The Bugg Report Magazine - Edition 28

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FROM THE EDITOR Edition 28 by matthew bugg

Welcome to our 2018 Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) magazine. We are really happy to be back at the Olympia in London for what may be the very last BLE to be held at this famous venue in Kensington and ironically enough also marks the 20th anniversary of BLE being held at the Olympia.

been a reader since we first launched our original online report in 2008. Our publication has changed a lot over the years however we still aim to provide content that is useful to the industry and gives insight into how things are progressing as brands, licensing and retail evolve.

This year we will see the show hosted on one floor in the National and Grand Halls at Olympia for the first time. Next year we will see BLE move to ExCeL London for 2019 and it will certainly bring a different scale, look and feel to the show. We expect big things from the move and hope it will all go smoothly and be received well and in a positive fashion.

As the world changes and things become more accessible in real-time it will be interesting to see how companies that have operated under traditional business models adapt and succeed when it comes to brands, licensing and retail. I watched a video recently where Jack Ma, who is the co-founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, speaks about how teaching needs to change as machines become more prevalent in a lot of duties and how they can often do things better than humans. He touches on the need to ensure that humans are taught about things such as sports, music and arts because often knowledge alone can not teach you things such as belief, independent thinking, teamwork and care for others.

So back to our magazine for this year and we have a lot of great content for you which includes a number of feature interviews with Marco HĂźsges from the emoji company, James Thurlow from Jasnor, Meagan Sanders from Disney ANZ, John Gualtieri from Kmart Australia, Michele Pearce from Capcom, Julie Newman from Jewel Branding and Adam Meiklejohn from MGL. We also have some great updates from BBC Studios, Funrise and Merchantwise in addition to some very kind and much-appreciated testimonials from some of our partners over the years and a feature story on our 10 year anniversary for The Bugg Report. Speaking of our 10 year anniversary, we would like to thank all of the companies that have worked with us over the past 10 years and to everyone who has subscribed to our publication and

I think what he is getting at is the idea that humans have emotion whilst machines do not and we need to focus on what humans can do better than machines and not waste time trying to compete with them. I have posted the URL to the YouTube clip below and I recommend that for anyone reading this, take a few minutes to watch it. It is really interesting. WATCH THE CLIP HERE â–ś



Editor & Designer

Tony Bugg

Matthew Bugg

Published by Bugg Marketing Solutions



PO BOX 491, Berwick VIC 3806


The Bugg Report has been compiled as a guide to retail, sports, lifestyle, toys, licensing and/or other related matters. The views and opinions provided are based upon the views and opinions of our writers. In no way is The Bugg Report a factual guide to retail, sports, lifestyle, toys, licensing and/or other related matters and does not take responsibility for how the information provided is used by its consumers.


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FEATURE INTERVIEW We Speak to Marco Hüsges CEO & Founder, the emoji company

Marco, thank you for speaking to The Bugg Report. As you travel all around the world, what markets do you see as emerging in terms of brand licensing? Traditionally the top markets for licensing are the U.S., Europe and Japan. For us, we see the biggest growth in Asia and particularly in China. Latin America also has incredible potential with markets such as Brazil and Mexico, which have a vast population and love to consume - however the pricing is generally lower than what can be achieved in China. Finally, the Middle East is an important territory to be in. There seems to be a mood in our industry toward corporate, lifestyle and art licensing brands. How do you see this trend? I think we are not talking about a trend any more. A great licensing program can help any strong brand to reach out into new categories, explore new options and even reach out into new territories. Today, markets are changing fast, trends come and go very quickly, and the consumer is overloaded with information on mobile devices. In today’s environment, licensing and brand partnerships have become an essential part of the marketing mix, increasing awareness and building connections with the customer in fresh new ways. Of course, it is critical to choose the right licensing partners, keep a close eye on the development and on the quality of the licensed products in order not to damage or to dilute the brand value and its long-standing reputation. Any licensing program needs to match the brands DNA and has to make perfect sense so as not to compromise core product sales. The beauty of corporate and lifestyle brands in comparison to entertainment brands is that they do not rely on the success of an entertainment format they do not need a movie or a TV series to sustain them. Those brands are mostly part of us, integrated into our lifestyle so they deliver greater longevity, which is attractive for licensees and retailers.


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Where do you see “bricks & mortar” retail heading in the next 12 months given all the recent talk about online? Well let me start by saying that even though the whole world is going digital, we still live in a physical place. Consumers love to go shopping. It is a universally popular leisure activity. People like to shop with friends, interact with sales staff, touch and feel the products - we also like the instant gratification of taking products home right away instead of waiting for a delivery. Certain categories are obviously better suited to bricks and mortar sales - such as beauty products or toys - which benefit from physical interaction and testing. Children love to try the products and talk their parents into buying them - so shopping also has a deep social component. Many people are predicting that bricks and mortar stores are dying but I do not see this so drastically. When you visit a popular shopping mall or precinct anywhere in the world, you can feel the buzz and excitement that you can only get from a real-world shopping experience. I see bricks and mortar stores surviving the age of online shopping, but they have to re-invent themselves, deliver a great shopping experience and offer added value to the consumer.

How do you see the role of Amazon playing out in our business over the next three years?

What is your view on the emerging market that we see evolving rapidly in mainland China?

Well, we all read about Amazon’s statement that the licensing industry can grow to $1 Trillion in the next 10 years, introducing their own licensing program and looking for merchandising collaborations. Of course, Amazon has an incredible user base of hundreds of millions of users and want to make licensing easy and accessible even for small business and entrepreneurs and saving precious time for licensors, cutting the lengthy process to enter the market and to reach out to the consumer fast.

China has long been the number 1 country for the manufacturing and assembly of products. China is also the world’s most important emerging market, offering incredible potential for global brands. This is not only because of its huge population of 1.4 Billion people, but also because there is a fast-growing middle class there who love western brands and are willing to pay for quality products. China already ranks third in overall sales for the emoji® brand but we are convinced it has far more potential. Growth will be linked to political, economic and environmental factors. For example, China has been ramping up its green manufacturing which is already making an impact on global pricing. The effect of global trade wars may also have an impact on local and global growth in the next few years.

From a global licensor perspective, I can imagine that a direct program with Amazon will have advantages, but it is important not to cannibalise current licensing programs, maintain consistent pricing and ensure that Amazon and other online retailers crack down on trademark infringement on their platforms. It will be interesting to watch the development over the next 12 months to get a better understanding what the influence on our industry will be.

the emoji company will be at Brand Licensing Europe exhibiting on stand C50 or to visit

“I see bricks and mortar stores surviving the age of online shopping, but they have to re-invent themselves, deliver a great shopping experience and offer added value to the consumer.”


