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Edition 34


FROM THE EDITOR

Welcome to the October 2020 Lockdown Edition of The Bugg Report Magazine! Brought to you by the team that has forgotten what the city looks like, this edition has some great content we think you will enjoy. We will let you check out all the features but rather than write something From the Editor in this edition, we thought it would be a great idea to check in with a couple of retailers to see what has been happening and how they have adapted to the new world. So here it is, some interesting insight from Andre Reich at The Reject Shop and Nikki Yeaman at Costumebox.com. Since this unexpected challenge impacted us, what is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your business? Andre — The most valuable lesson we have learnt is not to ignore the situation, and to be very open minded to change. First and foremost, our focus has been on our team and our customers and how we navigate the short term together safely. The longer-term approach that has worked well in our business is the process of — 1. Plan for the worst, 2. Learn from the best and 3. Then go for it! Nikki — That being able to adapt to change quickly and effectively as an organisation is extremely important. To that end, a strong and supportive company culture is vital for the team to have to the cohesion and spirit to navigate through the tough times. Also that great supplier relationships, with trust built up over years on both sides, are vital to helping each other through an economic shock like the one we have just had in the party industry. So while we are all working remotely, and haven’t seen each other in person for many months, strong relationships with staff and suppliers have never mattered more.

Managing Director — Tony Bugg tony@buggsolutions.com.au Editor & Designer — Matthew Bugg matt@buggsolutions.com.au Published by Bugg Marketing Solutions info@buggsolutions.com.au PO BOX 491, Berwick VIC 3806

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What will retail look like post this global event in your opinion? Andre — Who knows what retail will look like after this; it may easily go back to seminormal or it may be completely different... we are taking things week-by-week and sticking to our core purpose. Nikki — Obviously an acceleration of the move towards a greater percentage of transactions happening online. This has already happened this year but I don’t see it going backwards from here. Physical retail will always be important, but I think that strong online offering has to be an essential part of any physical store retail model going forward. What has surprised you most about your team’s reaction during this disruptive period? Andre — Optimism and resilience are the words that best describe how our culture has reacted... and it’s these traits that have absolutely got us through the uncertainty. Nikki — I wasn’t surprised, but I'm impressed every day with our teams’ optimism & resilience.

Advertising — bookings@buggreport.com.au Feedback — editor@buggreport.com.au Media — media@buggreport.com.au

How do you see the Christmas trading period, which will be upon us very shortly? Andre — Christmas will totally happen this year; though the shape of how customers will shop December will be largely influenced by the social distancing standards in place across the country this year. Nikki — Honestly I think its going to be huge. After the year we have all had, I think everyone is going to want to live it up as much as we can and celebrate close to home with loved ones more than ever this year.

www.buggreport.com.au

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.


INSIDE THIS EDITION

HeadStart Animation — Interview

06

Jasnor Australia — Market Wrap

10

Vlad & Niki — Market Wrap

12

Wide Eyes News from the Tube — Column

15

Toy Hobby & Licensing Fair to go Digital for 2021 — Update

17

TPF Sports — Market Wrap

18

Smiffys — Market Wrap

20

Egeez — Interview

22

Seafolly — Interview

26

Dream Big! — Interview

28

Active Outthere — Interview

32

Sally Pseudonym — Column

36

Building Resilience During Our Pandemic World — Feature

38

According to Downsey — Column

40

Only Watching for the Ads — Column

41

DC Fandome! — Interview

42

DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse — Feature

43

A View from Japan — Feature

44

Egeez Look to Disrupt Licensing — Feature

46

The Deserted Schoolyard — Feature

49 www.buggreport.com.au

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INTERVIEW

HeadStart Animation

Animation is another amazing platform for HeadStart's global plan and you can’t help but be amazed at the progress of a small Australian locally held helmet company that has been transformed into a globally recognised Toy & Entertainment organisation. Andrew Hendy — HeadStart International

Mentored by his father, Andrew Hendy has taken the reins and through innovation is guiding HeadStart International on a journey which shows no boundaries. Andrew has been the catalyst for numerous projects of recent times, which includes the Resoftables plush range, which has already been responsible for the recycling of two million drink vessels. He has also more recently launched a national promotion with Woolworths featuring a collectible range of Disney/Ooshies, which would compare favorably with any such promotion anywhere in the world. Fiercely supportive of his team at HeadStart, they continue to break records. Toys have always been about entertainment and Andrew recognized this early on and as a result, HeadStart Animation is another conduit to them developing and being in control of their own IP. We recently learned that HeadStart had cut a deal with Cartoon Network to produce an animation series for their brand BFF — Best Furry Friends. This series is now on-air in Greater China. We spoke to Andrew and posed some questions to him in relation to his current and on-going plans for an animation portfolio. Hey Andrew, thanks for your time. To begin with can you tell us a little about your new deal with Cartoon Network for a 52 episode series for Best Furry Friends? We have been delighted to work with Cartoon Network on the Best Furry Friends TV show. The first series aired last year in the Australian market on both Boomerang and 9Go! The remaining episodes will role-out through 2021. We’ve also aired in China on Youku, quickly becoming a top animated series after launch. We are excited to bring Youku much more content for the Chinese market over the coming years. In addition we have recently partnered with Toonz media to sell the content in Europe and other markets around the world. Understanding the history of your family in the Toy Business, what led to HeadStart pursuing the animation category? The process of creating toy IP is all about storytelling. We have one of the most creative teams in the world and we will be storytelling through the physical and digital worlds across our toy, animation and gaming divisions. Do you have any plans to move Ooshies into the animated arena? It has certainly always been the dream. We would need to work with our licensing partners to make that happen. By showing the world how good the content we are making is, it might just open a few doors in the future.

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View the HeadStart YouTube Commercial for MIPCOM here » youtu.be/gfKKBzaXzyk Our toy business is booming, we will have three TV series in development and our mobile gaming company, Cactus Studios, will release our first three mobile games on iOS and Andriod. — Andrew Hendy

I notice with interest that you have moved to develop a property portfolio to shop at the Cannes MIPCOM global animation market. Can you give us a short overview of your additional brands... What have your learned? We are sharing two new animated series at MIPCOM and looking for broadcast and licensing partners. The first is called Unicorn Girls, we have completed the pilot episode and it’s looking AMAZING. There is a real depth of character and storytelling. We feel that there is not enough good animated content aimed at girls 4-10 years old and after the success of our BFF series we are bringing something brand new into that space. Secondly, we are introducing Trever and the Tricky Tractor, a brand-new preschool series co-produced with Greg Page, the original yellow Wiggle. Greg is bringing to the table a wealth of experience as well as a background in early childhood development. The content is currently being produced in motion capture animation and will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before. With the proliferation of brands available on the market today, what differentiates your brands from the next? Having been heavily involved in the toy industry for so many years, we wondered why there was so much animated content for boys which was driving the toy aisle whereas girls were not being served much original content at all. Mostly the top toy brands such as Barbie and My Little Pony would be turned into animation but very rarely does a great animation present itself that girls can engage with and want to carry over to their physical world. With the architecture of the global marketplace evolving daily, has the engagement of the consumer required more innovative strategies to gain their support? I don’t think so, in fact I think with streaming services taking over it’s going to get a lot easier for small to medium content creators to get cut through. Traditional TV networks are limited by their schedule whereas streaming services can bring unlimited content to the consumer, it is then up to us to engage the viewer and have them coming back for more. What will MIPCOM look like in 2020? It will look like a website and lots of zoom calls. What’s 2021 looking like for you? Our biggest year ever. Our toy business is booming, we will have three TV series in development and our mobile gaming company, Cactus Studios, will release our first three mobile games on iOS and Andriod. Thanks Andrew, we will check-in on you again shortly to learn more about you plans both locally and globally. When you look forward and plan it is amazing how things go!

www.headstartint.com

www.buggreport.com.au

07


Outstanding Licensed Product

NEW NAME

SAME GREAT SERVICE


Welcome to: Impact Merch. has been a leading supplier of licensed merchandise for over 30 years. Known originally as Impact Posters, we’ve become so much more that we need a new name. Impact Merch. works with all retailers: from the largest Australian & New Zealand chains, to Mum & Dad shops via our national network of reps. We distribute from our Sydney warehouse - or directly from China.

NOTEBOOKS & STATIONERY

Get in touch to find out why we are known for Outstanding Licensed Product!

GIFT PACKS

MUGS POSTERS & WALL ART

AWARD WINNING DOORMATS

PUZZLES

Mark Davis National Sales Manager Mob: 0438 122 289

www.impactmerch.com.au Office ph: 02 9481 7344

Matt Walter Licensing Director Mob: 0410 714 673


MARKET WRAP

Jasnor Australia As we head into the busiest time of year, the team at Jasnor is thrilled to share many exciting new releases with you, as we continue to offer the very best brands, the most exciting trends and award- winning products. Earlier this year, we launched the amazing new WOW! PODS collectible range with huge success. Featuring a unique 'Swipe to Light' function which reveals a mystery image either on the character or on the inside of its Pod. These magical pods excite and delight and their smart interlocking system allows collectors to construct incredible displays with an illuminating show of light. The first release included popular characters from Marvel, DC Super Friends and Harry Potter Wizarding World, and now with a taste for WOW! PODS, consumers have been left wanting more! Luckily, in time for Christmas, we're adding much-loved classic characters from Disney, including Disney Princesses, Disney Pixar and Disney Frozen. And with even more exciting releases planned for 2021, including some rare characters for the avid collector, the WOW! PODS light will continue to shine! Hot WheelsTM Maker Kitz continue to be a favourite, with new additions tough enough to survive the race and even the gnarliest of stunts. Simply pop-out the pre-cut panels and assemble the tough snap fit parts. You do all the building but without the need for glue, scissors or batteries — making the Maker Kitz a winner for kids and parents alike! Mr Bean — This stand out visual comedy icon, translating seamlessly to all ages, crossing cultural boundaries, celebrates 30 years this year! Brand new and for the first time in Australia we are delighted to present a range of Mr Bean interactive plush to commemorate this special anniversary. Choose from either the Mr Bean plush with sounds and phrases or his iconic green car which plays the theme tune when pressed. Reflecting on the past year and all the changes we've embraced, we realise how much we've learnt. Virtual meetings, showrooms and toy fairs have become the new normal. We've juggled remote learning, working from home and come to accept little ones interrupting those 'important' meetings. So to everyone who has supported us during this challenging time, we want to thank you for your support. It has meant the world to us and we hope we can support you in the coming months in the lead up to a COVID-Christmas.

