A WORD FROM THE EDITOR Editor Robert Hutchins firstname.lastname@example.org
Sales Manager Sophia Jaques email@example.com
Production Executive James Marinos firstname.lastname@example.org
Designer Mandie Johnson email@example.com
harles Darwin once noted that ‘a man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.’ It seemed an apt statement to use here, not least because of the state of evolution the licensing industry consistently moves through, but that it is the relationships and oftentimes friendships between each of you within this business that drives it. Straightaway, I’d like to address the glaringly obvious mistake Darwin made in his assertion when he sat at his typewriter to tap it out, and drag his sentiments into modernity. It is of course a person’s friendships are one of the best measures of their worth, and that it is also the inclusivity, equality and multiculturality of the global licensing scene that keeps it so vibrant, so powerful and so thrilling to work within. You lot have made it bloody difficult for us here at Licensing.biz and our extended committee of judges to whittle down the votes and nominations into what we present to you here today. Compiling the first-ever Licensing.biz Power 50 - the most influential people in licensing of 2018 has not been an easy thing. In fact, there have been stages along the way where I nearly collapsed under the weight of what the task of defining a most influentials list of the year actually meant. Because how on earth can you quantify that? Now, I like brands. I grew up obsessed with The Simpsons. I had everything from a Bart Simpson alarm clock to a complete collection of The Simpsons water-squirting rings, part of a giveaway promotion with Kellogg’s at the time. The amount of cereal I got through over that year was staggering. It was people like you reading this today that kept my engagement with my surrogate family, The Simpsons, through the constant stream of ideas and innovation in finding new ways to keep me hooked. You gave me a full Simpsons experience. And a possible wheat intolerance. It was while chatting with one of this year’s Power 50 sponsors, Marco Hüsges, owner of Emoji, that the penny really dropped. Acknowledging the achievements of the people in this industry is extremely important. It’s a means of fuelling that fire for constant innovation and recognising the achievements of the people that continue to push the envelope and pave new paths for this business of licensing. I like brands, but I like the people behind them even more. Let us keep celebrating this industry’s people culture and recognising the efforts you make on a daily basis and contributions in evolving this ever moving space. And if we can’t do that, let’s all at least have a few down the Hand & Flower together. Robert Hutchins Editor, Licensing.biz Power 50
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"A SUCCESSFUL INDUSTRY NEEDS INTEGRITY OF ITS PEOPLE" MARCO HÜSGES CEO/FOUNDER EMOJI - THE ICONIC COMPANY
ntegrity is an elementary part of any brand building. The longest lasting, and most noticeable of partnerships always build consumer awareness and lead to the one thing we all want to see our brands achieve; success. And to do that, a brand needs to keep its integrity at any time. It has to maintain its culture and have a clear message. But how does a brand maintain integrity? Well, for the answer you don’t need to study metrics or refer to spreadsheets or trend spotters, because the key to upholding a brand’s integrity is holding this very magazine, is sat opposite you in Crush, or reading this same sentence in the cubicle next to you in the ladies’. All of this is executed by dedicated people. And you are the kind of people of which our industry boasts many. From my experience, the people working within the licensing industry are not just highly passionate about what they do, nor are they simply committed to their work but they share and nurture among them a common mindset, and that is integrity. I have been operating the emoji brand since autumn 2013 and I have been in the licensing industry, as a licensor, for five years now. I came from a world of video gaming, running video game companies
and I have also been a licensee. Compared to the time that some of the names and personalities that will appear throughout this first ever issue of the Licensing.biz Power 50 have spent in the industry, mine is a blip on a timeline. But I have already seen this business around me evolve. The way consumers engage with brands, the way brands are consumed themselves; non-toy or movie brands are positioning themselves as high potential properties, and of course the changing face of retail.
Our world has become a morphus entity that is always shifting shape. But there is one consistency. For me, our industry is always on a mission to create a need, which is why brands are so desirous to consumers, and behind the success of the licensing business, it is always the people. The richness of ideas that come from the minds of the creatives paired with the right execution of the marketers is the foundation of the success of the entire industry. For us, each licensee is a contributor to our success and together with our partners we constantly work on creating appealing licensing programmes to bring fascinating products to life. Our industry is all about people, about their passion and their belief in building something. Brands deserve a lot of dedication, love and hard work when building them, and this is all the work of the people. For me, it is highly important that an industry champions and celebrates its people; it’s a motivation for the young and can pave a road to success and it furthermore fuels and maintains that desire to be creative, maintain that high-quality and most of all that integrity upon which all of this is built. For me it’s a joy everyday, this is the best industry to be in. Licensing.biz / POWER 50 5
DIVERSITY, DYNAMISM AND DRIVING GROWTH Naz Amarchi-Cuevas, the head of licensing at SYBO Games, has been described by many as a female force in the world of digital entertainment and brand licensing. She talks to Licensing.biz about the healthy state of licensing's people culture and the evolution the industry is moving through
tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s invigorating to see how females in our industry are reaching higher, breaking barriers and taking their place at the table,â&#x20AC;? Naz Amarchi-Cuevas tells Licensing.biz amid a flurry of questions about the strength of diversity in the licensing space today.
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The current head of licensing at SYBO Games, the team behind the globally successful Subway Surfers app game and its subsequent licensing programme, has been a long-time champion and ambassador for the topic of diversity within business. Born in Africa, raised in Europe and of Indian descent, Amarchi-Cuevas has spent over 25 years in the US and has worked all across the globe. If you think she’s gloating about it all, she’s really not, moreover she is highlighting that when it comes to diversity, the licensing space is certainly a healthy one. However, according to the licensing expert, it is down the constant recognition and the voice given to its diverse culture
that perpetuates this good health and the innovation that it breeds. “It’s incredible how this industry has blossomed and diversified,” she continues. “Stats aside, I have personally been witness to an increase in representation of female workers and in general a diversified workforce. I like to call myself a global citizen; I am of Indian descent, born in Africa, raised in Europe and have spent over 25 years in the US and worked in numerous countries across the globe. “From R&D to manufacturing, to licensing, gaming and digital entertainment, every industry has been shifting towards a more diverse workforce - some may be
slower than others, and depending on the territory, some areas may have even more challenging obstacles, but we are seeing it and it is terrific.” A recent survey by TLL discovered that on a global scale, the balance of women to men was a relatively even one at 55 per cent women and 45 per cent men within the licensing industry. But that doesn’t mean the flag waving stops there. Licensing.biz Power 50 talks to Naz Amarchi-Cuevas about the topic of diversity… Naz, you have described as a leading female force in the global licensing space, so it would be good to explore that topic of
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diversity. What is the strength of diversity within licensing like currently? It’s invigorating to see how females in our industry are reaching higher, breaking barriers and taking their place at the table. We have had incredible leaders for decades and each year, more ladies are achieving higher ranks. Networking, education and persistence has always been key, but there are so many more resources for women than in my early days. Whether it’s LIMA, TIA or Women in Toys, the camaraderie in educational, networking and professional development opportunities keep increasing. This certainly has contributed to the strength and power in this space. What’s the journey been like to where we are now? Digital entertainment and gaming have historically been male-dominated areas - so what state of evolution are they in now? It’s incredible how this industry has blossomed and diversified. I have personally been witness to an increase in representation of female workers and in general a diversified workforce, I call myself a global citizen and diversity goes beyond female and male, black and white or young and old. It’s a collective of individuals from various backgrounds, with different skill sets and experiences that combine to grow and achieve together. Visionaries understand 8 Licensing.biz / POWER 50
how to see the future and what is possible - even amongst activities most of us see as mundane. They bring excitement and a forward-looking attitude to the table. Diversity in this and every sense is the only way to secure a prosperous future for all forms of branded entertainment. And execution is key. Relentlessly improving the present and managing resources while planning for the future and the long haul. These two roles have been portrayed as diametrically opposed, yet both are fundamental to running a successful business. However, in this new age of global digital disruption across every industry, there is a hybrid concept that represent its the future of success - strategic execution. And in that sense, inclusion and empowerment also translates to building and leading teams, nurturing talent and achieving targets, It’s so vital that company executives - no matter the industry - roll up their sleeves and work closely with internal and external staff and partners. You’ve had plenty of experience of this and at Rovio you saw tremendous success that drove its merchandise value to over $4bn. What does the merging of digital entertainment and consumer products look like today? The industry is at a pivotal intersection; an ever-changing retail landscape and a fan base accustomed to rapid consumption of bite-sized entertainment demand the
industry to be strategic and create small opportunities with partners without sacrificing the brand. That’s the key. The mantra for us at SYBO Games is keeping true to the virtues of Subway Surfers, holding to the attributes our fans have embraced. We know our fans want rich content, cool consumer products and ways to extend the experience that feels organic. As we launched the Subsurf consumer lifestyle arm and the animated series, the most important aspects of taking Subway Surfers from game to series, is staying authentic to the property’s original attributes - skate, art, music and dance. We have built a massive fan base surrounding the original Street Art brand, and these pillars are what resonates when one thinks of Subway Surfers. Everything we do must then support these pillars. Mobile games and IPs play on a global stage - it’s more than just looking at one country, but at territories and beyond. Subway Surfers was born in Denmark, and our top 10 strongest territories are the United States, Latin America, United Kingdom, Germany, Latin Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy), Russia and India. Brands need to think locally for its market, but also bridge the gap and find a common pattern that fans and audiences embrace no matter the language or culture. How is this change now beginning to be realised? How do you successfully merge tech and consumer products like this? First and foremost, companies must realize that consumers are on mobile devices - and not just to play games, email and text. It is truly the first screen in so many markets, as many users have skipped the desktop generation entirely. Smartphone users spend 7x more time in native apps then in mobile browsers, and tend to access them 13x more often. Some businesses are seeing more than half of their sales come through mobile channels, and app users specifically convert at 3x the rate of mobile web users. The average smartphone user has more than 80 apps on their phone and uses close to 40 of them each month, roughly five every single day - no matter what. To stay relevant and achieve success, brands must understand and find a mold that fits these consumer trends, behaviors and habits.
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FOUNDER, MY ICON STORY
escribed as a bright, creative and genuine entrepreneur, Laura Robinson is the founder My Icon Story a design brand that allows consumers to design their own bespoke wall art using her stylised design pieces. My Icon Story is the first fully interactive design platform that gives customers
OWNER, I LIKE BIRDS
hen Stuart Cox, creator of the I Like Birds brand decided to get into the licensing industry only four years ago, he really threw himself in at the deep end. Not only has Cox brought the world of ornithology to licensing with his spectacular I Like Birds design brand, but in the space of two years he has gone from finalist to judge of BLE’s License This! competition, proving himself to be one hands-on member of the industry.
a smart drag and drop experience to design artwork for themselves by choosing from a portfolio of icons for cities, places, landmarks and more in order to tell their personal story. Style is the key element to My Icon Story and the business prides itself on a distinctively minimalist icon style and contemporary design elements. Every icon on the website has been designed by Robinson herself. Almost two years ago she left a very successful career in advertising to set up
her own brand and design agency where she has since "developed a strong visual identity with the icons she has created." In doing so, read one nomination, she has "created her own brand that has very clear potential in licensing." Earlier this year, she secured her first licensing agreement with TfL and has launched a My Icon Story range using assets like London Underground station roundels. Robinson's licensing journey has only just started.
