of Gruppo Alcuni a feature film for the cinema with our co-production partner RAI Ragazzi, we asked ourselves where we could take the adventures of our extraordinary pets next. There was no doubt, the most natural thing in the world was for the Mini Pet Pals to go to school! So the new series: “Mini Pet Pals - Start School” (52 x 6’) sees Diva, Pio, Top Hat, Moby, Holly, and Nameless grappling

Our readers are curious to know if there is any news regarding one of your very successful series: Mini Pet Pals. After 156 episodes, 14 specials and

with their first school adventures. It is a truly unique school where play is used as a tool to learn about oneself and the surrounding world. Knowledge is gained through the experience of doing: acting, playing in a group, visiting cities and museums, cultivating a vegetable garden, playing with math, and much more. Which other new characters will enhance the world of Mini Pet Pals? The school is the ideal place to meet lots of new friends such as Curly the Hedgehog, Jasmine the Otter, Coco the Fox, Nicky the Woodpecker, Dazzle the Chameleon and Freddy the Earthworm, just to name a few. Along with some great teachers like Laura the Lynx, Otis


adventures with them. The park’s YouTube channel is also an interesting vehicle for participation in the magical world of Gli Alcuni. We could not miss asking about Leo da Vinci that you just mentioned. We know that you are preparing the second series: what is the latest news? Thanks to the success of the first series distributed in 36 countries around the world, “Leo da Vinci 2” (52 x 13 ‘) is already in production. The second series is very different from the previous one in the sense that, while

Mini Pet Pals - Start School the Owl, Sebastiano the Flamingo, Celeste the Stork and Ester the Turtle. And in these brand new and exciting adventures, the Mini Pet Pals are also accompanied by Methuselah the Tree, always available to lend a hand to find a solution to their problems. LM is a magazine that focuses mainly on licensing so what are the prospects for Mini Pet Pals in this sector? Although created only few years ago (in 2016), the Mini Pet Pals are already perceived as a classic cartoon (partly because they are the prequel to “Pet Pals,” another great success of ours), therefore the brand is performing excellently. Easter went very well and we anticipate the same for summer, with beach games and much more. In terms of the connection between our different brands and our very young fans, “The Talking Tree Park” plays an

Mini Pet Pals Sbubble

Leo da Vinci 2 important role as the ideal place to meet both the Mini Pet Pals and Leo da Vinci, and experience many extraordinary

the first 52 episodes were completely set in Florence, the new ones will take Leo, Lisa, Bianca and Lollo on a long journey

Parco degli Alberi Parlanti (Talking Trees Park) in Treviso




Gabriele, the protagonists of the series, make an extraordinary journey into a “space-time tunnel” in search of a scientist who is lost in another dimension. With Rai Ragazzi we are also working on further development of the Mini Pet Pals brand with the creation of the “Mini Pet Pals & Mini Dinos” series where our young heroes enter a new world populated by hilarious Mini Dinosaurs. We are confident that these new characters will provide an endless source of inspiration for our licensee friends. ... And as for our third new project “The Black Diamond Race” (9 x 60’), I’ll save that for the next interview. Before saying goodbye, what are the strategic objectives of Gruppo Alcuni? From an ideational point of view, we are working on series for new targets, starting

Gateway 66 across Europe in search of the King of Seilan’s ruby. It is a priceless stone described in “The Travels of Marco Polo.” In addition to our heroes, the ruby is also of interest to a handful of unscrupulous merchants. The co-production team for the new adventures about the Tuscan genius has been confirmed: in addition to Gruppo Alcuni, it includes RAI Ragazzi, Hessischer Rundfunk, ARD and Cosmos Maya. And what about new series? We have several series in pre-production such as “Gateway 66” (26 x 6’), created in collaboration with Muse (the science museum of Trento) and with the Trentino Film Commission. “Gateway 66” is a hybrid series that combines live-action and animation. It talks to a wide audience, including young people, about science in an adventurous and fun way. Anna and

Mini Pet Pals & Mini Dinos

CARTOONS FOR PEACE At this difficult time it is essential to discuss what is happening with children, so that they are not “surprised” by consuming information without a correct filter, one that is suitable and appropriate for their ability to understand. Gruppo Alcuni is doing this with the revival of the series “Cartoons for Peace”, a co-production between Gruppo Alcuni, Rai Ragazzi and UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network. This collaboration has led to the creation of 26 short cartoons inspired by the ideas of young people from all over the world. The series provides children with a simple but clear prospect for the future that can have only one outcome: an education for solidarity, for cooperation, in a word, for PEACE! (Sergio Manfio)

with pre-adolescents and adolescents, which will allow us to provide new horizons for our projects. From a production point of view, we will continue creating entirely “Made in Italy” series as we have done with all the episodes of Mini Pet Pals, Vlady & Mirò, etc. This supports the objectives of the school for animators that we created in Trento, with the support of the Province, TFC, Green Ink Animation and the Artigianelli Institute. Lastly, we are expanding all our teams in order to respond to the new challenges that the entertainment industry presents every day.






Cicaboom creates dreams, not plastic Lots of exciting news at the Cicaboom toy company Cicaboom is an Italian company specializing in the creation, production and sale of toys, as well as publishing and entertainment products for kids. Established in 2016, Cicaboom’s mission is to create high-quality, timeless toys in a narrative universe that can help children to grow and dream. In addition to Italy, Cicaboom is present in Spain, France, England, Germany, Poland, Russia, and the United States.

action and adventure series, scheduled for 2023.

Ongoing partnership with Marvel

Consolidating its soul as a Game Inventor, Cicaboom has been collaborating with the

Letrabots: a huge success

In 2016 Cicaboom invented Letrabots, toy robots that can be transformed into letters, numbers and animals, based on the principles of Edutainment, i.e an educational concept presented in a fun and engaging way. Since its inception, Letrabots has continued to evolve on an editorial level, creating more elaborate narratives that, along with the product lines, has enhanced the brand with new stories, characters and adventures.

The Letrabots brand was built with cross-media storytelling using different channels of communication: comics, web series, social media and a successful 15 x 3’ miniseries. The miniseries was produced in 2020 with MOBO, a digital production company that made the Netflix’ animated series Zerocalcare, and was broadcast on key kids channels in Italy and Spain. The series was so successful that the company has developed a new 26x15’

Marvel brand since 2019, for whom it is EMEA Regional Partner. The partnership began with the 2019 launch of Marvel Puniz Squishy Battle, a collection of squishable toys, and continued in 2020 with 53 Marvel Wooblies magnetic tops, and the latest collection of Marvel Boomez superhero action figures that turn into a board game for all ages with a set of cards and a 20-sided die. Following the success of Marvel Boomez Wave 1 and 2, Wave 3 Spiderman Maximum Venom is on the way. The game’s horizons have expanded even more, thanks to an increased variety of poses and the new powers and special moves on the playing cards. All products created by the CicaboomMarvel partnership are designed to ensure maximum playability: the unique added value of the collections is the action game, facilitated by the 3D structure of the various superheroes.

The Elastikorps Collections Since 2020 Cicaboom has been riding the trend wave of the moment: stretchy toys! The Elastikorps collections are composed of elastic and extendable characters, including some specialty ones. The standout toys in the Elastikorps line are the maxi size characters that weigh two kilos: there are there are 28 available across seven collections, including eight Glow in the Dark characters. An eighth Elastikorps collection, entirely designed in Italy, is already in production!




A CONTINUOUS GLOBAL EXPANSION At the occasion of the Las Vegas Licensing Expo, LM interviewed Julian Zag, EVP Global Operations and Head of Consumer Products at ZAG Entertainment to learn more about their next big plans ZAG has been undergoing an incredible expansion over the past two years. Can you share with us the salient points of your success and growth? In response to significant demand for Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, ZAG has ramped up the consumer products team significantly in the past 12 months with new offices in Miami, Florida; and Mexico City, Mexico, to serve the Latin American marketplace; in Germany to serve Eastern Europe; in Tel Aviv, Israel, with the launch of the gaming division; and in Dubai to serve the Middle East and Africa. Plus, we already have offices in Paris, Los Angeles, and Montreal. We hit global retail sales of US$1 billion as at the end of last year, with over 400 licensing partners around the world! Miraculous is so popular that it is ranked by IMDB amongst the Top 10 Best Animated Shows

Julian Zag in the last 20 years and was listed among the Top 10 most popular shows on Netflix in the U.S. The series is the winner of 25 awards and airs in over 120 countries across the globe!

Miraculous Fashion Designer Sketchbook from Horizon Group USA

Can you tell us which divisions of the company have been born in recent years globally, and for which purposes? In October 2020, we launched ZAG Games & Interactive Experiences to develop new gaming experiences and other interactive opportunities across Mobile, PC, Online, Console Games, VR & AR, Video and Mobile Apps for all of the properties under our ZAG Heroez™ label—an umbrella brand franchise that brings together the superheroes from ZAG’s animated properties. By May of the following year, we launched Miraculous RP: Quests of Ladybug & Cat Noir onto

the Roblox platform – the first game based on a TV series to be launched on Roblox – which has to date exceeded 300 million plays! We’ve also had 180 million downloads of the official Miraculous app which generated over US$20 million; and we are on track to launch three new games later this year. One is the first


Miraculers (=super fans) around the globe! We will continue the event this summer!

Miraculous Print-on-Demand Eco-Luggage from Kamaleon, Brazil Miraculous Console game available for XBOX, Playstation and Nintendo Switch; and two new mobile games. And earlier this month, also from our games division, we launched and already sold out of tickets for Miraculous Paris Tours of Ladybug and Cat Noir, a virtual family getaway to Paris where fans can visit the city, the Miraculous way! A travel agency leads a travel guide to Paris where families can join a virtual tour to visit real Parisian monuments. The event includes original Miraculous content, behind-thescenes production secrets and Miraculous party games while interacting with

And in April 2021, with a surge in online shopping due to the pandemic, we established the new ZAG Global E-Commerce and Licensing Services Division that manages all of our e-commerce efforts on a day-to-day basis alongside our major partners, licensees, and retailers. We were able to act nimbly during the pandemic to create a wellexecuted and broad-ranging consumer products strategy that delivers a diverse product offering across retail and e-commerce and have enforced a strict counterfeit enforcement strategy which operates globally. What is changing in your business with the return in presence of the major consumers events? We are very excited by the launch of our US$100+ million animated feature later this year for which we have several cobranded partnerships with some more of the most influential companies across the globe for numerous consumer products categories. We hope to announce these

very soon. We are also relaunching our live-action stage tour by Proactive. It was tremendously popular in Spain prior to the pandemic. The tour launches across Latin America in June 2022, and Europe in October 2022. ZAG will also soon announce a new U.S. partner for the liveaction tour. Do you have any projects for experiential licensing? Yes, we do, and we are close to finalizing a deal with a theme park but it’s too soon to go into further detail.

Miraculous Shampoo and Conditioner Pack from View Cosméticos, Brazil Season 4 of Miraculous has recently concluded. Can you give us some previews and highlights on the global launch of season 5. And what about the following seasons? We’re so excited for season five of the series that will start to roll out Q3 2022. The new season will center around our original core heroes - Ladybug and Cat Noir - facing off against an adversary who is now stronger than ever after capturing all the Miraculous except for a remaining few: the two belonging to our heroes and the one of the peacocks, which is now in the hands of the mysterious Felix. The stakes have never been higher than in this season! Not only in the struggle to recapture the lost Miraculous, but also in the relationship between Marinette and Adrien who both have been deeply affected by the events at the end of Season 4.

Miraculous Ladybug- Switch N Go Scooter w-10.5” Ladybug Lucky Charms Fashion Doll from ZAG Lab and Playmates, Global

As for the former holders of the Miraculous, despite having lost their powers, they continue to step up and find ways to help Ladybug and Cat Noir!




Season 5 will be intense, epic, full of revelations, new locations to discover and massive musical moments with an exclusive song that will ripple throughout the history of Miraculous! We will also have two 2-part specials with The Kwamis’ Choice and The Last Day. What are the latest consumer products’ novelties for Miraculous in the United States, Europe, and Asia? We have so many, but I’d like to highlight our new Miraculous Ladybug: Switch

Ghostforce and subsequently became the market leader in various kids target groups, with single airings reaching up to 40.9% among all kids 3-14, and 51.2% among kids 6-9! In Latin America, the series will air very soon on Discovery Kids. ZAG Lab and Playmates is the master toy partner for the brand, and deals have already been signed for publishing, apparel, and costumes amongst others.

Miraculous Shampoo and Conditioner Pack from View Cosméticos, Brazil N Go Scooter w/10.5” Ladybug Lucky Charms Fashion Doll from ZAG Lab and Playmates which will launch globally this fall. Kids can press the secret button on the oversized Ladybug yoyo and watch it transform into her signature red and black Lucky Charm scooter for fast superhero action! Ladybug comes in her new Lucky Charms superhero outfit of alternating red and black patterns! For the U.S., we have a Miraculous Fashion Designer Sketchbook from Horizon which has everything needed to give every fan’s favorite superheroes their signature looks! Kids will un-snap the cover of the sketchbook case (6.5” x 10”) to find a spiral bound sketch book (6” x 9”) of all of the favorite SUPERHEROZ from Miraculous just waiting for a creative touch — from Cat Noir to Rena Rouge, Lady Bug, Carapace, and all their Kwamis! Mix & match 8 double-sided brush markers, use the stencils for the perfect design every time, and stick on superpowers with 4 different sticker sheets! Miraculous good2grow PODZ are flavored water beverages for kids that come with a 3D collectable character top,

Tosta Rica cookies with drawings from Cuétara, Spain so kids get both a beverage and a toy all in one. The Miraculous good2grow PODZ comes in two different flavors, Raspberry Lemonade and Orange Mango, has no added sugar, and is a good source of Vitamin D and Calcium. good2grow utilizes fun to inspire kids to eat and drink healthier. These products just launched in Spring 2022 in the U.S. and Canada. Also products for Miraculous are selling well with boys and well as girls. On Amazon, two of our three bestsellers are apparel products for boys. What other properties are you focusing on? Our newest property is Ghostforce™, an original comedy-action series for kids and families that follows three junior high school students who form a secret team to defend their city from the ghastly ghouls haunting it. Disney Channels U.S. premiered Ghostforce on October 4, 2021, on Disney XD. The series also launched in most European countries with great out-of-home and digital visibility,

How do you forsee your licensing strategy for the future? We are growing quickly, and we will be continuing to hire people all around the world to handle our licensing and merchandising efforts locally on top of the new offices we are opening.

Good2Grow PODZ, USA






From the Digital World to a Successful World Brand How did a digital IP in no way linked to the “traditional” broadcasting sector become a global licensing phenomenon, adored by children the world over? LM interviewed Simon Philips, Managing Director, Global Consumer Products, Moonbug Entertainment, USA, to know more about the success of the company and its digital IP. When was Moonbug started and what is at present the structure of the company? Moonbug Entertainment launched in 2018 and has become an award-winning global entertainment company behind some of the most popular kids’ titles in the world. Moonbug’s line-up includes global sensations CoComelon, Blippi, Little Baby Bum, Little Angel, My Magic Pet Morphle, Supa Strikas, Go Buster, Playtime with Twinkle, Gecko’s Garage, ARPO and many more. Moonbug’s shows are on more than 150 platforms globally, including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sky, Super RTL, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Tencent, Youku and Roku. The company’s YouTube channels are CoComelon - At Beach

viewed by over 6.1 billion times on average every month (March 2021 March 2022) globally and has more than 440m subscribers. Its portfolio currently stands at 29 IPs and 100+ brand partners and is available in 32 languages. In 2021 Moonbug was acquired by Candle Media, an independent, creator-friendly home for cutting-edge, high-quality, category-defining brands and franchises. By bringing together elite talent operating at the intersection of content, community, and commerce, it helps to position leading entertainment businesses for accelerated, sustainable growth in the current market and beyond. Candle is run by its Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs, leading entertainment executives Kevin

Simon Philips Mayer and Tom Staggs, and backed by investment capital from funds managed by Blackstone’s flagship private equity business. In February 2022 we acquired Little Angel, one of the fastest-growing kids channels on YouTube. The Little Angel Network, which houses Little Angel and Little World, boasts more than 88 million subscribers on YouTube globally. Since 2019, the brand has seen its global viewership double. Moonbug plans to grow Little Angel exponentially by investing in content, expanding distribution to its global network, and creating more ways for audiences to engage with the brand. In a few years your figures and results have become impressive, with breaking records online access. What is the secret key to this success? At Moonbug we have a unique business model that allows us to build global entertainment franchises out of great IPs that has grown up in the digital space. We specialise in creating and acquiring IPs, and turning it into global entertainment franchises by rapidly scaling the brand using data to increase and enhance the content, distributing broadly across Moonbug’s vast global distribution network, and creating new avenues for interaction through licensing & merchandising, original productions and brand partnerships.



ensure we create high quality products that have a long life. We are also looking into sustainable options for specific product categories as well as improving packaging. With regards to inclusivity, our portfolio of properties has a mix of characters from different backgrounds and cultures, and portrays storylines that audiences across the world, regardless of geography, culture or means, can relate to. Good examples are the families portrayed in CoComelon or the characters in the multicultural Lellobee City Farm. It is also worth noting that YouTube content is always on and ever evolving, and so we look forward to finding ways to increase inclusivity and expand our universe over time.