www.jasnor.com.au

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MARKET WRAP

Vlad & Niki YouTube's global sensation “Vlad & Niki,” is an imaginative live-action preschool series showcasing the everyday antics of young brothers Vlad and Niki. Australian kids and their families are enjoying the short-form streaming content filled with everyday brotherly non-stop live action adventures, creativity and tons of fun starring seven-year-old Vlad Vashketov and five-year-old Niki Vashketov. Dominating the preschool space "Vlad & Niki" have captivated Australia's youngsters with more than 21.6 million monthly views and more than 230 million total views. In addition, their global audience comprises of more than 54+ million subscribers on their English speaking channel and 120+ million throughout their 16 Channels, in 13 languages, with more than 5 billion a month viewing average. The inspiration for the series began when Vlad noticed the antics of other kids while watching YouTube and then asked his parents to help him create one of his own. The Vashketov family began recording and uploading videos of the boys during their free time on the weekends in their home. As their popularity grew, so did the families' creativity. Each episode is produced with an innovative mix of live action, animation and music to create comedic videos that capture the attention of the preschool demographic. Adding to the family-fun are the boys’ real-life comedic mother Victoria Vashketova and occasional guest appearances by their one-year-old brother Christian. The world’s most popular and fastest growing YouTube kidfluencer channels, "Vlad & Niki” was launched in English in 2018 by Content Media Group FZC, LLC, co-founded by Sergey and Victoria Vashketov, the parents of the property’s global superstars. The key preschool learning themes for “Vlad & Niki” include family fun, discovery play, home adventures, indoor and outdoor play, singing and dancing. In keeping with their imaginative and play themes, "Vlad & Niki" just launched new interactive gaming Apps and after the first week had more than a million downloads. “Vlad & Niki” has attracted global licensing deals with leading toy marketers Playmates Toys and Zuru Toys. Roll out is scheduled for June 2021. “We started filming videos on the weekends and within two years Vlad and Niki have now recorded almost 300 episodes that have made a global impact entertaining kids and families,” says father Sergey Vashketov. “The series has far exceeded our expectations. We could never have dreamed this big, with one of our biggest videos actually gaining more than 300 million views in 30 days. Just unbelievable!” Tom Punch, Managing Director for Haven Global, the global licensing agent for Vlad and Niki, says “The innovation and themes in the Playmates and Zuru toy lines are clever, and in keeping with the stories in their content. We are thrilled to see the calibre of partners who are coming on board globally for this brand”. "Vlad & Niki" received numerous YouTube Creative Awards, commonly known as Play Buttons, including a Ruby Play Button for fifty million subscribers; three Diamond Ruby Play Buttons for ten million subscribers; 16 Gold Ruby Play Buttons for a million subscribers; and 16 Silver Ruby Play Buttons for one hundred thousand subscribers. Preschooler and their caregivers can watch the comedic adventures of "Vlad & Niki" on YouTube at “Vlad & Niki”.

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www.havenglobal.com


MOST WATCHED BOYS YOUTUBERS IN THE WORLD SOCIAL BLADE – OCT 2020

ER T S A M S R E N T AR P Y O ES T T A M PLAY URU &Z

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REACHING 5 BILLION MONTHLY VIEWS For more information contac t: Anna Dupree at anna@havenglobal.com


CELEBRATING

25 YEARS IN 2021

•VIDEO GAMES •TRADING CARD GAME •ANIMATION•MOBILE •CONSUMER PRODUCTS

©2020 Pokémon. TM, ®Nintendo.

•TOYS •PUBLISHING •APPAREL •HOME •BAGS & LUGGAGE •ELECTRONICS •STATIONERY •STORAGE •HEALTH & BEAUTY •SHOWBAGS •POSTERS •PUZZLES •PHILATELIC •AND MORE

F O R M O R E I N F O R M A T I O N C O N T A C T: ANNA DUPREE at ANNA@HAVENGLOBAL.COM or +61 439 818 352


WIDE EYES NEWS FROM THE TUBE

FAANG (US) — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix & Google in the blue corner and BAT (China) — Baidu, Alibaba & Tencent in the red corner is turning into the battle of the super-giant technology companies providing social media and entertainment services across the internet. There is one huge distinction between the two groups: the American FAANG giants are dominant around the world, excluding China where they are mostly banned and the Chinese BAT giants who are successful in their Chinese home market and to-date have had little presence outside of China. But that is starting to change as witnessed by the incredible popularity of Chinese social media music app TikTok and the Western world’s growing concern of TikTok’s and Huawei’s presence in their countries. Since the launch of Myspace in 2003, followed by Facebook in 2006, US technology companies have dominated the social media and entertainment space on the internet to the exclusion of other non-US technology companies. China remains the exception because the Chinese government blocked all foreign media from entering and operating in China, meaning all non-Chinese internet services are unavailable including Facebook, Google, YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Bing, Hulu, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumbler, Vimeo, WhatsApp, Wikipedia and Yahoo (Netflix is not actually banned from China but as it has no local content nor Chinese distribution rights to offer it is non-existent in the Chinese market). This vacuum of social media and online entertainment services in China has led to the emergence of local Chinese technology companies filling the gap in the world’s second largest economy.

Three technology companies — Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, dominate the digital and social categories in China and are starting to rub up against FAANG in international markets. There are also new entrants into the Chinese market including Weibo and ByteDance. Baidu is China’s equivalent to the global search engine Google and it has a 70% share of search and the related advertising business in the Chinese market. Baidu also owns iQiyi which is China’s leading video streaming service and is comparable to the video subscription on demand service Netflix. Both Baidu and iQiyi are available outside of China and provide the global Chinese population with Chinese language search and video streaming services. Alibaba is the nearest thing in China to the world’s largest online retail platform Amazon. Alibaba controls 70% of China’s e-commerce market and is available internationally. Like Amazon, Alibaba also has its own cloud computing division Alibaba Cloud and echoing Amazon’s Prime Video service, the company is also third in size in China’s video content streaming business via its Youku platform after Baidu’s iQiyi and Tencent Video services. Tencent is one of the world’s leading gaming firms with investments in Riot Games (League of Legends), Epic Games (Fortnite), Kingsoft (JX) and Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty). In addition, Tencent Video is the biggest rival to iQiyi in China’s video streaming business and Tencent has stakes in both search engine Sogou and social media company Snapchat and owns China’s number one social messaging service WeChat. Tencent also owns the leading Chinese music streaming service QQ which is a joint venture with Spotify.

COLUMN

Weibo is a social media platform often referred to as being China’s answer to both Facebook and Twitter. Weibo is the second most popular social media platform in China after WeChat with its user base nearing 500 million users. With Weibo, users can upload videos, images, and gifs, they can follow an individual and read their posts, then like and share them, without being followed back. Like Twitter, Weibo is often the platform most often used for discussing breaking news & cultural events in China. ByteDance is the Chinese internet technology company that created TikTok, the global music and video social media app released in China in September 2016 named Douyin. TikTok describes itself as a Global Video Community with users sharing and creating videos on nearly any topic you can imagine. The app includes a wide array of tools, filters and music to make user-created videos appear incredibly professional, encouraging users to create content themselves and further engage with the platform. In 2018 TikTok was the most downloaded app on both Google Play and in the Apple App Store placing it above even Facebook and Instagram. All of the Chinese technology companies highlighted above are able to do business across all countries of the world, whereas non-Chinese media service companies are banned for doing business in China. It will be very interesting to watch as the Chinese tech companies continue their push into international markets and they increasingly start to bump into their US rivals, which we are beginning to witness with the problems being experienced by Tiktok and Huawei in many Western countries.

www.buggreport.com.au

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THE 2021 TOY HOBBY & LICENSING FAIR WILL TO GO DIGITAL AND WILL NOW BE HELD FROM MONDAY 1ST TO FRIDAY 5TH MARCH 2021

A Message from Alice Sanderson Executive Manager, Australian Toy Association The Toy Hobby & Licensing Fair is the largest annual trade fair for our industry in Australia and we understand how valuable this is to our members. The Toy Hobby & Licensing Fair provides a platform to forge new partnerships, build on current relationships, network with our peers and get a glimpse of what is hot and new set to hit our shores. The ATA is busy working towards delivering an engaging and exciting fair for 2021 however we also understand that the current climate is ever-changing, and we need to adapt in order to provide a safe and effective environment for our exhibitors and attendees to do business. We understand that things are unpredictable and in this climate and our mission is to not contribute to this. The Australian Toy Association is therefore pleased to announce that the Australian Toy Hobby & Licensing Fair will go Digital for 2021! This will provide a safe and effective platform for our members and guests to do business, source product and meet current and new clients. We believe that this is the best outcome moving forward and this is also the message we are hearing from both exhibitors and attendees alike.