Despite having an agent in JELC, Cox is extremely active in the licensing community and over the last year has been one of the names responsible for the extension of the License This! initiative as a drive to encourage fresh faces into the world of licensing by harnessing it as a gateway into the business for the uninitiated and tentative. The first fruits of his passion and work in this area will be seen at this year’s
License This! finals where two strains will be dedicated to character and entertainment and design and lifestyle brands. It's a concept that ultimately lead to the upsurge in entries this year. It's hit record levels. At the same time, Cox’s I Like Birds design brand has picked up major press attention from the likes of Stylist, Giftware Review and more. There’s plenty more to come from this bird-lover.
Starting out as National Account Manager at the toy firm in March 2014, Dalziel has swiftly been moved up through the ranks to her current role as licensing and marketing manager. Mentored by HTI’s director of brand and licensing, Alison Downie has meant Dalziel has "learned from the best," read
one entry, and has subsequently been given the opportunity to flourish within her role and the wider licensing space. In fact, she has proved herself to be a “real asset to the team along the way.” “Michelle has shown real dedication to licensing, gaining tremendous knowledge and strong respect from our licensors,” said Downie. A further nomination for Dalziel read: “Michelle has quickly learnt the intricacies of the licensing world and licensors in particular, and is the day to day contact within the HTI business now. She is a great asset to the team.” Congratulations go to Michelle for placing in this year's Licensing.biz Power 50 most influential.
LICENSING AND MARKETING MANAGER, HTI
ichelle Dalziel only just makes it into this year's Power 50 Rising Star list, having already racked up nearly five years at the toy firm HTI. But, lucky for us, she did, because her's is certainly a talent that is worthy of recognition in the industry. Plus, we rarely get to use the 'z'...
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UK LICENSING ASSISTANT, ENTERTAINMENT ONE
eppa Pig, PJ Masks, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom; Entertainment One is a powerhouse of respected and beloved pre-school properties each boasting licensing programmes on a global scale that are largely responsible for fuelling popular pre-school sectors such as toys and publishing to success the world over.
LICENSING MANAGER, WINNING MOVES
rom licensing co-ordinator with Rocket Licensing in 2015 to licensing manager with Winning Moves, via a stint as junior licensing executive at Turner, Megan Wain has risen through the ranks at a tremendous pace. It can only be testament to her dedication and drive for success within the industry. Wain joined Winning Moves UK in June this year with the remit of heading up a number of licensing accounts but paying particular attention to the firm’s
LICENSING ASSOCIATE, CARTOON NETWORK ENTERPRISES
asmyn Knight started at Cartoon Network Enterprises in October last year, the same time the studio was gearing up for the UK relaunch of the Ben 10 franchise. Thrust into the deep end, Knight took the momentous shift in gear all in her stride, working closely with the
It’s no small task then that Brewer took on when she joined the team behind it all in September last year, and already, she has proven an ability to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of them in the field. Relatively fresh to licensing, Brewer’s long list of day to day responsibilities continues to grow month by month, working with a vast portfolio of licensees and partners, from dress up to toys, to books and everything in between. When she isn’t organising brand presentations or an
inordinate number of licensee days, she is getting stuck in with teams on ad hoc projects, research pieces or competitor analysis. Brewer has become a popular character not just among her team but among partners she works with and helps to maintain eOne’s strength of relationships with on a day to day basis. Licensing. biz Power 50 is happy to welcome her to this year’s Rising Star listing and will keep an eye on this talented individual as she continues to surge in the industry.
mission to grow its video game licensed portfolio of gaming titles. A true asset to the team, Wain has landed responsibility for growing what has been highlighted as one of the company’s fastest growing licensing sectors. What started with World of Warcraft Monopoly in 2013 has since grown to include recent launches like Assassin’s Creed and Halo Top Trumps, and Wain will continue to play an integral role in growing this portfolio into 2019 and beyond, taking an active role in the evolving state of the licensed games sectors it
strives to meet consumer demand and interest. “With experience from a licensing agent and a great licensor like Turner, we are thrilled to have Megan as part of our team,” said Hannah Sweeney, head of brand partnerships at the games specialist, Winning Moves. “We have over 100 active brands within our portfolio, so the added resource means we can really capitalise on our portfolio and delve deeper with our licensors, ensuring even bigger growth moving forward.”
brand’s master toy partner Flair in order to ensure the Ben 10 brand resonated with its audience. Not only this, but Knight has taken an active role in the recent slate of retail executions including in-store campaigns with The Entertainer and the Alien Party Campaign at Smyths Toys Superstores, where a host of activities were held for kids’ and families. As a result of all her long hours, hard work and blood, sweat and tears, Flair’s toy line is outperforming most and the Omnitrix has recently been named the
number one seller in role-play. With just over four years in licensing under her belt; a career that started out as a licensing intern at The Marketing Store, where she worked on the licensing programmes for McDonald’s Happy Meal and their adult brands, as well as a spell at Nickelodeon, Knight has become a self-confessed licensing nut, hooked from the very start. There's plenty more to come from this industry rising star, is our prediction for the year, so just watch this space for her future successes. Licensing.biz / POWER 50 11
LICENSING COORDINATOR, HACHETTE CHILDREN’S GROUP
n just under two years, Rachael Jones’ contributions to Hachette Children’s Group’s efforts in the licensing space have been nothing short of monumental. As licensing co-ordinator, Jones plays an integral role in the day-to-day running of the firm’s licensing team, positioning it as one with potential for great growth in the coming months and years. Hachette Children’s Group is one of the largest children’s publishers in the UK, with a track record in creating best-selling and award-winning books for children of all ages and interests. The company has recently made huge leaps in the world of licensing with the aim of becoming a
top three publisher in the industry for licensed characters. To this end, Jones co-ordinates a small but dedicated team that has shown dedication to the cause. Last year, the publisher launched licensed titles for The Powerpuff Girls, Dinotrux and PJ Masks, adding to a portfolio also comprised of Pokémon and My Little Pony. Across its imprints, Hachette Children’s Group publishes a diverse range of books to cater for every child, including picture books, fiction, non-fiction and series and licensed publishing. Their authors, illustrators, series and licenses include: David Almond, Lauren Child, Cressida Cowell, Kes Gray, Jim Field, Nadiya
Hussain, Patrice Lawrence, Michael Rosen, Francesca Simon, Alex T. Smith, Piers Torday, Rainbow Magic, My Little Pony and Pokemon. In a year described by licensing director, Katie Price, as a “whirlwind of exciting acquisitions,” in which Hachette has expanded its licensing portfolio, Jones has “made a huge difference to th day-to-day running of the licensed publishing team.” Her diligence and hard work have not gone unnoticed by those outside of the Hachette team either. Jones received a vast number of nominations from members of the publishing and wider licensing sector. She is certainly fast earning her stripes and a worthy name for inclusion.
“Since joining Bulldog in 2015, Sophie has been an integral part of the team. She has been keeping us organised, assisting on retail, handling approvals for a number of our brands, as well as overseeing the development and implementation of a new contracts and finance system.
“Her recent promotion to licensing executive is very well deserved and she will play a key role in the Bulldog operation.” And it seems praise has been emerging from across the licensing industry for this steadfast figure of the Bulldog Licensing team, with nominations highlighting her “delightful” yet “professional” attitude that makes her a “pleasure to work with.” Having studied English Literature at university, Yates’ first move was into Egmont as a marketing assistant, where working on brands like Mr Men and Star Wars - she was first introduced to the world of licensing. One leap into Bulldog Licensing later and she has become an integral part of the firm responsible for the huge success of some massive IP over the last few years, including Shopkins and Pikmi Pops. Nominated for a LIMA Rising Star award earlier this year, Yate’s is a true licensing mainstay in the making and certainly one with a very bright future ahead of her.
LICENSING EXECUTIVE, BULLDOG LICENSING
n June this year, Bulldog Licensing’s Sophie Yates was promoted to the new role of licensing executive in a move that was testament to her commitment to the team and the integral part she has played within its development since joining in 2015. Yates was previously the licensing co-ordinator at the agency and during her time at Bulldog she has worked on properties such as Shopkins, LIFE, Pikmi Pops, Match Attax, Crystal Maze and Enid Blyton. Of her appointment earlier this year, Vicky Hill, licensing director at Bulldog Licensing praised Yates for her efforts within the team.
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ROB BROADHURST, SALES AND LICENSING, AYKROYD & SONS
resh from smashing it, alongside nine other licensing industry executives, in the Equinox 24 challenge last month Rob Broadhurst has come storming into the Licensing.biz Power 50 Rising Star listing in a magnificent second place. When he’s not raising money for the industry charity organisation The Light Fund by running 24 hours through Leicestershire in late September, Broadhurst is usually found limbering up his sales and licensing skills at the leading licensed nightwear and swimwear supplier, Aykroyd & Sons. A relatively recent addition to the Aykroyds team, Broadhurst cut his licensing teeth by Joining Roy Lowe & Sons just three years ago. In his role as account manager with the renowned sock merchants, he built strong licensor and retailer
relations, working to strengthen and maintain partnerships with some of the UK’s biggest high street names, including Mothercare, Tesco, ASOS and Next. In a short time, Broadhurst has become a popular member of the licensing crowd, as to which the flurry of nominations to his name can attest. One such nomination read: “He’s only been in the industry a few years, yet he's got stuck in and has become a name to know within it.” Another simply said “I vote Rob Broadhurst...What a nice guy!” and who are we to argue with that. A nice guy he may well be, but he's an astute one too and has become an asset to the teams he works with through his determination and drive for the success of the people and business around him, his team and for the licensing industry in general.
Over the past three years, Broadhurst has fostered relationships with key licensors and brands including the likes of Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., Universal, Hasbro, Peppa Pig, Pokémon and plenty of others. Over the course of the last year, Broadhurst has demonstrated a keen eye for consumer trends and an ability to steer licensing efforts towards them. It’s an attribute he believes is integral to the sustained success of the licensing industry, particularly as it moves to meet consumers where their changing habits are leading. Broadhurst has proven himself to be an individual worthy of his spot in this year’s Licensing.biz Power 50 and we have a feeling there’s a lot more still to come from this Rising Star.
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Sanrio's marketing director has not only stormed onto the licensing scene over the last three years, but as the votes for this hugely popular member of the industry can attest, she's stormed into the leading postion in the Power 50's most influential rising star of 2018.From her earliest days with the Brand Licensing Europe team itself to her current role with Mr Men and Hello Kitty owner Sanrio, her CV boasts plenty to celebrate, with undoubtedly, so much more to come.
iven the chance for a moment of reflection on her albeit short but certainly packed career within the licensing industry to date, Rhiannon Stubbs, the marketing executive for Sanrio Global Limited can proudly list a long line of achievements to her name. From her earliest days of working with the Brand Licensing Europe team itself and becoming the envy of most when given the chance to interview David Hasselhoff, to becoming one of the driving forces behind an initiative to encourage more children to read through the 13,000 Mr Men Little Miss book giveaway, Stubbs has already played an integral role in strengthening consumer love for the brands that surround them. These are just a few of the reasons as to why you, the industry, has voted this emerging talent within the licensing scene your Licensing.biz Power 50 2018 most influential rising star. And thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why we have taken the chance to catch up with this young executive and help her celebrate her achievements so far. So, it's over to you Stubbsy! 14 Licensing.biz / POWER 50
Congratulations Rhiannon on being the first Power 50 Rising Star. How did this all come about for you, how did you get into licensing? I got into the industry the same way as most people really - completely by accident. I joined the marketing team at Brand Licensing Europe after my masters and instantly fell in love with licensing. I worked in the team for two and a half years before I joined Sanrio last September. What have been the biggest and most exciting moments in your licensing career to date? I have been lucky to work on so many great projects at Sanrio, but a real stand out this year has to be the launch of Little Miss Inventor. From the character reveal to the book release, and the online competition to the launch event; she has just been so well received by the press and it has been amazing to be a part of welcoming a new addition to such a classic brand. I also have to mention the number of BLEs that I worked on previously as well,
they were a definite highlight. You spend a whole year leading up to three days that are so important to the industry and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s such a great feeling to see it go wellâ&#x20AC;Ś Oh, and having the opportunity to interview David Hasselhoff of course! What would you say have been your proudest achievements in the licensing industry so far? It is really rewarding to work as part of a small team and plan large scale events to help the public engage with brands like Mr Men and Little Miss. So far this year, we have helped introduce children to a new classic character with the Little Miss Inventor launch, received a silver medal at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show for our garden through a partnership with Children with Cancer UK and most recently, we have handed out 13,000 free books across the UK on our Bookmobile tour with Haliborange with an aim of encouraging more children and families to read. So, there's been a lot of the last 12 months.