WE SPEAK TO JAMES THURLOW FROM JASNOR The Bugg Report speaks to James Thurlow, Sales & Marketing Director at Jasnor, to discuss the Company’s 30th Anniversary, their new logo and corporate branding, what they’re working on and what the future looks like for the team at Jasnor. James, it’s great to catch up with you again. For those who don’t know (and those who do) can you give us a brief overview of Jasnor and the Company’s history?

I believe that you have traditionally been more focused on the gifting & specialty business with much success, but more recently you have moved to the toy business as well. Can you elaborate?

Jasnor is a family business that is celebrating our 30th anniversary this year. Originally started by my mother Sherrie, over the last 30 years my father Noel, brother Richard and I have all joined. One of our strengths is a diverse product offering that includes traditional gifts, classic toys, contemporary toys, licensed stationery and more recently children’s feeding. Given our origins in the gift industry we have always been very strong in the independent and department store channels however over the last five years we have expanded further into mass, grocery and convenience channels primarily in the nursery, preschool and plush categories. Our diverse product offering really means we are a one stop shop and service all retail channels in Australia and New Zealand.

The retail landscape has changed significantly over the last five years, none more so than the independents. To be able to achieve growth we have needed to diversify. An increasing amount of our business is coming from our own development particularly through the preschool plush, children’s feeding, ELA’s and nursery categories.

As a leading toy & gift supplier who celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2018, what have been some of the highlights over the past 30 years from your perspective? There have been a number of highlights over the journey so far however managing the toys for two classic brands Beatrix Potter and Paddington Bear for the best part of 30 years is right up there. We have also now been managing one of the most iconic plush brands for over 15 years in GUND. Developing and manufacturing the Giggle & Hoot toy range during its prime was fantastic which also led to our first ATA toy of the year award in the Preschool category.

You have worked on some amazing brands over the years such as Disney, Beatrix Potter, Hello Kitty and Sesame Street, what have been some of the highlights and what continue to be some of your favourite brands to work on? It is tough to narrow it down as we have worked with a lot of fantastic brands over the 30 years however our long standing relationship with the ABC including brands like Play School, Bananas in Pyjamas, Giggle & Hoot is fantastic. We have now also been working with The Wiggles for over a decade which has entered another really exciting period. More recently working on the die cast vehicle and playset categories for the hottest preschool property PJ Masks. From your own point of view, you have recently been appointed as a board member of the Australian Toy Association, something Noel achieved earlier in his career. Working in a family business must have its challenges but also bring a lot of enjoyment. What are some of the keys to Jasnor’s success over the years as a family business? Same as any business really, trust and transparency is paramount. We try as much as possible to leave the family relationships at the door in the morning, some days it works better than others!


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As an Australian-based company, how do you continue to innovate and stay competitive in such a dynamic global marketplace of licensed products? It may sound as though I am taking a bit of an each way bet here however I think it is important that you stay true to your strengths whilst being open minded to new opportunities. We have many long term relationships with overseas principals that we collaborate with to assist in determining our ranges. This industry is so fast paced that you need to keep your finger on the pulse with regards to product trends and the hot licenses. Speaking of innovation, now more than ever it is extremely important to continue to change and move with the times. You have recently updated the look and feel of the Jasnor logo and your corporate branding, what does the future hold for Jasnor in the toy and gifting business? In today’s challenging retail environment I believe more than ever it is important to maintain our diversity. The right mix of specialty and mass distribution along with our combination of gift, toys, nursery, stationery and feeding products will go a long way towards sustained success.

Thanks for speaking to The Bugg Report James and we wish you all the best for your 30th Anniversary. For those who want to learn more about Jasnor, just turn to the centre feature pages in this magazine or visit the Jasnor website at



BBC logo © BBC 1996. Doctor Who logo and insignia © BBC 2018.Thirteenth Doctor images © BBC Worldwide 2018. Licensed by BBC Worldwide Limited.

Anticipation builds for the Thirteenth Doctor The universe is abuzz with the highly-anticipated return of Doctor Who this October. One of the BBC’s best-loved franchises, the long running action-adventure series is enjoying a particularly busy year with audiences throughout the world eagerly awaiting its return. The upcoming series has already generated plenty of interest in licensing with the introduction of Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, new friends, plus new branding and insignia. Excitement surrounding the brand and its new cast was evident at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con in July, with Doctor Who as the opening highlight of the world’s biggest pop culture event. It proved to be a huge success for the franchise in extending its reach, merchandise sales and generating buzz for the new series. The reaction from both fans and press continues to be overwhelmingly positive with international media jumping at the opportunity to speak with the cast and creative team. There were a number of reveals during Comic-Con, including the debut of a new trailer and Sonic Screwdriver, sparking excitement all around the globe. The new trailer gave the world a first-look at the cast in action, reaching 5.4 million views across social media in the days following its release.

Doctor Who products were also very popular at the BBC America / BBC Studios booth on the convention floor recording excellent merchandise sales. DVD pre-order numbers saw a significant increase with many keen to secure their copy of the new series. The standout item was the newly unveiled Sonic Screwdriver, a collector must-have,

Thirteenth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver

Series 11 1oz Silver Coin

it was the booth’s best-seller and ranked number one for pretend play products on Amazon. The new Doctor is also very popular with pre-orders of the Thirteenth Doctor figure selling out within two hours. Off the back of its success at Comic-Con, BBC Studios Australia and New Zealand is excited to release a range of merchandise guaranteed to delight all ages. Australian fans can get their hands on the Thirteenth Doctor Action Figure and her Sonic Screwdriver in October through Ikon Collectables, as well as other exciting products. A limited edition 1oz coin celebrating series 11 will also be available globally from 18 October through New Zealand Mint. In line with the launch of Series 11 in Australia on October 8, audiences were treated to special event cinema screenings of the opening episode. This gave audiences the chance to watch the feature-length episode on the big screen as well as enjoy special behind-the-scenes content, including exclusive interviews with the cast and crew. Series 11 screens Mondays on ABC in Australia, and Fridays on TVNZ2 in New Zealand. Following the ABC television broadcast, fans can switch over to ABC COMEDY for Whovians, the half-hour Doctor Who fan show hosted by Rove McManus. For any licensing queries please contact: Nicole Chungue | 02 9744 4570

Thirteenth Doctor Action Figure


TONKA POWER MOVERS - NEW With Tonka Power Movers, you take control! Assortment includes Dump Truck, Cement Mixer, Front Loader & Excavator. Power Movers is a new line of construction vehicles that dynamically changes the sounds of the vehicles as kids play. This rugged range of vehicles features new “Motion Drive Technology” allowing for fun and intuitive play that brings the action to life! Pushing the vehicle forward makes the engine rev and activates the lights; pushing the vehicle backward turns on the reverse sounds. The features activated by the child’s interaction with the vehicle create an engaging and realistic, TONKA tough experience every time they play.