It provides many positive possibilities that a physical Fair, while the preferred option, does not offer in these current circumstances. It removes travel constraints for both national and international attendees as well as opens up the potential for world class international guests to present such as ICTI Ethical and NPD Global. With the change in platform there will be a change in dates for the Fair and the 2021 event will now be held from Monday 1st to Friday 5th March. The ATA’s annual awards will go ahead as in the past with Product of the Year, Judges Choice Award, License of the year and Rising Star being awarded along with a brand new award to be launched — The Kids Choice Award. Proudly sponsored by Just Kidding, Australia’s largest and highest circulating kids’ magazine, the award will celebrate a new product released into the Australian market in 2021. Judges will be chosen from the Just Kidding Journalists who test and review the very latest toys for every issue of Just Kidding and Just Kidding Jnr. There will be an award presented to an outstanding product for kids aged 4-6 and a separate award for kids aged 7-12. This is a great opportunity for the industry to find out what products kids are going to be choosing next year.

“As Australia’s largest kids magazine, Just Kidding is thrilled to be partnering with the Australian Toy Association to sponsor and present the very first ‘Kids Choice Award’ for 2021. Complimenting already existing categories in place, the Kids Choice Award is particularly exciting given that the voting and overall decision making will come via a carefully chosen team of readers who are also part of our junior journalist program aged 4-6 years and 7-12 years respectively. Our collaboration with the ATA is one that we are proud to be a part of not only for 2021 but hopefully for many years to come”, stated Mark Holmes, Just Kidding Publisher. As with the Associations other product awards, submissions will be open to Exhibitors only and this is a benefit of being a part of the 2021 Toy Hobby & Licensing Fair. This is a time to adapt and the ATA intend to be at the forefront of this new climate we find ourselves in. We look forward to both delivering another successful and meaningful event for the industry in 2021 as well as bringing the Physical Fair back, bigger and better in 2022!

toyfair@austoy.com.au

www.buggreport.com.au

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MARKET WRAP TPF Sports (TPFS) is a global sports marketing and merchandise agency with an extensive history of 30 years. From their humble beginnings as the activations partner for the 2000 Sydney Olympics through to managing the reproduction of the AFL & NRL Fixture for the last 26 years, TPF Sports have established themselves in providing market leading eco-systems and end-to-end 360 solutions for their valued partners.   Their passion for working with kid’s participation programs like NAB Auskick and Woolworths Cricket Blast alongside their management of AFL and NRL membership club packs has seen TPFS handle over 10 million parcels comprising a mind-blowing 100,000,000 individual pieces of product, whilst managing, analysing, tracking, packing and mailing over 7 million lines of data coding. More than 65 Clubs and Associations have trusted TPF Sports to ensure their members get access to games, wear their club colours, connect and engage with their brand.   Their licensing program has given life to some amazing collaborations like the best-selling Holden Monopoly and Uno, a Tradie Bathurst 1000 underwear range and even the joining of forces between Holden and Disney’s Star Wars franchise. They’ve also activated some truly unique sales promotions like the Coles AFL micro-figures and more recently the Supercars Heroes and Legends of Bathurst Wheelies program with Supercheap Auto Retail.    Their experienced Brand Management, Event Merchandising and E-Commerce teams have managed world class events and activations for Australia’s most renowned sporting brands like the recent 2020 Supercars Bathurst 1000 Championship which saw their partner Red Bull Holden Racing Team take home the win. With offices in Melbourne, London, Hong Kong and Vietnam, TPF Sports not only have global fulfilment capabilities but they also pride themselves in being able to provide services in Intuitive Technology, Consumer Products, Membership and World Class Events. 

To find out how you can work with them, contact TPF Sports Email — enquiries@tpfs.com.au

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“We create the things that connect your brands to people and people to your brand.�

A Full Service Global Sports Marketing Agency.

www.tpfsports.com.au | enquiries@tpfsports.com.au


MARKET WRAP The appeal of licensed costumes to customers is evident with many licensed styles proving popular best sellers for Smiffys. The team are committed to providing on-trend designs, ensuring that individuals can bring the magic of their favoured character to life with realistic and official collections. In-line with this, Smiffys licensing department continues to expand and was recently given a boost when Sharon Poulter took over as head of Marketing and Licensing. Her in-house team is also supported by independent consultant Chris Isitt, who has over 25 years of experience in the licensing industry having previously worked for Rubie's. Halloween is Smiffys biggest season as we celebrate all things spooky and spectacular; it’s the biggest time of year for dress-up and make-up accessories for us. In response to this and the desire to bring favoured licensed characters to life, Smiffys have an extensive collection of licensed Halloween designs. Halloween best sellers include the Chucky collection- perfect for a look the whole family can wear with adult, kids, toddler and baby costumes. Smiffys have also created designs for not just movie buffs, but TV series fans too; the Breaking Bad collection has proved to be popular with its realistic appeal to the lead character. Group dress-up is always popular in Australia, with buck and hen parties and festivals providing the need for group dress-up. Smiffys have seen their licensed Where’s Wally, Grease and Baywatch collections sell well for this style of events as great group themed dress-up everyone can join in on. For the more fashion forward groups, the Clueless collection has proved to be best-seller with its official take on Cher and Dione- perfect for fashion forward duos wanting a look. Keep your eyes peeled for the new , more modern official Mean Girls and Peaky Blinders collections for those wanting all eyes on your groups as you re-create Regina or Mr Shelby for your take on a gang. Book Week is our biggest season second to Halloween as a firm fixture in the school calendar, it’s one of the largest Children’s events in Australia. Its popularity is growing throughout preschools too, as schools focus on the literacy aspect of the event, dress-up plays an important role in making reading fun for pre-schoolers and school age kids alike. In response to this, Smiffys have created extensions to best-selling licenses, like Top Gun, with toddler costumes and partnered with new licenses to bring the magic of dress-up to life. New for 2020, Smiffys hope to delight your little ones with their new Gruffalo, Zog, The Highway Rat and Stick Man licenses as part of the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler partnership.

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www.smiffys.com.au


INTERVIEW

We Speak to Nathen Mazri We recently learnt of a new entrant to the brand licensing distribution chain. As the industry continues to assess the meandering shift of the bricks & mortar retail platform, it is clear that the way we consume is definitely going to be very different into the future. With change comes opportunity and Nathan Mazri and Pascal Haider have assessed the current situation and identified an opportunity to offer a smart technology based solution for organizations to sell seamlessly to fans all over the globe.

www.egeez.com Egeez is a perfect disruptor at a time where companies who deal in brands are searching for a better way to showcase and sell their products and services. It’s a simple equation — sell anywhere, find your local fans, your e-commerce suite and effectively sell your overstocks. As this announcement was being made we were able to catch-up with Nathen Mazri in Dubai, where he is currently on-boarding retailers and licensees to his new platform. We asked him about Egeez and how it will change the business. Nathen, what was the initial inspiration for Egeez and why? Fat thanks to #Garfield for leading me to innovate a disruptive marketplace and raise seed capital not just to help the fat orange cat, but to help cartoons/IPs worldwide disrupting the licensing industry during #COVID19... who said there were no opportunities in difficulties? @egeezapp was founded during the lockdown in #Toronto, the new tech hub competing with Silicon Valley. I realized I had to embrace the digital era while everyone is at home! Eating and working remotely bringing death to QSRR era — (quick service restaurant and retail) as well as brick and mortars including @garfieldeatsapp my fast food restaurants, even though we survived for its popularity and fast gourmet food... it woke me up to shift. As an official Nickelodeon licensee, I understood the pain of global licensees trying to sell their merchandise and pay royalties to Walt Disney, Nickelodeon or other licensors. Licensees suffer from overstock and selling so I decided to help reduce their storage fees and connect them to billions of fans. #thinkbig So your portal becomes the engine room to sell and the retailer or licensee simply ships the goods anywhere in the world. Is that correct? Yes. Licensors/Licensees listed on the Egeez platform will only have to ship products — we take care of everything else. It's super simple and they can get onboarded today. Egeez becomes the Amazon and UberEATS for entertainment brands. We onboard vendors and curate the licensed products internally at Egeez by our Happiness Account Managers in every continent and no business in 2020 does not have an ecommerce solution or shipping partner to ship. They simply receive an automated order confirmation or snooze or sms or email notification and they ship directly. Egeez can integrate with their ecommerce solutions such as shopify, woocommerce, magento and much more for seamless fulfillment.

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NATHEN MAZRI —

WE ONLY SELL OFFICIAL LICENSED PRODUCTS VERIFIED BY OUR TEAM.

Nathen Mazri

Pascal Haider www.buggreport.com.au

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Infringement on IP is a big deal in our business, there have been questions as to whether Amazon and Alibaba properly control officially licensed merchandise. Have you solved this problem with E Geez? We only sell official licensed products verified by our team. Every licensee or vendor must provide their licensing agreement or letter of confirmation provided usually by licensor (such as Nickelodeon in my case for GarfieldEATS) to upload in Egeez client portal as part of the requirements. From the backend, all stakeholders (vendor, staff, developers) can see the blue tick which means they satisfied their requirements and ready to publish their products for end users. We can 100% guarantee a product belongs to the actual licensor before we publish products on our marketplace. If not, get 100% of your money back.

It is fascinating to be able to be sought after to help in this uncertain world.

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Can you explain your geolocation function to our readers? To connect billions of fans with global entertainment brands, we need geolocation at the forefront of our technology stack. We have developed a geolocation feature within our mobile app and web marketplace — that enables great benefits for our vendors and customers. Our geolocation feature allows vendors to sell globally or to specific, targeted regions of the world. Our vendors can manage where they sell — with just a simple click. More importantly, our customers are all geolocated from the moment they interact with Egeez. This ensures they receive the best content, products and marketing materials, tailored to their city, country, or region. This feature also empowers our vendors to track and engage with their customers on a deeper level. Our customers are able to search for products in their area, and our vendors are able to sell specific products to our customers per region. Our geolocation feature — geographically locates our customers, depending on which device or system they are using by routing addresses or internal GPS of those devices to determines their location.