Licensees still look for tv coverages and exposures, to establish if an IP is popular or not. But now Digital IPs are more followed than ever by young audiences. How do you challenge the traditional view to establish a new licensing program, persuading licensees and traditional retailers to trust digital brands?

1 kids show on YouTube (CoComelon), the most popular kids show on Netflix, a hit Spotify podcast and the no. 1 toy for Xmas last year. The demand for our products as well as the ratings and popularity of the shows provide reassurance and demonstrate the strength of the properties.

Which are the next plans of your enterprise? Short term we plan to expand on our existing franchises, ensuring we engage kids and families wherever they are. Long term our plan is to make sure we stay relevant on other platforms where kids are consuming content such as gaming.

At Moonbug we create high quality entertainment for kids with a universal appeal that makes our shows relevant across the globe. Viewing figures, as well as the popularity of our shows and characters demonstrate the success of our IPs. We currently have the number

What is the position of Moonbug for important themes like sustainability and inclusivity? Both sustainability and inclusivity are very important topics for our company. When it comes to sustainability, we work closely with our partners and licensees to

We have a strong portfolio of licensees that we are working with and are looking forward to continuing growing these relationships. These include Jazwares, Just Play, Hasbro, Spinmaster, V-Tech, Character Options, Centric, Aykroyds and Character World.

CoComelon characters





Discovering the role of the kids’ industry in the Metaverse What are the opportunities offered by the Metaverse and NFTs for the kids’ market? Many responses were found during the webinar International Kids’ Licensing Days: the Metaverse, organized by Bologna Children’s Bookfair, Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids and Licensing Magazine In the Metaverse, digital and physical lives will fully converge (Emma Chiu)

While the space of Metaverse and NFTs is getting bigger and bigger, naturally brands and licensors need to understand why and how to be present in this new world. The online themed international conference organized by BCBF and Licensing Magazine brought together industry experts to find out more about this topic. Neil Haldar, VP of Publishing, Streamline Mediagroup, USA, spoke about the 3D characteristics of the Metaverse and the interest in visiting places and having experiences in this 3D reality, as if you were living inside a great video game. Brands can also contribute to making this virtual reality more attractive and interesting. Modern retailers must create their own space there where they can be more visible. According to him, a sort of

uniformity should be created, defining guidelines for the online presence of companies. This would also lead to the creation of a more safe virtual environment for the well-being of children.

Emma Chiu, Global Director, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, USA focused her intervention on how the Metaverse is an extension of our lives enhanced by technology. In the future, the Metaverse will be an interconnected and limitless world where our digital and physical lives fully converge. This scenario belongs particularly to Generation Z, because they are the first digital natives who came to the world, and the way they are connected is very different from any other generation. 79% say that their everyday life depends on tech, 75% agree that the social life depends on technology and 88% say they switch on digitally to unwind. Concerning the interest in the brands, 82% believe that the future of shopping is hybrid, 71% that creativity today is linked to technology. Nike was hiring virtual material designers to curate their web collections: jobs like this could become very common for the Alpha and Z generations.


Mattel - Brand portfolio toys and brands through collaborations. A decision that was made a couple of years ago, after the 70th anniversary, also to satisfy a new generation of consumers. According to Matt Smith, Insights Manager, The Insights Family, UK, gaming has become an extension of social media, because there kids meet and share online experiences one with one another. Video games could become an excellent space for advertising, but also as a vehicle for Edutainment. Gaming’s already the number one family hobby in the United States. From this digital development, brands are finding many opportunities. Anna Campistol, Head of Digital Business, DeAPlaneta Entertainment, Spain and Andrea Ziella, Head of Marketing and Digital, Mattel, Italy, also spoke on this point to share their thoughts and experiences of their companies, and some international brand references. 44% of kids from five to 10 years old were spending over four hours per day on devices compared to 17% in preCOVID phase” clarified Anna “We have seen the rise of the Metaverse with the betting of major technology brands and entertainment companies. Meta publicly declared their intention to change from a simple social media to a Metaverse company. Their platform has already reached 300,000 monthly active users, still in its beta version only available in the United States and Canada”. She then

explained how some of the IPs they deal with already have a consolidated space in the Metaverse, such as L.O.L. on Roblox, Babyshark on Zepeto etc. Andrea announced that Mattel’s goal is to create a platform that reimagines their

To the other speakers Jon Ollwerther, President, Kartoon Channel! & EVP, Business Development, Genius Brands International, and David Kleeman, SVP Global Trends, Dubit Limited, we have dedicated two interviews, that you can enjoy in the following pages.




Interview to Jon Ollwerther, President, Kartoon Channel! at Genius Brands International

Jon Ollwerther on top of that offering. There is simply no other platform today that offers all of this in a package that is compelling for kids, but also sensitive to parental needs for safety and appropriateness.

As an industry expert, how do you see the future of kids’ entertainment? What will be the merge between the Metaverse and the children’s content in the next years? Since humankind began the oral tradition of storytelling around the campfire, a good story has been the most fundamental critical element of entertaining kids and adults alike. Technology has always continuously empowered storytellers and enabled them to communicate in different ways, whether it was pigment used to draw on a cave wall, a spinning zoetrope showing a horse jumping over a hurdle, streaming content, or indeed web 3.0 technology, but with good storytelling, the technology is not the focus, but rather a vehicle on which the story is borne. The Metaverse and Web 3.0 will be no different from preceding storytelling technologies in this regard. Great story and compelling characters will be the bedrock on which kids’ entertainment will be built in the metaverse. This is good news for the licensing community, as this new technology will bring new commercial opportunities






In years to come, the idea of “The Metaverse” and “Web 3.0” as technology will fade into the background, just as “The Internet” of the late 90’s is now just “the internet,” the information pipeline that we now use to shop for groceries, stream content, and even turn off the lights at our home from a hundred miles away.” Tell us more about the platform Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse, which was recently launched. How do you stand out from other similar offers for kids? In many ways, Kartoon Channel’s Kidaverse is our version of a “Kartoon Channel! Plus.” This “plus” language has quickly become consumer language that evokes SVOD and no ads (or with fewer commercials in some cases). The Kidaverse is these things (subscriberbased, commercial-free with an enhanced content offering) but it is also more. We have added avatars to the experience, and we’re building gaming, immersive content, kid-safe messaging, and digital collectibles

Who are your main partners in this great project? Genius Brands International recently acquired a technology company whose background is in immersive technology and in kids’ streaming. It’s an exceedingly rare and beneficial combination and this team and technology is providing the backbone for the Kidaverse. As we continue to grow The Kidaverse, we will have opportunities for content producers and brands to participate. How this new platform will boost the licensing related to your TV brands? The Kidaverse will offer new ways for brands to extend their consumer experience beyond content. There will be opportunities to engage in gaming, digital collectibles and more. We think this will be really exciting for brand owners who want to increase touch points those kids have with their brands and it will be great for kids who want more, deeper, and different relationships with their favourite characters and stories. As the metaverse comes into focus for entertainment and kids’ entertainment, it offers even more ways for kids and families to weave their favourite brands into the fabric of their lives.



How the development of the Metaverse is impacting the Kids’ Licensing Market LM interviewed David Kleeman, SVP Global Trends, Dubit Limited, one of the world’s top international children’s content experts, to understand how the Metaverse is influencing kids’ content.

David Kleeman game, explore an experience, shop, learn, communicate, socialize, “chill” – and ideally the connected nature of the metaverse lowers barriers to choosing and moving among all these options. There are two interesting quotes that are insightful about young people’s mediaverse. Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, says “We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO”, and CEO of FX, John Landgraf, says “Any time you choose something, you’re un-choosing something else. You’re giving something up. You don’t even know whether you’re choosing the thing you wanted most”.

Concerning the Metaverse and the children’s content, you have found an interesting definition, the Mediaverse. What is this for you? The “mediaverse” and the “metaverse” are two separate things. It’s young people’s “mediaverse” – their habits and practices in an always-on, multi-device media and technology environment of almost infinite choice – that lays the foundation for the emergence of the metaverse. In youth’s mediaverse, everything competes with everything. Kids don’t just think “Do I watch this program or this one” or “Which video game should I play next”, they compare all their options at once. Young people are remarkably thoughtful about what devices/platforms they have available at the moment, how much time they have, who they’re with, and what need or want they are seeking

to fulfill (energize, wind down, lean back and be entertained, lean forward and be engaged, etc.).

So you can see that these two ideas express both the opportunity and the anxiety of having lots of choice.

This kind of choice and scope is inherent to the growing metaverse, where all sorts of options are available – play a

How can the Metaverse be a safe space for children? Because the Metaverse is just emerging,




taking safety seriously. Roblox, perhaps the biggest of these platforms, has an executive in charge of digital civility. With almost every technology of the last 60 years, we’ve marketed it to parents as being great for kids, but haven’t actually built in safeguards from the start. By the time we recognize the challenges or problems, they’re hard to untangle. As noted above, with the Metaverse we have the opportunity – the responsibility – to get it right from the start.

we have the opportunity to shape it in ways that will be safe and productive and engaging for children. And with increasing attention to online harms and benefits, safety and privacy, if we don’t get it right, the Metaverse will falter before it has a chance to succeed. It may sound too optimistic, but the best way to make the metaverse safe for children is if people who know how to make platforms and content for kids take control and be very intentional about building thoughtful, developmentally-appropriate spaces to kickstart the Metaverse. I wrote an article for Kidscreen about how that might play out in children’s lives. A regulatory foundation for safety and privacy is building – just this week,

California’s legislature passed a statelevel version of the UK’s “Age Appropriate Design Code”. The UK AADC already was having an impact on children’s media design, and because of California’s size, tech and content companies will have to pay attention if their creations are likely to be used in that state (that’s pretty much everything). There are also emerging NGOs seeking to build safe and respectful digital spaces for young people. There’s Design for Children’s Rights and the Oasis Consortium, to begin with. Within the industry, the recent collaboration of LEGO and Sony with Epic Games suggests that the biggest proto-metaverse game companies are

What will be the impact of Metaverse development on brand owners, and on the licensing industry in general? It may seem contradictory, but IP owners will have both the unique and valuable power to manage their image and messaging, and the important opportunity to engage their fans in feeling a part of their favorite brands. By the platforms they choose and the games or experiences they create, owners will tell their own immersive brand-stories. At the same time, today’s young people want to feel a part of their favorite brands and worlds and – more than ever before – create fan art, stories, games, videos and more on metaverse platforms designed for creation, not just consumption. While it’s one of the hardest things for an IP owner to do, more are now allowing (or even encouraging) their fans to share their “take” on the brand. It requires being


Nickverse attentive to fan contributions that fall outside the brand ethos, but loosening grip helps young people feel a brand is authentic and listens to its audiences. There are almost 2000 LEGO games on Roblox, none created by LEGO. Within a month after “Squid Games” debuted on Netflix, there were 100,000 “Squid Game” games created in Roblox; A Netflix executive said I think that we should celebrate that fandom and that excitement. Metaverse advertising/marketing will bring together the key elements of three previous types of media: the brand affinity and alignment messaging of TV, the active engagement of gaming, and the immediacy of exploration, auditioning and even purchasing of the web. The experience will becoming increasingly seamless, so that there’s no need to chase

a brand from platform to platform to get its full measure. When it comes to licensing, there are opportunities for both big and small companies. There’s no need for every metaverse activation to involve building an extensive immersive world. A brand can offer “verchandise” (virtual merchandise) with its logo or characters for fans to express their brand love. For a little deeper exposure, a brand can partner with an existing game for presence of characters or settings or other elements of the brand. Activations don’t have to be long-running; Dubit has done games/ experiences around events (the Grammys, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards) that run for only a short time. But, of course, there is the opportunity to build a bigger immersive space that can be maintained, updated and expanded over time. As just a few examples of what Dubit has done for various brands in Roblox. For a new TV program – a neverbefore seen IP – we built a small Roblox experience related to the TV show setting. We put about 1000 UK pounds into advertising for the game, and within the first weekend, we had tens of thousands of players. More than that, because no

one had seen these characters or settings, kids began making YouTube videos of their game play, asking if anyone knew this IP. Our cost per player ended up at less than 5 cents, where acquisition of a single app download can cost several dollars. For Nickelodeon, we’ve build a substantial “Nickverse” around two of its most popular franchises. Because games and experiences can be endlessly updated and expanded, we will add other franchises to the space over time. We also used the space for a special experience around the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. For both the BRITs Awards (the UK music prize) and the Grammys, we build short-term immersive experiences – creating a space that resembled London for the BRITs and Las Vegas for the Grammys. In both cases, there was a “live” performance by a pop star. For “Elf on the Shelf” we build a snowball fight game.





Regeneration Game: Transitioning to a better business By Products of Change The member driven media and resource hub, Products of Change is on a mission to drive positive and sustainable change across the consumer industries. Here’s what you need to know…

SiLC takes place this June 22 in London of some of the leading innovators in sustainability within licensing, as well as receive free counsel on where to place their next steps upon their own journey. It’s a new area of Licensing Expo that taps not only into the show organiser’s own pursuit of better environmental measures but the wider industry’s too, for the simple fact that sustainability in licensing is more than just a trend. It’s an inescapable reality to which our sector must aspire should we wish to enjoy prosperity tomorrow.

Rob Hutchins, editor and Helena Mansell Stopher, founder of Products of Change at Brand Licensing Europe There will be two questions on the lips of guests of the Mandalay Bay when its doors finally open to welcome licensing industry professionals to the return of the in-person Licensing Expo in Las Vegas this May: What is sustainability? And who here is going to pour me a coffee? It will be down to Products of Change to provide the answer to at least one of those enquiries. Maybe even both, should you catch us just as the kettle has boiled.

Why’s this you ask? Well, it’s because Products of Change will once again be playing host to its own Sustainability Activation in partnership with the event’s organisers, Informa Markets. An expansion of a collaboration that witnessed the successful introduction of the Sustainability Activation at Brand Licensing Europe last year, this Las Vegas iteration will take the form of a Sustainability Business Lounge, where guests will be able to enjoy a showcase

Things are already starting to take root and sustainable brands are already outpacing those who don’t demonstrate a positive approach to environmental sustainability. If you’re in need of proof, simply pick a survey… the consumer industries are (somewhat ironically) now littered with them. In the latest study commissioned by Smartest Energy it’s revealed that as much as 81 per cent of consumers now prefer ‘sustainable brands’ to non-sustainable ones. In other words, that’s four out of five customers who now describe themselves as ‘likely to choose a brand with a positive approach to environmental sustainability.’ That, it could be argued, is somewhat of a ‘seismic shift’ in consumer sensibilities. Let’s take a look at Unilever as an example. A world leader in net positivity and regenerative business, Unilever is – as indicated in reports from November 2021 – seeing its purposeful and sustainable brands grow twice as fast as the brands yet to find purpose. A Kantar study published last year, surveying a 12-year period confirmed the change in tides


regenerative – future of business in which both people and the planet prosper. And we’ve got to say; the response from the global licensing industry to the call for better sustainability has been wonderful to witness.

Products of Change and the Sustainability Activation at BLE 2021 when it found that ‘brands with purpose have been growing 175 per cent faster than those without.’ Meanwhile, an even more recent whitepaper from the supplier collaboration expert, Supply Pilot, describes the reality that today, the adoption of sustainable practices is now driving around 20 per cent of business for both brands and retailers. And most interestingly, purpose has been found to be at the centre of this, too. Within the data captured, supplier collaboration has been earmarked as the most effective sustainable practice that businesses can undertake – a practice that emphasises the need for brands and retailers to engage with their suppliers, share data, and crucially, establish mutual understandings of responsibility around

sustainability. These are businesses that hone purpose at the centre of their operations, and then maintain that up and down the supply chain. This happens to be the very same drum that Products of Change has been beating since its formation in 2019. Today an educational platform, media hub, and resource bank for the consumer products industries, Products of Change is an organisation built on the foundations of uniting experts, teams, and individuals across our own supply chains to drive positive and sustainable change. Our mission? To help the licensing industry transition to a sustainable – or even

The licensing industry is in a brilliantly unique position to influence consumer change through its brand messaging, encouraging sustainable practices in its partners, and supporting the measures that its retailers take. It’s a sector with purpose instilled within it. And it’s also an industry that has achieved so much already. Products of Change’s Sustainability 101 sessions, part of Licensing U’s series of discussions also taking place at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas this May will highlight exactly that. It is here that Products of Change founder, Helena Mansell Stopher will be joined by the likes of The LEGO Group, the Natural History Museum, and even Formula E to talk about the very basics of making environmental purpose part of your brand’s DNA, and explore some of the vast successes that brands have uncovered in putting people, planet, and purpose ahead of profit in the pursuit of a regenerative licensing industry of tomorrow. Now then, about that coffee…

If you’re interested in learning more about Products of Change, visit the online platform or get in touch with the team; Helena Mansell Stopher via or Rob Hutchins via to find out how you can become a member.

Products of Change’s Helena Mansell Stopher and US ambassador, Andrea Green at BLE 2021

Products of Change will be curated a one-day Sustainability in Licensing Conference this June 22, taking place at the Royal Geographical Society in London. For more information, visit





Where Cine Technology meets Cine Content Korea’s one and only Trade Show dedicated solely to the Film & Audiovisual Sectors. CINE KOREA EXPO 2022 will be held from 6th-8th of October in Hall 2 at BEXCO, South Korea

is a mixed show. Pavilions such as OTT Platforms, Personal Media, and Webtoon, are there for active participation. Events such as celebrity-signings, seminars given by famous inspirational speakers, and the Busan International Film Festival, will definitely make this event even more memorable.