SUNNY BUNNIES - NEW SUNNY BUNNIES is a brilliant new entertainment property that has captivated kids around the world. With incredible viewership on Youtube, Disney Junior Australia and now playing on free TV Channel 9 Go – Funrise is launching a collection of new toys to capture this interest. The Sunny Bunnies blast off in an acrobatic adventure with the Bunny Blast Playset! Push the launch button to see Big Boo, Shiny, Iris, Turbo, and Hopper soar out of the cannon. Will your favourite bunny be the one to fly the farthest? Bunny Blabbers Talking Plush Assortment: Big Boo, Shiny, Iris, Turbo, and Hopper each blabber beyond belief! Press the bunny’s mouth to hear them make unique and silly sounds. These chatterboxes are ready for fun and excitement! Collect them all to have biggest Bunny Blabber party!

HERO DRIVE FEATURING DC SUPER FRIENDS - NEW The HERODRIVE line is a preschool vehicle range inspired by the DC characters including Batman, Superman, The Flash and The Joker. Vehicles will be available in a range of sizes and styles. Mash Machines are mash-ups of kid favourite characters with rescue and urban vehicles including Batman as a police car, Superman as a Fire Engine, The Flash as motorcycle and even Joker as an Ice-Cream truck! The HERO DRIVE Batman Racer is the ultimate Batman vehicle for little hands. This exciting motorised vehicle features lights, engine sounds and music to bring the action to life! Push the logo on the hood for unique Batman sounds, and push it again to send the vehicle racing forward with its cape flying behind!

GAZILLION CRAZY WANDS - NEW Funrise’s whimsical, themed wands are great for bubble parties and are awesome fun for the whole family! Featuring six wacky styles, there’s a Gazillion Crazy Wand for every occasion. Simply pour the bubble solution into the included tray, dip the Crazy Wand into the mix, and strike a pose for a photo op as you blow a Gazillion bubbles! Each pack of Crazy Wands includes two mouthshaped wands, a dipping tray, and a 237ml bottle of Gazillion Bubbles solution. The perfect gift for getting kids aged three and up out and about in the sunshine!

GAZILLION BUBBLES Gazillion Bubbles is set to be one of this summer’s hottest toys and is the perfect gift for Christmas! Gazillion’s topsecret bubble solution blows bigger, brighter, more colourful bubbles than any other solution on the market. With an extensive array of bubble toys and machines, Gazillion Bubbles has been a premium bubble brand for over a decade and has something for every young bubble fan. In fact, with Gazillion Bubbles, you’ll run out of breath before you run out of bubbles, so be prepared for some fantastic outdoor fun!


™ & © DC Comics WB SHEILD ™ & © WBEI (s18)

© Marvel

CONTACT US TODAY! FOR OUR FULL RANGE OF PRODUCTS VISIT HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s18)

© Disney

™ & © Nintendo




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We Speak All Things Capcom with Michele Pearce The Bugg Report had the chance to sit down with Michele Pearce, Licensing Consultant EMEA for Capcom prior to Brand Licensing Europe. We covered all things relating to the success of their video games, eSports, licensing, global markets and the outlook for 2019 and beyond.

Capcom has had a number of game successes over the past year, can you tell us more about the recent highlights within your business?

With the continued development of the eSports platform, how will Capcom continue to be involved in this new and emerging development area?

Capcom saw an immensely strong start to the year with the successful release of the critically-acclaimed Monster Hunter: World for console and since then has gone on to become Capcom’s best-selling game in company history with over 8 million units shipped globally. At E3 2018, Capcom managed to surprise and delight fans around the world with the reveal of brand new titles in the Resident Evil and Devil May Cry franchises. The reimagined genre-defining classic, Resident Evil 2, planned for release 25 January 2019, stole the official Critics Best of Show Award at E3 while Devil May Cry 5 had new and long-time fans eagerly anticipating the latest entry in the demon hunting epic, launching 8 March 2019.

The Global organisers of Capcom Pro-Tour continue to host E-sports events featuring Street Fighter and this event platform will continue to be a major focus for Capcom in the future.

Street Fighter is one of the most popular series of all time and is still revered as one of the best in its genre. The series gave birth to one of the most colourful and recognisable casts in gaming’s history! Street Fighter is still on top form with the recent successful releases of Street Fighter 30th Anniversary and Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. The Mega Man legacy continues as the iconic character celebrates his 30th anniversary with the upcoming release of the long-awaited sequel Mega Man 11.

What have been some of the recent licensed product successes with your portfolio? Licensees and retailers alike are lining up to create and stock original merchandise ranges from apparel, accessories, homeware, bags, plushies and all sorts of collectible items and more. Some recent highlights include; new FUNKO POP collectibles based on full range of Capcom IP and new apparel lines from DIFUZED, Park Agencies, Fashions UK, Insert Coin, Rubber Road, Caprice, Roy Lowe & Sons and Dutexdor. We also have high-end ranges of statues from Darkside Collectibles for Devil May Cry, Street Fighter and Resident Evil, which will all be available in 2019. In light of this, Capcom recently launched a new game-changing European online store in partnership with Gaya Entertainment, stocking a wide range of new and exciting merchandise using Capcom’s catalogue of strong and identifiable IP. Australia & New Zealand is a key region for the Capcom business, what has been working in gaming as well as with Capcom licensing within the region? Capcom’s IP resonates strongly with Australian & New Zealand fans with continued success of key franchises such as Street Fighter and Resident Evil, but also exemplified by the particularly strong gaming launch of Monster Hunter: World in


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January this year. Some key highlights in the region over the past 12 months include Street Fighter V E-Sports tournament being held at PAX Australia in Melbourne last October and a high profile Street Fighter beverage partnership with Red Bull hitting shelves in Australia late last year, where each product featured a unique Snapchat filter. Ikon Collectables continues to market FUNKO’s successful range of pop vinyl figurines and collectables in Australia & New Zealand for Street Fighter, Monster Hunter: World, Mega Man and Resident Evil. Ikon has also been licensed to launch a range of Street Fighter gift items developed by UK licensee, Half Moon Bay. More recently, Caprice Australia has been signed for Street Fighter apparel with new clothing ranges launched in July and August in both Kmart and Jay Jays. Looking to 2019 what is the focus for BLE in terms of new opportunities which potential licensing partners should be looking out for? BLE 2018 will give Capcom the opportunity to meet with new partners and build on the successes of last year while expanding into new categories such as: promotions, beverages, music, online gambling and cosplay.