So Nathen, you mention artificial intelligence as one of your features. How does this feature work? Alexa is used and listened to by millions of customers around the world — as artificial intelligence is increasingly integral to our daily lives. At Egeez, we believe our fans should be able to interact with their favourite cartoon or entertainment icon with their voice. We are developing our mobile app and web marketplace to be fully immersive with Alexa, with plans to develop this voice recognition technology with Google and Siri. Our customers can browse our products with their voice — and each time they do, we have integrated Machine Learning software programmed to learn, adapt, evolve and grow with our customers and their journey with Egeez. We're enabling our customers to search cartoons, studios, and even movies, directly in our app with their voice. We wanted to bring this data and reporting analytics directly to our vendors, so they can gain useful insights into the decisions of their customers. We're currently giving birth to the name of our voice assistant, we will keep you updated on this exciting news.


Customer retention is key, what tools does Egeez use to deliver this service to its clients? Access your egeez reports, sales, orders, and more to make enhanced decision making with your licensor, marketing team, & manufacturer as you learn on the go about your licensed products. Egeez also becomes their marketing partner to design social media posts and create engagement throughout their contract period. Egeez is also partnering with Clevertap technology, omnichannel customer engagement and user retention platform that dramatically improves customer lifetime value. Along with a global marketplace comes responsibility. How does your management & reporting to your customers work? Egeez’s have Happiness Account Managers in every continent today onboarding official licensed products around the clock from North America to India, Europe, Asia and Middle East. Licensees can Control their own licensed products wherever, whenever. Our dashboard provides vendors with advanced reporting tools, including full orders and offers access to statistics on your fans and reporting tools to impress their licensor. I really like the dedicated aspect of your platform. How do you think the industry will embrace Egeez? It is amazingly surprising how a good idea becomes clear and obvious. We now know we are on to something big and disruptive to the licensing industry. When licensing International says in 25 years, we have not seen something like this and holding conference calls with major Hollywood studios including Penguin Random House to onboard all their licensed books is incredible and we barely launched. Our target is to onboard over 100,000 retailers and licensees globally. We are in discussion with Smurfs, WWE, Purple Turtle, M&M by Mars, Warner Bros Canada, Garfield licensees and much more as well as licensing agents such as IMG representing Dolly Parton, Gene Simmons, Fortnite, Lamborghini and others. It is fascinating to be able to be sought after to help in this uncertain world.

I like your product-matching feature to a fan base. What's an example? As a fan, you can easily filter by cartoon, studio, movie and other filtering options to receive a wide arrange of curated selections as per your needs. You can also tell Egeez voice assistant what cartoon you love in order to find your favorite cartoons products. For example: filter by Garfield, and Egeez will curate Garfield products from food to apparel to toys, geo-located by various licensees in respect to their authorized selling territory. So if a licensee for Garfield in Toronto does stock Garfield merch but the fan is in Montreal and licensee has no authorization to sell to Montreal fans, then the Garfield products will not show from the end user’s perspective as part of the fan’s search list in Montreal to protect the licensor/licensee agreement and develop trust in the licensing industry as the official dedicated marketplace. Can you provide some quick insight into how your marketplace will manage the shipping of food products? As I do come from the fast food and restaurant industry, I thought it was important given everyone is now doing their groceries more than ever during this pandemic supporting the food manufacturer and licensees in the food industry as it can be challenging fighting for one shelf in Sobeys against Kraft as they work hard to pay their MGs and royalties. Egeez curates licensed food products such as GarfieldEATS big cow lasagna if you are in Toronto for delivery or pickup or Eggo waffles shaped in 3 Paw Petrol characters found at Loblaws or Wal Mart. We onboard grocery stores with an ecommerce and delivery solution and sell their licensed food products only within their licensed territory. Hello Kitty Café in Los Angeles can also become a partner with Egeez, for example if they do delivery. We are also looking into integrating with third party food delivery platforms such as UberEATS or SkipTheDishes to make it easier for restaurants who don’t have delivery drivers to onboard on Egeez.

www.buggreport.com.au

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Georgia Fowler and Charlee Fraiser will front our Summer campaign launching in November of this year.

INTERVIEW

— Brendan Santamaria

Seafolly

We learnt recently that one of the all-time Iconic Australian brands, Seafolly, had moved into administration off the back of the on-going global Pandemic. Since being founded in 1975 by Peter Halas at Bondi Beach, it has become a global beacon for fashionable swimwear and lifestyle clothing. Brendan Santamaria — CEO at Seafolly

As the fashion industry continues to be impacted by consumer behavior and the move toward online platforms, it’s a really tricky business to navigate forward and develop a plan that will bring a sustainable future. As time goes by things change, and with change comes opportunity which has been the case with Seafolly. It was recently announced that industry specialist Brendan Santamaria would assume the role of CEO at Seafolly to guide the business on a new path towards a successful future. We tracked Brendan down to speak with him in relation his plan to reposition the business for sustained growth and success. Interesting times Brendan. What attracted you to Seafolly? Seafolly is a brand rich in heritage, founded in 1975 and is known and loved by so many Australians. The brand was born out of passion and spirit and I believe there is real opportunity for Seafolly to become Australia’s most loved swimwear brand once again. Under your newly acquired structure, can you let us know what your revamped stores network will look like? I believe you have announced the closure of your Sunburn outlets? Our retail portfolio is now 100% Seafolly concept stores that will embody the very essence of our brand and offer our customers a beautiful shopping experience in store. The fashion category has been most impacted by the shift in consumer shopping behaviour. How will you address this to sure up your brands performance? Our aim is to grow our ecom presence and create a full beach lifestyle experiential service in our bricks and mortar stores. There have been many famous and well-known names, including Miranda Kerr, Kristy Hinze and Jessica Hart. Will you bee seeking a new ambassador for your brand? Georgia Fowler and Charlee Fraiser will front our Summer campaign launching in November of this year.

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We understand you recently acquired the Jets Swimwear brand from the PAS group. What was the catalyst for this acquisition? Jets has strong equity in a different segment to Seafolly, the resort space. It is also another Australian heritage brand, known and loved and has a lot of potential. I am looking forward to seeing it grow. Brendan, can you see personalized swimwear ranges forming part of your strategy into the future? At this stage, nothing is in the pipeline but that’s not to say it won’t be one day. Does your new strategy include the Chinese market? Not at this stage. Where do you see the retail model for fashion brands given the disruption that has already been experienced? Online will continue to be a key driver and shoppers will be expecting more experiences and one off offerings in-store. Do you believe that having a relationship directly with the consumer will form part of your new plan? Absolutely, we are customer centric, first and foremost. We notice that your new look has stripped out significant costs from the business. Where do you see the balance between too much and too little? We need to get the balance right to become a profitable business and some difficult decisions were made but we hope that will secure the longevity of this beautiful Australian brand. There is no doubt that unless consumer brands embrace change and address the new world already upon us, the changing retail architecture will continue to impact the category. We wish Seafolly as a great Australian label a speedy return to dominance.

www.seafolly.com

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"It doesn't matter where you come from, or how much money you have. If you have faith, a dream and you work hard, you can accomplish anything."

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INTERVIEW

Dream Big! Juan de Lascurain is an artist-designer from Mexico City who travels the world painting and exhibiting his work as well as licensing and commercializing his brand Dream Big. Juan is also a sought after speaker about entrepreneurship, design and inspiration to executives from companies, at conferences and expos around the world! www.juandelascurain.com

The Bugg Report first met Juan de Lascurain at the 2014 Hong Kong International Licensing Show. We spoke about brands & licensing and he showed us around his booth during this show. We were immediately drawn to his 'Dream Big’ brand and his unique style and colourful designs which serve to attract attention and position it as a true lifestyle experience. Juan began his journey way back in 2008 after previously working as a professional Tennis Coach. His skill to create was spotted by a friend, which led to him taking up painting and since then he has been able to achieve amazing progress with his brand. He lives by the mantra of Discover Your Talent — Dream Big — Have Faith — Work Hard — Give Back. He has travelled extensively speaking at conferences and helping people understand opportunity and to realise their dreams. Tony Bugg from The Bugg Report was fortunate to catch up with Juan during these very different times at his home in Mexico City. Tony posed some important questions to him in relation to his on-going plans for Dream Big and bringing his brand to Australia.

"I found out very early that the world needed positive voices to encourage and inspire others."

In the beginning, what was your overriding inspiration for developing Dream Big? My main inspiration has always been to inspire others to follow their dreams. I've met so many people throughout my life scared of stepping out. Many of them scared of what would happen if they ran out of money along the way, what were others going to think of them, etc. I found out very early that the world needed positive voices to encourage and inspire others. To be honest, I never thought I was going to start my own brand, especially since my background was as a tennis player and triathlete. But life has a way of presenting opportunities to you and if you are in tune with them you take them and never look back. Since 2008 you have been able to collaborate with many amazing global brands. How did you convince them to partner with Dream Big? At the beginning when no one knew me it was more complicated because brands want to know that they are going to make money. So then it was more of sharing my personal journey and giving them the confidence that I was going to be successful and not quit along the way and leave them without any support. The more my brand grew it has been more of showing them the potential of the brand, the designs and the results we've had with other brands.

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Your brand architecture in your home town Mexico is amazing, can you briefly take us through how it has progressed across all aspects of life in this market? It was 2011, I was living at a youth hostel downtown Mexico city, had only 50 dollars in my pocket and was selling some of my notebooks with my designs inside a local Starbucks. The manager had no clue I was selling in the back of her store, but one day I approached her and asked if she would let me sell the notebooks in the counter. I also asked her if she would let me put my paintings on the wall. She said yes, and that Starbucks became my first point of sale, gallery and my office. The notebooks were selling really well and people were also asking for my paintings. One day while I was at the mall, I picked up a Hello Kitty T-shirt and while reading the label, realised that it was a licensed product. I had no experience in licensing but decided to look into it. After learning the basics, I made my first deck and started calling the biggest companies in Mexico. Obviously I got all no's at the beginning, but I had a feeling that it was going to work out. One day while at Starbucks I overheard some people talking about designs and notebooks. I got up and introduced myself to them. I had no clue but they were one of the biggest notebook companies in Mexico. We exchanged cards and two weeks later I had a meeting with them to present the brand. A week later I had signed my first license with a minimum guaranteed of 10,000 dollars and a very good royalty. I used that money to get out of the youth hostel and got me an apartment on top of my office 'Starbucks'. After a few months I was fortunate to meet the owner of a local agency, Jaime Meshoulam who took a chance on my brand and for the next three years we worked together and signed all types of licenses. From a collaboration with the Mexican national soccer team, to cookies and other products. Then came licenses with Kleenex, Kotex and other brands and in 2014 is when I started looking into expanding the brand to other countries.