Special Benefits for CINE KOREA EXPO Exhibitors

Despite Korea having one of the five largest film industries in the world, until now, a trade fair dedicated solely to the Film, Content & Audiovisual sectors still hasn’t existed. Contents such as ‘Parasite’, ‘Minari’, and ‘Squid Game’ have awoken the hidden potential of the Korean Film Industry, winning international acclaim. Such acclaim has marked the starting line of the country’s only film gear and content event in South Korea. CINE KOREA EXPO 2022 not only acts as the ideal platform for discovering cutting-edge technology & solutions and conducting business with industry experts from world’s leading enterprises, but it’s a place where Cine Technology meets Cine Content.

Cutting-edge Technology, Solutions & Market Trends South Korea has become one of the world’s most active markets regarding the total number of movie-goers, in which the Korean film market is already welcoming many filmmakers, distributors and importers with its creative content. Many

already know that there are many ‘film gear-related’ exhibitions in existence, but how many events are there which handle gear, content and the cinema?

Benefits such as the accommodation support scheme, admissions to conference & seminar programs, invitation to all official ceremonies, and various channels designed to aid the exhibitors’ promotional strategies, will be provided to all those taking part.

Shortcut to Business Success – Business Matchmaking Program The Business Matchmaking Program is the perfect stage for generating new business relationships between exhibitors and prospective buyers from across the globe. Those having the potential for influencing or making budgetary decisions as well as purchase decisions, are welcome to apply as a Hosted Buyer.

Concurrent Events for Active Participation The attractiveness of this event is that it

For any further info, please contact the CINE KOREA EXPO team at the email or visit the website




The Business of Writing Rigotz Stories, a writing agency founded by Silvia Rigotto, specialises in scouting new authors and properties, and executive producing animated series. Silvia Rigotto

In 2018 Silvia Rigotto founded Rigotz Stories, a writing agency shaped by the needs of the current media market. In the fifteen years spent in the TV industry, Silvia has collaborated with some of the top entertainment companies including Maga Animation, Atlantyca, Rai, Disney and T-Rex. She has also managed successful IPs such as Geronimo Stilton and Gino the Chicken, on both the production front as well as the editorial and artistic side. This experience has allowed her to develop a double soul, part talent manager capable of finding new authors and properties, and part executive producer, specializing in animation and in managing the complex process of transforming ideas into films, series, multimedia content and, ultimately, licenses. Thanks to the participation of executives from different fields of commercial writing, Rigotz Stories does not just represent authors, but positions itself in the market as a wide-ranging service

provider for companies that need stories to enhance their product and their mission: animation studios, publishing houses, as well as marketing agencies and industries in the toy sector. This has helped the company become a veritable creative laboratory, capable of selecting and developing original scripts for film and series; generate in-house narrative and IP content on commission for all platforms; help production companies in the scouting phase of writers; and coordinate writers’ rooms. On animation projects, this collaboration continues throughout the entire executive production process. Since the company’s launch, Rigotz has worked on scripts for several long-running animated series (Bat Pat, Berry Bees, Grisu) and two animated movies for Rai Ragazzi. Today it is involved in the executive production of two animated series: the innovative preschool series One Love, directed by Andrea Zingoni, and Letrabots, an action series for 6-10 year olds based

on the Cicaboom toy line characters, for which the agency also coordinates the writing and editorial content. The agency’s screenwriters are also involved in writing new episodes for international animated series for Movimenti, Enanimation and MondoTV. At the same time, the pursuit of new synergies continues. In 2022, the agency started working in the publishing sector, with two novels and a children’s book due to be released between the end of the year and 2023. Other projects in development will involve the digital and video game industries as well. Using strong narratives and careful observation of the market, Rigotz’ purpose is to create stories and characters that can live beyond the margins of the page, in an increasingly cross-media and multi-platform universe.




© Philip Osbourne & Roberta Procacci


The author of the international bestseller “Diary of a Nerd” has signed for his new brands to launch in Italy with SAE Group Newspapers. He has also expanded distribution of his books to 58 countries and is set to debut his young adult and adult line of comic books in the U.S. in September 2022 with Blood Moon Comics. The animated cartoon based on the successful book series “Martin’s Adventures”, in development with Enanimation, as well as new agreements with several film companies, confirm the increasingly widespread growth of an author who spans from children’s books, magazines, cartoons to even travel guides for kids. LM interviewed him to explore the great expansion and the latest licensing developments of his brands.

© Philip Osbourne & Roberta Procacci

It all started with “Diary of a Nerd”, your book series published in 48 countries and international bestseller. Since then,

Elen’s Guides - inside

© Philip Osbourne & Roberta Procacci

Philip Osbourne, international bestselling author, tells LM about his brands’ cross-sectional growth and new cross-media projects.

Elen’s Guides you’ve been collecting achievements, always expanding the distribution range of your works. Today, you have reached 58 countries; South Korea and Slovakia are the new territories that will distribute your works by the end of 2022. I am happy to be present on all continents. In 2022 we managed to establish a presence in China, which is currently publishing my entire catalog; and in countries such as Taiwan and India, the first results are showing a positive trend. In this last year we have also worked very well in the Arab countries and in the Mena territories. Many publishers, such as Argeta in Albania and Universal Publishing in the Arab countries, have increasingly focused on the Osbourne brand, even at events with customized booths. The results have been better than expected. We will now focus on new territories such as Slovakia and South Korea. We also have major consolidation plans in China, USA, India, Arabia, Taiwan, and North Africa. As for “The new Diary of a Nerd”, for the Italian market, we are planning to publish the trilogy with Mondadori.

Phil The Nerd You are an author who is found on newsstands, often thanks to initiatives linked to newspapers. Recently you signed an agreement with the SAE Group, can you give us more details? SAE had the opportunity to present my “Fun Facts about the Best Artists” series, a children’s book series dedicated to the art world, in their newspapers. Designing my own educational series was an experiment. Usually, these publications don’t attract big numbers, but the market has proven wrong all those who told me that art doesn’t interest children and families. With SAE we will continue the collection “Fun Facts about the Best Artists” for at least 4 more volumes, reaching 10 releases. We have signed on to publish “Reckless Life”, the book series dedicated to classical musicians; we will publish “Elen’s Guides”, authentic tourist guides for kids presented by ELEN, the Argeta Osbourne Stand


Kant Kay - Characters Kay Kant in the Metaverse. Finally, always with SAE we will also be presenting science-themed educational books with my new characters “The Freud Family”, whose novels we have presold in many countries.

Elen’s Guides first book protagonist of one of my book series, a spin-off of “Diary of a Nerd”, distributed in about 30 countries. I’m very happy with this project because it has made the fictional character Elen a real brand name. Soon we will also produce a graphic novel of Elen and much more... We will obviously replicate these formats on international markets. The educational section of our catalog is succeeding in capturing important market leads, and soon its titles will be published in about twenty countries. We have carried out important work with the five literary agencies that follow the sale of my publishing rights.

© Philip Osbourne

© Philip Osbourne & Roberta Procacci

Also, with the SAE Group I will present my new brand and novel “Kay Kant”. It is my first fantasy saga, which of course will also be distributed in bookstores. It will be presented in Italy, first, with three books, which will come out with newspapers on a weekly basis. Later, “Kay Kant” will be published in the rest of the world. I am fascinated by the idea of presenting the brand as episodes with newspapers. If this will help launch the brand and encourage initial relevant interest, initiatives like this are most welcome. In addition, with several app development companies we are about to launch applications related to this brand, and we are also publishing a very special website that will enhance the cross-media nature of my saga. We are also working on a small fantasy event with

© Philip Osbourne & Roberta Procacci


Fun Facts Cover

Your brands are born from your novels, but they quickly become tv formats, magazines, creative books, animated cartoons... only comic books are missing! For some time, we have been working on the graphic novel of “Diary of a Nerd”. Moreover, thanks to Blood Moon Comics, in September in the USA, we will launch “Hellfate”, for a young adult and adult target. “Hellfate” is a monthly series with a horror theme that I am creating with Max Avo, who is already working with me on

Reckless Life

© Philip Osbourne & Roberta Procacci

Elen’s Guides second book © Philip Osbourne & Roberta Procacci


Hellfate Cover “Pin & Puk”. This project will kick off the comic book and graphic novel business through a special label. From September, as soon as we publish in the USA, we will present the catalog in the various markets, and we will also focus on the possible TV adaptation of “Hellfate”. Speaking of which, for some time now we have been negotiating with Japanese publishers about the possible transformation of “Diary of a Nerd” into a manga. We have set up an American, Italian, and Brazilian work team for our productions. We have selected some very good

Hellfate - inside

Martin’s adventures - character (which was available on Netflix), and we’ll soon be doing something similar with a major film company. We’ll be announcing three book series in the next few days featuring kids’ adaptations of classic films, novelization of horror films, and even a novel series that adapts and develops comedy film works. Are you also working on the television adaptation of your literary hits? Enanimation is working with great enthusiasm on the “Martin’s Adventures” cartoon. I really appreciate the efforts of producer Federica Maggio, who included me in the adaptation phase. I have other projects “optioned” by various television producers, such as Rainbow, and film producers (with Arab companies). We will be announcing the production of some of these titles shortly. With my team, however, we are already working to find a home for “King Tut” and “Kids Police Dept”. We hope to announce the new TV and film adaptations already at the American Film Market (November 1-6, 2022). Martin’s adventures – China Edition

© Philip Osbourne & Roberta Procacci

© Philip Osbourne & Max Avo

professionals and artists and we are trying to create different works, always keeping a pop nature. My dream would be to create a graphic novel, meant for kids, about Assange. It’s not in the agenda right now, but I hope that sooner or later we can create the conditions to produce this work. We will continue to publish magazines based on my characters and we are working with major international film companies on the novelization of classic children’s, young adult and adult films. In the past, we’ve done experiments like this with Animasia, with Harry & Bunnie





“Really exists”: Leolandia revolutionizes the approach to themepark licensing Transforming product licensing into experiences: this is the philosophy behind Leolandia, a theme park 30 minutes away from Milan that specializes in welcoming families with children.

David Tommaso Leo and Mia, the hosts of Leolandia. Then all of a sudden, Bing and Flop, Ladybug and Chat Noir from Miraculous, Masha and the Bear, and PJ Masks burst onto the stage and interrupt the story with hilarious sketches and songs, accompanied by the cast of Leolandia performers. We did it in the style of Leolandia which looks at the world through children’s eyes, putting magic at the center with the aim of making the experience unique and unforgettable, creating something new that goes beyond the storytelling of the individual IP. All our partners were very collaborative, and the direction and participation of our artistic team made the result even more special: a show never seen before in a theme park and finally is at Leolandia… it really exists!

It is the most popular, top-ranking theme park in Italy and the most popular Italian theme park in Europe. An ambitious goal, which is taking shape among several new projects launched this summer season, is “Really Exists,” the first live show in the history of Italian theme parks that features several different IPs on the same stage. “Bringing characters together on the same stage for the first time, that are very different, but all equally loved by children, was a real challenge,” says David Tommaso, Marketing and Sales Director of Leolandia, “but we are extremely pleased with the final result and our guests are already enjoying the show a lot.” What does the show consist of? At first look it’s a show like any other, with


projects, creating direct links between the brand and our storytelling. One example is the partnership with Algida with whom we set up a refreshment point where customers, in addition to tasting the brand’s products, can learn about the history of ice cream production. The Algida logo, made of wrought iron, becomes a decorative element; the presence of the brand is subtle, but the experience gets customers involved by offering them quality content which, in addition to enhancing the brand, creates a positive memory.

What are your other projects? Another new project involves the arrival of JJ, the child star of Cocomelon, the most popular animated series on YouTube. Exclusively at Leolandia, every day the park is open kids can enjoy a special experience, singing and dancing with JJ to the most famous Cocomelon educational songs, and then meeting JJ and taking a souvenir photo with their favorite character. How did the idea of the meet & greet formula come about ? This is a formula that we also do with the other IPs of the park which represents an added value to the experience. This is a special moment that directly

involves the public and is always a great success because it helps to create unique moments and unforgettable memories. Licensing plays a leading role at Leolandia: we were among the first in Italy to believe in this business sector, adding to it an experiential element. We don’t limit ourselves to just adding a character to products, instead we build original storytelling that translates into events and multiple possibilities of interaction with the public, creating a common link between fantasy and reality. Do you also have a specific method for your co-marketing operations? Yes, we do. We we develop dedicated

Respect for the environment is a theme that is deeply important to children. How are you moving in this direction? Always with the same approach: developing content and best practices according to our philosophy. For example, to teach children to sort waste correctly we invented Yum Yum, a funny character who is a glutton for leftovers and garbage. Another game we offer children uses bottle compactors for recycling plastic. In addition to this, we have installed a last generation photovoltaic system that supplies a large part of the energy for the park and in 2014 we were one of the first companies in Italy to eliminate single-use plastic in the catering sector, replacing it with biodegradable dishes and composting food waste. We have created the anti-shock flooring of some play areas with end-of-life tires (ELTs) and we only use recycled or certified paper for all our marketing materials.





Welcome back to Las Vegas Finally, Licensing Expo (Las Vegas, May 24-26) comes back live after a two-year stop due to Covid-19. Here are previews of some of the exhibiting companies and brands As the first in-person gathering for the global licensing community in 2022, after a two-year stop due to Covid-19 Licensing Expo opens its doors with more than 200 exhibitors confirmed and a brand new theme spotlighting Location-Based Experiences. From inbooth activations to standalone spaces, cafés & bars to a packed social calendar, this year’s event will showcase the brands, suppliers, educational know-how and licensing opportunities surrounding the LBE category. Companies are ready to share all their exclusive news. Here are some interesting previews. Guru Studio, the powerhouse children’s entertainment company, recently announced the launch of official True and the Rainbow Kingdom toys inspired by the hit series, which are now available on Amazon in the US and at Toys R Us in Canada. Guru Studio teamed up with master toy partner United Smile and leading distributor Imports Dragon to bring the colorful and robust product line to market. The full line includes figures,

plush, playsets and vehicles. The toy line by United Smile has already launched in select markets including in Israel, the Philippines and in Australia at Target with Big Balloon handling distribution, with more territories launching later this year. WowWee’s hit Got2Glow Fairy Finder gives kids the ability to find and catch over 100 virtual fairies across three magical electronic jars. The play experience is adventurous, interactive, and filled with enchantment that includes the tech ability for long-term engagement. The response from consumers has been so overwhelming that has named Striker Entertainment as its premiere global licensing agency to represent the Got2Glow Fairy Finder for a strategic licensing program. “Our strategy is to spearhead a refined, yet strong, licensing program with companies that are magic makers - those additive in creating a captivating universe for kids and their fairies.” said Meagan Renner of Striker Entertainment. The focus of the program will first target

Twilight Daycare OG Baby Doll by WowWee publishing, home décor, health and beauty and party goods. WowWee is also releasing new licensed products. Based on the hit Roblox game “Twilight Daycare” created by Gamefam, Twilight Daycare Collectible Babies are the cutest new dolls that fans of the game will love collecting! There are 18 mystery character babies, and the possibility to redeem a code in the Twilight Daycare game to play with your collectible doll virtually. Also available are the iconic OG Baby Doll, and even Deluxe Packs! Twilight Daycare Collectible Babies will be available in July 2022. The Twister Splash Game! is the spin on the classic game of Twister, an exciting outdoor fun for everyone! Connect the

True and the Rainbow Kingdom toy line by Guru Studio

Twilight Daycare dolls by WowWee


categories include Apparel & Accessories, Party, Footwear, Home, Consumables, Stationery, Publishing, Games, Puzzles, Crafts, Collectibles and more. The products are anticipated to start hitting retail shelves in North America in late summer/early fall 2023. Genius Brands acquired the rights to the Stan Lee brand, which included rights to many unfinished works he left behind, as well as the rights to his name, physical likeness and signature, through a joint venture with POW! Entertainment called Stan Lee Universe. The Stan Lee Universe includes The Stan Lee Celebrity Brand; new content to be created from Stan Lee’s portfolio of approximately 150 unmined ideas and character creations in his post-Marvel

Hasbro Twister Splash by WowWee game mat to a garden hose, turn on the water, wait one minute, start playing, and the soaking begins! Players of Twister Splash follow hand and feet placements directed by the included spinner. But now, this classic game mat’s colored spots all SPRAY water! Last person standing wins! Operation Splash and Crocodile Dentist Splash also available. Stan Lee’s 100th birthday capsule by Genius Brands

Shaq’s Garage by Genius Brands

Genius Brands International will debut two new brands at this year’s Licensing Expo, Shaq’s Garage, and the Stan Lee celebrity brand. Inspired by NBA legend and superstar Shaquille ONeal’s real life love of cars, Shaq’s Garage is a modern day adventure series where Shaq brings his family of cars to life. The animated kid’s series will premiere in spring next year. Genius Brands is currently developing a global consumer products campaign across broad categories, starting with the toy category, which will feature an extensive product line, including all sizes of die cast and light-and-sound vehicles, as well as ride-ons. Additional

Stan Lee by Genius Brands career, along with consumer products programs to be developed for these new projects. Under the Stan Lee celebrity brand, which debuts at Licensing Expo this year, Genius Brands is celebrating Stan Lee’s 100th birthday this year by creating a curated product capsule, The Stan Lee Centennial Collection, featuring a range of product categories--Apparel & Accessories, Collectibles, and more—with apparel and collectibles launching this year at retail with licensees, including Funko, Hot Toys, Beast Kingdom, Royal Bobbles and more. The additional product categories will follow in early 2023.