Join Australia’s b the Australian

iggest sporting code. Football League. The Australian Football League is proud to partner with global brands that deliver a world-class licensing program

AFL Licensing Manager, Stuart Mack or +61 419 563 638

Don’t believe in Never‌

FEATURE INTERVIEW We Speak to Julie Newman CEO & Founder, Jewel Branding

Jewel Branding recently purchased New Zealand based photography brand, Rachael Hale. It would be great to learn more about why this brand became an acquisition target for your business. We have worked with the Rachael Hale brand for 15 years as their US Licensing Agent and it only seemed natural for us to acquire the brand when Dissero Brands approached us. We know evergreen animal photography and utilizing our amazing creative team we are going to continue to develop on-trend content for new and existing licensees for many years to come. Rachael Hale has an extensive licensing programme around the world, including a strong presence in Australia & New Zealand. What are some of the key category successes and what’s next for the brand? Our licensing programme in Australia & New Zealand is very consistent with our key licensees in On Track (Seasonal Gift),

Henderson Greetings (Greetings) and Sperling Enterprises (Car Accessories) receiving continued retail support season on season, year on year. On Track’s ranges are a staple within Big W and Target stores at Christmas and Easter, Henderson has strong support from IGA and independents and Sperling’s car accessories ranges continue to be featured in Supercheap Auto stores. As we develop the brand and creative offering further, we are expecting strong growth from our existing licensees as well as attracting new partners to the Rachael Hale brand. You’re also working internationally with a very unique and quirky surface design brand, Bouffants & Broken Hearts. Can you tell us more about the brand and how you’ve brought it to life in licensed ranges? Bouffants and Broken Hearts (B&BH) is a design-based lifestyle brand conceived by US based illustrator and social media darling Kendra Dandy. We’ve had tremendous success licensing the brand around the world in a wide range of key categories

The Rachael Hale brand is the global leader in lovable animal imagery with an archive of 3000 images plus creative assets to ensure on-trend design for every product category. For Licensing Inquiries contact: John Vasta Black Mint Licensing Pty Ltd Ph: +61 (0) 474 083 343

such as stationery, apparel, gifts and high profile collaborations include Vans, Cotton On, Sephora, Skinfood, and Estee Lauder. Part of the success has been the fact that Kendra’s social media following of over 30,000 fans is fiercely loyal and engaged with the brand, and that echoes at retail. The brand is also so unique and authentic, which resonates with millennial consumers and other audiences. You can immediately recognise the B&BH’s fun, sassy and ‘lashtastically’ empowering art ranging from cheetah’s strutting in red heels to winking fries; all refreshingly unexpected and always conversation starters. We’re very excited about this brand as we continue to build some amazing licensing programs around the world with gifts and HBA products launching in Australia & New Zealand in the coming months, greeting cards, gifts, and back-to-school products launching in the UK and Italy, apparel and footwear debuting in South America next year, and a multitude of other categories in the USA. Customers and retailers are just loving the fun ranges and contagious art. We understand Cotton On Body launched a significant Bouffants range at the end of 2017. What else is happening in Australia & New Zealand from a licensing perspective? On the heels of the phenomenally successful DTR collaboration with Cotton On Body, we have a slew of exciting new Bouffants and Broken Hearts (B&BH) product ranges that just launched, or are launching in the coming months in Australia & New Zealand. Albi Imports recently debuted over 100 fun and playful B&BH products including trendy jewelry, drinkware, cosmetic & fashion accessories, gifts and much much more!

Bold, Quirky, Unconventional With a unique style, Bouffants & Broken Hearts is a global phenomenon and Influencer brand with a long list of high-profile collabs. Contact us to join the fun! John Vasta Black Mint Licensing Pty Ltd Ph: +61 (0) 474 083 343

This cheerful range should be hitting stores later this month, but the collection already received an overwhelming response at their showroom reveal in August. B&BH also collaborated with Nest Inspirations on a refreshing line of HBA products including lip glosses, hand creams, body whips & lotions, soaps, candles, and diffusers featuring B&BH’s sassy and colourful designs. The collection will be in stores in the coming months. We’re just so thrilled to be working with these best-in-class partners who have brought to life Kendra’s signature designs in such a refreshing assortment of products that customers in Australia & New Zealand will absolutely love!


©2018 Moose. © 2018 King Features Syndicate, Inc./Fleischer Studios, Inc. TM Hearst Holdings, Inc./Fleischer Studios, Inc. ©2018 Microsoft Corporation. Inc. ©2018 Apple Corps Ltd. A BeatlesTM Product. © 2018 Fox. All Rights Reserved.

Licensing the best in entertainment, downunder.

Taking BRANDS further

Consumers are moving beyond traditional merchandise and seeking engaging brand experiences. Merchantwise takes brands further by developing unique brand partnerships across all consumer touchpoints, from traditional merchandise and packaged goods through to digital and live entertainment.

Contact us to discuss your licensing opportunities in Australia and New Zealand. e.

t. +61 (0)3 9520 1000


Asembl brings product innovation to market and brand stories to life.

Australia’s leading fashion, lifestyle & FMCG brand extension agency. We love great stories, let us tell the world yours. |

THE MERCHANTWISE GROUP REACHES FOR NEW HORIZONS With close to a 20-year history, the Merchantwise Group is a leading brand marketing and licensing agency in Australia and New Zealand. Headquartered out of Melbourne, with offices in Sydney and Paris, the Merchantwise Group is at the industry forefront of creative and digital marketing, promotions, brand licensing and extensions for many of the world’s most recognisable brands. From its beginnings as a licensing industry support business in 1999, this one-stop agency has significantly evolved to the four-division brand business it is today, offering an unrivalled world-class service to its local and global clients. Each industry-leading division, Merchantwise Licensing, Asembl, Three Scoops Creative and Mashrlab Digital, comprises of experienced licensing, marketing, creative and digital professionals who live and breathe brands. Harnessing the connections between these businesses ensures clients receive tailored specialist expertise and capabilities to create unique and powerful partnerships. In 2015, having identified the need for a focused fashion and lifestyle branding service, The Merchantwise Group separated its entertainment and lifestyle interests so that today, Merchantwise Licensing focuses purely on the world of entertainment while newly created division, Asembl represents brands in the corporate, FMCG, lifestyle and fashion space.

“It’s an exciting time in the evolution of our business,” said Group Managing Director, Alan Schauder. “Several years ago, we recognised that each of our foundation businesses needed to have its own focus, identity and leadership to continue to grow. We also identified the need to target high growth segments with regional or global potential.”

Merchantwise Licensing Taking entertainment brands further is Merchantwise Licensing, led by Schauder and Licensing Director Kerryn McCormack, an industry veteran with over 30 years’ experience at international licensors, Warner Bros and Cartoon Network. Merchantwise Licensing is one of Australia and New Zealand’s premier licensing and merchandising specialists, securing and executing diverse consumer products, retail, location-based entertainment experiences, promotions and events. Merchantwise Licensing focuses on five entertainment segments: kids entertainment, film & TV, digital & gaming, music, classics & legends. Clients include Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Moose Toys, ABC Kids, Aardman, King Features, Microsoft, Sega, the emoji® company and The Beatles.