"After learning the basics, I made my first deck and started calling the biggest companies in Mexico."

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Your partnership with UAE, Dubai and particularly the Burj Khailifa is a very powerful endorsement for your brand. Can tell us a little bit about how this came about? Yes, that is a great endorsement and it has been an incredible project. It was 2010 and I was living in Los Angeles, I had been working on my brand for a couple of years but things were very slow. I had taken a job at a local Apple store in Beverly Hills selling computers. It was a part time job to put food on the table not realizing that one day the contacts that I would make there would open doors for my brand. One day a gentleman walked in the store and I helped him buy some computers. I had no idea who he was, but after talking a few minutes with him he gave me his business card. A few months later I googled him and realised that he was the chief economic advisor to the Sheik of Dubai. Years went by and when I started looking into collaborations in other parts of the world I realised that his company had built the tallest building in the world, The Burj Khalifa! By this time I was developing concepts based on the top tourist destinations around the world and thought that they could be interested in a collaboration. I decided to write Mr. Alabbar to see if he could put me in touch with the people responsible for the merchandising side. A year later the collaboration launched on their store with different products and I became the first Latin American artist to have my work displayed on the tower for their daily night show. We understand that you now have a stand-alone retail outlet in Acapulco. How did you manage to make this happen? Yes, that’s another great story! One day I picked up the newspaper and read that a Mexican businessman had bought the Princess hotel in Acapulco. Princess hotel is the most iconic hotel there which dated back to the 50´s during Acapulco's golden era when all the Hollywood celebrities were visiting. I had been there a few times and thought that possibly there could be opportunities with them. I called the office of the owner about ten times during a six month period but never got an answer. My idea was not only to have a store but to present them the Dream Big summer camp for kids and youth. A few months later I researched who was the director instead of trying to contact the owner. I called and got his email and just wrote him introducing myself and telling him some of my ideas. A day later a lady wrote me and told me that she wanted to meet with me regarding the email I had sent. She was the director of all the stores for the group. I went to Acapulco and met with her and eventually with Mr. Seyed Rezvani the director of the group who believed in the brand and the projects I presented that day. We launched the store a year later and also the Dream Big summer camp in their facilities. What is your ultimate vision for the Dream Big brand? My ultimate vision is to open a theme park, hotel and to continue developing inspiring content. From animation to movies. Also to continue growing my collaborations around the world as well as our e-commerce and retail presence. Another platform is the Dream Big sponsorship platform, where I want to sponsor athletes, maybe one day own a professional sports team. Dream Big has now grown to become a lifestyle brand. In your opinion what are its most valuable connection points with the consumer? I think one of the most valuable connections is my story! In 2008 I was coaching tennis in Beverly Hills, never had painted anything in my life and had no design background. I was at a friends house bored, doodling on a napkin and someone there was watching me. That person told me that I needed to paint. It was something that I was not familiar with, but I listened to her and two weeks later I had bought my first piece of wood, acrylic paint and the rest is history. Another connection is the theme of not giving up and overcoming obstacles. Especially today with the situation around the world. This is no time to quit or feel sorry for yourself. It’s a time to continue dreaming and continue working hard to help others and see your dreams come to pass.


Can you tell us about the Tucci umbrella project? The Tucci project came about to participate in the Art Basel art show in Miami beach. I had met the director of marketing for Tucci at a trade show and had sent her all my information. It was one of those things where they were looking to partner with an artist to intervene one of their pieces to showcase during Art Basel. I had a lot of fun painting one of their outdoor pieces and we also partnered with a local fashion and art school to intervene some smaller pieces. How has your global travel plan assisted in growing your brand? It has been the best investment. Without the last 5 years of non-stop travel to more than 25 countries and more than 100 trade shows my brand wouldn't be where it is today. It would probably be just a local brand doing well in Mexico. I like a phrase that Richard Branson says, "I didn't get to where I am today by sitting at home" so, every opportunity I get to travel and meet new people — I take it!

Now that Dream Big is coming to Australia how do you see it resonating with our retailers and consumers? Yes, I see it resonating with both! My first time in Australia was back in 1997 to compete at the triathlon long distance world championships in Perth and also a duathlon in Noosa Heads. I spent two months living and training there meeting some of the most amazing people. People that have dreams, that are go getters and that don't settle for just anything. So, I am very excited to have met you in 2014 at the Hong Kong show and to see this opportunity materialise in 2020! There is a phrase that I wrote after two years of starting my brand; when I had no place to live, very little money and many people telling me to quit. "It doesn't matter where you come from, or how much money you have. If you have faith, a dream and you work hard; you can accomplish anything." That to me is what I see in the Australian way of life. Thanks for speaking to us Juan, it’s a credit to your passion and commitment to developing your own brand. What you've achieved over the past 10 years is significant by any measurement and we look forward to seeing Dream Big becoming a strong and emerging brand in this market.

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INTERVIEW

Active Outthere Active Outthere launched in Australia in 2009 and is dedicated to bringing innovative outdoor products to Australia and beyond. Their focus has always been on supplying independent retailers with high quality, original products with a point of difference. The Bugg Report recently had the chance to speak to Brett Varga, the owner of Active Outthere. www.activeoutthere.com.au

The outdoor category has seen huge growth during the current global health emergency. The restricted life that we are all now forced to live with has given rise for people of all ages to find ways to exercise and create recreational activities that can also entertain. Bikes, scooters, skateboards and the like have seen huge interest. Just take a drive around your own neighbourhood and you will see countless number of kids and families getting around on these vehicles. In 2009 Brett Varga, after working with large organisations and learning about the business of bikes, scooters and skateboards, set up his own business and worked hard to assemble great brands that he could bring to market. Brett chose to focus on the specialist/independent route, where he could source, develop and offer innovative and different products, which truly created a value and quality option for the retailer and consumer. At The Bugg Report we love to put focus on new businesses so we contacted Brett and asked him about his business and how it has evolved over recent years. Brett, first of all, what inspired you to set up Active Outthere? It was a long-held dream of mine to own my own business and one day be my own boss. I also love the outdoors and promoting physical activity. I really liked the outdoor wheeled goods category and I knew I was good at developing and sourcing good products, so it made perfect sense to set up a scooter and wheel toy business when I was ready to take the plunge. You have added and assembled many really cool brands into your portfolio, how do they interact together? Our brands offer products that cover everything from very young children right through to adults. Globber is a family/lifestyle brand from France. It’s stylish and high quality and is great for scooting in your backyard, scooting to the park or to school or even scooting to the train station to get to work faster. Then we have brands like Grit, Crisp and District which are more at home at the skatepark in the hands of kids and teenagers. Within these brands we cover the beginners right through to hard core stunt scooter riders. Grit has had relationships with world champions. We feel we have the entire scooter market covered with our offering.

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I suspect that the new consumer is way more informed than ever before. Do you think they are now looking for quality, innovation and a product that will deliver? Yes. Consumers expect products that will last and that will handle quite a bit of usage. We love that our Globber scooters for example, are often handed down to younger siblings as the kids outgrow them, because they still have a lot of life left in them. People are becoming more discerning consumers – they would rather buy a quality product that will last, than buy something cheap that will end up in landfill in no time. We make a real effort to carry spare parts for all products to ensure ongoing support of the products we sell. Consumers also expect innovative functional design and the Globber range certainly delivers on this. Year on year the product designs are tweaked to become more comfortable and ergonomic and also more flexible; handle bars that come with several settings to ‘grow’ with your child, or adaptable seat heights that do the same. It’s this sort of clever design that makes Globber one of the most respected brands in the category. Our skate park brands are leading the way in terms of design, graphics and colours. Kids expect to be offered a lot of choice in this regard and we pride ourselves on delivering exciting graphics and colourways on top of solid, hardwearing decks and quality componentry.

Kids expect to be offered a lot of choice in this regard and we pride ourselves on delivering exciting graphics and colourways on top of solid, hardwearing decks and quality componentry.

We notice that you have the Ryan Williams signature scooter range from Nitro Circus in your arsenal, how has this performed for you as a brand? The Ryan Williams (RW) Nitro Circus is doing well with year on year growth in the independent channel. Ryan is extremely well known by the kids and a good clean athlete to the parents. Sales have been strong across both online and physical stores. The range is supported by toy, sporting and bike and skate retail channels. We’re expecting even further growth for this product next year. Can you give an insight into your family brands for bikes & trikes etc.? Globber is our family brand. This is a French brand that we brought to Australia in 2014. Globber has everyone covered. The toddler range includes the Go Up series, the new Explorer Trikes and the Go Bike range. For kids we have the Elite range, the Primo range, the Flow series and our 2 and 3 wheel electric scooters. For teens and adults we’ve got the NL series and the ONE K series. Everything under the Globber brand is really well made and cleverly considered. Being French it’s also a very stylish brand. Our world is spinning at an alarming rate, do you see the independent retailer coming back into prominence? I think there will always been a need for independent retailers. People want to support local traders. Brands want to support independent retailers too – they often offer the best trading terms. Online shopping is proving to be a challenge for many retailers, but those that have diversified to take advantage of online selling will be the ones that thrive in the future. Unless your bricks and mortar store is really well located, you’ll need to offer and promote online sales too. Having said that, nothing beats actually touching and physically trying a product, so I think there will always be a need for physical stores.