TSBA, The Sports and Brands Licensing Agency is an award-winning licensing agency based in the UK. The team of licensing experts has a wealth of experience in delivering global licensing programmes for major sporting and heritage brands. These include: The Open - the oldest and most prestigious golf championship in the world; Transport for London (TfL) - the world’s first and most iconic underground

network; the National Portrait Gallery – housing the most extensive collection of portraits in the world; and the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) – an epic motorsport adventure of man and machine against the elements. TSBA, as part of the Cre8 Group of companies, offer a unique, holistic service to our clients with additional platforms to diversify their brand offerings and propel growth. Services include product design, development and production, and tailored e-commerce and event retail solutions. You can visit TSBA booth during the show, F124, to learn more about their novelties. “We are excited to finally be back in person at Licensing Expo with a new booth and location (C142),” said Julie Newman, Founder and CEO of Jewel Branding

NYBG Raaka Chocolate by Jewel Branding & Licensing

Artists lunch sets by Jewel Branding & Licensing & Licensing. “We’re looking forward to shining a spotlight on our cause-related and female-founded brands as well as our diverse portfolio of talented artists and designers.” With expertise in cause-related brands, Jewel continues to develop meaningful licensing programs with products that give back and support charities and organizations. For example, the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) licensing program continues to blossom around the globe. In the US, the program has expanded into bath & body, fragrance, tea, chocolate, home textiles, stationery, puzzles & floral subscription service. Tea Forte introduced their fourth collection with NYBG, and chocolate partner Raaka, introduced their second collection. The brand has also seen significant growth globally with the most recent additions being Infiniss for South Korea and Locomotive Licensing for Europe. NYBG recently signed apparel, loungewear, accessories, and self-care products in Japan, with programs launching throughout 2022. Licensees include Toyoshima, Logic Co. and Mash Style Labs. In the search to find unique and distinct styles from artists based around the globe, Jewel has organically grown their roster into a diverse and multicultural portfolio that tell compelling stories through their art. As CatCoq, the location independent artist and designer, is making waves through partnerships with Peking’s Maker’s Collective, who launched a collection of fresh and fun


have recently launched their stunning diamond art painting range in the UK and will continue to expand in key global markets including North America. The collection includes diamond art canvases, notebooks, pencil cases and greeting cards which are all designed for families to enjoy together. In addition brand new licensee, Aspinline – will launch a range of Peter Rabbit fabric badges and pin badges later this year.

Little Road Co. X Peter Rabbit apparel collection

following established success with Peter Rabbit. This season saw exciting product refreshes launch with more planned for future release. Penguin Ventures partnership with Zrike also continues with the licensee launching a range of new Peter Rabbit homewares including dining sets, kitchen utensils and textiles with expanding distribution across the Marmaxx group which will see Peter Rabbit products available at over 3,000 physical stores across in North America.

Alongside this raft of new licensees, Penguin Ventures have been working on new and expanded ranges with key current partners including Kids Preferred who have launched a book and toy set for Carter’s® Story Hour book and plush program.

Lindsay Pearl is on the Penguin Random House stand: E115 at Licensing Expo in Vegas. Contact her to book a slot to talk about opportunities across the Penguin Ventures portfolio.

Longstanding partners Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma continue to evolve and expand their collections which include homeware, confectionary and gifting,

Fox Chapel Publishing announced a new character-driven children’s book series and brand, packed with messages of goodness, kindness, and empathy:

bedding at Target, in-stores and online. The line is cross promoted with York Wallcoverings RoomMates Décor, who launched coordinating wallpaper designs also available on As leaders in trend-forward design, Jewel is focused on compelling licensing programs as well as creative services that can help manufacturers and retailers stay ahead of the curve. For more information please visit Licensing Expo booth C142. For Penguin Ventures, new to the roster is Dreamland Baby. Featured on Shark Tank (the US version of Dragon’s Den), their range of safety-certified weighted sleepsuits, pyjamas, bedding, and toddler blankets launches in August. Dreamland’s mom-designed, doctor-approved sleep solutions feature their proprietary CoverCalm™ Technology, even weight distribution from baby’s shoulders to toes, allowing little ones to feel calm, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. In the play and learning space, Phidal has followed up their success on PETER RABBIT movie with a new range of Classic Peter Rabbit titles and will be launching four books at retail later this year. The new licensee portfolio is rounded out with the addition of Craft Buddy, who

Little Road Co. X Peter Rabbit apparel collection




social and emotional learning tools for kids today. The psychology of play was also a key factor during the creation of Ninja Kitties. Brand advisor Sujata Luther, a former EVP of Nickelodeon Consumer Insights, was on the creative board to map out characters and situations that would make a strong impact on children and their families— especially in today’s environment. “As kids and parents are navigating today’s complicated and nuanced landscape in their journey through childhood,” says Luther. Ninja Kitties is the perfect stage for teaching valuable life lessons.” Ninja Kitties, with seven royal kitties who transform into ninja kitties to save the day. Fox Chapel Publishing worked closely with award-winning creator Kayomi Harai to introduce an empowering book series for young children. Harai originally envisioned Ninja Kitties to inspire children to believe in their inner strengths. Harai signs early copies of the first book in the Ninja Kitties series on May 24 and 25 at Licensing Expo to help celebrate the brand launch. Harai and the Fox Chapel team also collaborated with innovative storyteller Rob Hudnut to create message-driven stories for the series. Hudnut, who also helped launch popular stories for Barbie, Hot Wheels, Rescue Heroes, and

other memorable Mattel brands, created storylines for the Ninja Kitties books that provide a strong family focus as well as

Fox Chapel Publishing will launch six books in 2022 with several more to follow in 2023.


of the TheSoul’s creative team. Teen-Z uses creative animation to tell funny stories about students as they fall in love, make friends, and get into plenty of awkward situations! Product Categories: Publishing, Beauty, Toys, Novelty / Gifts, Plush, Minis, Puzzles & Toys, Stationery...

Polar by TheSoul Publishing TheSoul Publishing is a first time exhibitor at the 2022 Las Vegas Licensing Expo. The global leader in digital video views is diving into the merchandising world as it opens its doors to opportunity at the 2022 Las Vegas Licensing Expo. TheSoul Publishing, with its more than one billion followers and subscribers across social media, will be exploring potential licensing partnerships with a variety of industry leaders, with the goal of creating a compelling line of products showcasing the studio’s universe of uplifting brands. Tubular Labs, the video intelligence and measurement platform, places TheSoul Publishing in the #1 position of most social media views across YouTube and Facebook - ahead of all digital-first studios and legacy media companies including The Walt Disney Company, Paramount, Moonbug, Sony and WarnerMedia. TheSoul Publishing is offering licensing opportunities around the following brands: 5-Minute Crafts, the mostwatched DIY digital brand in the world. 123 Go!, featuring easy makeup and fashion hacks, lighthearted pranks and funny observations. La La Life, fun music videos about basically everything around us. Avocado Couple Ava & Cado are our favorite animated couple and they want

to share the fun with you! Polar, a new, independent artist from the imaginations

Licensing Expo First Keynote explore ‘The Power of Brand Licensing for Location-Based Entertainment (LBE)’ Licensing Expo, produced in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, hosts senior executives from Falcon’s Beyond, Robert L. Ward, and Moonbug as 2022 keynote panelists, to speak at the Day 2 keynote. Slated to be held on the expo floor in the Licensing U Theatre at 1212:45pm on May 25 and accessible to all free of charge, the expert-led panel, moderated by Bay Laurel Advisors, brings together the most respected visionaries in the industry for a trend-driven presentation titled “From Dream to Reality: The Power of Brand Licensing for Location-Based Entertainment”. Location-based experiences have been gaining steam for many years now and are increasingly the next frontier for consumers looking to engage, interact and show their love for brands. They are also highly complex licensing deals that include many stakeholders at various points of the process. To tune in to the keynote panel, register for Licensing Expo for free here.





The latest toy releases and trends for the American market The most important toy companies present on the American market have many amazing novelties to share, from stretchy toys to action figures dedicated to beloved characters, to arts&crafts and family games… Moose Toys has amazing news for all lovers of stretchable toys, with the new heroes of Goo Jit Zu licensed spring/ summer 2022 line. The Jurassic World line has four of the gooiest, squishiest, stretchiest dinosaurs, jumped off the big screen and into kids’ hands for lots of fun and imaginative play. T. Rex, Giga, Pyro and Blue have vibrant colors and realistic features, including chomping jaws for that ferocious dinosaur look. These incredible realistic, flexing prehistoric creature stretch up to 3 times their size. To use a Buzz Lightyear phrase, there are more ways to play with the four new Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Lightyear characters than “to infinity and beyond.” There’s iconic Classic Buzz Lightyear in his space ranger suit and a second Buzz character donning his new XL15 suit from the most recent movie. Joining them are Buzz’s sidekick Izzy and the movie’s villain Zurg. Each of the

Blue - Jurassic World line by Moose Toys

legs. The soft rubber-like exterior and wire interior provide bendability, making them ultra-poseable. The durable design allows kids, millennial fans, and collectors alike to pose and maneuver Bend-Ems over and over again. TCG Toy expects to launch Bend-Ems at retailers throughout North America in Fall 2022.

Buzz Lightyear by Moose Toys characters feature their own unique goo filling and decorative details true to its movie character and awesome TPR armor. TCG toys relaunches Popular 90’s Bend-Ems Action Figure Line with Top Licenses including Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir, Sonic the Hedgehog, SpongeBob SquarePants, plus more to come. The authentic new Bend-Ems figures will include classic features such as the 6” inch scale, the signature engraved brand name on the back, and will be packaged in a blister card, a nod to the nostalgia of the 90s packaging. From its original debut in 1987 with the Alfred E Newman license, to its heyday between 1989 - 2001, the classic retro Bend-Ems toy line from toymaker JusToys featured over 400 characters with licenses from Disney, Turner, Warner, Hanna Barbera, Star Wars and WWF. Bend-Ems are malleable figures with bendable arms and

Jada Toys has realized the Batman 1:32 Scale Hollywood Rides Batmobile DieCast Vehicle with 1.65’’ Batman Figure. Die-Cast vehicle, working wheels, premium rubber tires, opening hood, doors, and trunk, comes with a 100% Die-Cast Batman figure with his signature cape and cowl. They’re also available the Batman 1:65’’ Scale Hollywood Rides: Batmanbole, Batcycle, Chevy Corvette Die-Cast Vehicles: the Batman movie’s signature vehicles including the Batmobile, the Batcycle, and Corvette feature attention to detail and expert styling. The release is scheduled for fall 2022. BeKind is an eco-friendly doll line

Disney Princess Cinderella Carriage by Jada Toys


detailed desk clock features Big Totoro, Medium Totoro, and Small Totoro doing the Dondoko Dance to grow the plants! Spirited Away A Gift from No Face Paper Theater Ball “Spirited Away”, helps to recreate the favorite Studio Ghibli scenes with Paper Theater, a fun 3D Paper Craft. Kiki’s Memories of Koriko Paper Theater, from the hit Studio Ghibli Film Kiki’s Delivery Service, presents clever artistic

Batman with Batmobile by Jada Toys that promotes positive messages encouraging kids to be kind, creative, and compassionate. The BeKind line features five, 12.25-inch dolls - Brianna, Koral, Ivy, Nora, and Daisy - all of which are eco-friendly; from the recycled materials with which they are made, to the reusable packaging created from ink made from soybeans. The dolls’ interests match those that today’s kids can relate to and range from going green, to saving the oceans, to ending bullying, all causes that teach valuable lessons on how important it is to be kind to the environment and each other. Creative minds can use the packaging itself to construct their very own Kindness Board, a dedicated personal space to display and share kindness goals through drawings, photos, mission statements, and more. The CoComelon School Bus RC comes ready to run. Playtime is quick and easy as it includes all batteries, the bus is a 1:24 scale radio-controlled vehicle, about 7.5” long. The easy -to -operate controller was designed for little hands for hours of

BeKind dolls by Jada Toys

Kiki’s Memories of Koriko Paper Theatre by Bandai

Stranger things - Dustin action figure by Bandai fun. With the press of a button, you can dance and sing along as the bus plays the “Wheels on the Bus” song. Disney Princess Cinderella Carriage RC is the magical transportation for all princesses. With an easy-to-operate remote controller and regal carriage, Cinderella’s horse takes her on adventures with a majestical galloping action. The brand new collectible Anime Heroes One Piece Chopper by Bandai is a highly detailed 6.5-inch figure that allows you to recreate your favorite anime’s most iconic moments with over 16 points of articulation. It also comes with additional sets of hands, character-specific accessories and premium packaging that is influenced by Japanese manga and art (great for display or play)! The Totoro Dondoko Dance Statue Desk Clock “My Neighbor Totoro” (Benelic), standing nearly 4” tall, features an analog clock with a unique Totoro-themed face. Highly

uses of paper, one of the many things characteristic of Japanese culture, to create a multi-layered paper 3-D scene of Kiki flying with Jiji in their town of Koriko. Bandai brings Netflix’s Stranger Things to life with detailed figures, paying homage to the 80’s. Fans and collectors alike can bring home their favorite characters (Dustin, Eleven...) and monsters from the series that captivated audiences and became a global phenomenon. The 11inch figure Demogorgon is masterfully crafted and hyper-detailed with over

Anime Heroes One Piece Chopper by Bandai




Dinosaur Fan in the US! Dinosaur fans who think they have what it takes to WIN an epic prize pack including the complete CAPTIVZ Dominion Edition toy range and a family pack of movie theater vouchers to see Jurassic World Dominion, simply uploading a photo or video showing off their best prehistoric trivia, dinosaur collection, species stats or ROAR-SOME knowledge. As ToyMonster’s most epic Jurassic World CAPTIVZ range yet, the Dominion Edition reveals four never-before-seen dinosaur species that will be introduced in Jurassic World Dominion, including the Pyroraptor, Giganotosaurus, Therizinosaurus and Atrociraptors. The Jurassic World CAPTIVZ Dominion Edition toys are available now at Walmart, Meijer, Family Dollar and Big Lots, for ages 3 and up.

Jurassic World CAPTIVZ line by ToyMonster 20 points of articulation. There are two new monsters of 7-inch to collect, each crafted from a vinyl material that allows for true-to-monster form, texture and look that will please Stranger Things fans. 6-inch Hawkins Figure and 4-inch Feature Figures are also available. ToyMonster, the Australia-based toy manufacturer bringing the hottest miniature collectibles to Jurassic World fans across the globe, announces the launch of the Jurassic World CAPTIVZ Dominion Edition. The new line of collectible toys are available now, just Jurassic World CAPTIVZ line by ToyMonster

ahead of the highly anticipated release of Jurassic World Dominion on June 10, 2022. “We’re excited to rally generations of Jurassic World fans with the launch of our new CAPTIVZ line”, said Claire Carroll, Global Head of Brand & Marketing at ToyMonster. “With the anticipation of Jurassic World Dominion, we’re giving fans a whole new way to grow their dinosaur collections with the addition of super-sized and never-before-seen species.” To celebrate this new release, ToyMonster is searching for The BIGGEST Little

Latchkits®, PlayMonster’s popular DIY crafting brand, releases Latchkits® Yarnimals™ craft kits. Kids can proudly create their own Latchkits Koala, Panda, or Penguin, and discover hours of cuddly fun when they’re done creating. The Yarnimals 3D mesh form has easyto-follow raised areas that show where to place each yarn color to make the perfect plush. It’s easy to learn, with no sewing or measuring required. Plus, there’s a special mesh heart to loop and place inside your Yarnimal to fill it with love! “As children are introduced to the world of arts and crafts, it’s important to keep activities and learning opportunities rewarding”, says Wendy Hartling, Director of Activity Toys at PlayMonster. “One of

Latchkits® Yarnimals™ craft kits by PlayMonster


Fan-favorite designs inspired by Grogu and Elsa are also available in the new Spirograph Cyclex Studio sets, which include multiple stencils, with pens and paper for endless art designs! Spirograph Mandala Maker picks up on the popular trend of Mandala and appeals to the older crafting artist! With this set, artists can create beautiful large-scale Spirograph artwork using the interchangeable Mandala wheel. Spirograph 2022 line by PlayMonster our goals with Latchkits Yarnimals was to create a simple yet engaging product that was accessible for young children to try, and feel accomplished after seeing their very own plush come together.” Developed in 1965, Spirograph stimulates children’s creativity, by giving them the power to create endless spiral designs using gears, precision rings, wheels, and colored markers. With 16 variations of the Original Spirograph, PlayMonster is excited to welcome three new styles to the household brand. 2022 highlights include Spirograph 3D, the classic way to create countless amazing designs. Stepping into the world of Disney, Spirograph is now available in on-the-go fun with Cyclex Clips, featuring popular characters from kid’s favorite movies and shows as Star Wars the Mandalorian and Frozen.