We’ve caught you in the middle of some food tasting, what's a typical day at Sanrio like? Haha, well there is no typical day at Sanrio really, which is what makes it so fun. I could be photographing new products to update the brand deck and food tasting for an event we are planning one day, and then meeting with our PR team, liaising with licensees on social posts, or drafting a newsletter for our online shop the next. What is the most enjoyable part of working in the licensing industry? I love seeing what brands are up to, what new and exciting collaborations are in the works and how ideas are implemented at retail. The social side is obviously fun, too. I love that there’s so much variation and in-
novation in the space as well. There is also a real mix of people, from the rising stars of the industry to those who have spent an entire career in licensing. All of them bring an enthusiasm to the business. The rising stars of the industry have a lot of new ideas and new ways of approaching things. In a fast-paced industry, it’s important to stay innovative and keep on top of what consumers are looking for and how to reach them. The breadth of experience and interests within the industry really helps fuel that. What are the biggest challenges you face at the moment, what challenges have you overcome? I would say that one of the biggest challenges of the industry is also one of the greatest
things about it. There are so many brands and so much choice for consumer today. It can be difficult to stand out at retail and be front of mind for customers. A lot of what we do in the marketing team is obviously helping our licensees and retailers with products in store, but also we have to think of innovative ways to generally keep the profile of the brand high and in the public eye as much as possible. And finally, what would you rather fight: a colossal Hello Kitty or an army of Gudetama? Oh that’s an easy one. It would have to be an army of Gudetama - they are just so lazy, surely I would win just by turning up on the day? Licensing.biz / POWER 50 15
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ery fresh to the licensing scene, having only been at the independent publishers DJ Murphy since July this year, Katie Wilkinson is clearly doing something right for her to be voted into this year’s Most Influentials listing. A relatively small independent maga-
zine publisher, DJ Murphy is best known for titles like PONY Magazine and Horse & Rider. However, recent years have seen it pick up some major names in the licensing space, driving incremental sales for IP like Shopkins and LOL Surprise at retail within the publishing sector.
DJ Murphy’s licensed output like the LOL Surprise Official Magazine have giving these licensed toy brands standout presence in some of the UK’s biggest grocers and high street names with the likes of WH Smith, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and McColl’s on the list. It’s through the efforts of the business’ commercial director, Katie Wilkinson that relationships have been forged in the magazine publishing sector for these runaway brands of the last three years. It’s a fine testament to the larger matter that print is not dead, and it is finding new leases of life through licensing and consumer engagement year by year. What’s next for DJ Murphy in the licensing stakes? Only time will tell.
licensed costumes as well. Behind much of this is Rachel Turnbull, buyer at Smiffy’s and a celebrated personality on the licensing scene. Thanks to Turnbull’s efforts you’ll not only find every horror film villain to have been conceived in its Halloween range this year, but an extensive line of children’s character costumes from partnerships with the likes of Roald Dahl Story Company, Horrible Histories, David Walliams and a lot more.
In just nearly three years, Turnbull has become a major player in the licensee stakes, propelling Smiffy’s to a strong year at retail and fuelling consumers’ passion for dress up and role play. Turnbull has shown that licensing still has a very real role to play in physical products at a time when more and more, consumers turn their attention to digital. Rachel, when you read this - there’s Teen Wolf costume we’ve got our eye on...
diaries, and leading the charge within the 21st century licensing space is Dan Grant, the firm’s licensing director and one of the industry’s biggest assets. Through Grant, Danilo is continuing to build and strengthen relationships
across all manner of consumer entertainment, opening new doors to licensing for industries such as music and sports. Grant has successfully led a team responsible for securing the likes of Premiership football teams, music artists like Little Mix and Justin Beiber and movie franchises like Despicable Me, contributing to the global appeal and value of these blockbuster brands at retail. Grant is also a keen supporter of the Light Fund, and took part in the recent Bristol to Dublin challenge, proving himself to be a hugely valuable member of the licensing community and a keen advocate for its vibrant culture. Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Grant is in the building.
COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, DJ
ake a look at the Smiffy’s website at this time of year and you’ll think you’ve stepped into a horror film. That’s largely because Smiffy’s is known as one of the biggest fancy dress and dress-up suppliers in the UK. The company not only boasts its own vast collection of in-house lines, but one of the biggest in TV and film
DAN GRANT, LICENSING DIRECTOR,
he story goes that upon the news of the death of the King of Rock n’ Roll Elvis Presley in 1978, Danilo’s then chairman, Laurence Prince recognised the public’s need to celebrate his life, giving life to the now globally revered Celebrity Calendar sector. 40 years later and Danilo has become Europe’s number one publisher of licensed calendars, greetings cards, gift wraps and
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of Warriors during his three-year stint at Mind Candy all the way through to the likes of the mega hit Roblox and an exciting upcoming Fortnite master toy line with Jazwares.
His time at Mind Candy saw Ferguson play a key role in the team that built Moshi Monsters into a global brand, bringing in over $2 billion in consumer products sales at retail staying at number one in the UK NPD charts for nearly two years. As vice president of global licensing at Jazwares, he has been a key member of the team responsible for securing a slate of global blockbuster franchises, including the upcoming Fortnite toy range in a partnership with Epic Games. The brand has been described as global movement, and givenFerguson's record, could not be in safer hands.
from a role as senior toy buyer for Woolworths. It was a role that introduced her to the world of licensed consumer goods and thus started her journey in the industry. A move to Kinnerton as marketing manager later and Wyatt has been helping the firm achieve milestones in the licensing world ever since. While her career in the food and beverage licensing space has seen her secure many number of licensing partnerships, it’s perhaps the international Unilever
deal that saw the Magnum ice-cream brand move into chocolates that sparked the current surge in cross collaborations between food brands and igniting a new growth market for the sector. Now that really is one sweet deal. Wyatt has well and truly secured her places a Power 50 finalist, responsible for the continued evolution and advancement of a licensing space that is surely only set to grow larger and more globally as the years roll on.
of the leading licensees in the character and entertainment space including the likes of Nickelodeon who this year has seen storming success with its Nickelodeon Slime toy range. Sambro has also secured new ranges for Sesame Street, JoJo Siwa, Hatchimals, Disney and Marvel, PJ Masks and more.
A fitness fanatic to boot, Samuels is regularly found thrashing out the miles on his and making significant contributions to the Light Fund in the process through a love of cycling. His most notable achievements include the recent Bristol to Dublin bike ride and Sambro’s own 725 mile cycle across Europe that raised more than £15,000 for the industry charity. It's philanthropic efforts like these that have sealed Samuels' reputation as a true ambassador for the power of licensing and the people culture that surrounds it, and is a worthy addition to this year’s Power 50. Given that Samuels and the Sambro are regular recipients of industry accolades, we wonder if there's space left on the shelf for the latest plaudit.
VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL LICENSING, JAZWARES
ake a quick look at Sam Ferguson’s CV and tell me there’s not a part of you that's jealous… Over the past 11 years, this current vice president of global licensing at Jazwares has handled some pretty high-calibre properties; from FIFA World Cup 2010 in his earlier days, the likes of Moshi Monsters and World
BRAND, LICENSING & MARKETING DIRECTOR, KINNERTON CONFECTIONERY
achel Wyatt, brand and licensing director at Kinnerton earns her position within the Power 50 for bringing us all Magnum chocolates alone. Seriously, need we go on? For 18 years, Wyatt has been tantalising the tatesbuds of treat-lovers the world over, having moved to the firm in 2000
NIKKI SAMUELS, LICENSING DIRECTOR, SAMBRO
ell what kind of listing would be complete with him? Sambro’s licensing director Nikki Samuels is fast becoming a permanent fixture of any Licensing industry awards initiative, programme, gathering or money raising concept and all for good reason. Thanks to his unerring efforts in the character licensing space, both Samuels and Sambro have become names synonymous with this industry. The licensing expert continues to promote Sambro as the go-to name for many
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web shops for its customers, an idea pioneered by Marston and the team in the licensing space. Partnered licensor web shops to the Star Editions’ name include the likes of Simon’s Cat, Mr Men and the recent addition of Magic Light Pictures’ The Gruffalo. For the platform, Star Editions has created a bespoke online shopping
destination with a range of customisable giftware, as well as a number of branded products such as books, CDs and DVDs. “We are thrilled to be working with market leaders Star Editions, and excited that Gruffalo fans now have a stunning new range of giftware that can be easily personalised for an even more special gift for kids, families or fans of the brand.” Marston has been credited as an 'infinite pool of ideas' and an 'individual whose approach to licensing' has helped forge new, ‘out of the box,’ approaches and initiatives within the licensing space. “As consumer shopping habits continue to move online and lean towards customisation, Marston and the Star Editions team are leading the way in defining that space for popular IP and brands,” said one nomination to the Power 50. “It’s good to have someone with Will’s vision and knack for spotting a trend in the digitl and retail space, and it really does help that he is a great person to work with.”
She has earned a remarkable reputation within the industry for integrity, diligence, reliability and affability,’ and comes with the added skills of being able to juggle as many plates as you can throw at her, all at once. Last year, Downie’s team won Licensee Team of the Year at the Licensing.biz People Awards, over what had been an ‘exciting year with lots of investment to strengthen the firm across five core categories.’ HTI has continued to see success in the licensing space with a strength of portfolio driven by the likes of Peppa Pig, PAW Patrol, My Little Pony and more and today is championed as the UK’s larg-
est independent designer and manufacturer of children’s toys. Much of that success is driven by the success of the company’s licensing arm, lead from the front by Downie. Downie’s licensing career has seen her move to HTI from Golden Bear Products where she spent 13 years as senior licensing and brand development manager, on to the position of global licensing director where just after three years she took on the additional responsibilities of brand directing, too. She has become a figurehead of the modern toy industry and a testament as to what can be achieved in the partnership between independent toy manufacturers and licensors.