With choice at a mindboggling level, how do you focus your retail partners on the value of your portfolio? We start with good products. We don’t sell rubbish. We focus on quality products that deliver value and high rates of customer satisfaction. Our customers tend to be very loyal and our retailers benefit from repeat purchases. Our retailers know that and are happy to take on our brands as a result. We develop great relationships with our retailers and give them high levels of customer service. We also service our end users via our socials where we field a lot of product and distribution questions. We’re always happy to refer potential customers to a retailer. How do you see your category's progress once this current global pandemic has passed? The future is looking bright for the scooter market. Families have seen the benefits of outdoor scooter time and should continue to participate in family walks/scoots. Adults may want to avoid public transport and switch to short commutes by scooter instead. Teenagers are getting outside again and heading to skate parks in droves. We’re predicting continued strong sales in the coming year. How have you seen the progress of eCommerce across the market over the past 12 months? We’ve seen high growth with our online retailers. The pandemic forced a lot of consumers to buy online, particularly in Melbourne, and although delivery times could vary wildly, consumers have become more confident buying online. Online stores have also become more user friendly, return policies more generous, products are presented with better photography and descriptions – all making for better online shopping experiences. We also invest in influencer marketing which in turn drives demand for online sales.

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The pandemic forced a lot of consumers to buy online, particularly in Melbourne, and although delivery times could vary wildly, consumers have become more confident buying online. So what’s next for Active Outthere? We’re going to continue to bring great brands and innovative products to the Australian market. The Globber Explorer Trike 4in1 is a great example — this product begins as an ‘infant trike’ for a 10 month old and converts to a ‘guided trike’ when they turn 18 months, then to a ‘training trike’ when the child turns two and finally to a fully-fledged ‘balance bike’ when they’re ready. This will be a big focus of ours in the coming year. We also expect electric scooters to grow and we’re even expanding into skateboards early next year — watch this space! We really appreciate you taking the time to provide us with a great insight into your business Brett and it seems with the support of really great brands and some innovative marketing that the sky is your limit. We would really like to check in with you again soon to learn about your progress. All the best for the rest of 2020.


GRIT SCOOTERS

AUSTRALIA’S LEADING DISTRIBUTOR OF SCOOTERS, TRIKES, RIDE ONS AND ACCESSORIES

Ph : 03 9553 3447 info@activeoutthere.com.au | WWW.ACTIVEOUTTHERE.COM.AU


COLUMN

Sally P seudonym Sally Pseudonym is a guest writer focussing on what’s going on in the toy industry and gives you some general information about the ups and downs in the toy business. Guest Writer for The Bugg Report

Wow! What a difference a COVID makes! Year-to-date (YTD) the market is up 19%, however as it was down significantly in the first few months of COVID it has bounced back with a vengeance with some weeks as high as 40% up on last year... • The cautious among us may compare the sales to Black Friday/Cyber Monday last year where the Christmas sales seemed to have been brought forward... I'm more inclined to think that shopping habits have altered somewhat with jobkeeper, superannuation raids and the like which have freed up spending... no overseas holidays (and in some cases local holidays) and little spending on fuel have also added to the short term wealth. • Online shopping continues to grow, if you listen to Kogan, JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman... they are citing massive online growth and many bricks-and-mortar retailers are seeing online now at 15% to 20% of their business. Surveys are suggesting that even if not purchased online, 80% to 85% of consumers are researching online via their devices. • Depending on what shopping centre you visit, there are many casualties resulting in empty space. A major tenant is on-therecord stating they were negotiating rents as a % of sales... makes sense... the harder the Centre works to create foot traffic, the more customers in store equals higher revenues for the landlords. There have been some spectacular increases in brands and categories...

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LEGO is still #1 YTD with an increase of almost 33%... Star Wars and LEGO City are the big drivers followed by Friends,Technic, Creator Harry Potter and Super Heroes.

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Mattel is a creditable #2 with an almost 10% increase but sits at about 40% of LEGO's revenues to keep it in perspective... as LEGO's inventories wind down in December making way for next year’s releases, Mattel will perform far better in December. Barbie is the stellar performer up nearly 27% and Hot Wheels up a staggering 27%... Mattel have done a great job in growing these two brands... not so for Fisher Price however as the brand is down 7% to 10% on last year... perhaps Leapfrog and VTech are taking share? Hasbro is next and comes in at position #3 up around 14%. For the reasons described above regarding LEGO however, they should also increase share in December. They are currently sitting at 35% of LEGO's business and Nerf is the standout 23% up on last year and running at 20% of Hasbro’s sales!

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Spinmaster comes in at #4 with a 13% increase on last year... Hunter Leisure is in the #5 spot... Laser Command is still in demand! Moose is next on the list with a stellar performance... almost 50% up on last year. MGA are doing well, although they had no business in the first half of last year (as HeadStart was the distributor) and currently are running with an increase of 100%. LOL OMG remix looks fantastic in-stores... MGA keep coming up with the Hits! Little Tikes is also on fire!

VTech is resonating well with an increase of almost 33%. Crayola is also benefiting from COVID with an increase of just over 40% with Hinkler Books up 200% and a special mention to Crown & Andrews/Goliath... up 76% on last year. The consumer has certainly gravitated towards games, puzzles and craft... a trend that may continue albeit at a smaller increase as they again discover the joy of family play.


Year-to-date (YTD) the market is up 19%, however as it was down significantly in the first few months of COVID it has bounced back with a vengeance with some weeks as high as 40% up on last year...

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Frozen is incredible with a 400% increase over last year and as a brand only a little lower than Barbie, however it's having a huge affect on Disney Princesses. Paw Patrol is still doing well and is up (wheras PJ Masks is down).

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Dolls up just over 20%. Outdoor Toys up almost 30% as “staycations” are currently in vogue. Games & Puzzles are over 60% up on last year.

Bluey is incredible... equal to Pokémon sales, which have also been strong.

Looking forward

Nintendo Mario is having a great run... LEGO have done a great job with the product and the point of sale in store is very strong.

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Arts & Crafts are trending almost 50% up on last year.

Star Wars is a massive 80% up, fueled by great product and the series two of The Mandalorian on the Disney Channel.

Barbie will continue to grow...

Anything with an LOL badge will continue to do well... expect a 50% increase over November and December with the new releases!

Star Wars across all categories will strengthen... Shopkins has bounced back! Little Live Pets is on the Christmas radar... Transformers is having a big surge...

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Star Wars Metallic Boba Fet will be a wanted item... L OL OMG Remix will be in every girl’s stocking! arbie paint reveal B will be there as well... uru Rainbowcorns Z will do well... y Beanie Boos are T still very strong ...

Not much Tonka to be seen... it's all Cat... (good one George!)... PJ is in major decline with Paw Patrol taking up the slack... Peppa is strong in the Christmas lead-up... Ooshies is doing remarkable business considering how many were free!

Well that's it from Sally for now. I hope you found this an interesting read and have a strong finish to the year and a great Christmas! Sally

Get onto LEGO advent calendars if you weren't already (maybe too late but Nerf Ultra One is the big gift for christmas)...

www.buggreport.com.au

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FEATURE BY PINKY DAVID MANAGING DIRECTOR/FOUNDER @ PINKTANK ASIA PARTNER/CO-FOUNDER @ GOES ASIA

Building Resilience During Our Pandemic World 'Pivoting during this pandemic' is arguably the most frequently used phrase during our surreal days of COVID-19. As corporate executives and business owners, we all have been challenged to be forward-thinking and creative. We are reminded, time and again, that building resilience is key today, and would be the necessary quality. In Sheryl Sandberg's book Option B, it is defined as the strength and speed of our response to adversity. But with everything that's going on, where do we start and how do we even begin to innovate and test if we have indeed developed skills for this much needed ability?

Safety Fears: From social and political unrest to the global pandemic, safety and security is the great demographic and socioeconomic unifier. We are seeing a rise in collective trauma that is making the sanctuary of the home more important than ever.

WGSN, an authority on consumer and design trends, recently published The Value Shift, a white paper reviewing consumer sentiments and identifying new drivers that are topmost in today's changed world. Having an awareness of these and understanding them are most helpful in navigating our constantly evolving circumstances, both personal and professional, during these unprecedented times.

Deliver Wellness for consumers who are health-conscious and looking for holistic solutions, addressing diet, beauty, fitness and home hygiene.

Financial Anxiety: The tough economic climate will drive low-impact consumerism and a desire for products with purpose and longevity. Health Concerns: Wellbeing was already under the spotlight but add in the fear of physical and mental safety concerns – and with self-care a rapidly growing industry – it's little surprise that this is a critical consumer sentiment. The Loneliness Syndrome: A pervasive issue pre-COVID-19, loneliness has been driven by the switch from physical to digital connectivity and an increasingly desynchronised society. Post-pandemic ‘quarantainment' will increase, becoming a new multigenerational normal. Quest for Truth: Prior to the pandemic, inaccuracies and falsehoods became a battleground in an increasingly partisan and post-truth world. The Coronavirus has put a premium on truth. Keeping consumers reliably informed has never been more critical.

WGSN offered the following five Resilience Strategies: Add Value by creating not just ownvalue ranges and affordable lines, but also think multipurpose and multifunctional products — and for beauty and household essentials, go big.

Gain Trust for consumers who value truth. Be clear, open and honest about your supply chains. Take corporate social responsibility seriously and show you care. Promote Togetherness and inspire community spirit in both the real and digital world, through third-space opportunities and products that bring you closer to your customers. Offer Comfort & Reassurance in multiple ways. Recognise the home as the primary focus for work, rest and play. Add protective layers in apparel and beauty for life outdoors. These strategies can provide inspiration and guidelines for new business opportunities and create stronger brand values to build on that could resonate and positively impact across all areas of our lives. The challenge now is to connect the dots and make them pillars or tentpoles for your own brands' growth and businesses' expansion. We can all be part of this transformation and take calculated risks. The goal is to adapt and grow, add stability to any change and not wait for this crisis to pass.