Award-winning animated sensation Bluey

BBC Studios has sealed a worldwide partnership with Hasbro for co-branded classic games and Play-Doh® inspired by Ludo Studio’s Emmy® Award-winning animated sensation Bluey, which airs on Disney Junior, Disney Channel and Disney+. The new range feature Bluey editions of the board games Monopoly Junior® and Trouble® as well as PlayDoh and started rolling out in the U.S. and Canada in April, followed by other territories later in 2022 and 2023. “We’re thrilled to partner with BBC Studios to bring Bluey inspired games and Play-Doh products to kids and families”, said Kim Boyd, Head of Global Brands and Consumer Innovation, Hasbro. “We feel that the Bluey team shares our mission of making the world a better place for all children, fans and families by helping them create memories that last a lifetime and inspire fans to dream big and imagine new possibilities. Bluey has captured

Bluey Make’n Mash Costumes Set by Hasbro the attention of kids around the world and we’re proud to help the brand grow through consumer products”. Bluey Monopoly Junior and Bluey Trouble launched exclusively on Amazon in the U.S. and Canada in April, followed by Australia and New Zealand in July. The two board games start rolling out in the UK and France in 2023. The Bluey PlayDoh introduction, Bluey Make’n Mash Costumes Set, will be released as a Walmart exclusive in the U.S. on August 1 and debut in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand the same day – followed by France in Spring 2023. Additional Bluey co-branded products, territories and retailers to be announced soon.




Phlat Ball V3 by Goliath Sports Goliath Games has plenty of novelties to communicate, as the sophisticated spin on the classic Rummikub game with the new Rummikub Onyx version.The new edition features black tiles with brightly colored engraved numbers for the first time ever in the game. The dark design practically begs families and friends to play at fun gatherings. It adds a fun element to the classic Rummikub game while the rules and regulations stay the same. Harry Potter Spellcasters is a charade game with a magical spin! The Spellcaster draws a card that has a magical spell printed on it, keeping it hidden from the view of their teammates. Using the wand, which is a replica of Harry Potter’s wand, the Spellcaster must trace the shape of the spell in the air. The first person who guesses the correct spell gets to keep the card and become the next Spellcaster! In Harry Potter Magical Beasts Game, you play as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, or Ginny Weasley. Collect clues to track down creatures both inside and outside Hogwarts! The dynamic swinging game board adds excitement that leads to hours of fun. Phlat Ball V3 from Goliath Sports adds an exciting dimension to outdoor games with its unique center suction design. Squeeze down to set the

Harry Potter Spellcasters by Goliath Games

time-delay mechanism, toss it like a disc and then watch as it transforms into a catchable ball in mid-air. Thanks to the variable-release technology, you never know when it’s going to spring back into a ball, which adds a fun element of surprise to any game of catch. It also packs flat, so it’s easy to slip into a backpack or suitcase. Everyone has played a version of Floor is Lava, most likely jumping all over the furniture in their living room trying to stay off the dangerous floor. The Floor is Lava is a game where players must imagine the floor is molten hot lava while spinning for their color and jumping along with foam game pieces to reach safety. The Floor is Lava is a family game incorporating physical activity, imagination and pure fun!

The floor is lava by Goliath Games After identifying a gap in the US market for puzzles and games specifically designed for Kidults, NMR introduced its flagship

Rummiku Onyx version by Goliath Games

Harry Potter Magical Beasts game by Goliath Games


includes a range of licensing propositions that are new to the European market, such as Dr Seuss, Peanuts, and special licensed products for both Halloween and Christmas. Within the Dr Seuss offering is Europe’s first range of licenced puzzles and games based on the best-selling book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The range includes The Grinch 1,000-Piece Puzzle, which features unique artwork of

all the residents of Whoville and the most beloved villain of the holidays, perfect for retailers looking to tap into the Christmas gifting market.

For more information about Aquarius’s full product range, visit

Snoopy Art by Numbers by Aquarius brand, Aquarius, in the US in 2002. Targeting adult fans, Aquarius has taken an innovative approach to licensing from day one, creating games, puzzles, gifts, and crafts in a range of nostalgic licenses, from household favourites, such as Harry Potter and Friends, through to endearing classics, like SpongeBob SquarePants and Garfield. Its products are as unique as its licenses, offering a fresh take on traditional formats to help retailers stand out from the crowd and tap into the growing Kidult market. For example, its novel Vuzzles product line features a 300-piece puzzle packaged in a traditional VHS box to create a truly unique gifting product. Following its success in the USA, Canada and Australasia, Aquarius launched in Europe this year to bring its unique approach to licensing to new retailers and distributors. Its product line-up

Spin Master Issues Third Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report Spin Master, a leading global children’s entertainment company, issued its third annual Corporate Social Responsibility report (2021 CSR Report), articulating the Company’s environmental, social and governance goals and performance for 2021. With a vision of bringing kids and families together through the timeless magic of play, Spin Master seeks to be an inclusive employer, enhance the communities in which it operates and minimize environmental impacts with efforts in four key areas: products, people, communities and environment. Products - Spin Master is committed to providing children and families with the safest and highest quality toys, entertainment content and digital games. People - Spin Master is committed to investing in employees’ wellbeing and development and to fostering an inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive, grow and ultimately have fun. Communities - Through philanthropic giving, volunteering and toy donations, Spin Master gives children in communities around the world the opportunity to grow, explore and learn through the power of play. Environment - Spin Master recognizes the need to act in support of the environment and to minimize the impact of its operations, for children and families today and generations to come.





What Does the Future of In-Store Retail Look Like? By Hannah Melotto As the retail industry grows and changes, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends and shifts in how customers shop. But what is changing in retail, and how will this impact the way stores operate? Whether you’re a retailer looking to stay ahead of the curve or simply trying to understand what’s going on in the market, it’s crucial to have a clear idea of the future of in-store retail. change in shopping habits, affecting the retail store’s consumer visits. One key emerging trend is focusing on new revenue streams, such as product customization and community collaboration. This can be done by having a concierge service that joins the manufacturing process from product design to delivery. Additionally, by offering other incentives such as community collaboration, stores can appeal to consumers and build customer loyalty. Another key trend is the rise of the omnichannel experience in retail. Today’s customers expect their shopping experience to be seamless across all channels and touchpoints, from

Changing Consumer Habits There has been a shift in consumer spending trends in recent years, with more people now preferring to spend their money on experiences rather than things. This has led to a decline in traditional retail, as consumers shift away from buying items in physical stores. However, this does not mean that physical retail is dead. It is evolving to meet the needs of today’s consumers. In-store retail is rapidly evolving as consumers are returning after the pandemic. The pandemic has led to a


recycled materials, energy-efficient lighting, and investing in renewable energy. Data will be increasingly important as retail evolves, as it will allow stores to adapt to changing trends and consumer preferences quickly. To remain competitive, retailers need to be able to analyze data in real-time and make decisions based on this information. This will be essential to provide the personalized experiences that consumers crave. Whether through product customization, collaboration with their community, or leveraging data insights, stores must continually evolve to keep up with consumer demands and stay ahead of the competition.

Additionally, 46% of global consumers would rather spend money on experiences rather than things, which is reflected in the changing retail landscape. The future of retail is focused on providing unique, personalized experiences that generate new revenue streams while driving sustainability and encouraging community collaboration. Stores are looking to create fun, playground-like environments where consumers can interact with products and each other in novel ways. This has been seen in retail establishments like the Apple Store and Fred Segal, where employees are trained to treat customers like friends. Other retailers have followed suit with similar approaches, such as Walgreens’ new beauty concept store, which features a lounge area for customers to try on products.

Another key trend is the focus on sustainability, with 66% of consumers worldwide stating they would pay more for sustainable products. Businesses are looking to focus on creating unique and engaging experiences that provide new revenue streams while driving sustainability. Stores are looking to community collaborations to drive sustainability and target values-based buyers. Other ways retail stores are practicing sustainability are by using

©Getty Images

browsing online to in-store visits. To stay competitive, retailers need to provide an omnichannel experience that meets the needs of today’s customers. This means having a consistent brand presence and message across all channels and providing a seamless shopping experience that is convenient and easy for customers. Omnichannel is the new norm for in-store retail. It’s no longer enough to just have a physical store; you need to have a strong online presence as well. This means having a website that is optimized for mobile and providing a seamless shopping experience across all channels.

Fred Segal store in Los Angeles

By implementing these changes, retailers will be able to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the ever-changing retail landscape. Leveraging data insights, implementing innovative technologies, and focusing on sustainability efforts will help retailers create meaningful experiences for their customers that drive revenue and build community. After all, these experiences are what consumers are looking for, and retailers that can provide them will be the most successful in the future. By implementing these changes, retail stores will be able to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the ever-changing retail landscape.





How Celebrity and Brand Collaborations Impact the Digital World By Hannah Melotto With nearly two-thirds of Americans playing video games, many developers are turning to celebrity and brand collaborations to enhance gameplay and drive engagement.

with several high-profile celebrities over the past few years. In 2020, the game hosted the world premiere of the trailer for the Christopher Nolan film Tenet and also held a virtual concert by Travis Scott amongst other musical artists. Scott was reportedly paid a multimillion-dollar fee upfront. These partnerships have helped Fortnite become one of the most popular video games in the world, boasting over 250 million players. Other developers have also had success with celebrity collaborations, like Cyberpunk 2077, a role-playing game featuring Keanu Reeves as one of the main characters. Perhaps taking a cue from the success of Fortnite, the online game Roblox Examples of successful collaborations include Fortnite’s partnership with Travis Scott and Roblox’s collaboration with Lil Nas X. However, these partnerships pose challenges. While they may be beneficial in some cases, they must be carefully weighed against other factors such as cost and potential impact on the game’s bottom line. Still, celebrity and brand collaborations are likely to grow in popularity as digital video games become an increasingly important part of our cultural landscape.

engaging for their players. To do this, more have begun partnering with celebrities to create unique in-game content or events. Celebrity and brand collaborations are becoming increasingly common in digital video games. This is primarily because younger demographics are more likely to be interested in video games than in other forms of entertainment media. As a result, game developers are looking for new ways to retain players, and partnerships with celebrities and brands can be an effective way to do this.

Gaming companies are always looking for ways to keep their games exciting and

One of the most successful examples of this trend is Fortnite, which has partnered


to ensure maximum impact carefully. This can involve building anticipation for the collaboration online before it happens or including in-game activities related to the celebrity during the collaboration.


has partnered with Lil Nas X to host a virtual concert inside the game. While these collaborations certainly offer many benefits for game developers, there are also potential challenges to consider.

increase customer engagement and drive sales. These content collaborations can be more effective than traditional advertising, allowing the gaming companies to create unique in-game features.

These collaborations supply extra revenue for game developers and can help them reach a broader audience. This can be particularly helpful for smaller gaming companies that may not have the resources to create their own engaging content and marketing campaigns. Celebrity endorsements are often associated with higher quality in the eyes of consumers; as a result, brand collaboration can also

While digital collaborations can be a great way to attract new players, they can also be a risky investment. Developers need to carefully consider the costs and benefits of such collaborations, taking into account factors like the size and reach of the celebrity’s fanbase and the potential impact on gameplay. If they decide that collaboration is worth it, they need to plan and execute their strategy

Travis Scott

Overall, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to celebrity partnerships in the gaming industry. Developers need to evaluate each case individually and decide based on their specific goals and objectives. Collaborations should be put together in an authentic fashion that does not seem forced. However, if done correctly, a celebrity collaboration can be a great way to boost player engagement and excitement for a game. It seems that the trend of using celebrities and brands to increase engagement in digital video games is likely to continue growing in popularity. Celebrities have always had a strong influence on younger demographics, and as video games become more and more important to our culture, they will likely be a crucial part of marketing strategies for game developers. While collaborations present both risks and rewards to game developers, they can be worth it if done correctly. Game developers can reach new audiences through these partnerships and create unique experiences that players won’t soon forget. At the end of the day, it is up to each developer to decide whether or not a celebrity/ brand collaboration is right for their game and their company.





The Reemergence of Y2K Fashion By Hannah Melotto The year is 2022, but fashion has turned back to the early 2000s. While this era may not have been everyone’s favorite, the early 2000s were marked by distinctive trends and accessories that are now making a comeback. Small handbags, bold logos, tiny sunglasses, and other accessories are all popular once again, as people look to these items for a sense of nostalgia and style. This renewed interest in Y2K fashion is due to the widespread influence of social media, the internet, and changing tastes and preferences among younger generations. Regardless of its reasons, this trend proves that fashion always has a way of coming full circle. Whether you love or hate Y2K fashion, there’s no denying that it’s made a comeback. The resurgence of small handbags, logos,

tiny sunglasses, and other trends can be credited to their aesthetic appeal and the ease with which they can be shared on social media. These trends also coincide with the early 2000s, when the internet became increasingly popular. The early 2000s were a time of growth and change, and it seems that these Y2K trends are making a comeback as we enter a new era of growth and change. These trends have been popularized by celebrities and fashion-forward influencers who are bringing them back into the mainstream. Small handbags are practical and stylish,

and the return of the Dior Saddlebag is a clear testimony to this. Tiny sunglasses can be worn in many ways, allowing wearers to experiment with different looks and styles. Big hair clips give a fun finish to any hair-do, especially in a time where a face is all that’s seen over video calls and meetings. All of these looks have added to the resurgence of Y2K fashion. Still, one factor, in particular, plays a crucial role. Logos and monograms on items have viral potential on social media, making them appealing to designers looking to reach a wider audience. This is especially true when using ‘stories’ and platforms like TikTok that utilize short videos to gain attention and quickly introduce an audience to new fashions and trends. The early 2000s were a time of significant technological advancement, including the widespread adoption of social media platforms. Unsurprisingly, social media has played a role in the resurgence of Y2K fashion trends. Social media provides an easy way for brands to share their designs with a broad audience. This can be seen in companies focusing their marketing efforts on platforms like Instagram, where users are more likely to engage with visually-appealing content. The way we consume media has changed drastically since the early 2000s. We now have access to a constant stream of images and trends on platforms, which can lead to a feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out). This may explain why we’re seeing a trend


towards nostalgic fashion, as we long for the simpler days of our youth. It’s worth noting that the Y2K aesthetic is most popular with Gen Z – the demographic most active on social media. This group is now coming of age, and their influence is being felt in the fashion industry. Social media has played a crucial role in

these trends are here to stay. With every revival comes a new way to wear it, and each style is just another part of fashion’s cyclical nature. While it’s unclear whether this resurgence in Y2K fashion will be short-lived or here to stay, one thing is for sure: people are drawn to these styles for a reason. Whether it’s the desire to


the resurgence of Y2K fashion trends. It provides a convenient platform for brands to share their designs with a broad audience, helping to increase their visibility and popularity. This can be seen in the success of brands like Supreme, which has majorly benefited from being one of the first streetwear labels to develop a strong social media presence. Additionally, the way we consume media has changed drastically in recent years. For example, the popularization of the “story” feature on Snapchat and Instagram has meant that users are now more likely to consume content in a quick, digestible format. This is ideal for the dissemination of trends, as it allows users to see what’s popular without having to commit to a long article or search through multiple images. Regardless of how you feel about the resurgence of Y2K fashion trends, it cannot be denied they have made a comeback. Whether we’re drawn to them because of nostalgia, or we simply like the aesthetic appeal and ease with which they can be shared on social media,

experiment with different looks or simply feeling nostalgic for the simpler days of our youth, Y2K fashion is here and in style. And who knows? Maybe revisiting these trends will help you recapture some of that 2000s magic.





The most innovative European animated projects at Cartoon Next By Rossella Arena Cartoon Next (Marseille, 12-15 April 2022) offered three days dedicated to the evolution of the creative and digital industries. The main focus of the event was on well-curated keynote conferences, led by professionals sharing their vision on the future of the business, while producers from all over Europe pitched innovative projects, featuring their transmedia strategies. The Cartoon Next selection committee chose the most innovative projects in terms of storytelling, production technology, visuals, 360° approach, and different stages of development. The projects originated from France, Spain, Austria, Italy, Lithuania and Slovakia. Here are some that have a big licensing potential

AT CONCEPT STAGE SUBTOPIA is set in a dystopian world of total governmental control and surveillance. It juxtaposes colorful

3D-rendered surroundings with ridiculously cute characters, while portraying the sinister and adult themes of social isolation, internet security and fraud, distrust and the dangers of losing yourself behind digital avatars. This media-critical TV series will be extended into open-world games and a metaverse experience based on Subtopia’s world and characters. Licensing opportunities abound, as the character designs can be used in AR/VR applications as branded social media avatars, as motion-captured “filters” to hide one’s true identity, and as

skins for use in other games and apps. Sakamon Castle is a comedy for 8 – 12 y.o. kids that takes place in a silly hotel called Sakamon Castle. The hero is Sakamon, a manager as incompetent as he is funny: he was a bag of turnips that came to life thanks to a magic formula. The world of Sakamon Castle is ideal for setting up operations that can bring a community together. That is why the producer Mondo TV France wants to roll out the Saka-world across three main media areas which will make up the future IP. The first is a 52x11’ 2D animation series for TV and online platforms, where viewers from 8 years and up can enjoy themselves and have a good time with the hotel’s entertaining team. Alongside that, the audience will be able to play with the protagonists of Sakamon Castle on a mobile game, having fun in the hotel with a series of whacky mini-games. And finally, a board game will provide a whole slew of challenges to complete, so family and friends can all have fun together.