CEO, STAR EDITIONS
or over a decade, Star Editions has been sourcing iconic brand imagery from around the globe and bringing it to the greeting cards, art prints, giftware and stationery sectors and during the course of those ten years, the firm has been led from the front by Will Marston. Marston has helped the brand secure some of the most appealing and contemporary designs, illustrations and commercial brands from the likes of the Moomins, Roald Dahl Story Company’s BFG and Miffy through to the likes of the National Railway Museum, National Museum of the Royal Navy and The British Library. In addition to its in-house print and production, Star Editions also builds and manages a number of print on demand
GLOBAL LICENSING AND BRAND DIRECTOR, HTI
n 2016, Alison Downie, global licensing and brand director at HTI, was voted among the ToyNews Women of the Year finalists, championed for the wealth of knowledge and expertise she has gained from over 30 years in both the toy and licensing industries. Downie has been in her current position with HTI for the last three years, a role that she has truly made her own while securing, maintaining and strengthening a lot of relationships across both the toy and licensing industries in the time. One enty even referenced her as ‘the great Alison Downie,’ citing her as both a mentor and an influence to those she works with.
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CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, GLOBAL LICENSING AND FASHION UK
ne of the most recognisable and best-loved characters on the licensing circuit, Patrick Bailey has stormed into the number two slot in this year’s Licensing.biz Power 50 Most Influential People in Licensing 2018 licensees listing. Previously known as Patrick from Blues Clothing and prior to that Patrick, the international licensing director as Hasbro, Bailey has, as of February this year, stepped into the role of chief operating officer at the now merged Global Licensing and Fashion UK business. Having served at Blues for over nine years, he boasts extensive experience in licensing that would make him a great addition to any team, but particularly Fashion UK, whose MD, Gurdev Mattu is now confident that the licensing expert will “further strengthen the team and
ensure that it continues to steer its brands in the right direction,” as he carries out his role and plays his part in enhancing the group’s culture and motivation. And that’s because Bailey knows how. The industry veteran has been described as a friend to many and an active member of the licensing community, whether it’s Light Fund Golf Days, Light Fund Quizzes or sponsored London walks, he is always ready to champion the the people culture that keeps the licensing industry such and exciting place to work within. When taking time away from the golf course, Bailey has been found burning those calf muscles up an incline on a number of fundraising bike rides, a suffered pain that has done wonders for his reputation as an industry philanthropist. Bailey enters the books this year for the already good work he has achieved at
Fashion UK, implementing strategic plans for the group’s future growth that only go to highlight why the company has such a significant presence in the licensed apparel market. He has embraced his new role as “an exciting opportunity that allows me to bring my experience in the licensing industry, and broader commercial background, to the Fashion UK and global Licensing group. "I look forward to helping the group reach new heights and achieve its business goals,” he said. Here’s raising a glass to Patrick for his significant achievements over the past 12 months, as well as a lengthy and vastly successful career in licensing to date. And as one nomination declared: “Patrick is a character and a real industry friend.”
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BLUEPRINT COLLECTIONS For Lisa Shand, the secret to becoming a successful licensee is in your agility and ability to spot an emerging trend while finding a way to tap into the retail zeitgeist. For these reasons the Blueprint Collections managing director is named the Licensing.biz Power 50 Most Influential People in Licensing 2018's leading licensee.
t was only a picture of a rabbit on a pencil case at the end of the day. But somehow it was a rabbit that, at the launch of her own business some 20 years ago, had embroiled Lisa Shand in a controversy that swept the nation’s stationery suppliers. In the early noughties, Playboy was enjoying a fresh spike in popularity, and Shand, alongside her three siblings, the quartet that makes up the Blueprint Collection outfit as we know it, was reaping the benefits of the media coverage the brand was gaining up and down the country. On one side of the fence were those who decried the depiction of its iconic bunny logo on a range of products geared at the teenage market, and on the other, were those like Shand who, as deadpan as ever, tells me “It was just a picture of a rabbit.” But it was a lot more than that. It was a picture of a rabbit that signified the dawn of something quite special for the licensing expert and helped propel her business towards the successful ensemble it has become with licensors and retailers, today. “Playboy was massive for Blueprint when we signed that. All that negative publicity was all wonderful, positive publicity for us right at the beginning of our business,” she recalls. “Why shouldn’t you have it on a pencil case? It was a rabbit.” I am enjoying my conversation with the managing director of the Bishop Stort22 Licensing.biz / POWER 50
ford-based firm, a specialist in the licensed and non-licensed stationery market. She offers a realism that is quite refreshing, an acceptance that sure, stationery for stationery’s sake can be rather dull. However, the innovation you can apply through the world of licensing, now that’s where it all becomes a lot more exciting. There’s reason to believe that you’d struggle to find someone who knows just as much about such a breadth of IP as does Shand. It’s a world in which she has been immersed since childhood when she would watch her father come home from work “talking about Turtles, or this brand and that brand.” “My dad had been in licensing for years and years, so I just grew up with it in my life,” she tells me. “It was a natural move to go into the industry when I started at Copyrights nearly 30 years ago.” Ten years on from that moment, in 1999, and still carrying her love for the industry and its inventiveness, she had launched Blueprint Collections with her two sisters and her brother; a family-run business in every sense of the word. A dalliance with Playboy and a pinch OK, a dollop - of success with the Bob the Builder brand that got the Blueprint name into shops like WH Smiths and Woolworths later, and Shand was jetting across the globe in search of the next character to bring back
to the UK. It’s something the professional IP magpie has become quite renowned for within the licensing circle. It’s certainly a notoriety that added towards her weighty vote into the Power 50 this year. ‘With this job I get to travel a lot,” she explains. “I go to the Far East a lot. I have to go there four or five times a year to help oversee Blueprint Asia and then I will go onto Japan or Korea and just immerse myself, look around and see what the latest trends are.” Then she brings them home with her and finds them new routes into new markets, more often than not through the vast ranges and collections of stationery that the company is known for, and for a multitude of different retailers. “It’s just what you have to do today, licensing is so much more about market trends rather than the traditional way things were licensed in the beginning,’ says Shand. “With technology, things become so much quicker - you can’t really predict or plan and you can’t plan years in advance, it’s now 'how quickly can we get product to market?' to keep the machine going. “At the moment, anything Japanese or Korean, the kids are really into. We have brands in our portfolio at the moment that haven’t got any sort of media backing, but they are cute and they are Kuwaii and they are working well for us.”
For Shand, the secret to becoming a successful licensee is agility, and while a large number of people would struggle to even be in the same room as their siblings for too long, it is the Blueprint team’s close-knit, family business ethos that allows them to be quick off the mark and react where and to what ever consumer and retail trends emerge. “You don’t see it in normal business,” continues Shand. “And that’s where licensing is unique. Like Blueprint, it is very close-knit and everybody - even my sister who runs operations - knows everybody within it.”
It’s also an attribute that helps Shand maintain her strength of relationships with the wealth of retailers. “You need to have a broad portfolio,” she tells me. “We supply to the likes of B&M through to the likes of Harrods and Selfridges and we do that through the breadth of IP we can supply. And we only have that ability to take on that breadth of IP because we can react quickly.” It’s clear that Shand has her business model down. 30 plus years in licensing would do that, of course. What is more evident still is that Shand is not likely to fall out of love with the business any time
soon. And, just as she has witnessed it move through its cycles over the last three decades, she will be around to see it come full circle once again. “At the moment we are very much in a position where retailers are risk averse and are looking at generic products as much, if not more than, licensed product at the moment. But there will always be a place for licensed merchandise and everyone is looking for something unique.” With that in mind, will she be returning to the Playboy brand anytime soon? Well, you can never say never. It was just a rabbit, after all. Licensing.biz / POWER 50 23
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SVP BRAND LICENSING, ROVIO ENTERTAINMENT
imo Hämäläinen, or Simo to engravers and journalists, has enjoyed a long and successful career to date with the Finnish games developer-turned-global entertainment studio. He started with the firm in 2013 when it was just embarking on its licensing journey, heading up as he did the Angry Birds
CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER, ACAMAR FILMS
ver the last year, Sandra Vauthier-Cellier has played an integral role in the growth of continued success of the independent studio, Acamar Films. Previously at 20th Century
beverage business. Through a series of successful and global partnerships in the space, the Angry Birds license began to pick up steam in the licensing stakes, and as it did, Simo moved through the ranks to become licensing director of food and beverage in April 2014. Two years later he was named head of marketing and promotions of consumer products, a role he held between April 2016 and April 2017. During this time, he developed a digital and retail licensing programme for the Angry Birds Movie.
In 2017 he helped the firm hit €55.7 million in brand licensing while also taking on the role of senior vice president of brand licensing. With Angry Birds Movie 2 slated for a 2019 release Rovio is projecting to hit the $1bn in value with much of the success being driven by a refreshed and reinvigorated licensing programme, spearheaded by this young industry professional. Foresight and innovation places Simo on this year’s Power 50, and we suspect we will find him climbing the charts for some years to come.
Fox where she held the role of SVP of consumer products, Vauthier-Cellier’s extensive licensing experience has helped Acamar to a fantastic year of partnerships that has culminated with the signing of Golden Bear as the master toy partner for its flagship series, Bing. Vauthier-Cellier is a well-respected member of the licensing community, bearing a prestige of name that she has built up over the course of some 20 years in licensing. Her career began at Beanstalk in 2000, before moving
to 4Kids Entertainment, Studio 100, Zodiak Kids and then her two year stint at Fox. In her current position at Acamar Films, she oversees the global development of media sales, promotions, licensing and merchandising, retail and marketing and communication. And there’s more, she also heads up brand strategy, digital, creative and product development as well as manages a network of local agencies. If you're counting, that's a lot of strings to her bow.
Having taken up the position in 2005, Sizeland has been responsible for the V&A’s international brand and image licensing programmes and book publishing distribution on a global scale. It is her efforts that are often the backbone or the basis of the worldwide inspiration that the V&A’s wonderfully diverse collections
deliver to designers, retailers, manufacturers, publishers and broadcasters across multiple categories and territories. Sizeland works tirelessly to single out opportunities and nurture relationships to grow the reach of the V&A’s IP, while upholding the integrity and heritage of the museum and its name through the quality of the partnerships she consistently fosters. She oversees an extensive portfolio of licensees in the UK and across the world and this year has worked to establish presence in markets such as Japan, China and Korea where the V&A name is resonating strongly with consumers. Sizeland has also been described as a ‘true inspiration to many,’ in the art and design licensing sector.
HEAD OF LICENSING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, V&A
auren Sizeland, V&A’s head of licensing and business development has more than 25 years experience as a leader in the arts, heritage and museum sector. Her long and illustrious career has seen her fulfill development roles in retail and licensing at the Royal Academy of Arts, Science Museum Group and then the V&A.
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HEAD OF GLOBAL LICENSING, ENTERTAINMENT ONE
t seems reasonable that, as head of global licensing for Entertainment One, it is well within Andrew Carley’s remit to build international relations for the firm’s slate of pre-school brands with some of the world’s biggest names in global entertainment. Unsurprisingly, this industry professional and staple of the UK
SENIOR LICENSING MANAGER, UK, GAS AND NORDICS, THE POKÉMON COMPANY INTERNATIONAL
or almost four years now Harris McQueen has been capturing Pokémon and releasing them into the consumer products space in his role as senior licensing manager for the international firm.