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THE MERCHANTWISE GROUP REACHES FOR NEW HORIZONS “We love working with some of the best film and TV studios in the world on popular franchises such as The Simpsons, Ghostbusters, Jumanji and UglyDolls. But equally, there is great consumer demand for brands and properties from the world of toys, digital, gaming and music. Nostalgia is such a strong influence on the market right now and retailers are looking to reinvent classic and heritage properties in dynamic new ways. We are also proud to support some great Australian icons such as May Gibbs, Blinky Bill, ABC Kids and AC/DC,” said McCormack.

Krispy Kreme: The Simpsons D’ohnut Twentieth Century Fox

Ecology X May Gibbs Homewares Northcott and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance

Retro Sonic Tees by Hannabee SEGA

emoji® Fashion Tees by Empire Apparel the emoji® company

Shaun the Sheep at Paradise Country Aardman Animations

Pikmi Pops merchandising Moose Toys


Asembl The new kid on the block disrupting the local licensing industry is Asembl. Spearheaded by co-founder and Managing Director, Justin Watson, Asembl has been aggressively expanding its brand extension services in the FMCG, corporate, fashion and lifestyle sectors, with an immediate focus on Australia and New Zealand and progressive expansion into Asia. Watson has over 18 years of licensing, fashion, marketing and PR experience across Australia and the USA, working as agent, licensee and licensor. He is driving Asembl to bring brand stories to life through strategic licensing and product innovation. As the sub-agent for global brand extension agency Beanstalk, Asembl develops partnerships for Diageo, the world’s largest premium drinks company, whose iconic brands include Baileys, Bundaberg Rum, Guinness and Johnnie Walker. Other clients include Energizer and TGI Fridays, as well as Scandinavian homewares brand Finlayson, the Nine Network’s Australian Ninja Warrior, the ABC’s Gardening Australia and Hearst Magazines’ Men’s Health & Women’s Health.

“It’s a privilege to work with global brands that are true leaders in their categories. We have purpose-built Asembl to manage the needs of fashion, lifestyle & FMCG brand owners,” said Watson. “The needs of our clients differ from traditional entertainment properties. Our clients’ content is their product so what we do must safeguard, enhance and amplify the core message and deliver authentic consumer experiences. It can take years to develop innovative products such as our Baileys iced coffee and Nespresso-compatible coffee pods, but today we have product extensions that delight Baileys fans and can expand throughout the world.”

Baileys Premium Iced Coffee Diageo / Beanstalk


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Baileys Premium Coffee Pods Diageo / Beanstalk

Three Scoops The Group’s evolution commenced with the rebranding of its creative division to Three Scoops, headed up by co-founder and industry veteran Andros Georgiades. Connecting design to strategy, Three Scoops is a creative and digital marketing agency driven by a multi-talented team of designers, writers, strategists, digital developers and media buyers. From branding, packaging design and cross-media activations through to full above-the-line campaigns, Three Scoops nurtures a project from concept to final execution. Having created integrated brand connections for many years, Three Scoops’ client list spans food and beverage, attractions and tourism, arts and entertainment, gaming, health and beauty, professional services, retail and consumer goods. Leading clients include Disneyland Paris, Gumbuya World, Jack Links and Wilson Parking.

Jack Link’s Jealous Cows Above the line and digital marketing campaign

Gumbuya World Branding and digital marketing

Said Georgiades, “Three Scoops is a very different business to the small graphic design studio we set up in 1999 to support the licensing industry. We now have extensive digital and social media marketing capabilities, with a team of developers and marketing personnel located in Australia, Europe and the Middle East able to provide round-the-clock support for international clients. Whilst we still provide style guide and product design services to licensors and licensees, today we can offer so much more.”

MashrLab Digital The Merchantwise Group’s newest division is MashrLab Digital, a technology business driven by Digital Director, Nassim El Beyrouthy who was a member of the team that developed HTML 5, the DNA of the modern, mobile-enabled internet. Evolving from Three Scoops’ digital marketing services, MashrLab Digital provides unique email marketing tools and advanced analytics to brands, developers and other agencies undertaking email marketing to customers. The company’s premium analytics service has already launched to customers online.

“MashrLab Digital is an exciting new venture for us, with a truly global market.” said Schauder. Our world class email tools and analytics are proven to be very effective in improving customer open rates and sales conversion. MashrLab enables great brands to connect with consumers more often, in dynamic and engaging ways.”



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DISNEY GEARS UP FOR BIG NEW RELEASES As Disney puts the finishing touches to their new home in Cremorne, in Melbourne, they are also gearing up for an extended period of big franchise releases and live entertainment offerings. Leading into the Brand Licensing Show in London in October, we spent some time with Meagan Sanders, getting her views on what’s in store for Disney, recent announcements and the state of the market from all angles. We learnt recently that Disney had concluded a sponsorship arrangement with Etihad Stadium to become known as Marvel Stadium. We understand this will include a retail store within the precinct. How do you see this partnership adding value to your business? The Marvel Stadium agreement is so much more than having the Marvel name on a banner – it is an example of our vision to bring our brands closer to Australian audiences and connect them with our much-loved stories and characters. The move will embed Marvel into the fabric of our market and the Australian vernacular. The stadium will also provide the more than four million people that visit, and the 40 million TV viewers each year with a unique and experiential lifestyle destination. This experience will evolve over the eight-year partnership to include innovative, best-in-class experiences for visitors. You recently announced an exclusive partnership with David Jones for a Disney retail destination in their Elizabeth Street store in Sydney. Can you tell us what franchises will feature in this initiative? The Disney franchises that will feature in the new children’s world at the David Jones’ flagship store will be Disney, Star Wars and Marvel. From late November this year, customers will be excited by Marvel-inspired New York cityscapes; dream up Disney Princess fairy-tales; escape to a galaxy far, far away; and take a break under Winnie-the-Pooh’s honey tree after roaming High Street’s charming premium boutiques. 2019 is looking to be full on for Disney for movie releases including Toy Story 4, Lion King live action, Dumbo and key Marvel and Star Wars titles. We are most interested in the long-awaited launch of Frozen 2, can you give us a quick snapshot of what we can expect?