IN DEVELOPMENT Astrid and the School of Astronauts is a tv series about a seven-year-old albino girl who is attending the fantastic “Galaxy, the School of Astronauts,” where she learns about friendship, self-esteem and… a little bit of physics and science! Author and producer Federica Carbone commented: “The focus is on bringing girls closer to science, thanks to a project based on female empowerment. We are planning a TV special to commemorate


the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11th. A more educational format is destined for the web in which the character interacts directly with children by sharing scientific content. There will also be an app with games designed for different ages. We are also interested in developing a publishing presence and growing in the world of the Metaverse.” Eyes of Shame is a project dealing with the social exclusion and alienation of troubled teenagers. It is part of a transmedia concept, which, in addition to the VR format, also includes two other formats: a WEB Platform/Interactive animated series and an animated feature film. All formats are interconnected by the same themes and topics and are centered around troubled teenagers’ issues.

a mobile app will follow them in their daily lives, so they can consult on their doubts whenever and wherever they want. The Sex Symbols universe will create its own set of collectible graphic novels dedicated to the topics in the episodes. A Videogame and a thorough social media campaign are also planned.

Journey to Yourland The producers are also looking for sales agents, distribution, co-producers, and game publishers. Sex Symbols is a tv series about sexuality and affectivity, aimed at pre-teens from 8 to 13 years old. The series has an official website, with indepht videos. To fully support its viewers,

Eyes of Shame

IN PRODUCTION In Journey to Yourland, Riki, a 10-yearold boy, runs away from home following a mysterious emergency signal sent by a shiny stone. It leads Riki to the breathtaking parallel world of “Yourland” where wonderful machines roam golden deserts, monkeys and ravens talk, and science peacefully co-exists with nature. This project is a multiverse IP that the team is developing on the gaming front, currently offering both an action and an exploration option, in which you can interact with the residents of Yourland, build your home, discover the flora, go fishing, etc. The comic book of the series has been completed and is seeking a publisher.

Zombillénium During the panel Next European Benchmarks, Chrystel Poncet (MaGic C) presented some recent productions of French animation, including Zombillénium – the Series, by Maybe Movies, a faithful adaptation of the cult universe created in the comic books by Arthur de Pins. A social tale, the 3D program mixes drama, in the form of a quest/investigation led by our heroine Gretchen, and comedy, through great moments of kooky humor carried out by the eccentric and ever so human monsters. Zombillénium is a saga with a unique graphic look and a great soundtrack, in an atmosphere that combines The Office, Hotel Transylvania and Fargo. With an international appeal, the series is aimed at teenagers and can be shared with the whole family.





Demand for anime content By Rossella Arena During the panel Anime – The inexorable rise of the genre (Cartoon Next - Marseille, April 2022), Parrot Analytics presented the data collected about this growing sector

Top 10 in-demand markets for anime Amit Devani, Director of Insights at Parrot Analytics, explained that the anime trend has lasted for five years and shows no signs of abating, also because there is a broader audience reach through global OTT players. He highlighted a 35% year-on-year increase in demand for anime globally in 2020/2021. This comprised a 18% rise in demand for new anime content, such as Arcane and Tokyo Revengers, and a 17% increase in demand for existing anime content (Attack on Titan, Dragon Ball Z...). The Japanese networks that have traditionally commissioned anime series (MBS, Tokyo MX...) have been key growth drivers for this medium, but now Netflix has contributed more than half of the growth compared to a combined 70+ other platforms. Anime has become a cornerstone for investment by Netflix. It has 40 new anime titles set to debut this year alone. The total number of hours spent watching anime on Netflix grew last year by more than 22%, and over half of its 222 million

subscribers watched anime in 2021. The animated series Arcane, inspired by traditional Japanese anime has been a “huge part” of the anime growth on Netflix, achieving much more mainstream audience. Before the launch of Arcane, around 4% of households identified themselves as watching a piece of anime content. Arcane launched in November and in December this number more than doubled. As Devani said, “Arcane has ignited the anime fire...” Anime leans on a variety of genres to

The demand for anime content has more than doubled since the launch of Arcane in 2021. engage diverse audiences & cultures. Action, fantasy & adventure are amongst the top trending sub-genres for anime content. Concerning its travelability, 4 out of the 10 most in-demand markets for anime content are from Europe. Japan is the primary producer, with the US generating around 5% of the total and other countries combined making up 1%. Devani declared that this demonstrates a huge space of growth in anime production outside of Japan. In Europe, France is the top market for the demand for anime content. Globally, France is number four, after Japan, US and Philippines. In the top 10, Germany, Russia, UK, along with Brazil, Canada and China. The anime audience skews unsurprisingly younger and more male - a typically harderto-reach demographic. This bodes well for both OTTs and linear networks. Knowing which titles resonate with the Above 40’s (es. Transformers - Cybertron Trilogy) can help to serve the older demographic & grow overall reach. Understanding the difference between heavy anime viewers vs. the lighter ones can further help to grow the overall reach of the genre: heavy when the anime content makes up +51% or more of overall consumption, light for anime content that makes up between 1-15% of overall consumption.




Animated dreams from Spain and Portugal By Rossella Arena The work and projects of some animation studios in Spain and Portugal

Taste Buddies Spanish and Portuguese animation continues to be a growing industry. During the last edition of Cartoon Forum, the important observatory on European animation trends, considerable space was dedicated to animated series projects from and/or co-produced by Spain and Portugal. We try to get to know this world better through the work of some Portuguese and Spanish animation studios. Pikkukala makes original animation with a passion for great stories and beautiful design. They love to innovate and experiment pushing the boundaries to reach audiences with interactive entertainment and games. With studios in Helsinki and Barcelona, they are the partners of choice for like-minded companies searching for co-production and high-quality animation production services.

Pikkukala Barcelona is currently working on a slate of exciting projects. Royals Next Door (52x11’) is an animated series in production, with delivery for Q3 2022. Created by Veronica Lassenius, it is a co-production with Finland, Ireland and Belgium. Due to water damage in the castle, a royal family has to move out into a common Samuel

neighbourhood. Queen Kat sees it as the perfect opportunity to modernise. In line with King Bob’s royal motto “Closer to the people”, they decide to live in a normal house in an ordinary suburb. It’s time to show the people that the Royals are just like everyone else. For Crown Princess Stella, moving is the best thing that could happen to her. She has always wanted to live a regular life, go to a real school and just blend in. But blending in when you have always stood out is not easy, especially when you do not have the remotest idea of how ordinary things are done. Will the Royals manage to combine state dinners and opening speeches with cooking, football practice and cleaning the house? All without the help of the numerous staff they are used to? If not, it won’t be for lack of trying. Stella, her sister Molly, their parents and pets will discover


everyday life with enthusiasm and a touch of eccentricity while they try to stay true to their royal traditions and duties. As if finding your own way into a new reality wouldn’t be hard enough, the family has to do it under the watchful eye of the nosy neighbour, the lurking paparazzi, the mayor and the incredulous Queen Mother, all of whom are convinced they will fail. The series explores the challenge of adapting to change without losing your identity. Eimear O’Mahony, Executive Producer, Children’s & Young People’s Programming RTE Television declared about this project: Royals Next Door is a great new addition to our slate for RTÉ Kids. It’s especially important for our older audience as it deals with a family being outsiders, and how Stella and her family deal with that in a fun way. Our older audience is adjusting to changes in their lives, be it new schools or groups of friends and it is really important for them to see people dealing with change being reflected on our screens. Saskatoons is a tv series (52x11’) in development, created by Evgenia Golubeva and Myles McLeodco, and coproduced with another Portoguese studio, Sardinha em Lata. It is a mystery comedy with sisters Gigi and Alex as budding archaeological adventurers, accompanied by an ancient advanced robot Dokku. Taste Buddies is a 52x7’ musical preschool series in pre-production, created by Veronica Lassenius. The series was born out of the question: What if every time you tasted something you didn’t like, a bunch of superheroes would come to help you? It received support from TV3 and YLE. The delivery is set for Q4 2023. The Devil’s Little Couple

Samuel is a 21x4’ with a TikTok-only miniseries of 10x1´. The project, created by Émilie Tronche and produced with Les Valseurs (France) is in preproduction. The project tells Samuel’s life in the 2000s, as presented by himself in his personal diary, with minimalistic 2d animation, musical moments and 21 short episodes full of strong emotions. EasyLab is a Lisbon-based animation studio created in 2005 and powered by TAKE IT EASY, a Portuguese production company. An ever-evolving group of artists, directors, designers and animators who create visual imagery and content for animation. It’s a creative laboratory team that experiments and combines a large specter of techniques, mainly STOP MOTION and DIGITAL CELL ANIMATION, as well as other mixed media, fitted for the specificity of each particular project. They have recently obtained the Portuguese ICA fund for the production of the series What’s it all about? - Ciência Viva. It is a 2D series (52x11’) aimed at children 6-11, that follows the adventures

The Devil’s Little Couple

of a family with their magic van, through the mysteries of science: the depths of the ocean, the laws of physics... From the wonders of the universe to microscopic enigmas, nothing is impossible for the curiosity of the characters. They are currently developing other projects at the moment. Anima, directed by Jerónimo Rocha João Miguel Real, is a science fiction short about mankind’s relation with the post Anthropocene condition. A lonely man roams the barren Earth. He finds the last frozen grains of the planet at Svalbard’s seed vault, guarded by an artificial valet. Taking the newfound robot companion with him, he leaves the solar system and searches for a fertile planet to cultivate. One last civilizational action for one man... one final act for mankind. But at last, he too withers, not knowing that his legacy was also the fruitful relationship he had with his artificial friend. O Casalinho do Diabo (The Devil’s Little Couple), a Feature Film by Jerónimo Rocha and João Miguel Real, with music by Christopher Slaski. It is a children’s tale born out of an ancient world of myth and fantasy, of misty, cold and remote mountains. It derives from and is inspired by the Portuguese folklore tradition, when stories, chronicles and deeds were told around the fireplace as a way to preserve people’s memories at a time when most people couldn’t read or write. Just as someone who tells a story will often add to it, so “O Casalinho” will plunder a set of




treasures from the Portuguese tradition, whilst simultaneously adding and mixing in several original ideas to create a new “classic story” - evoking a Brothers Grimm atmosphere - the kind a parent would read to ones children before putting them to bed. This “bedtime story” concept is also deeply connected with the narrative itself, since the tale of the Dark Pair is laid out in fragments that the hero, Sebastian, has to piece together from different storytellers. We find ourselves inland, in the Portuguese countryside of the 1930s. A small village overlooks a backdrop of Rocky Mountains Morning mists are followed by sunsets

VHS Gang pilot - Operation Frankestein

VHS Gang and clear nights tinged with a full moon. Beneath the howling northern wind, and the sound of rushing waterfalls, we can make out the tinkling of goats’ bells in the distance. Romanesque churches, farms and ruins dot the landscape. This deeply rich and textured background contrasts with the graphic simplicity and solid colours of the characters. We get a good look at the Portuguese traditional culture, from the local architecture to the visual details of the traditional costumes. The producers are aiming for a very ethnographic approach to sound. A rich texture of wind, animal and rural sounds, recorded in the actual locations of central and northern Portugal (increasingly scarce places, still untouched by the wi-fi culture) where this story could have taken place. The music will have a traditional, acoustic feel, not only capturing the mood of the cinematic experience but also making use of the popular instruments of the time and place.

The Glow Animation Studio is an animation studio created by independent film production company Glow to work on its first feature film: Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles. Although the initial goal was to have the artistic and technical resources they

VHS Gang

needed for this production, shortly after they started offering services to other animation productions from all over the world. The most recent works include many international productions from countries such as Spain, Ireland, Mexico, USA, or Germany. The VHS Gang (La Pandilla V.H.S. in Spanish) is a project for kids and families, that foresees an animated tv series (26x11’) and an IP that grows into a Transmedia universe. Three siblings live countless adventures in which reality blends with fictional worlds from classic films. From creating their own Frankenstein monster to toying around with the idea of becoming The Invisible Man, these three kids believe everything is possible, and this belief will put them in all kinds of hilarious situations. References to classic films combined with 90s nostalgia (that’s the decade in which the story takes place) will make LA PANDILLA V.H.S. (“The V.H.S. Gang”) a transmedia entertainment product that can be enjoyed by the whole family in multiples ways, such as a TV


show, a videogame, and books. The series has the participation of RTVE - ClanTV (the public Spanish kids’ channel) which is very important step for this brand. GLOW also has developed a “vertical-slice”, which means, a pilot videogame, that explores the universe of The VHS Gang. The TV series pilot is called ‘Operation Frankenstein’ and currently is on the distribution as a short film, thanks to the work of independent film agency Freak. The project was presented on-site during the last Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, where it garnered great feedback and secured several co-production partners. They expect to begin production early 2023 and to finish it in 2024. iMagicTv is a content production and audiovisual services company based in Barcelona. For more than 20 years, it creates content and formats for TV, including movies, programs, documentaries, news, and commercials. In recent years it has also

Jimmy and The Magic Key who are freely exploring their world and ours. The Wawies seek to understand, grow and have fun always having kindness, respect, innocence and teamwork in mind.

The Wavies opened a new line of business focused on 2D animation, with projects that have been broadcast on channels and platforms in different countries. IMagicTv also acts as a partner in Spain for all types of international productions. In recent years they have devoted themselves to two animated series projects. The Wavies (26x7’) is aimed at preschoolers. Wawaland is a tiny world that travels floating across the planet Earth. It is so small and light that the wind blows it away. At this very moment, it could be flying over Tokyo, Paris or the Atlantic Ocean. In Wawaland, we can find the wawies, chubby magical and funny beings

Jimmy and The Magic Key

This project includes in addition to the series, a whole merchandising universe of clothing, textiles, and toys. Jimmy and The Magic Key (52x7’) is suitable for the age group 6-9. It is about fun, time travel and classical music. The series revolves around the main character, the concert performer James Rhodes, and specifically his animated alter ego, Jimmy. Through his piano, which is at the same time a time machine, Jimmy will travel in each chapter to the past, where he will meet one of the great names of classical music, interact and allow him to resolve the conflict raised in each chapter. In every episode, we’ll meet the greatest composers of history, have an adventure with them and learn a bit more about their life and their music. Among the objectives of the series is to make women composers known and it is entirely produced in Barcelona.



Fashion & Lifestyle


Sustainability in Children’s Fashion By Rossella Arena In kids’ fashion, the commitment to sustainability is growing stronger. Here is the latest news from several green clothing and cosmetics brands

Frugi In recent years, the commitment to sustainability has become a goal shared by more and more brands. In particular, fashion companies are adhering to green awareness, not only to contribute positively to the environment, but also to guarantee high-quality clothing and cosmetics for younger customers. Here are the latest innovations from several of these companies. The Frugi collection offers a rich assortment of clothes for babies and children. Winner of prestigious industry awards and loved by many families in Europe, the brand manufactures its clothing according to the international GOTS and SA8000 standards, which guarantee both the sustainable origin of fibers and fabrics and the ethical production of the garments.

Their line has been cleverly designed to adapt to the changing shapes of young ones and follow them in the various stages of growth. Just Imagine is the Fall-Winter 2022 collection, inspired by imagination, the desire to create magic and to make the world a better place. There is a collection inspired by a hidden world to be explored with a magnifying glass, the world of insects and the mysteries of the garden; a collection of animals from the Savannah: large giraffes, funny zebras and cute rhinos on the fabrics make clothes for little ones colorful, fun and educational; a few star designs, with space providing a fantastic place full of adventure, discovery and magic. There is also a whole section dedicated to outerwear and accessories for all seasons and all tastes, from 6 months up to 10 years, including jackets and wellies (with a cute puddle meter!), backpacks and water bottles for outdoors. Wooly Organic

Frugi The collection is made with innovative materials: organic cotton, polyester from plastic bottles, tencel and micromodal, cutting-edge fabrics that help protect the planet. Wooly Organic is an organic cotton collection designed for children as well as adults who care about the environment and enjoy modern and essential designs. Each style is characterized by comfort, safety and individuality, favoring practical cuts and minimising unnecessary elements such as elastic, buckles or seams that could irritate children. Wooly Organic uses young designers - students and graduates from the Art Academy of Latvia - in the process of designing the

Fashion & Lifestyle

Wooly Organic clothes, trying to balance the social with the environment. The company proves that ecology does not exclude elegance, design and modern comfort. Another advantage of the clothing line are its original prints, which gives it a unique character and makes it stand out from other products in the market. All fabrics used for their clothes are certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which guarantees that the cotton used is grown without the use of toxic fertilizers or pesticides. Fashion is not just about clothes, but also about cosmetics. The sun products of the Lovely Sun line by Cosm-etica are available on The Lovely Sun SPF 50+ cream (in a 100


ml spray bottle) is a very high protection sun cream, ideal for children’s skin. Enriched with rice bran oil, and sought after for its particular properties that protect from the sun’s rays, it helps the skin to tan. It is also rich in tocopherols, ingredients that fight free radicals. Rice bran oil has been used and appreciated for millennia in Japanese cosmetics for the advantage of being quickly absorbed and not excessively greasy, as well as being super moisturizing. It is rich in Y-oryzanol, Omega 3 (Vit. F) and vitamin E (soothing and antioxidant). Lovely Sun After Sun (in a 100 ml bottle) is also enriched with rice bran oil, which performs an important anti-aging function with the tocopherols ingredients that fight free radicals. Inuwet (In Unicorns we trust) is a cosmetics brand with trendy and effective products in adorable packaging that helps all ages to be beautiful and take care of themselves naturally every day.