DIRECTOR OF LICENSING, TURNER BROADCASTING
ow, I am prepared to "get Schwifty" for anyone who has managed to bring the odiously hilarious pairing of Rick and Morty to life at retail in such a way as Graham Saltmarsh has in recent years - so it’s just as well my own influence has been taken firmly out of this equation. Instead, the licensing industry has seen sense and voted Turner’s licensing director into the enviable position of fifth
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and global licensing business, has delivered just that. And, with the recently revealed partnership with Alibaba Pictures that will see Peppa Pig land in Chinese cinemas for the first time in its history, it’s likely Carley is about to doing it a lot more. Now in its 15th year, Peppa Pig - the brand that brought in $1.2 billion in annual worldwide sales in 2016- has just secured a raft of new deals across the UK, as it continues to deliver to pre-school audiences across the globe. Meanwhile, the results Carley and the
team produce through the PJ Masks IP continue to transform the eOne business with opportunities with international partners growing all the time. Carley is a true representative of the global power and potential of licensing to break into new markets. The firm has recently appointed TOMY as its master toy partner for a new series launch, Ricky Zoom. Will the series replicate the success of Peppa Pig and PJ Masks and wll Carley become a permanent fixture of the Power 50? Watch this space.
And what a slate of success that role has delivered him. It was only two years that McQueen was shortlisted in the Licensing. biz People Awards Rising Star category, praised by many for the instrumental role he had played in helping Pokémon back into the UK licensing sphere. Two years later and Pokémon is among the top selling character and entertainment licenses worldwide and following a state of reinvigoration through the wild success of Pokemon Go, is selling gangbusters at retail.
Its trading cards are repeatedly a top selling pick up item for the likes of Asmodee UK, and the brand has recently picked up a new master toy partner in Wicked Cool toys UK distributor in Character Options. Through dedication and an ability to build on important partner and retail relations, McQueen has helped developed the Pokémon brand into a true tour de force at UK retail. Anticipation builds for the 2019 release of the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, a film that will no doubt spell a busy season for the Pokémon team.
most influential person in licensing this year, and we dare say Szechuan sauce had very little to do with it… at least this time. Last year, Saltmarsh’s efforts were truly felt across the pop culture scene when a comprehensive and subsequently, ever-growing Rick and Morty licensing programme helped the pop specialist and high street retailer Forbidden Planet to an incredible 400 per cent growth growth in sales figures of Rick and Morty products in the fourth quarter. His foresight for tapping into a rising cult IP has left retailers smiling up and down the country.
While this recent Rick and Morty convert could talk about this particular aspect of Saltmarsh’s career for hours, for the sake of variation, it’s not the only success this licensing expert and industry leader has seen in the field. He has also overseen the relaunch of Powerpuff Girls, the reboot of the Ben 10 franchise - which by the way has generated in excess of $60 million in royalties in the last five years - and helped develop and strengthen Turner’s licensing business in Nordic, Benelux and Israel. Saltmarsh is an ever affable and personable cornerstone of the licensing community.
COUNTRY DIRECTOR, CONSUMER PRODUCTS UK AND IRELAND, NBC UNIVERSAL
re these job titles getting longer and longer or are our pages getting slimmer? One thing is for sure, the competition is getting more fierce by the minute as Hannah Mungo, country director of consumer products UK and Ireland at NBC Universal swoops into third place in the Most Influentials listing this year. Mungo made the move to Universal two years ago from Entertainment One, where she held the position of head of UK licensing. It was during her nine year tenure at the studio behind hits like Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom that Mungo’s reputation as a
licensing master was formed helping to grow the company’s stable of IP across not only consumer product licensing but overall brand strategy, promotions and events, too. So well admired and liked did she become and her knowledge and ability so well respected that by 2016, Universal only went and welcomed her to a newly created role with the remit of developing its strategic direction and business of its wide-reaching franchise portfolio as well as the management of licensees and retailers in the UK and Ireland. Since then, Mungo’s expertise has helped shake up a retail space through some of Universal’s most power franchises, spearheading the ‘most ambitious licensing push’ in the company’s history around the global blockbuster brand, Ju-
rassic World. Mungo’s foresight and knowledge of the retail landscape has helped fuel the brand to a top performer her in the UK, fuelling toy sales and helping to re-engage consumers in the retail experience. Her campaign with Smyths Toys delivered giant double cinema screens that showed exclusive Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer content with a curated call to action message in the run up to the film’s release earlier this year. The event was even captured on film by a professional film crew, while Smyths used the moment to launch a major campaign across in-store and digital around the latest instalment n the Universal franchise. All in all, it has been a monster of a year for Universal’s Mungo and just the start of plenty more things to come.
efforts outside of the US across retail, operations and licensing. Of his appointment earlier in the year, Pam Kaufman, chief marketing officer at Nickelodeon expressed an admiration for Kingston’s dedication to the role and his almost eight year career with Nickelodeon to date. “Mark’s knowledge of the international licensing landscape is second to none,” she said. “During his tenure, Mark has significantly expanded our EMEA consumer
products business, while also identifying and building new international opportunities and relationships, and developing overarching region specific CP strategies.” Kingston’s long career in licensing so far started in 1999 with Mars UK. From there he has held various roles with the likes of BBC Worldwide and The Walt Disney Company and in 2011 joined Viacom as vice president of European licensing, retail sales and trade marketing. He has gone on to manage operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. A popular name among the licensing track, Kingston has hit the new role running and played a key role in some major partnerships for the Consumer Products team, who inked deals with Wise Toys for Nickelodeon smart toy lines and Sambro for Slime-related products, including the Slime Hyper Blaster. If all that wasn’t enough, did you know he studied animal sciences at university… I mean, he may as well be holding a kitten in his photo.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, NICKELODEON AND VIACOM CONSUMER PRODUCTS
mid a team that notoriously boast the longest job titles in the history of any industry, Mark Kingston’s was made all the wordier at the start of the year when the figurehead of Nickelodeon and Viacom’s licensing division was duly promoted to the role of senior vice president at Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products. Stepping into the role in the midst of the Toy Fair season in January, Kingston was handed the wider responsibility of overseeing the company’s consumer products business, promotions and marketing
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FOUNDER, SARA MILLER DESIGNS
ara Miller’s popularity in this year’s Power 50 truly goes to highlight the kind of year the London based designer and up and coming powerhouse of the art and design world has really had. Named the Most Promising Young Designer 2016 in the Henrie Awards, Miller is a British designer who in 2017 sealed her fortune as a boutique high street name when she partnered with John Lewis as the retailer’s ‘artist in residence’, showcasing her collection and eye for design with a complete window display in its flagship Oxford Street store. In March this year, John Lewis was nominated for the Best In Store Window Display 2018 in The Great Retail Awards while for Sara, what started out as an artist simply expressing her passion for culture and travel through her artwork within the greetings cards sector has since sprung an ever-growing licensing programme and Miller’s designs now appear on stationery, kitchen textiles, home fragrance and tableware. The design house has a number of prestigious partnerships to its moniker and is a prominent name in the card and stationery sector, with greetings cards from The Art File, gift wrappings from Penny Kennedy and stationery from Blueprint. On top of this, the Jaz&Baz card range from Portfolio feature’s Miller’s designs, and offers a subtle nod to the designer’s parents… well, it’s named after them. “In terms of what she has achieved in market penetration for the giftware sector, you really have to hand it to Sara Miller,” said Stuart Cox, the brains behind the design brand, I Like Birds. Over the course of the last 12 months, the accolades have continued to pour in
for Miller. In March, she was also shortlisted in the Best Licensed Fashion or Talent Brand 2018 in the Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards, going head to head with the likes of David Beckham, Joules, Marie-Chantal, Matthew Williamson, Monsoon and Paul Hollywood; a calibre of names that highlights just how recognisable the Sara Miller name has become in today’s design world. It didn’t stop there, however, and Miller also found herself a finalist in the Best Licensed Fashion Accessory or Lifestyle Product 2018 in the very same awards. A double nomination for the British talent and a major coup for the budding business. Miller has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the both the design and licensing worlds.
Her tableware collection from Portmeirion - one described as simply stunning by Ideal Home - has gained her a lot of traction in the celebrity and has reportedly even caught the eye of Liz Hurley last year. Flying the flag for British talent across both the design and licensing industries, the licensing community has voted Sara Miller amongst the most influential people in licensing this year and we welcome her to the Licensing.biz Power 50 hall of fame.
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ASHLEYHOLMAN, NICKELODEON Amid some seriously tough competition in the category, Nickelodeon's senior director of category sales and business development has risen to the top of this year's most influential licensors listing
nlike the majority of those that fall into the business and go on to achieve big things, Holman entered licensing clear of mind of the career he was determined to pursue. To be fair, the other option was Ship Insurance… and that industry's loss was our gain, because his particular skill set has fuelled a plenty of brand success over the years. Ian Downes of Start Licensing, a mentor to Holman over the course of his, said: “Ashley is now highly regarded for his work on Nickelodeon’s properties having made steady progress in his licensing career. “He has made a significant contribution to a number of licensing programmes and is a key part of a successful team at Nickelodeon. He’s a popular licensor who is proactive, determined and imaginative.” Licensing.biz Power 50 grabs the chance for a quick chat... So Ash, you’ve been named the Power 50 2018 most influential licensor! Where did it all begin for you? It would seem that unlike everyone else within this industry, I actively set out to be a part of it rather than falling into it. While studying marketing at university, I was introduced to two industry stalwarts - David Scott and ian Downes - who explained what it was all about. I was faced with a choice between Specialist Ship Insurance and Brand Licensing. After walking the halls of BLE in 2003 and seeing the buzz around massive brands and commerce, coupled with fun subject matter like cartoons and toys, my mind was mind up. And when Ship Insurance didn’t work out, you moved into Licensing? Haha - not quite, It was an easy decision from that point and I knew licensing was what I wanted to be a part of.
From there I secured my first actual role in the industry at LicensingPages where I learnt all about licensors, licensees, retailers and the support companies gluing it all together. From there, I went to Coolabi and held my first active licensing sales role and then onto Nickelodeon where, scarily, nearly 12 years later, I'm still loving the industry. How have you seen the licensing industry evolve? How’s that changed your own perception and influenced you? The main thing that has changed is the increased level of competition for shelf space - with so much great, new IP entering the market (let alone a focus on retailers own brand) compared to ten or so years ago. Not everything will get the full support it might once have received. This has meant that as a licensor we have had to adapt accordingly and now we need to build the full solution. It’s not enough to simply have a show on air, do deals with licensees and sit back and watch success happen. Nowadays, the full solution includes launching and sustaining the new show across platforms, engaging the wider industry and then providing ongoing support. This means it is a much larger team effort across multiple lines of business within somewhere like Nickelodeon than perhaps it once was. What have been some of your proudest achievements in licensing to date? What have also been some of your most memorable moments? My first ever licensing deal - a range of real SpongeBob musical instruments who are still a partner to this day holds a special place with me. The I have been fortunate enough to work on some hugely successful brands, so getting to plan, execute and ultimately succeed with those after so much hard work has also been amazing. Learning
wise, the mains thing is that plans change… all the time… so be adaptable and flexible otherwise you’ll come unstuck. One of the most memorable moments would be joining The Light Fund board (the industry’s charitable body). There are so many fun and challenging events that take place but all the money goes to incredibly worthwhile charitable causes, so it is an honour to be a part of that. Then of course, there are the great people I get to work with every day, from all parts of the industry. What do you make of the health of innovation in licensing at the moment? Innovation is a tricky one at the moment. Overall, the industry is very cautious, given the financial, political and in particular retail landscape. However, it is always encouraging to see new (and surprise) successes coming through and being supported, which is testament ot the industry we are all in. You need great IP, regardless of what sector of the industry you are in, however I would also say that you need great relationships. As everyone always says, this industry has an amazing sense of community - even among competitors. On that note of community - what is the secret to success in the licensing industry? This will sound a cliché… As sure as eggs is eggs… You’ve got to be yourself. Anyone who tries to be someone they're not gets found out in the end. Be honest, too. The industry's small so people remember… not everything is going to be amazing despite best efforts, so building an open partnership is the best approach long term and hopefully you share more successes than failures. Probably most importantly, do what you love. If you don’t enjoy it, you’re never going to be good at it. I try to live these things at Nickelodeon every day.. Licensing.biz / POWER 50 33
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With over 20 years of licensing experience, Traub has served senior roles in marketing, licensing and retail development with Marvel, Nickelodeon, BBC and Chorion where he was responsible for launching and nurturing some of the world’s largest
entertainment brands...assuming we’ve all heard of Marvel, that is? Traub is the winner of 12 LIMA and Industry Awards. The past year has seen Traub and the team working tirelessly on multiple partnerships for Roald Dahl’s popular IP including James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Traub has facilitated the brand’s continued success at retail in the US through multiple categories and via his close ties to major US retailers. A licensing veteran of the highest order, we welcome Bob Traub to the Licensing. biz Power 50 most influential people in licensing listing 2018.
ness from a consultancy practice to a fully-fledged licensing agency, having brought brands such as Kelloggs, Slush Puppies, Pringles, and PanAm to the licensing space through a wealth of successful partnerships. Pink continues to move the space forward, discovering new and innovative means of partnering well-known food brands with companies that span entertainment, lifestyle and more.