Brand Licensing Europe - Edition 28

As you say, next year is a huge one for us in terms of our film slate. Much of the theme of 2019 is “new nostalgia” with live action reimagining’s of not only Dumbo and the Lion King, as you say, but also Aladdin and a second instalment of Mary Poppins - Mary Poppins Returns in January. It will also be a big year for Marvel, with Captain Marvel and the fourth instalment of the Avengers series as well. The momentum will continue throughout the year leading up to two of our most anticipated releases - Frozen 2 and Star Wars, Episode 9 at the end of 2019. The recent Typo activation featuring the Disney Collection was brilliant. Can you give us a brief overview of the take-outs for Disney? The recent Typo activation for the 80th anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a great success and a great example of how Disney brands, even those that are 80 years old, can be reimagined for contemporary consumers. It really demonstrates the deep love for Disney characters and stories. Partnered with the brilliant product designs of the Typo team and it’s a powerful combination - for example, the denim jacket from the line sold out within hours. What’s on the agenda for Mickey’s 90th birthday? Mickey’s 90th will be a truly global celebration. We recently announced that an interactive art exhibition, Mickey: The True Original Exhibition, will open in New York in November to celebrate his influence on art and pop culture. ABC has also announced they will be airing a two-hour prime-time special: Mickey’s 90th Spectacular in his honour. These activities will be supported locally with a number of family activations, halo product collaborations, collections and retail partnerships. We can reveal more details closer to the date. Thank you Meagan, we appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak to The Bugg Report.

1ST HALF KEY DATES FOR 2019 CAPTAIN MARVEL On shelf: January 2019 In cinemas: March 2019 AVENGERS 4: UNTITLED On shelf: April 2019 In cinemas: April 2019 ALADDIN On shelf: April 2019 In cinemas: May 2019 TOY STORY 4 On shelf: April 2019 In cinemas: June 2019 THE LION KING On shelf: June 2019 In cinemas: July 2019




John, to continue on from part one of this interview, can you update us on your business in New Zealand? Many years ago, Kmart struggled to find its place in New Zealand. As a team, we decided to review our product offering across the business and really listen to our customers to better understand their needs and wants. This consideration has resulted in significant improvement in the business, and next year we are proud to celebrate 30 years of operation in New Zealand.


Brand Licensing Europe - Edition 28

At Kmart, we are always looking for new locations to bring people everyday low prices and this includes New Zealand. We are excited to have announced three new store openings in the country this year, which are all currently under construction; Queenstown, Blenheim and Invercargill. In the coming months we will announce two additional locations, bringing our total new store count to five this financial year. Our online offer continues to grow stronger in New Zealand as we look to the future and strive to create a seamless experience for our customers.

THIS IS THE SECOND PART OF A TWO PART INTERVIEW WITH JOHN GUALTIERI For part one visit and read our 2018 Licensing Expo digital magazine! The last five years has seen tremendous change in the market, largely driven by technology and more immediate access to product and services by the consumer. How do you see retail changing over the coming 12 months? There is more competition than ever before, whether it be bricks and mortar or pure play online. We need to continue to evolve and remain relevant with our customers. Advancement in technology will play a bigger part in the customer decision making process. At Kmart we are finding ways to remove the pressure points from our customers shopping experience – online, instore, product experience just to name a few. Our customer’s expectations will continue to increase, and we need to continue to meet and exceed these expectations. How does Kmart choose products to stock? At Kmart we listen and stay close to our customers, by doing this we have been able develop inspiring ranges which are not only affordable but extremely stylish. Our aim is to deliver amazing products and a shopping experience that exceeds our customer’s expectations. Our team design products with our customers at the forefront, we curate a total home solution with a nod to the most up to date global market trends. How does your in-house design team look these days? We have a team of over 70 buyers and 50 product designers, we are passionate about bringing our customers ethically sourced,

on trend and quality products at the lowest prices. Over 70% of the products that we sell at Kmart are uniquely developed through our own proprietary sourcing capabilities that we are continuing to invest in. By using our own brand strategy, we are able to tailor unique ranges to meet our Australian lifestyle. In terms of brands & licensing, what percentage of your business do you see them representing? I have no specific targets. License has a role to play as our customers expect to see them in our stores. Our model will support own brand, licensed and where relevant national brands. Now that Amazon has entered our market, what is Kmart’s strategy to stay ahead? Our focus has not changed, we focus our attention on our customers. We listen and provide our customers with what they want and expect from us as a business, better looking products at lower prices. At Kmart we aim to deliver a great place for our customer to shop, whether its instore or online. We are committed to continuous improvement.

Thanks for speaking to The Bugg Report once again John and we appreciate your insight and updates on the Kmart Business.


GET READY: UGLY IS COMING! LONG DISTANCE LOVE SPARKS A ONE-OF-A-KIND BRAND UglyDolls started as a doodle in a long-distance love letter between creators David Horvath and Sun Min Kim and quickly became a unique collectible toy brand celebrating diversity and individuality. After an overwhelmingly positive response at the New York City International Toy Fair in 2003, it wasn’t long before these specialty store plush collectibles made their way into pop culture and shortly after, Pretty Ugly LLC’s UglyDolls was named the Toy Industry Association ‘Toy of the Year’. Today, David and Sun Min’s Uglyverse of UglyDolls brand consists of 68 unique and equally endearing character creations.

UGLY TO BE BROUGHT TO LIFE ON THE BIG SCREEN Sending fans into a frenzy was the announcement of an UglyDolls animated feature film, the first project for STX Entertainment’s newly launched family and animation division as part of a deal with Pretty Ugly LLC. In addition to the feature film which is slated for a May 10 2019 release (27 June in Australia), the deal extends to other content across various platforms. With a raft of successful family feature films between them including Shrek 2, Beauty and the Beast, Smurfs: The Lost Village and SPY KIDS, Kelly Asbury will direct the animated movie and Robert Rodriguez is credited as Writer/Producer. Centered on 6 much-loved characters, Moxy, Ox, Ugly Dog, Wage, Babo and Lucky Bat, the UglyDolls film will be geared to family audiences of all ages. Unconventionality rules in UglyDolls, the new animated family adventure based on the beloved toy brand. In the adorably different town of Uglyville, the free-spirited Moxy and her UglyDolls friends confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing because who you truly are is what matters most.



Brand Licensing Europe - Edition 28

BIG NAMES SIGN UP TO GET UGLY With an entire Uglyverse excited for the animated film, it wasn’t long before powerhouse entertainment names signed on to be a part of UglyDolls big screen debut. Music superstar Kelly Clarkson (as the voice of Moxy), renowned rapper Pitbull (voicing Ugly Dog), country music star Blake Shelton (as Ox) and global sensation Nick Jonas lead the cast of the film, with all four confirmed to also perform original songs.

“The UglyDolls’ universal message celebrating our differences and individuality really resonates with me, and when STX showed me how incredible UglyDolls will look and feel, I jumped at being part of that world. I can’t wait to start working with the team at STX, the cast and filmmakers,” said Kelly Clarkson.

UGLY TV IN THE WORKS STX Entertainment recently confirmed a U.S. SVOD deal with Hulu for a 52 x 11 minute-episode series of UglyDolls to be developed and produced as an animated series as well as the exclusive SVOD rights to the feature film post its theatrical run.