All ingredients are non-animal tested, vegan and paraben-free. The company manufactures many products for children, the latest being Confetti Kit 5 Crayons Makeup Kids, a set of five vegan, 100% natural face and body pencils for kids that make wonderful drawings on children’s cheeks! To remove the makeup, all you need is a little soap and water.


The Miniconf group’s commitment to sustainability

In 2019 Miniconf published a commitment manifesto which defines its sustainability guidelines. Its goals include: • Investment in sustainable materials and supply chains: they have been BCI members since 2020 and have committed to reaching 100% BCI cotton in their collections by 2025; • Upholding the durability standards of their garments to limit waste and pollution; • Marketing and promotion to raise awareness of environmental issues with the members of their supply chain, in addition to auditing which deals with social, safety and environmental issues; • A partnership with Treedom to create the “Miniconf Forest,” a forest where a tree is given as a birthday gift to all employees and their children to promote environmental awareness and “green” education for the new generations ( en/); • Packaging with reduced environmental impact: all hangers are 100% recycled plastic, bags are 50% recycled plastic, and boxes are plastic-free. An important project will start from FW22 to reduce the boxes used to ship clothes to customers, which when fully operational will lead to savings of about 100,000 boxes per year.





The growing market of pet products By Alessandra Maccaferri The consumers go shopping for pets as they would do for themselves, looking for the product that best matches their pet’s needs or wants. Here some new licensed products lines for our little friends.

Fenella Smith

Chewy - Star Wars everything from toys and apparel to bowls and beds” only available at Chewy.

Chewy - Star Wars The licensed pet product sector has grown by leaps and bounds in the recent years. It got a further boost with the advent of the pandemic, when the importance of pets has been evident, alongside just how beneficial they are to our lives and even health. Several brands have extended into the pet aisle, with products ranging from toys to beds, leashes, bowls, pet carriers and even fashion. Major brands, too, such as Star Wars, have pet licensing deals. The pet food company Chewy has put out a novel casting call for their next Star Wars merch marketing campaign of May 2022, searching for a Chewie pet lookalike. Chewy also notes that they have a full Star Wars collection at their site, “with

Fenella Smith launches their collection in partnership with The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, a deal brokered by leading European agency, Bulldog Licensing. This collection is a celebration of the companionship dogs bring to their

Fenella Smith

humans. Named By My Side, includes everyday home accessories presented as perfect gifts and lovingly made luxuries for dogs and dog lovers. From Mugs which come in 4 designs as a set of 4 or sold as singles to a treat jar and dog bowl. Each item celebrates the Guide Dog breeds, and works to offer support to the charity and the partially sighted community. This collection has been designed and is being sold in support of The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Rob Corney, MD, Bulldog Licensing, commented: “We’re delighted to be launching the first of many Guide Dogs licensed products into retail with this fantastic line from Fenella Smith. The charity does incredible work improving quality of life and bringing new opportunities to people with visual impairment. It’s a privilege to work with the charity behind this vital service”. Fenella Smith, Founder, added: “This collection for Guide Dogs is a true reflection of what we love to achieve at


Fenella, joyful products that give back to our communities”. PetSmart LLC is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. It is offering an allnew “Stranger Things” collection of dog toys, accessories and apparel to coincide with the return of the Netflix series. Volume 1 of “Stranger Things” Season 4 premieres on Netflix May 27, followed by Volume 2 on July 1.

PetSmart Stranger Things

inspired toys in the collection include an AV Club nesting plush, a plush walkietalkie, a plush D&D die, a squeaky waffle that says “Stuck in the Upside-Down”, and more. “‘Stranger Things’ is a worldwide phenomenon and the team at PetSmart is beyond excited for our partnership with Netflix to bring the fun, mystery and suspense to life for our four-legged friends through this collection,” said Kristin Shane, senior vice president, merchandising, PetSmart. “We know that pet parents love to include their furry family members in every aspect of their lives, including their favorite bingeable shows, and this collection does just that”. Cosmopolitan, the largest young women’s media brand in the world, announced the launch of its new COSMO Furbabies line of pet products in partnership with Ethical Products, a leading manufacturer of pet supplies, in a deal brokered by IMG. Available in the U.S. at local pet stores and popular online retailers, the collection consists of everything from toys, beds, carriers, apparel and accessories. “It’s not an overstatement to say that Cosmo readers are obsessed with their

Cosmopolitan Watch Entertainment, the Rachael Ray Brand’s holding company, has selected G Mason Group, a pet product manufacturer, to develop and market a line of supplies and accessories for pets. “We are excited to be partnering with an industry leader like G Mason Group to develop a complete range of products from food bowls and toys to apparel, leashes and collars, and travel accessories” said John Cusimano, chief executive officer, Watch Entertainment. The product line will be available at retailers in 2022 and will also feature a collection of feeding solutions and treat dispensing toys, as well as other products to enhance our pets’ lifestyles. “There is no better brand than Rachael Ray in the pet food space, and we are honored to be part of her vision to expand into other categories” declared Gregory Jemal, president, G Mason Group.

The collaboration with “Stranger Things” is available on and is rolling out into US stores. The exclusive collection consists of products that “Stranger Things” fans – and their pups – will love: Eleven and Hopper plush toys, logo T-shirt and bandana, and a plush spiked bat for fighting off Demogorgons. Dogs can also match with Steve Harrington at his Scoops Ahoy summer job in a uniform hat and collar slide set. Other Hawkins-

Rachel Ray PetSmart Stranger Things Cosmopolitan pets” explained Angela Kim, senior director of Hearst Global Licensing. “Given their tendency to splurge on their furry friends, we’re excited to provide a collection of cute, Instagram-worthy accessories that everyone will love”. The unique line of pet products consists of 17 dog toys, 6 cat toys, 2 styles of dishes, 2 carriers, 3 collections of beds, waste management supplies and a complete line of apparel including tees, hoodies, sweaters, jackets and raincoats.





advertising trends, From television to video platforms By Matteo Melani From streaming platforms to social media, video continues to be an effective tool for advertising products and services. Chiara Francini

Recent statistics show that across all mass media, advertisements are popular with users. According to a poll by Tivo, 65% of the US public said they were willing to tolerate advertising in exchange for free content. Even on digital and satellite TV channels, advertisements are experiencing a new renaissance, so much so that according to a survey by MarketingSherpa, more than half of consumers who contact companies for more information about a product were part of a viewer audience. In addition to brands and products, tourist destinations have recently ramped up advertising on television channels, in response to both the relaxing of restrictive measures

and the return of major events around the world. The advertising situation of online platforms such as Youtube and DailyMotion which, despite the losses, continue to find advertisers willing to promote their brand is in the dark. But how is one to operate within such a variable framework? First of all, you need to know your target audience in order respond to their taste, and diversify the content according to the platform. In television advertising specifically, creativity and storytelling are two effective tools that can be employed since the content length on TV is comparatively longer than an online video. The latest Gocciole Pavesi promotional campaign with actors

Lillo Petrolo and Chiara Francini was both effectiveness and flexible, precisely because it involved all types of video platforms. For this promotion, the brand created an historic marketing format in which life is represented as a real jungle, but thanks to the gluttony and energy of Gocciole the day can have a positive ending. The television advertising was preempted on key social media channels with teasers that showed a rear view of the protagonist (played by Lillo Petrolo) with a classic wedding gown announcing the arrival of a new mysterious king of the jungle. This was followed by a reveal phase featuring the characters, both individually and together, in a 25-minute trailer. On April 24, the first commercial debuted on television. “The jungle format,” commented Laura Signorelli, Marketing Director Gocciole, Gran Cereale, Gran Pavesi and Wasa, “allowed us to consolidate the spontaneous brand memory. Its success was driven by the decision to depict, without filters and without ever taking ourselves too seriously, the important moments of life of an unconventional family, with which each of us can identify.”

A frame of the Gocciole Pavesi TV Campaign




Entertainment & TECHNOLOGY, MARKET ANALYSIS By Matteo Melani Up until a few decades ago Hollywood represented the global heart of the entertainment industry, but in recent years other countries have entered the field, attracting new investment and producing quality content. In addition to China and India, countries such as Vietnam, Iran and Bangladesh are also showing signs of recovery in the internet economy which has led to a considerable increase in high-definition audio and video content. 60% of inhabitants own at least one smartphone or tablet and it is expected that by 2025, 80% of the Asian population will have at least one device with which to navigate.


This phenomenon is due to globalization (which has bridged distances); to the improvement of technological infrastructure; and to investments made by individual countries in innovation. In terms of new technologies, the AsiaPacific region is arguably the most advanced. According to the latest report

by, highly populated countries such as India and China have the most high-speed connection systems and together with all Asian and Oceanic countries make up half the Internet users in the world: the region has approximately 2.3 billion Internet users, 50.3% of total users worldwide.

Although Asia represents a catchment area with strong potential in terms of mobile devices, Europe and America still maintain overall dominance in the entertainment economy. Germany is the leading European video game market, hosting the European Pokémon Championship in Frankfurt last April with players from all over the world. Elsewhere in Europe, the UK and Italy remain leading countries in the cinema, although the trend, which started from the US, is a constant increase of movies watched through digital platforms which, despite the loss of subscribers, are increasing more and more viewers. In recent years, focus on young people has increased throughout North American, for example several university film courses allow their students to participate in independent productions, while crowdfunding companies have sprung up in Canada to help producers and authors finance their shows. The entertainment industry reflects the speed of today’s world, with many countries progressing and others maintaining their established prestige in the market.




Is It Time To Look Beyond Gender? By Nick Richardson, Founder & CEO, The Insights Family Across the world, the attitudes, behaviors and consumption patterns of kids are evolving at a rapid pace. They have access to increased technology and information, which means they are more open and more progressive than ever before.

Nick Richardson female – with 28% of this demographic across the world naming Elsa as their favourite character and 24% naming Barbie. Content with strong female leads, such as Stranger Things (the #1 most popular TV show for UK girls aged 13-15) and Wonder Woman (#4 most popular character for kids 13-15 globally) are also resonating.

As the world changes, 8 in 10 businesses feel like they will not be operating in the same way in two years. It is therefore crucial for brands to reevaluate their business strategies in order to engage their younger audience.

GENDER EQUALITY The values of the next generation are quickly outgrowing many traditional marketing approaches. It wasn’t long ago that most products were split by gender in store however kids no longer understand gender as a binary topic. 91% of kids aged 6-12 in Europe agree that they favour brands that represent their values. * In Europe specifically, the number of kids aged 6-12 saying they are concerned by gender equality has increased by +11% over the last six months. Brands should feel empowered to drive activism and change concerning this topic as they are fundamental to shaping the characters, toys, stories and games that kids engage

with. For example, Mattel have created a range of Barbie dolls in different careers, promoting a vision of girls across all sectors of the workforce. Kids are highly influenced and empowered by what they see around them, so it’s important to create strong role models. Our data shows 7 of the top 10 most popular IPs amongst girls aged 6-9 are

As attitudes change, so do consumption patterns. For example, toy habits are changing for both genders. Kids Insights has found a +26% increase in the number of boys aged 6-9 in Italy playing with dolls and playsets. By approaching the kids market without traditional categories, brands will be able to engage a wider audience and appeal to the values of young consumers.

BUT WHAT IF WE COULD LOOK BEYOND GENDER? We’re currently working on a new research methodology called Persona Perspectives


- A segmentation tool which looks beyond just age and gender but also factors in personality types. Over the last two and a half years, The Insights Family in collaboration with academics have used machine learning to group data into five different clusters linked to the ‘Big Five’ psychology model. • • • • • •

The five clusters have been named: Curious Explorer Diligent Detective Chit Chatting Champion Positive Persona Sensitive Soul

These Personas provide a new lens in which to analyse our data and uncover insights. Although Persona Perspectives is still under development – we can share some of our initial findings.

ROBLOX VERSUS MINECRAFT – THROUGH THE PERSONA PERSPECTIVES LENS According to our data, Minecraft and Roblox have a relatively similar audience, both appealing to kids aged 5-9. However, digging deeper into in Persona Perspectives highlights new insight. Kids who describe Roblox as their favourite video game are likely to be ‘Chit Chatting Champions’ – which means they are outgoing and like to voice their opinion with their friends. Typically, Roblox fans are less likely to be diligent detectives. On the other hand, Minecraft fans are more likely to be Curios Explorers, which

means they like to think creatively and abstract thinking.

appealing to their attitudes, behaviours and consumption patterns.

By looking beyond traditional demographics such as gender, brands have more chance of staying tuned into the values of young consumers and

Our real-time data portal and Persona Perspectives tool enables licensing brands to transform their approach by allowing them to define their audience and identify new opportunities - enabling to develop the right products and successfully reach kids on the right platforms with their messages. The future promises further exciting changes led by kids themselves. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses must adapt their approach to fit the values and priorities of the next generation. To discover more, explore the Personality Personas in The Insights Family’s real-time data portal here.

* All data taken from the last 6 months of Kids Insights data (October 2021 – April 2022)





Fashion and trends, brands embrace college wear By Matteo Melani College-wear represents the latest frontier of clothing trends for Millennials and Gen Z, following the boom of streetwear across all age groups. Ralph Lauren shoes from the 1920s to 1950s. The limitededition series is intended to honor the contribution of young people to the American style from that period. From everyday life to special occasions, college-wear clothing can be worn by anyone.


From apparel to accessories, college-wear embraces a whole range of fashion. The clothing lines are comfortable to wear, with designs featuring the names and images of popular American universities that appear in films and television series. One example is the NCAA Champion's collection, which draws on top US college sports leagues, and colleges such as Duke University and North Carolina for inspiration. The line includes clothes for everyday life as well as sports for both men and women, such as the men's Reverse Weave shirt with a North Carolina logo or the women's short-sleeved T-shirt with Michigan letters. In addition to its young customers, Champion 's signature clothes are also beloved by basketball fans, especially like North Carolina which is the university that the legendary player Michael Jordan attended. Terranova is one of the latest brands to embrace collegewear, with a collections for children and oversized garments, as well as H&M, which launched a line of jackets for spring.

College clothing has also inspired luxury brand such as Ralph Lauren, which created an entire collection of outerwear, knitwear, tailored suits, dresses, footwear, and accessories inspired by styles favored by Morehouse and Spelman students

While many brands have taken their cues from modern day student life, Ralph Lauren drew inspiration from the stories of two American universities that were once reserved only for black people: Morehouse College and Spelman College. The collection honors the history of both institutions, which played an active role in key moments in the struggle for civil


rights of black Americans. Some noted Morehouse College graduates include Martin Luther King, Academy Awardwinning American director Shelton “Spike” Lee and Maynard H. Jackson, Atlanta's first black mayor. For decades, both universities have preserved their place in history and today they are considered pearls in the American university system where students graduate with a broad range of degrees every year. To pay homage to the History of the Civil Rights Struggle, Ralph-Lauren produced a promotional campaign with an all black team including the photographer, creative directors, director of photography and cast, mainly made up of students, teachers and ex students from both universities. The campaign was shot by internationally renowned fashion photographer Nadine Ijewere and through compelling filming and dynamic in-store digital presentations, consumers were able to experience the story behind this collection well beyond the product itself. Ralph Lauren's accompanying film, "A

Portrait of the American Dream," and the commemorative yearbook detailing the fundamental and historical significance of the two colleges through the lens of Morehouse and Spelman, demonstrate the use of style as a form of aspiration and a tool of resistance. This is the first time that the fashion house engaged in a civil rights related project. In 2021 following the tragic death of George Floyd that inspired the #BLM movement, Ralph Lauren expressed his solidarity with the victim's family, and his opposition to racism. "This

collection expresses the vibrancy, deep sense of community and the legacy of timeless apparel in historical black colleges and universities," said Ralph Lauren, Executive President and Creative Director at Ralph Lauren Corporation. "It's more than just a representation of a collegial design sensibility. It is a question,” he said “of sharing a more complete and authentic portrait of the American dream, to ensure that stories of black lives and experiences are incorporated into the inspiration and communication of our brand."





Brand-extension and new trends, brands invest in hospitality By Matteo Melani In addition to the recent resurgence of in-person shopping, people are also regaining the taste for travel so in order to bring consumers closer to their brand, several companies are opening hotels around the world.