Pink is a well-like, well-respected member of the business who can often be found hitting the tarmac through his love of cycling, or thrashing out the power chords in his other life as a guitarist and singer. In any walk of his life, Pink is performance driven, an attribute that has contributed to the name he has built for himself in the industry today. Watch this space as the evolution of the F&B market continues.
agency, Hill has progressed through the ranks from licensing executive, to manager and eventually to director, picking up an encyclopedic knowledge of the brand licensing industry along the way. She has played a vital role in the growth of globally successful brands such as Shopkins and most recently Pikmi Pops as well as other
Bulldog delights including Crystal Maze and Garfield. Vicky Hill contributes to what is fast becoming a formidable team at Bulldog Licensing and when she isn’t playing the role of the ultimate professional, she may be skillfully hiding the following result of a night of networking with the best of them. She is as integral to the licensing industry's social side as she is its business hours, and to that end a testament to its vibrant people culture.. With the remit of overseeing the licensing programme for the latest hit collectables brand from Moose Toys in Pikmi Pops, Hill’s ability to strengthen existing partnerships will no doubt help propel the brand to Shopkins levels of phenomena.
PRINCIPAL AT BRAND ACTIVATION CONSULTING
cross the Atlantic and Bob Traub has already got a string of awards to his name, so one more surely couldn’t hurt? Traub has received multiple nominations from across both the UK and US licensing scene, showcasing a talent that has stretched the ocean while highlighting the international strength and reach of licensing.
DIRECTOR, PINK KEY LICENSING
one time head of licensing and promotions at The Kellogg Company, in 2005, Richard Pink launched on his own with Pink Key Licensing. More than 13 years later, Pink is orchestrating some very influential moves in the world of food and beverage licensing as well as the vintage and retro space. Late last year, Pink made the decision to evolve the busi-
LICENSING DIRECTOR, BULLDOG LICENSING
ive years and two months it’s been since Vicky Hill first embarked on her journey with the Bulldog Licensing outfit and this licensing expert has truly flourished within both her numerous roles at the firm and as a key member of the licensing world. Over the course of her time with the independent licensing
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7. JOHN MCINNERNY,
McInnerny started his licensing career before he knew, when he was selling comic strips and Mills and Boon books for a friend out in Yugoslavia. But from there he got a taste for the business and on long career path later, he launched Allsorts
Licensing in 2000. McInnerny is a believer that good communication is key to a good business, and it’s an ethos that has paid off enormously for the firm that now holds the rights to some of the biggest IP on the pop culture scene. And that includes the retro-inspired multi-award winning video game property Cuphead - which makes us an instant fan. Not only this, Allsorts represents the Betty Boop brand across the UK and Europe, as well as vintage hits like Popeye and Olive Oyl. It's played a key role in Betty Boop's revival and continual success for the brand at retail across fashion and accessories as well as lifestyle.
As of 2017, O’ Malley has represented the hit preschool series Super Wings, a creation of the Chinese super-corporation Alpha Group, as well as the leading online social game for kids, Animal Jam with 95 million registered users, Tough Mudder, the world’s number one mud-racing brand and is the UK and Ireland representative for The Jim Henson Company and worldwide agent for Brambly Hedge. Over her long and illustrious career in licensing, O’ Malley has managed some of
the most successful consumer products programmes in entertainment, sport and brands, including Despicable Me, Star Wars, Sesame Street, WWE, Star Trek and England Rugby. She was one of the first retail specialists in the UK licensing and leveraged her experience and relationships from former roles as head of trade marketing at Hasbro UK and advertising and promotions for the entertainment division of Woolworths.
licensing campaign for the world-beating Shopkins brand. Last year, Shopkins enjoyed its third consecutive year as the number one girls’ property and Corney has already promised that there are further developments for the brand still to come. And then there’s Pikmi Pops. At the risk of jinxing the whole operation, it looks like Corney has done it all over again, this time with Moose Toys’ range of scented plush characters that are just ‘perfect for the licensing world.’
Already Pikmi Pops are outselling Shopkins where the brand was at the same point in its own lifecycle, which means things are looking very good for the brand indeed. How does Corney do it? Well it helps that building and maintaining the right kind of relationships comes very natural to the business owner; it’s certainly played a hugely influential role in the lay of the licensing land in the last couple of years, to say the least. And in turn he has certainly become an influencer in his own right.
MD, ALLSORTS LICENSING
lying the flag for the dynamism of the independent licensing agent is John McInnerny, founder of the licensing agency Allsorts Licensing, and a character known in the industry for a wit and affability that has secured him long lasting friendships and a status as an influential.
VICKIE O’ MALLEY,
MANAGING DIRECTOR, ROCKPOOL LICENSING
ell-known and incredibly well-respected, Vickie O’ Malley is a staple member of the licensing community. From having managed CPLG for more than a decade, O’ Malley went on to start up Rockpool Licensing in 2014, and in the past four years has seen business boom across the IP categories.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, BULLDOG LICENSING
f course there’s a space for the man who reignited the world’s passion for collectables franchises. It wasn’t that long ago that Rob Corney, MD of Bulldog Licensing was a man going out on a limb; a maverick in a world that denied that there was money to be made in collectables IP. Just look at the marketplace now. Corney, and the dedicated and impassioned team around him showed the world that the girls’ collectables market was was a lucrative one when he lead the
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LICENSING DIRECTOR, DRI LICENSING
nyone who gets to work with with the words, images and ideas to have originated from some of the world’s best-loved children’s authors is all right by our standards. For Alicia Davenport, the co-founder and director of DRi Licensing, working with and developing new ways for audience engagement with the fantastical work of Roald Dahl and Dick Bruna is day to day business. However, with over 20 years experience of sales and marketing in the licensing industry, Davenport knows the key to successful brand licensing is in integrity; something that is imbued in not only the work she does but the partnerships she se-
WILL STEWART, MD, THE POINT. 1888
n 2016, Will Stewart, MD at The Point 1888. was in the running for the Duke of York’s New Entrepreneur of the Year for that year’s Lloyds Bank National Business Awards. So what the hell happened? Well, we will tell you what happened; business subsequently rocketed for the London-based licensing expert and his team through continued expansion, new retail relationships, and heady and eclectic mix of licenses that has fuelled enormous growth for the outfit and resulting in Stewart taking home the 2018 Director of the Year award two years later. Stewart is most notable for his refreshingly, sometime eye-meltingly honest,
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cures for some of the best loved children’s brands and characters in literary history. Davenport began her career with Licensing Management International, before managing the European licensing business for NFL Properties. She finally made her move to DRi in 2000. Since then, she has helped build the firm into the successful powerhouse of literary and design-led brands that it is today, boasting the likes of Roald Dahl, Miffy, Boofle and Groovy Chick, alongside the likes of The Happy News, Edward Monkton and Air Puppy. Through its work with the Roald Dahl brand, DRi has helped provide a boost to
areas of the retail sector from children’s book to accessories, toy and dress up as events like World Book Day become a permanent fixture in the retail calendar. Next year, the popular Roald Dahl book Matilda will be celebrating its 30th anniversary, during which time Davenport will be leading a new charge of licensing partnerships for the books titular hero as The Roald Dahl Story Company looks to take the brand into new categories with new partnerships. Davenport’s reputation across the licensing space will no doubt continue to an integral factor in the success of the brand for many years to come.
approach to the business of licensing; unafraid of saying what needs to be said while instilling the Point. 1888 brand values in all the work he and the team around him produces. Under Stewart’s leadership, The Point. 1888 has not only secured major licenses in the likes of Candy Crush, Hobbs and the runaway toy franchise LOL Surprise, but enjoys an eclectic, boutique accompaniment, too with the likes of Stinking Bishop or Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. The Point. 1888 operates on a threepoint mission to ‘revolutionise the brand
extension industry through partnership licensing agreements, offer its team a true #lifework balance and to help change the world by giving 11 per cent of its profits to charity. This small but disruptive company is on the grow and thanks to its unique business model and universal reception, will only continue to grow and succeed as Stewart forges ahead with his plan to transform The Point. 1888 from the firm seen as ‘punching above its weight,’ one year to a global leader in the licensing world the next.
TRACEY RICHARDSON, LOUIS KENNEDY
racey Richardson will always be noted in the history books not only for her inclusion in the Power 50 this year, but for her commitment to the retail, licensing and charity sectors and her brilliant work at bringing all three together with spectacular aplomb. It was Richardson that masterminded the marketing campaign for Children’s Promise, the millenium initiative that saw Marks & Spencer’s staff, suppliers and customers raise over £20 million for children’s charities in just 18 months, and it’s Richardson’s in-depth knowledge of the charity sector as well as her commercial background that provides her a unique insight into developing beneficial relationships between charities and corporate partners today. Joining Louis Kennedy in 2001 after her 20 year career at M&S, Richardson has become one of the most well-liked and respected people in the world of licensing today, notoriously fearless in approaching property owners when there’s an opportunity for charity and has forged partnerships for the likes of Discovery,
Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon as well as fielded recent briefs from Aardman and Anderson Press resulting in the Shaun the Sheep - Sheep Dreams and The Children’s Sleep Charity. Tracey’s well-earned reputation for detailed research, understanding of character or brand and presenting a partnership opportunity which brings value and differentiation has opened new doors in the world of licensing, retail and charity communications. Rob Goodchild, licensing director of Aardman Animation, said: “We are really enjoying partnering with Tracey on our Sheep Dreams initiative, where she has exuded enthusiasm for the project from the start. Tracey is the driving force in helping us develop a strong association with the Children’s Sleep charity and building the commercial partnerships. Her personable (yet determined) nature makes her a pleasure to work with.” Richardson received a flurry of nominations from across the industry in this year’s Power 50 Most Influentials and has been championed as an individual
with true vision as to what licensing can achieve not just in sales but in the way it resonates with consumers and stimulates compassion. Graham Saltmarsh, licensing director at Turner Broadcasting, said: “I have worked with Tracey for many years and through thick and thin she is one of the most positive people I have ever met, In an area of licensing that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, Tracey is a beacon of tenacity and creativity as well as a true joy to work with.” Richardson is known as someone who “makes things happen in licensing,” says Start Licensing’s Ian Downes. “She is imaginative, determined and thorough. She has helped grow the market for licensing and introduced the business of licensing to a whole new community of companies.” As the tributes poured in all that it left Licensng.biz Power 50 to say is congratulations to Tracey Richardson on a wonderful and successful career in licensing so far, and the good work and charity initiatives keep on coming. And if you bump into her at the show, get her a drink!