We can all try to look beyond the challenges and remain focused on not only surviving but also on thriving and getting to the other side, wiser and stronger, too. For PinkTank, my licensing agency (representing character brands like Sega's Sonic The Hedgehog, One Animation's Oddbods, JoyPixels' Emojis), like most of us adversely impacted due to declining sales in retail, this crisis definitely bred possibilities to extend ourselves and embrace a new industrythat of interior design, décor, furniture and finishings. While holding fast and staying true to my passion for brand marketing, equity building and merchandising sales, I honed in on the concept of sanctuary and shelter. GOËS ASIA was then born to bring the best of Portuguese design, aesthetic, craftsmanship and quality products into the region. Keeping these strategies in mind and owning them as core values, we are more inspired to develop and curate a portfolio of brands and products that can cater to relevant needs of partners and consumers. While we now spend more time at home (indeed for work, play and rest), we are proudly able to supply and address the basic needs of keeping our homes beautiful, safe and sustainable as we maximize a life of quality in the world of our 'new normal' (yet again another phrase that will soon earn its place as the most frequently used words of 2020!). And on a final side note, Adam Grant, coauthor of Sandberg's Option B, recommends practicing and expressing gratitude to further build and strengthen resilience. Please visit www.goes.asia or follow us on Instagram @goes.decor to experience the Portuguese kind of sanctuary of beauty and wellness we offer our partners, clients and customers. Consumer trends and resilience strategies are sourced from The Value Shift white paper by WGSN.

www.buggreport.com.au

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COLUMN

Edition 11 - Adapting At the moment licensing like all industries is facing daily challenges and licensing companies are having to deal with challenges that no one has faced before. We are all learning. We are all adapting. The Licensing Rulebook was torn up quite a few months ago. The Licensing Playbook has also been rewritten. According to Downsey — by Ian Downes, Director at Start Licensing The recently completed Festival of Licensing was a very welcome alternative to the 'real' Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) developed by Informa in response to the ongoing restrictions placed on Trade Shows by the Government because of Covid-19. Informa had to change their business and their way of doing business. They did it well. The fact that the industry got together and 'did business' in a new way was a good lesson for us all. Clearly we all want to get back to a 'live' event in 2021 but in the meantime like all industries we have had to adapt and change. I was very encouraged by the meetings I had at the Festival and I feel that there is reason to be optimistic about new business over the next 12 months. However it will be a different 12 months and we will see different types of deals developed. I think it is essential that deals are developed in a true spirit of partnership with a willingness to work together to make the most of opportunities — in a post Zoom age I hope that that the Licensing world still sees a value in meeting, talking and sharing ideas. I think in recent years we were getting a little bit complacent and entrenched in our respective positions. These days we all occupy new positions in the Licensing landscape and I am sure most of us have had to revaluate things from this new perspective. I expect to see more collaborative partnerships formed where different parties join forces to work together to increase their reach and pool resources. 'Collabs' are a bit of a buzz word in licensing and can often be quite fleeting. However with real commitment there is great potential to create momentum from working together. There is a great example of this in play at Marks & Spencer at the moment. The Natural History Museum forged a partnership with the Roald Dahl Company to create a bespoke Kidswear range which is centred on Roald Dahl animals coupled with Natural History Museum facts about the 'real' animals. This has been developed into a compelling design concept and has a really genuine feel about it. It is a partnership forged with a long term vision. I am sure it was one that the retailer was involved in crafting from an early stage as well. Importantly I suspect all three parties had an equal voice in the partnership - and I am sure the Licensee supplier contributed fully as well. In my own work we have just helped create a partnership between two of our clients Aardman and Julie Dodsworth around Shaun the Sheep. Julie is a well established British artisan designer well known for her floral prints and patterns. She has crafted a design palette and patterns featuring Shaun. Together we have written a roadmap of potential products, retail partners and partnerships sharing contacts, business networks and ideas. It is a feelgood partnership with great potential but one forged on trust and good communication. I think it also the moment that Licensing needs to embrace new ways of selling and engaging with consumers. Print on demand sites, crowdfunding and subscription services are all routes to market that can open up licensing opportunities. We need to be open minded about where deals can happen. Licensing is a network business that was has a strong entrepreneurial spirit running through it. My first bosses in licensing were David Cardwell and Richard Culley the co-founders of Copyright Promotions. They found success by finding fresh ways to bring IP alive in the commercial world. They encouraged us to nurture relationships, find new outlets for licensing and create value in the licensing process. I often think back to those days and the lessons I learnt from two of the industry's pioneers. They have stood me in good stead in my career and particularly in recent times. We need to work together to make licensing work.

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COLUMN

Only Watching for the Ads

HOW ADVERTISING IS ADAPTING TO COVID-19 By David Born — Director of Born Licensing Like most industries, the advertising world has had to pause and learn how to deal with the new parameters 2020 has created for them. At Born Licensing we have had a number of incredibly impressive scripts featuring licensed IP in creative ways which have either been put on hold indefinitely or cancelled entirely. Some of those were due to the impossibility of shooting the script. A lot of the bigger projects we work on are significant productions with over a hundred people on set, something that is extremely difficult if not impossible to happen with the social distancing measures in place around the world. Others were simply because the advertiser wanted to shift the creative to be more reactive to what was happening in the world. Very quickly an abundance of adverts appeared showing empty streets with piano music from companies we never knew cared about us so much. It wasn’t long before someone had created a video mash up of COVID-19 themed adverts that seemed to all blend into one. The same flow, same messaging and not enjoyable to watch for those viewers who turn to television and other media platforms for a source of escapism. Not only were their lives being upended with lockdowns, face masks and restrictions, they couldn’t even watch advertising without being reminded of it. Enter Snoop Dog. A veteran when it comes to advertising, the rap star appeared in a smooth campaign for Just Eat (or MenuLog in Australia) that demanded you to nod along to. And most importantly – no mention of COVID-19 whatsoever! This campaign was a huge success and was celebrated by both the advertising industry and amongst consumers. Although it involved the use of a celebrity rather than the licensing of IP, I believe it was the turning point, giving permission for advertisers to start considering campaigns that were not related to COVID-19. Around that time our phone started ringing with enquiries coming in almost at the level we experienced prior to COVID-19. With advertisers ready to start considering more creative scripts, the challenge still remains of how a major advertising production can take place given the current social distancing measures and travel restrictions in place. At Born Licensing we’ve found the briefs and scripts submitted to us over the last 6 months focused more on the use of existing IP assets, rather than in scripts that require major shoots such as the Moneysupermarket campaigns with He-Man and Skeletor or the Direct Line campaign with Donatello, Bumblebee and RoboCop which I discussed in the previous edition; The Bugg Report Magazine — Edition 33 (Page 42-43).

www.bornlicensing.com

One example was when US based agency came to us with a brief for Ritz Crackers. They wanted to license a clip showing a group of well-known characters hugging. We presented a number of ideas to them and they selected a fun clip of Squidward, SpongeBob, Patrick and other SpongeBob SquarePants characters hugging it out. We also worked with Samsung’s creative agency who wanted to license gameplay from a well-known app. We shared with them a number of options and they selected Candy Crush Saga. We’re also just about to launch a Christmas campaign which licenses a clip from a well-known Christmas film. It’s great to see the licensing of IP still being popular in advertising despite the challenges faced over the course of 2020. The good news is that over the last month or so we’ve started to see a big increase in briefs and scripts which involve major advertising productions. Although it will be some time before things go back to ‘normal’, it looks like the industry had adapted. If there was ever an indication of advertising returning to top notch creativity and capable of major production, it’s hard to look past the new incredible spot for Advance Auto Parts that you may have already seen. We see the return of Bruce Willis as John McClane from Die Hard in an action packed 2-minute spot. Google it – it’s brilliant! We want to see more of this. If the briefs we’re getting are any indication, there will be some more amazing campaigns that license IP just around the corner!

www.buggreport.com.au

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INTERVIEW

DC Fandome! The Bugg Report had the chance to speak to Andrew Bromell, Executive Director at Warner Bros. Consumer Products Australia & New Zealand, about all things DC FanDome in-time for the launch of the second event on September 12th. Andrew, I am sure nobody has missed it but can you give us an overall update and insight into DC FanDome? The idea for DC FanDome first sparked in April, soon after most of the world had effectively shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With the cancellation of San Diego Comic-Con in particular, the Studio knew that the traditional methods of fan event would not be happening for the foreseeable future. We wanted to figure out how to fill that vacuum. What could we invent to really put the fans at the center of an experience that could be dynamic and meaningful to them? Senior leaders across the business engaged with as many marketing employees as they could find across every division of the company that drew from DC — film, TV, video games, comic books and consumer marketing — to come up with a way of recreating a fan event on a virtual stage. The team quickly resolved to make the event global, broadcasting in nine languages — English, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, French, German and Italian — and streaming over 24 hours to allow all audiences a chance to watch the content at a suitable time. They decided they needed to make the event as visually dynamic as possible. What we ended up with was a 3D virtual Hall of Heroes stage designed by DC Chief Creative Officer and DC legend, Jim Lee. This became part 1 of DC FanDome, named “Hall of Heroes”. The first event was a real success and created a buzz! What can fans expect for the second event? We really wanted to put together an event that would super-serve the fans, and it did. In fact, we have a second part to the DC FanDome experience “Explore the Multiverse” debuting on Sept. 12 (Sept 13 AEST) This will be an on-demand event, with all panels and programming going live at once, allowing viewers to curate their own experience over another 24-hour period. With the huge success of Part 1 “Hall of Heroes”, this “Explore the Multiverse” Part 2 is sure to be equally as special.