It is predominantly big brands that invest in hospitality, both because they have more resources than smaller ones and because their names are better known internationally. One example is Bulgari which announced the construction of two new hotels in Miami and Los Angeles, to be opened in 2024 and 2025 respectively. The fashion house inaugurated its first hotel in Paris In December 2021. Bulgari’s approach focuses on elegance and therefore locates its hotels in exclusive neighborhoods. For example, their hotel in Milan is located between the Brera Academy and La Scala and the furnishings of the rooms and common areas have a refined and minimalist style. Among clothing brands, Fila also announced a plan to build a

sports-brand hotel in Shanghai, and has appointed Hyatt, the US hospitality company and owner of luxury buildings,

“Offering guests a place to rest at night is more intimate than other sales sectors, particularly because a hotel is a central and essential element of any trip,” - Kirk Pederson, president of Sightline Hospitality -

to operate the business. Inside the hotel there will be equipment and facilities for sports. Hyatt also announced that it has designed the first Hello Kitty resort that will open in 2025 in Sanya, near Hong Kong. So, what are the advantages of a branded hotel? It mainly offers customers a completely new experience as compared to a traditional hotel, and it can attract a wide clientele ranging from families to young guests. “Offering guests a place to rest at night is more intimate than other sales sectors, particularly because a hotel is a central and essential element of any trip,” says Kirk Pederson, president of Sightline Hospitality. “At this moment,” he continued, “many brands are turning towards the construction of hotels and resorts because with the gradual return to normality, concern about travel is waning.” As a result, between the desire to travel and to have new experiences, hotels represent means of brand-extension of ever-increasing importance.




loyalty programs AND NEW opportunities, FOR physical AND digital RETAIL By Matteo Melani In addition to increasing satisfaction among its regular customers, loyalty programs can relaunch a brand and promote new ones. From physical stores to online commerce platforms, the right strategies can enhance both a brand and its products. shop and 68% of respondents said they are willing to pay more for products made with respect for the environment. In its latest announcement, Sam’s Club confirmed its plan to offer products made with a minimum carbon impact, and which promote the reuse of waste by 2025. But Sam’s Club’s commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop at its products. For World Earth Day on April 22, the company launched a promotion for electric cars owners that recharge their cars at Walmart and Sam’s Club’s parking columns: for one month, they receive discounts from 5% to 10% on their shopping. Other options to build customer loyalty in physical retail shops include marketing tools such as promotional postcards One example is Member’s Mark, a product line carried at Sam’s Club, a membershiponly warehouse store owned by Walmart. Member’s Mark, whose campaign slogan is Made with Our Member and Planet in Mind, revamped its logo to features a check on a tree-lined background to communicate sustainability and respect for the environment. The strategy was announced in 2020, and in the past two years Walmart has launched over 1,200 new carbon-neutral items. According to the 2022 Retail and Sustainability Survey by CGS, 79% of consumers believe that sustainability is very relevant when they


marketing tool to launch new commercial projects. Last April, the Indian group Tata launched its e-commerce App, and for the occasion it created a subscription program and a series of loyalty options that rewards customers who purchase their products. The benefits extended to the purchase of goods of all kinds, from clothing to airline tickets.

THE POTENTIAL OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND EVENTS The pandemic has taught us that physical and digital shopping can coexist if exploited in the right way. Online tools also have advantages for sellers, and social networks offer important communication aids. Compared to newsletters and postcards, posts on social media immediately capture users’ attention, while stories and videos can diversify a promotional experience. In recent years, both classic and emerging

and e-mails. These work for both young and older audiences because they can present offers that cover multiple product categories and multiple commercial options. Both strategies are used by brands that have a specific, targeted audience such as Marrionaud, Guess and Bottega Verde, and the content usually contains attractive graphics with text describing the products, the relevant discounts, and the time period of the offer. The newsletter can also be used to promote new products or new collaborations, with reviews and other brands. A loyalty program also can be the right

brands have used social media for various marketing campaigns. Among classic brands, Burberry recently announced its collaboration with Supreme for its fall/ winter 2022/2023 capsule collection on Instagram. In terms of loyalty, both Instagram and Facebook are platforms that offer great potential: an individual chooses to follow a brand or a character because he/she likes it, and with algorithms they can then be targeted by sellers. In more recent times, some sellers put their products directly on social channels for sale with special offers reserved for followers. In addition to online marketing, promotional events are useful tools to attract the attention of ones customers. With the gradual return to normality, some shopping centers have organized both promotional and entertainment events. They have large spaces and many also have parks and courtyards that can be used to set up venues or shows. American Dream, a shopping center located in East Rutherford (New Jersey) has signed a partnership agreement with Live Nation to hold concerts at its facilities. Earlier this year it hosted Steve Aoki, Pauly D and Tiesto. All these cases show that loyalty strategies are versatile and useful cross every industry.





Travel Retail, Airports Shopping Returns By Matteo Melani Now that restrictions are easing at airports, the flow of people has returned to normal and as a result, shops are starting to sell again.

Below and on the right I Dolci di Agata store by Lagardère One retailer that has seen growth in sales volume is Lagardère, which reached 694 million euros in sales in the first three months of 2022, up 96.8% compared to

the first quarter of last year. In the EMEA area (excluding France), sales grew by 129.3%, with revenues tripling in Western Europe (298.1%), and in the Middle East and Africa (135.3% and 86.4% respectively). The climate of trust has prompted Lagardère to open new enterprises, such as I Dolci di Agata, a new concept launched in Catania’s Fontanarossa Airport, where passengers can taste Sicilian confectionery products such as cannoli, cassate and almond biscuits. The store invites newly arrived travelers to enjoy Sicilian delicacies, while departing travelers can leave the island with flavors unavailable to them anywhere else. But during the pandemic, some companies took advantage of the closures to review

their strategy and open new facilities that improved user experience. As with consumers of traditional trade, the trend towards natural cosmetics is taking root among tourists and recently Teaology, a beauty product brand, opened a shop at Dresden airport. Teaology uses Tea Infusion technology based on the nutrients obtained from a cup of tea in its Skincare. Its product line includes a bestselling hyaluronic infusion serum, a black matcha micellar jelly cleanser, the Happy Skin all-in-one beauty balm, and the Tea Glow exfoliating lotion. But as we all know, while waiting for a flight any opportunity to pass the time is appealing, such as treating yourself to a pamper. Plaza Premium Group (PPG) has opened a 731 square meter second lounge at Helsinki Airport where, in addition to a bar and restaurant, there is a Finnish sauna and a complete Wellness Center with a hairdresser, beauty treatments and massages. The facility can be used by both leisure and business travelers and the Lounge is open every day to all travelers regardless of airline or travel class, even without advance booking. So, after almost two years of closures, the entire commercial airport sector has returned with new momentum.



WHAT’S NEW WITH the latest co-branding initiatives By Matteo Melani Products, displays, payments. Co-branding techniques allow companies to improve their image and give a completely new perception of its name. THE OPPORTUNITIES OF COWORKING

A brand that has distinguished itself in terms of co-branding initiatives is Adidas which this year entered partnerships with Gucci and Swarovski for luxury clothing for an international clientele. The Gucci X Adidas joint collection combines the aesthetics of the two brands and was presented at Milan Fashion Week. With Swarovski, however, Adidas revisited the PREDATOR EDGE CRYSTAL soccer shoe with sparkling crystals, also as a limited edition. To create the shoes, the designers at Adidas and Swarovski were inspired by light, understood both as that of soccer fields and that of exclusive parties.

M&M’S AND KAWASAKI: ADIDAS’ LATEST PROJECTS Similar to Gucci and Swarovski, it is also possible to implement successful cobranding strategies with actors outside one’s own sector. Last April Adidas launched a limited edition of its Forum Low 84 sneaker with the M&M’s logo, the famous sweets produced by Mars.

The shoes sport an informal design, with the yellow and brown colors from M&M’s packaging. The look is contrasted with a white midsole, while the famous chocolate logo is emblazoned on the laceup closures. A more ambitious product is the reinterpreted ZX8000 and ZX 5K BOOST shoe, resulting from a collaboration between Adidas and the Kawasaki motorcycle brand. Taking inspiration from the shape and colors of the Japanese motorcycle brand, the ZX8000 sneaker has a white kangaroo leather upper, with green leather outer layers, blue leather details, and a Kawasaki Ninja graphic on the side. The ZX 5K BOOST boasts black lining and eye sheaths, Kawasaki green stripes, a semi-transparent black upper and a Kawasaki Ninja logo on the toe. The launch of the partnership between Adidas and Kawasaki was supported by an evocative film of the campaign that pays homage to Japanese motorcycle culture, taking the viewer on a surprising journey through the streets of the city.

The loosening of restrictions has prompted brands like Adidas to renew their apparel and footwear lines, while other brands are focusing on co-working spaces for remote workers. For example, Yardi, a company that develops software for IP owners, is developing a platform to manage flexible work in the company together with WeWork. WeWork Workplace (platform name) is expected to launch next July and will allow companies to offer their employees the ability to seamlessly book a desk, private office or conference room in any rented or company-owned office space, any WeWork location or any WeWork affiliate. Despite being a B2B product, the software embraces a large catchment area precisely because coworking stations are found everywhere, even in shopping centers.

CO-BRANDING FOR LOYALTY: THE SHOPPERS STOP EXAMPLE For both convenience and speed of use, electronic payments have become increasingly popular in commerce for some times, so Indian shopping mall chain Shoppers Stop has created prepaid cards for customers wishing to shop in one of their outlets located throughout the country. The cards, made with HDFC Bank, are valid for both in-store expenses and for refueling at gas stations affiliated with Shoppers Stop. A customer can choose between two options: the basic card (which rewards purchases made) and Premium (which entitles you to a discount on fuel and Shoppers Stop products available in airport shops).





How Covid-19 and lockdown have impacted kids’ behaviors towards brands A report of the speech of Ivan Colecchia, SVP Global Development, BrandTrends during the International Kids Licensing Day (21/03/2022) at Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids It’s been two years since children around the globe had their worlds turned upside down by the pandemic, with schooling and socializing interrupted, and huge differences in how – and how much – they consume media. As life becomes more “normal”, how will those changes affect children and the brands they know? With the emergence of Covid-19, kids’ lives drastically modified. No more school, in favour of eLearning, meaning no more intense interactions with friends, and less socializing; no after-school activities, causing fewer interactions as well as less ‘energy spent’; no sports, with more free time; new social rules, with face masks and distancing. As well as 3 meals a day + snacks @ home, 100% time with parents for many, no more activities with grandparents, live in a confined space,

no more birthday parties, struggle to spend time with the other parent (when separated)…

Ivan Colecchia

The lockdown was a catalyst for tech adoption, incrementing the volume and the speed of Entertainment content consumed. Kids had more free time by themselves, and to share with their parents. Children discovered many Entertainment brands and went further into Streaming. Parents were happy to bend their own rules in order to make life easier, spending more time on devices. For this reason, Entertainment is one of the markets that suffered less the impact of Covid.

for teenagers and TV Shows, Series & Channels, for preschoolers, toddlers and infants. Kids also discovered ‘old’ content. Since they increased their time watching and using devices, they extended to new content that belonged to old and classic brands, also because they shared TV viewing with their parents for much longer. The 23% of new brands were known through streaming (Netflix at the first place of top 10, covering 5% of new world related to the streaming).

What is the real origin of the Entertainment brands discovered since the beginning of the pandemic? Videogames & Apps,

The perspective on the future Kids and parents are now looking for stability through their preferred brands. With the streaming, the children have known many classic brands, existing for ten years or more. Now, brands are back to ‘Old Normal’. With the ‘New Normal’ timeframe in place, kids are back to a standard set of brands known, and overconsumption ended. In Euro5, Classic Brands (Disney, Lego, Marvel...) are the number 1 in 2021. Furthermore, children also follow small brands connected to their favorite influencers, for example. 2022 confirmed the strong presence only for classic brands, with a unigender preference. In the “New Normal”, the entertainment


industry continues to build powerful bonds with the younger generation. All forms of content (movies, programmable content, toys and video-gaming) have strong ties to the idea of escapism, retreat, and relaxation to unwind after having experienced the outside world. Super-powers and strengths are features on the rise. Social links are fundamental for the whole family: at the heart of kids’ daily lives, with a need to interact with each other, but also for parents who’re looking for qualitative moments with their children. Toys and Games are a key driver of this trend, especially for the younger kids. Those toys offering a mix of iconic references and new content (such as licensing and on-screen’s content) are the big winners. Licensing can be a strong driver of value for the brands, offering an additional opportunity to strengthen the ties with a loved brand.

The Opportunities for the brands

across parents and children. Leverage and support User-generated content which strengthen the relationship with the brand and drive interactions across kids. Constantly communicate with the kids and their parents (through live stream platforms and social media). Assess the use of the new technologies (3D printing, voice assisting…) to connect with the kids as consumers. It’s important to not forget the parents! They are the buyers and want to be more part of their kids’ lives. In a world where digitalization is going to take over a large part of the transactions, it’s decisive to create strong eCommerce programs, in line with the brick-andmortar (omnichannel experience in short), be part of the development of intelligent shopping carts, and increase your digital & online investments.

In this new scenario, brands have many opportunities to focus on. Understand the ‘New Normal’ as it changes, creating the best marketing offers/products with the help of surveys. Map your consumer journeys as there are multiple segments: Super-fans, Fans, Supporters, Rebels… Amplify the brand Experience, whatever it is online or offline (preferably both!); the key point is to sustain interactions between kids as well as among the family. Diversify brand content through multiple formats as well as points of contact – including licensing through relevant categories – for even settling the relationship with core and extended targets. Strengthen the link with kids and families in driving strong values and reinsurance which can connect the dots

BrandTrends Brand Trends is the only global provider of brands, lifestyle, and attitudinal trends for kids, youth and families, tracking up to 52 markets and covering all the age groups from 0 to 65 years old. Brand Trends allows you to have information on everything you need to know and understand about kids, youth and families to create winning strategies for current and future markets anywhere in the world. Throughout the Awareness surveys, it is possible to apprehend which brands the children know and consume. The Custom Research sector specializes in ad-hoc analyses, or projects customized to meet a specific business need or purpose. Consulting wants to support you in understanding where you are and where you should be going, to generate learnings and insights for competitive performance and support in maximizing the brands’ success. The 360° insights are delivered in 3 streams: Brandtrends is Tracking the vital statistics of the hottest brands among kids-teenagers-young adults, for Entertainment, Shows & Series, Social Influencers, and Sports. The kid consumer for Digital & Media Lives, Daily Lives & Routines, Pen Portraits, Shopping & Gifting, New Parent Shopping, Pocket Money & Purchase Power, Influencers & Advertising, Playtime & Collections, Reading Habits. Kiddibus, for surveys and personalized requests.





KIDS DEMAND MEANINGFUL INTERACTIONS By The Insights Family As kids become more aware of global issues, it is crucial for the brands they support to embody the values they preach, placing a much greater emphasis on a progressive corporate social responsibility strategy.

On average, the number of kids aged 6-9 across the world who buy from brands who represent them and what they stand for has increased by +11% in the last six months. Now, 91% of kids aged 6-12 in Europe agree that is it important for the products they buy, toys they play with and clothes they wear to come from companies that reflect their values. * As kids become more conscious consumers, they are looking to support ethical businesses. They now recognise the power in their collective voice, and they look to embody the notion of ‘voting with your wallet’. The attitudes and values of kids are passed round via word-ofmouth and also shared by key influencers on social media or YouTube. Tuning into these conversations and understanding how they can benefit business operations is key when looking to resonate with young consumers. It also means that brands which do not embody the same values as

The Insights Family is the global leader in kids, parents, and family market intelligence, providing real-time data on their attitudes, behaviours and consumption patterns. Kids Insights surveys 7,780 children every week aged 3-18. Parents Insights surveys more than 3,800 parents of children between the ages of 1 and 16 every week. Both services operate in 22 countries across six continents and in total survey more than 469,040 kids and 228,800 parents a year. This means that the company interviews a new family member somewhere in the world every 45 seconds. Download your free copy here: familyreport2022


kids aged 6-9 in the UK who shop locally has more than doubled since the start of 2021. When it comes to licensing, there are plenty of opportunities for organisations to make meaningful connections with their target audience. For licensees, this means looking to give a platform to IPs and characters who embody these values. For licensors, this means working these values into the storylines and messages of their products. The number of touchpoints available to kids means it is crucial to gain an in-depth understanding of where different demographics are spending their time and money. The #1 way for kids aged 6-12 in the UK to interact with their favourite characters is to watch them on streaming platforms (41%). This kids are likely to fall to the wayside. The sustainability sector demonstrates how consumption habits are changing. Concerns over the environment are ever present; climate change ranks as the fourth highest concern amongst kids aged 6-9 globally (behind Coronavirus, Bullying and Animal Cruelty). As a result, the number of kids this age who are shopping with brands for their ecofriendly credentials has increased +9% on average globally since the start of 2021. In Europe, this is particularly high in the UK (48%) and Italy (46%), where almost half of this demographic would spend more

on something that is environmentally friendly. As kids look for more ways to improve their conscious consumption habits, there has been a rise in independent shopping also, as younger generations forgo large multinationals to stimulate their local economy. Independent shopping amongst 6–9-year-olds has grown year-on-year Europe, with 1 in 10 kids aged 6-12 saying that they mostly shop at independent retailers. This is particularly high in Spain, with 17% of this demographic favoring these shops. Through supporting local businesses comes a growing sense of community. Kids aged 6-9 in the UK who shop at independent stores are +21% more likely than the average kid to consider it essential that their purchase engages them with a community. As a result of this, the number of parents with

is followed by playing associated video games (40%) and then watching them on YouTube (38%). By understanding where young consumers are going to engage with their favourite characters, IP owners and brands can ensure they are maximising their business operations. Target audiences are people, not just consumers. Brands aiming to engage with their target demographics must make concerted efforts to appeal to the humanistic element of brand interactions. Successfully appealing to kids not only engages the family of today due to their influence but secures brand loyalty in the future. The kids of today will shape the narratives of tomorrow, as they continually engage in the global conversation. * All data from the last six months of Kids Insights data (October 2021 – April 2022)



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