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DAVID BORN, BORN LICENSING He’s facilitated Action Man’s disco fever, brought Barbie to a climactic cliffhanger and united He-Man and Skeletor over the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. David Born also received a whopping number of votes into this year’s Licensing.biz Power 50 Most Influential Licensing Agents 2018 listing. We talk to the Born Licensing founder
helma and Louise, Dirty Dancing, CeCe Peniston’s ‘Finally’ (and no sniggering at the name…) these three classic moments of cinematic and pop music history all have one thing in common; in the last two years, they have each been given the 'Born ultimatum'. We’ve seen Action Man strutting to the disco hit of the 90s, Barbie pastiche the iconic Ridley Scott film and who can forget that two-minute visual spectacular of HeMan and Skeletor facing off to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. The man behind this string of creations - a series of ad campaigns put together for MoneySuperMarket - is none other than David Born, director of Born Licensing. The success of the campaign has not only accrued millions in incremental sales and value for the likes of Mattel and Hasbro through the huge licensing effort behind it, it’s also gained Born a level of notoriety within the industry. Born has become the man that can. Five years ago, who would have dreamed that the muscle-clad cast of Masters of the Universe would be promoting a British price comparison website and going viral on a global scale in the process? With a dose of imagination and the colossal team effort of everyone from script writers and creatives, licensors and filmmakers, Born Licensing did it, and it’s all earned him a spotlight in the Licenisng.biz Power 50 2018 . But you’re certainly not here to hear us blow all this smoke… Licensing.biz Power 50 takes a moment to chat to the man himself. 40 Licensing.biz / POWER 50
The MoneySuperMarket campaign has gained you and Born Licensing a lot of traction in the industry, but where did your licensing career all begin for you? Everyone has their own unique story of falling into the licensing industry. I don’t think many people know it exists and when I walked into my job interview with Haven Licensing about 12 years ago in Australia, I knew nothing about licensing at all. It was only after doing the job for a few months that I realised just how lucky I had been to stumble into the industry. It’s such an incredible business and everybody in it is so much fun. They are all such great professionals, but they really know how to have a good time as well. From Haven, I moved over to Warner Bros in Australia where I was managing FMCG and promotions for four years. I had a phenomenal manager who helped me learn a lot about the business. It was when I decided I needed a European trip I ended
up landing the same role with Cartoon Network in London, but I always had a nagging thought about the use of IP in advertising. I just thought there was something there and I decided to start Born Licensing, with a niche focus on the advertising space and helping licensors and IP owners drive revenue in this space. So what was the campaign that really launched Born into this space? It came from an agency in Melbourne. They emailed me with one line - ‘can we create a house out of a Transformer?’ That line sparked it all and from that we created an incredible campaign for a new homes firm where we worked with Hasbro to create their own Transformer. That campaign really put us on the map, suddenly we had an example of IP in advertising and suddenly the ideas started coming in thick and fast. From there came the worldfamous and multi-award winning
MoneySuperMarket campaign. How do you think its success has changed attitudes or helped move licensing forward? Skeletor and He-Man dancing to Dirty Dancing picked up 25 million views in the first couple of days. It was incredible. And I think it comes at an important time of change in the industry. Retail is seeing some enormous change, with retailers shutting their doors around the world which means shelves are getting smaller for the expanse of IP and product that is out there. People are changing the ways they are using licenses as a result. Born Licensing is waving the flag for one of those new methods of using IP and raising the profile of how people can use characters in this new way. We are inundated with calls on a daily basis with new opportunities. Of course, they don’t always materialise, but now we are really out there and talking about IP and advertising,
it is really changing the way people think about and approach them. The level of creativity that goes into these campaigns seems to be huge. How hands on are you in the whole process of bringing a toy icon like Action Man to the screen in an ad campaign? The Action Man campaign took ten days to film, all in stop motion, shot by shot. That is the kind of high quality production that we love. These are cherished, prized IP and we and the entire creative team - from filmmakers to the investors - are there to ensure it all delivers on a standard that licensors would expect. We often get involved in the scripting of the campaign as early as possible so that the finished product we present to the licensor ticks all the boxes, getting the campaign’s message across while sticking to the core message of the brand it uses.
Viewers and audiences often love the finished product but have no idea how much work, from finding the right property, brand assurance, negotiations and then the whole production process, goes into it. But, do you know what, it’s great being able to walk into a meeting room and being able to reference the He-Man ad. That is something that I, and the whole team of creatives and licensors that can all take shared credit, are really proud of. So, you’ve made the Power 50. It can’t get much better for you from her, can it? Haha - it is so exciting to be in the Power 50 and it’s a huge thank you to everyone who has backed me… but what’s next for us? We are looking at taking this model global. We want to be a global offering and deal with every ad agency on the planet. It's a big plan, so I’ll start by getting a drink... Licensing.biz / POWER 50 41
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CAROLINE MICKLER, CAROLINE MICKLER LTD
or bringing us The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine LEGO alone, Caroline Mickler deserves a Damehood, but add to this the prestige of delivering us The Beatles Raymond Weil watches, practically the entire contents of the official Moomin shop and the Fifty Shades of Grey bedroom accessories set, and she has more
9. JANE EVANS,
MANAGING DIRECTOR, JELC
ane Evans, the managing director of JELC, has been in the licensing business for as long as I have been alive, having kickstarted her career within this space in 1987. I’ll spare you the maths, that 31 years this year. CPLG was her first port of call in 1987, which was followed by a move to licensing director at Central Television. By 1991, she had founded the European office of The Beanstalk Group
than earned her place within this Licensing Legends listing. With more than 30 years’ licensing experience to her name having worked with CPLG in the late 80s, managed the licensing division at PolyGram through the 90s, been a member of LIMA since 1999 and started up her own company in the same year, Mickler has been the driving force behind much of the UK success of The Beatles, Moomin and 50 Shades of Grey, as well as a whole lot more. Previous years have seen Mickler’s efforts help the adult pleasure toy
company Lovehoney hit record sales (through licensing!) of its Fifty Shades of Grey collection, helping to break down social barriers at the same time. This year has been all about The Fab Four’s 50th anniversary of Yellow Submarine, securing some seriously forward-thinking partners while managing to tap into the rise of the pop culture scene, too. Yellow Submarine board games, LEGO sets, collectable figures, graphic novels all in tow, we’re certainly raising a toast to the honorary real fifth Beatle.
where she built the business from the ground upwards to team of 30 operating across the continent. Here, Evans truly made her presence among the licensing industry felt, leading her to start JELC in 2003. In her role as managing director she has shaped not just the company into a force of modern licensing, but facilitated a shift in the perception of and importance of the role that lifestyle brands play within it. Through JELC, Evans has helped the likes of The National Gallery,
House of Turnowsky and Help for Heroes maintain a gravitas among the sector. Read one nomination: “It is largely down to Jane that I am in this industry, and Jane has not only schooled me in the dark arts of licensing but has also made sure that it feels like my natural home. “She is a wonderful woman, wonderful licensing agent and is richly deserving of the epithet ‘Licensing Legend’ more so this year than any other.”
95 per cent of all key licenses. Today, the firm is headquartered in Oxfordshire and Isitt has grown headcount from one to over 100, with a network of agents supplying independent toy and party customers as well as key retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, George, Argos and Hamleys. Isitt’s efforts have been felt on a global scale and the success he has driven the UK
operation to has helped position Rubie’s as the world’s largest designer, manufacturer and distributor of fancy dress costumes and accessories, with various offices around the globe. As one nomination stated: “Through hard work, vision and a commitment to building relationships, Chris has helped establish Rubies as one of the UK and Europe’s major licensees. “Throughout he has acted with integrity and has supported a whole range of licenses. He is quietly determined and really knows his business well.” Over the years, Chris 'Skipper' Isitt has helped Rubie’s scoop numerous industry awards and is well deserving of his place within the Licensing.biz Power 50 most influential people in licensing.
VICE PRESIDENT EMEA & AUSTRALIA, RUBIE’S
hen Chris Isitt started the UK and European business for Rubie’s over 20 ago, it really was a one man operation, all resting on Isitt’s shoulders. The UK division was launched in 1996 as a new UK Limited company based in Liverpool, where product was shipped over from New York. In a short time, and under the guidance of Isitt, Rubie’s grew to become the largest UK supplier of costumes and accessories within the party industry, owning around
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NAZ AMARCHI CUEVAS,
at US retail alone, Amarchi-Cuevas has made it her mission to continue to disrupt industry norms in order to redefine how entertainment, technology and consumer products merge. That determination landed her her latest role at SYBO Games, the team behind the hit app game Subway
Surfers, where she continues to build out the digital and physical licensing programme for the game’s some 2.1 billion fans across the globe. An Indian refugee born in South East Africa and raised in the United States, Amarchi-Cuevas is a leading voice within the industry and a figure among its professional bodies including LIMA, TIA and Women in Toys, for whom she consistently champions the message of empowerment, inclusion and social responsibility amongst her peers. When she’s not doing all of that, she is also the co-founder of 212 Strategy Consultancy, a specialist in entertainment gaming and consumer products. It leaves just one question: when does she sleep?
from 12 million to 120 million Swedish kronor in the last 20 years, an achievement that has earned him the nickname ‘the motor’ of the licensing division among his colleagues. The work and energy that Melin has poured into the development of the Moomin brand all paid off when the animated character, entertainment and celebrated art and design brand was crowned one of the world’s top 25 most valuable brands. “It is his curious and open mind-set,
along with his experience and drive that makes him the best possible licensing director,” came the high praise from Bulls Press president, Tord Steinsvik. With some 25 years in the business behind him, don’t think Melin is taking a break any time soon. In fact, he is just getting started and in 2020 he will become partner with the licensing agency Rights & Brights, an outfit comprising the best of Bulls, Moomin Characters and Roelf Krakstrom. Someone get this man a drink.
£50 million during the ‘90s and right up to successfully bringing FMCG companies into the world of licensing as the owner of his own consultancy business today. Of course, in his second licensing life, Gardner is the managing director of LIMA UK, the licensing industry’s trade associ-
ation. With an encyclopedic astuteness, Gardner is a font of licensing knowledge and one that is always keen to share insight, experience and advice with all those around him. A true licensing character, his attitude towards licensing and the people he works with have earned him a number of industry awards, including the 2013 Honorary Achievement Award at The Licensing Awards and the 2017 Outstanding Contribution Awards at the Licensing.biz People Awards. Successful businessman, award-winning industry personality always ready with advice: could the man get any more perfect? Oh, he also speaks fluent Italian.