LICENSEES AND RETAILERS LINE UP TO BE A PART OF UGLYDOLLS Leading consumer products companies are lining up to be a part of the UglyDolls franchise, spearheaded by global master toy partner, Hasbro. Through its reach, international experience, and influence, Hasbro will deliver the world of UglyDolls to long-time and new fans, which will see the brand sold outside of specialty channels for the first time.

“Our roots are deeply intertwined with a profound love for the toy industry,” said David Horvath of Pretty Ugly LLC. “We’ve been fans of Hasbro’s toy lines for ages, and are great admirers of their creativity and aesthetic sensibility. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Hasbro and STX Entertainment on the UglyDolls franchise.” To date, over 70 other licensees have also signed up to be a part of the UglyDolls sensation. In the US and globally, the UglyDolls brand is working with retailers at every level of distribution to put together the highest level of cross-category support. In Australia and New Zealand, Merchantwise Licensing has secured the support of Caprice Australia to represent the apparel, accessories, bags, footwear and homewares space and Scholastic Australia for publishing. Also signed up are Zinc for a line of exclusive UglyDolls premiums and The Entertainment Store for live events across Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and the Middle East. Locally, the film will be released theatrically and in the home entertainment market by Village Roadshow.

“Australia get ready - ugly is coming! We are starting to feel the momentum build here for this lovably ugly brand ahead of next year’s film and toy release. UglyDolls really captures the spirit of our times, reminding us that it’s OK to just be ourselves - we are all “perfectly imperfect”. “With Kelly Clarkson and a host of other stars on board, we know the film will be a big musical hit. But beyond the entertainment, this is a brand that translates sensationally to consumer products and that’s the reason partners like Hasbro have committed a huge level of support. We can’t wait to see this powerhouse brand roll out in Australia and New Zealand from next June” said Merchantwise Managing Director, Alan Schauder.

Keep your eyes peeled, the world is about to get ugly. For licensing enquiries in Australian & New Zealand contact Kerryn McCormack at Merchantwise on +61 (3) 9520 1000 or visit



Over 20 years sourcing in Bangladesh, China, India and Ethiopia Brand and licensing supply experts Sourcing strengths in knits and wovens Inhouse design team Organic and sustainable sourcing Huge experience with major retailers across the world Member of BSCI, BCI and The Accord All factories pass our facility checks and are random checked Quality control system (AQL 2.5-4), QMS support in factories

For all inquiries:

FEATURE INTERVIEW Adam Meiklejohn MGL Licensing

MGL Licensing has become one of the world’s leading art licensing companies and has established relationships with a huge number of international companies both large and small. MGL produce stunning images for an array of merchandise ranging from Greeting Cards, Calendars and Stationery, to Jigsaws, Apparel, Homewares, Bedding and Sporting Goods.

From my experience, MGL have always been very visible and consistent at trade shows. Has this been a strategic path that you have set for the business and it’s development? It was always important that MGL had a presence at the shows whether visiting or exhibiting. We are one of the oldest exhibitors of BLE, having shown when it first started in the ballroom of the Hilton Hotel. As we have seen many of the shows diminish in size and attendance over the years we are now questioning whether these shows are as important as they use to be. The Art Licensing business has always been a smaller component of the overall licensing mix. How do you make sure that you stand out from the crowd? I believe that MGL stands out by having some of the best artists and designers in the world. We don’t just sell images, but also specifically create illustrations for client briefs, as well as develop artwork and designs in house. We are also known to be extremely professional, hard working and pride of ourselves on having an open & honest approach to business at all times. Your business dates back to the 1980’s how have you viewed the evolution of the Art category over the past 20 years? Back in the 80s it was the poster industry that were the biggest players in the art category. However, over the years other manufactures have realised the benefits of great art and designs for their products and this has opened up new clients and new styles of artwork.

MGL is set up to deliver a turn-key solution for its client. Was this always the case? Yes, we have always worked closely with many of our clients, being able to offer images from our library or specifically creating for them to either their brief or suggestions from our design team. I think this is our point of difference in comparison to many other art agencies. We have artists that have been with us for over 20 years, so they are very experienced and capable in delivering to our huge demand of client needs and expectations. There has been a lot of conversation over the past couple of years around the shift in the market toward Corporate, Lifestyle, Art and Museum licensing. Are you experiencing this type of migration in your business? Definitely, we are now getting inquires and signing deals with licensees that traditionally only would license big brands and entertainment. It does seem that licensees are understanding the benefits & longevity that great art can bring to their products.

“We don’t just sell images, but also specifically create illustrations for client briefs, as well as develop artwork and designs in house.” © Valentina Harper

© Valentina Harper

© Valentina Harper


© Archive by Portico Designs

With 70 artists and in excess of 30,000 images in your archives, is this a particular attraction to prospective clients? Absolutely, the feedback our agency gets from many of our clients is that not only do we make their lives very easy by having to deal only with us, rather than 20 individual artists and 20 seperate contracts, approval processes, royalty reports etc, we are able to offer a variety of designs to a wide age group onto a number of different product categories - we really are a one stop shop to the majority of our clients. In terms of appeal to your customer, what are the 3 most important services that you offer your client? A diverse image offering, bespoke art work and honesty! How does MGL stack up commercially when looking to initiate a deal with a potential client? Are you easy to deal with? We are very easy to deal with and try to make the process of the deal as smooth and efficient as possible. We are very aware of how some brands make the whole process of the deal incredibly painful, whether it’s insisting on business plans, lengthy contracts or drawn out approvals.


Brand Licensing Europe - Edition 28

At MGL we have streamlined all of this so every stage of the process is as simple as possible. For example, our artists abdicate the approval process to us, so that we can offer approval turnarounds in 24 hours… almost unheard of in the licensing industry! What was your motivation to get in to the art licensing business in the beginning? Art has always been in my life. My father ran one of Londons’ most successful illustration agencies back in the 60s,70s and 80s. The artists he represented supplied art to advertising agencies and publishers and I remember seeing these incredible artists at work and being amazed what they could create… I think it was only natural that I would end up working in a similar field. Thanks for speaking to The Bugg Report Adam!


THE BUGG REPORT GLOBAL INDUSTRY NEWS | DONE DIFFERENTLY Because there is more than enough mainstream “news” already we have no reason to repeat what has already been said. We’re interested in being different and producing original content for a new era of readers who are interested in actual thoughts and opinions. WE WANT YOU TO LEARN SOMETHING BY READING THE BUGG REPORT.



Our print magazine includes our most in-depth interviews, brand updates and articles.

Get all the our latest updates to your inbox with Bugg Express & News Bulletins.



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We’re on social media of course, so if you like what you’re reading here please follow us there!