HEAD OF LICENSING, SYBO GAMES
o often described as a leading female force in the global digital entertainment and brand development space, Naz Amarchi-Cuevas has not only enjoyed a incredible past 12 months in her role as head of licensing at SYBO Games, but an illustrious and long-standing licensing career, too. Driven by the success she saw at Rovio, where she grew the Angry Birds merchandise programme to over $4 billion
LICENSING DIRECTOR, BULLS LICENSING
ince the early ‘90s, Gustav Melin has been a man of Moomin, spying the international potential for the beloved Tove Jansson creation early on in his career and playing a crucial role in building the Scandinavian brand into the global success that it is today. A licensing director with a knack for turning a profit, Melin has helped Bulls Licensing increase its turnover ten-fold
MD, LIMA UK & OWNER, ASGARD MEDIA
ust like his company name, Asgard suggests, Kelvyn Gardner is a power within the industry. More than 36 years' history of working in the business gives Gardner a very colourful CV that calls back to his time as marketing director at Panini in the ‘80s, growing Merlin Publishing’s sales from nothing to some
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ANDRE LAKE MAYER,
PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL BRAND STRATEGY AND CONSUMER PRODUCTS, ZAG AMERICA
f you’ve not heard of Miraculous - Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir then perhaps you can tell us where you found this magazine, because you won’t be from the licensing industry? Likewise, Andre Lake Mayer, the woman in charge of all brand strategy and consumer products management at ZAG America is an industry name herself as household as LEGO. Lake-Mayer’s career in licensing has been extensive to say the least, spanning 30 years in entertainment where she has not only significantly grown businesses and brands but helped set the stage for
some of today’s best loved IP. Many may know the consumer products expert from her five year stint as senior director of licensing at Paramount Pictures. Here she built the merchandising franchise for Star Trek while working with uniqure film and TV properties such as Addams Family, Saturday Night Live and the heart-melting Forrest Gump. From ‘95 to 2000 she managed and executed a plan that brought in $500 million in US consumer products around Star Wars Episode One while at Lucas Film, before moving into toys through the '00s. Over the last three year’s, Lake-Mayer’s impact upon the entertainment world has been felt across the licensing industry,
having identified ZAG as the next up and coming animation studio and securing Bandai as the master toy licensee for its flagship brand, Tales of the Ladybug & Cat Noir. Not only is the series now the leading animation for girls aged six to eleven across the globe, the brand generated a massive $100 million globally in 2017 alone. Through Miraculous’ staggering global viewing figures and consumer products revenue, Lake Mayer has backed the message of empowerment and played a significant role in redefining both the superheroes genre and girls’ programming. It’s no surprise then, that she finds herself among this year’s Most Influentials Licensing Legends listing.
mous and beloved global brands and brand owners. Over those years, the Aykroyd family has implemented a dedication to the licensing industry that has forged partnership across the spectrum of the business and that has enabled David and the team around him to design and manufacture a substantial and innovative range of garments for children and adults of all ages, across an always growing number of clothing categories. People remain at the core of Aykroyd & Sons; a culture fostered by John Henry
Aykroyd in 1918 when he first established the Manchester business that has passed from generation to generation for the past 100 years. Both David and Nigel have helmed the business in its current form since the early 70s and such an institution has the business and the name become of the British licensing scene that in 2012, David took home the Licensing Awards Honorary Achievement. The work he continues to do to this day is imbued with a people culture that drives both the company and licensing industry to continued success. 100 years on and the firm still brings innovation to the space, delivered by each new familial generation that joins. Ffion, Stacy, Donna and Sion all now work full time at the company with the hope that they will provide a sixth generation of Aykroyds to carry on the business and uphold the name on the door. Of the numerous nominations for David Aykroyd’s place within this Power 50 listing, one simply read: “David Aykroyd is a true legend.” And it wasn't from himself.
DAVID AYKROYD, AYKROYD & SONS
his year, the Aykrods celebrated 100 years of the company, a celebration of a century of the Aykroyd’s dynasty in business. So, if you were looking for a truer advocate for the people culture of this industry, you’d need look no further than David. David, along with his brother Nigel Aykroyd sit in the driving seat of one of the industry’s longest established and serving clothing companies. It stands at the forefront of character licensing and over the years - since the concept of garment printing was first struck upon - has developed and strengthened significant partnerships with a breadth of world-fa-
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DIRECTOR, START LICENSING
o anyone rolling their eyes at the inevitable inclusion of Ian Downes in our Licensing Legends listing, let us make it quite clear that that money transferred into my account was a gift, OK? OK, right then… Of course, neither we nor Downes would ever partake in such unscrupulous activity - instead it was left up to the industry to decide and the industry said ‘yes’. And with bloody good reason. A friend to all, Downes has been a staple figure of the licensing industry for the past nearly 20 years, and over that time has become not only an ambassador for the people culture of the industry - fostering relationships wherever he seems to go but also a keen promoter of the variety of ways in which brands and IP are used in modern culture. If you’ve seen his Instagram and Twitter accounts, you’ll know...
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In his early days, a young University student with a taste for the rock scene, Downes would be found interviewing bands down the pub or at gigs for the local rag. It’s an edge that he has since brought with him to the licensing space, most recognised when he played a facilitating role in a collaboration between The Specials bassist Horace Panter and the iconic British comic Beano, that brought a collection of artworks created by Panter to galleries across the UK. His experience across both publishing and media buying worlds have afforded him the chance to build relationships across multiple sectors, while his passion for the business has seen him become a go-to figure for consultancy and advice, a move he cemented earlier this year with the addition of consulting to the many strings of the Start Licensing bow.
Over the past 12 months, Downes has been working with the celebrity chef, TV personality and Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain to significantly grow the Nadiya brand within the food and beverage licensing space. It’s just one of Downes’ latest contributions to a sector poised for a projected enormous burst of growth in the coming years. It’s also testament to Downes’ ability to nurture brands that are new to the world of licensing and help to build a thoughtful programme around them, becoming a true influencer over the modern licensing scene as we know it today. It’s with a tip of the hat and a collective industry congratulations that we welcome Start Licensing’s Ian Downes to the Licensng.biz Power 50 Most Influential People in Licensing, Licensing Legends listing.
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DAVID SCOTT, RAINBOW PRODUCTIONS Ever-popular and a forward thinker in the indusry your ultimate Power 50 Licensing Legend of the year is managing director of Rainbow Productions, David Scott. He talks to Licensing.biz about 25 years of character costumes and standing next to Postman Pat
eing with a costume character can get you into anywhere…” reads the email as it pings into my inbox late one Thursday evening. It wasn’t quite the response we were expecting to the question, ‘what have been your career highlights to date?’ but then again, when was the last time David Scott conformed to the norm in any - or at least the majority of - capacities? When he’s not being stopped by border guards while attempting to enter some farflung, off-the-map territory in his down time, his work life sees him helping to dangle Spot the Dog out of Buckingham Palace windows, being police-escorted down The Mall with Postman Pat, or knocking on Number 10 with any number of children’s characters in tow. “When you’re sitting on a sofa in the Chief Whip’s office with Bob the Builder and Father Christmas, you do wonder if you’ve taken a wrong turn in life,” Scott’s email muses. We’re communicating electronically on this occasion owing to time constraints. Scott’s a busy man, which is only to be expected. We’re just weeks away from Brand Licensing Europe where the managing director of Rainbow Productions’ handiwork is not only on full display, but parading up and down the aisles, in the entrance way, the lobby - everywhere short of the toilets -
in front of the industry in its entirety. There are last minute touch-ups and character preparations to be done and it’s all part and parcel of operating one of Europe’s most successful and most revered licensed costume character production firms. And there’s a part of Scott that seems to enjoy the showmanship. There has to be, it’s the basis of the entire Rainbow Productions business; the theatre of costume characters, whether at meet and greet events in shops or for licensed experiential venues that demands so much attention, and de-
livers such high levels of brand engagement in return. “We’re not just a licensee you see,” he tells Licensing.biz. “We also work with licensors to promote their brands, such as here at BLE. Most licensors are now aware of the additional revenue stream that live events offer, but they also value the power of the public’s physical engagement with the brand, which is much more intense than with licensed merchandise.” So getting it right is imperative; something Scott strives to do day in and day out. But it was almost by mistake that he landed the role for which he is so celebrated. “Like most people in the business, I fell into the industry when I was appointed general manager of Rainbow Productions, then a small subsidiary of CPLG,” he recounts. “My bosses were the legendary David Cardwell and Richard Culley who, along with a handful of competitors, effectively created the UK licensing industry in the early days. “I joined Rainbow in 1992 and I didn’t even know what a costume character was (some would say I haven’t learned much since…) but in 1995 I did an MBO and Rainbow has grown and developed ever since.” Was it simply lucky circumstance, then, that Scott happened to be a champion at the role handed to him some more than a quarter of a century ago? Even via email, Licensing.biz / POWER 50 51
the scoff at such an idea is audible, because the success of Rainbow Productions, replies the licensing veteran, comes down to the team that surrounds him and the hard work each of them put in on a daily basis. “Yes, we have certainly grown over the years,” he explains. “We started off with 2,500 sq ft, and now we have over 30,000 sq ft to cater for our offices, costume manufacturing facility, wardrobe and, of course, our very own ‘fluff mountain’. “To maintain that growth, we have to deliver value each and every day to clients and licensors alike, so we have a very highly skilled team - all our costume makers are graduates, as are most of the costume artistes that work for us. “Because of what we do, we know that we are often seen as the face of the licensing industry, and that is something we never take lightly.” It wouldn’t have escaped anyone’s notice that over the last five years or so, the live 52 Licensing.biz / POWER 50
"The greatest assets to this business go up and down in a lift everyday; it's the people. My advice would be to get to know as many of them as possible, because you could be working for them one day, so build bridges, don't burn them."
David Scott, Rainbow Productions event sector has blown up for licensing, with greater emphasis now being placed on bringing consumer engagement experiences into the licensing mix. It’s all making a lot of work for Scott and his team, so it’s becoming a wonder how he manages to
juggle this with his other role as a Trustee of the Light Fund, the licensing industry’s fundraising and charity unit. “Going back to the earlier question about career highlights, that would be a real one for me,” he tells me. “Passing the £1 million raised by the Light Fund was a very special moment, and just goes to show what a generous industry we have. “My old boss at CPLG, David Cardwell, used to say that the greatest assets of this business go up and down in the lift each day - in other words, it’s a people business. And what the Light Fund has done, and what we all do every day is testament to that.” And if Scott could pass on any piece of advice from his illustrious career in licensing it would be this: “Just get to know as many of those people as you can. If you’re on the licensor side of the industry, you’re going to work for quite a number of your competitors in your career - so build bridges, don’t burn them.”
And that’s a goodbye from us…
egardless of where you are reading this - be you in the midst of the BLE madness or picking this out of the bathroom bin in the Hand & Flower, let us just say… that was intense. And we hope that was extensive enough - certainly for our first go. Congratulations go to all those names who placed in this year’s Licensing. biz Power 50 2018 Most Influential People in Licensing; researching your job roles, achievements and just how well-liked you all are by your peers made many of us here sick with envy, more than once. For those who didn’t feature - what are you doing wrong? No, that’s not fair. From my own experience it is all of you who make this industry such a thrilling, innovative and happily boozy one to be on the periphery of, for which we thank you all. The judging process has been one of weeks of tortuous back and forthing with industry contacts and friends to whom we’d like to extend our firm gratitude. We promised you a drink for your input, and that’s an offer we will honour. Just come meet us in the retail lounge by the coffee machine with written and signed confirmation. For everyone who voted and supported their peers with nominations good on you. That’s the kind of community culture and willingness to show support to those around you that keeps this industry so successful. It also makes our jobs all the easier that you are so forthcoming with your votes. A special thanks goes to the Licensing.biz team who really put the hours in.
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