DISTRIBUTION The Bugg Report is a B2B publication with a print magazine that reaches Asia Pacific, Europe & America. Our digital platforms allow us to reach everyone else in between.


THE BUGG REPORT 10 YEARS ON IN LONDON… The Bugg Report will continue its 10th Anniversary celebrations in London this October. We have watched this show grow over the past five years and enjoy coming to the Olympia each October. Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) began with quite a UK focus, however over recent years the larger global studios and brands have descended on this show to make it a much more global event. The Olympia building dates back to the 1880’s and its open span roof provides a wonderful backdrop for conventions and shows which are hosted here. We have met many wonderful people during our travels around the world over the past 10 years and we have witnessed the business change significantly over the journey. In more recent years we have seen this change gather momentum. (AN ORIGINAL PHOTO OF THE OLYMPIA IN LONDON FROM WWW.OLYMPIA.LONDON)

To be successful in this business and in any business you must re-invent yourself and continue to challenge the way you do things. We have always tried to be different with The Bugg Report and as we continue our 10th Anniversary celebrations as a leading B2B publication in retail, toys & licensing, we will enjoy our fifth year at BLE this year. We have been fortunate to feature brands such as Peanuts, Mr. Men, Hey Duggee and Moose Toys on our front covers. This year we are proud to have the global power house, emoji® - The Official Brand as our front cover feature for 2018. The UK has been challenged significantly over recent times with bricks and mortar closures and re-structures, however it has been particularly resilient in getting on with the job of accepting change and finding new ways to do things. This year Wide Eyes News from the Tube returned as a regular contributor to our publication. This article gives our readers expert analysis of the television and animation landscape. We are also looking at re-introducing some of our original columns including, Retail Spy and the Gossip Column... From a UK standpoint, we have been privileged to have someone of the calibre of Ian Downs write for us and feature on our YouTube “5 in 5” video interview series. Ian gives great insight into the market and current trends. ▼ Watch Online ▼






We are very proud of our unique approach to reporting on our industry. Our format of “global news done differently” has been a sentiment that we have followed from day one. We believe the people and the brands are what the industry really wants to understand and connect with. As the business continues to engage across many new and diverse platforms, The Bugg Report has moved to introduce an all-new YouTube video interview series called “5 in 5”. We plan to develop this service and feature many of our industry leaders. The Bugg Report also spends many long hours in the market investigating retail & brands, our Instagram feed will be featuring special images of what we see and how we interpret what we see. We believe our view is different and creative. We are also developing our presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. When used correctly these can act as wonderful conduits to connect with our audience around the world. We are looking forward to developing our coverage to focus on the emerging categories of lifestyle, corporate and art licensing as new and different subjects for collaborating with brands. As part of the overall licensing mix it does appear obvious that we should be looking to build on these categories to provide more choice and greater scale to the “brand licensing” conversation. Bugg will look to innovate in these areas.

The Olympia from the front taken from a previous trip to BLE

The Olympia from the side taken from a previous trip to BLE

We look forward to catching up at BLE where the new floor layout should provide an easier navigation to engage all exhibitors. Article by Tony Bugg, The Bugg Report

This year BLE will feature one level across the ground floor of the National & Grand Halls




As part of this edition of The Bugg Report Magazine, a number of companies that have worked with us over the past 10 years have taken the time to write testimonials to The Bugg Report. We would like the thank the following companies for their kind words.


Mark Kingston

SVP International Consumer Products Viacom International Media Networks

Happy 10th Anniversary to everyone at The Bugg Report. Tony and Matt are truly the ‘go-to’ double act for the Australian Licensing Industry. After 10 years working together, it is fantastic to see how far you have come. From Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to our number one pre-school franchise PAW Patrol to our Paramount, MTV and Comedy Central brands, Brand Licensing Europe will be a big moment for us, and we know that The Bugg Report will be with us every step of the way. Congratulations and looking forward to the next decade!

I never subscribed to The Bugg Report for the first few years. I assumed it was an unsolicited email from David Attenborough’s agent trying to flog his latest wildlife output. I eventually relented and was delighted to find a knowledgeable, concise, expert view on the toy business and on licensing, clearly showing the incredible passion Tony and Matt have for their work, as well as highlighting the strength in-depth of their contact list. By the way, if you find a spare pair of glasses lying around anywhere, they’ll be Tony’s.

Chris Isitt

VP, EMEA & Australia Rubie’s Masquerade

Marco Hüsges

CEO & Founder emoji® - The Iconic Brand

We love working with Tony and Matthew from The Bugg Report. They are fast and efficient and deliver compelling insights to the licensing industry. Tony is a great character and his magazine an opinion leader in the region. Happy anniversary The Bugg Report from the emoji® brand!

What an amazing accomplishment - 10 years of the Bugg Report in the notoriously fickle toy and licensing industry. Thanks for supporting eOne as we’ve grown our business in Australia - it’s always been appreciated and importantly it’s a real pleasure working with you. Your hard work and dedication to Australia toy & licensing is a real testament to you and the team. You achieve a global profile for Oz licensing that benefits everyone connected to the industry. Keep up the good work!

Andrew Carley

Executive Vice President Global Licensing, Family & Brands Entertainment One

Colin Lisle

Managing Director Lisle Licensing

Congratulations Tony and Matt and all the Team on the 10th Anniversary of The Bugg Report. I always look forward to reading TBR as it’s full of interesting articles not only from Australia but around the world. Tony has been a mate for over 30 years and I am delighted that he’s found a proper job! Seriously though, well done Tony and keep up the good work. Best wishes from everyone at Lisle Licensing.

Many congratulations to Tony and Matthew for conceiving and running The Bugg Report for a decade. 10 years is a long time in both the Toy & Licensing industries and in any business for that matter, yet they’ve remained sharp, informative, readable and relevant, as well as on point with local, regional and global trends and activities in the industries, all of which is pretty challenging to do, especially from their island base! Wishing you all the best for the next 10 years and thanking you for featuring Sanrio’s portfolio this year, on our journey back to the big time! From all at Sanrio, well done The Buggs.

Simon Gresswell

Chief Operating Officer Sanrio Global Limited

Ian Downes

Director Start Licensing Limited

The Bugg Report offers great insight into news , trends and developments in licensing. It successfully combines smart analysis with engaging features. As licensing evolves and develops it is important that the industry has titles like The Bugg Report shining a light on it and bringing the industry to the attention of a wider community in a easy to use way. They have recognised that licensing is made up of different constituencies and that new areas of licensing are opening up. I have enjoyed working with Tony and Matt but am always sure to check the cricket score before talking to them. I wish them all the best for the future.

Congratulations to The Bugg Report on your 10th Anniversary from team Pyramid and our friends at Impact! It’s a real pleasure working with Tony and the team, all the best for the future. Best regards. David

David Wootliff

Commercial Director Pyramid International