It's crazy to think that content of this quality has been offered for free! And it seems super-popular with a really positive response across social. Correct. There is no way a physical event could have matched DC FanDome’s Global scope and breadth of talent. I love that we reached a lot of fans around the world that we wouldn’t normally be able to reach. We were able to have questions from India answered, or artwork looked at from the Philippines or South Africa by the talent. On the Social side, I can tell you that the social sentiment was outstandingly positive. Total worldwide social conversation volume reached millions of posts and the commitment to making content accessible for fans around the world paid off, with DC FanDome and related DC brands trending in 53 countries on Twitter and 82 countries on YouTube.

And you knew this question was coming... who is your favourite DC character? Great question and not easy to answer with such a breadth of DC Super Heroes and SuperVillains. I know you’re a massive Joker fan Tony, but I’d have to say Superman. You can’t pass on his strength, speed, ability to fly, love of humanity – and it may also be the Clark Kent part: the idea that all of us are so plain, so ordinary but when there’s moments that count – we want to rip open our shirts and do something better for this world. Haven’t we seen this exhibited in 2020 of all years?

So Andrew, what’s your favourite segment of the DC FanDome? Well, I did enjoy Lynda Carter’s surprise appearance on the Wonder Woman panel and The Rock (perfect casting by the way) introducing the Black Adam movie. In addition, and perhaps not a favourite segment but my favourite aspect of DC FanDome was DC’s commitment to diverse storytelling; demonstrated by the Bawse panel, the relaunch of Milestone Comics, the news that a Static Shock film is in development, John Ridley’s announcement about the new Batman series, as well as the diverse cast in Black Adam and The Batman, was met with praise by myself, fans and press.

With over 22 million viewers during the 24 hours of the first FanDome, can we expect more releases like this from DC in the future? I think so. WarnerMedia is leaning in to Digital and Direct to Consumer like never before… watch this space!

Imagine how awesome a physical version of the FanDome would be as well… almost like a theme park. What do you think? Yes, it would be very cool. Perhaps a cross between DC’s Hall of Justice and Avatar’s Pandora right?

Batman by John Ridley

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FEATURE

DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse After a hugely successful debut in August with DC FanDome — a free virtual fan experience, September saw the return of the Fandome with DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse. Fans were able to go deeper into the DC Multiverse than ever before during a second day of insights, fun and surprises from the stars and creators behind DC’s biggest movies, shows, comics, games and more... and from DC fans worldwide. DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse was a self-guided journey into everything fans love about DC, featuring over 100 hours of exclusive content available free to fans everywhere for 24 hours. DC FanDome — the first-of-its-kind virtual experience for DC superfans globally — became too massive to contain in the four dimensions of only a single day on Earth-Prime! Not even The Flash could get through the entire 100+ hours of programming in 24 hours and with hours upon hours of content and choices of what to watch and explore, DC fans (including DC's Jim Lee himself!) clamored for a way to access more of what DC FanDome has to offer. So, in order to super-serve the world's finest fans, DC FanDome was transformed into a two-part event: the eight-hour DC FanDome: Hall of Heroes show on Saturday, August 22, followed three weeks later by DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse, a 24-hour, on-demand experience accessed via the DCFanDome.com program scheduler on Saturday, September 12. "This is an incredible way to deliver for our fans and offer them twice the DC FanDome experience," said Jim Lee. "Seeing all the feedback in real time on social media, we realized that the only way to do 'Justice' to DC FanDome was to allow it to evolve and expand into two unique events."

DC MASTERCLASS DC MasterClass was a hands on learning for aspiring writers and artists including DC Multiverse: Comics MasterClass, DC Graphic Novel MasterClass and DC Graphic Novel MasterClass.

FEATURED PANELS Batman: The Joker War featuring Ben Abernathy (moderator) and James Tynion IV, John Ridley, Cecil Castellucci, Jorge Jimenez and Dan Jurgens Batman: Three Jokers featuring Amy Dallen (moderator), Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok GLSEN Presents: You Brought Me the Ocean with writer Alex Sanchez John Ridley and The Other History of the DC Universe featuring Evan Narcisse, John Ridley Mostly DCeased featuring Tom Taylor, Trevor Hairsine, Karl Mostert, Jessica Chen and Ben Abernathy (moderator) Superman: An Enduring Symbol of Hope featuring Brian Michael Bendis, Gene Luen Yang, Dan Jurgens New Voices of Wonder Woman featuring Laurie Halse Anderson, Victoria Ying, L.L. McKinney, Vita Ayala, Marieke Nijkamp Reintroducing Nubia: The Black Amazonian Queen featuring L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith Teen Titans: Spotlight on Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo The Expansion of DC’s Watchmen Universe featuring Tom King, Jorge Fornés and Damon Lindelof (moderator) Take A Tour of DC’s Death Metal Metalverse featuring Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Christopher Priest, Jamal Igle, Joelle Jones, Khary Randolph, Riley Rossmo and Marie Javins (moderator)

www.buggreport.com.au

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FEATURE

A View From Japan Like most of the world, Japan is struggling along and trying to cope with the Pandemic. As the seriousness of the crisis began to make itself known, Japanese lawmakers swiftly concluded that many of the steps being considered or taken in other countries (obligatory wearing of masks, travel restrictions, stay at home orders, etc.) would be in highly controversial under the terms of the Japanese constitution. By David Buckley Recently Retired — President, Copyrights Asia Ltd. Instead, states of emergency have been temporarily declared, relaxed, and occasionally re-instated in many of Japan’s 47 prefectures. The various governors operating in the affected prefectures can and do “strongly request “ that individuals and businesses act with “jishuku” (self-restraint) in going about their lives and work. The result has been a sort of “soft lockdown” under which most of the country has voluntarily refrained from many of their normal activities and with shops and restaurants temporarily closing or operating under restricted hours while urging social distancing. Most office workers have been granted permission to work from home at least part of the time. With no regulations in place there are no penalties to be mandated. From a health point of view, social pressure seems to be enough to contain the worst effects of the coronavirus and its spread (as of the end of September, fewer than 2,000 deaths due to the pandemic have been recorded). However, and again like most of the world, the effects on retail in general and on licensing in particular have been severe. E-commerce was already well developed and popular in Japan and it seems to be unique in claiming some growth. Unfortunately, brick-and-mortar retailers are suffering from lack of customer traffic as customers stay home or make only brief forays into shopping areas to make pre-planned purchases or to grab a quick bite. A recent visit to a very large shopping mall near Tokyo on a usually very busy Friday afternoon found most shops empty except for masked store clerks and the normally clogged corridors largely abandoned, the few customers present were sadly mostly unburdened by shopping bags. 2020 began on a very high note with the Summer Olympics expected to bring in thousands of foreign visitors not just for the Games but to enjoy a long list of special activities and attractions scheduled for the year. In particular, many department stores, museum spaces, etc. had signed license and other agreements to host some spectacular exhibitions and events. Due to standing commitments, many of these have gone forward but are being forced to operate under very restricted access or temporary closures. The Olympics are currently rescheduled for next summer and many of the planned events have extended their schedules so there is hope that next year will see a resurgence of activity and the release of a great amount of pent up demand. In the meantime, licensing partners are doing their best to promote their businesses despite the challenges. Local brands and characters continue to lead the way. With consumers spending more time at home, gaming is doing particularly well as are game-based licensed products. Likewise, television/streamed-video have expanded their fan base and are sharing the benefits of this popularity with co-branded merchandise products and promotions. Perhaps a more uniquely Japanese promotion idea has been the expanding popularity of decorated manhole covers throughout the country as a way to promote tourism (and royalty revenues). This year the city of Tokorozawa in cooperation with anime publisher Kadokawa has installed 28 different licensed manhole covers in the area around the city’s main train station and featuring such popular anime characters as Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion. These manhole covers are not only decorated and painted with character art but they are also solar powered and light up the streets from 6PM to 2AM! Even during trying times, one of the great things about licensing is that there is always something left that hasn’t been licensed yet.

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Tokorozawa has introduced illuminated manhole covers featuring anime characters.

To encourage consumer confidence in restaurants and retail shopping posters appear near the entry to many Tokyo shops.

Tokyo Governor Koike promoting personalized posters meant to boost consumer confidence in both restaurants and retail stores

Tokyo offers posters to show that facilities and staff procedures are in-line with guidelines intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19. www.buggreport.com.au

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FEATURE

Egeez Look to D isrupt Licensing Egeez is the world’s 1st official licensing marketplace dedicated to shipping your merchandise and food globally. A tech-driven, entergaging (Entertaining + Engaging) marketplace for licensed products geo-located will help boost products visibility worldwide. www.egeez.com While the Ai technology predicts fans IP statistics per region to showcase the best products from within that region. Egeez plans to become the official extension of a licensors’ consumer products or merchandise department supporting their management with reporting statistics and help meet their sales targets during uncertain times. As for licensees, Egeez will support their digital sales strategy during this pandemic especially and help them impress their licensor with shining quarterly royalty reports. They will have access to their portal to upload products, change territory as per licensing agreement, accept orders and much more. The co-founder of Egeez, Nathen Mazri, is a licensee of the world’s 1st GarfieldEATS flagship restaurant and app with Nickelodeon/ViacomCBS. He understands the pain of licensees which is why he created this platform to help all the licensees around the world sell their products. E-commerce is growth propelled globally especially due to COVID 19. According to statistics, the forecast for ecommerce sales in 2021 is estimated over $5 Trillion. And yet, there is no dedicated online marketplace for licensed merchandise and fans. However, now thanks to EGEEZ, there is! Egeez is currently onboarding over 100000 licensees and retailers worldwide. We have Happiness Account Managers in every continent today onboarding official licensed products around the clock from North America to India, Europe, Asia and Middle East. Egeez verifies all onboarding licensees to guarantee official genuine licensed brands merchandise to combat copycats and fraud products. As Egeez aims at solving the licensing industry problem of merchandise overstock, the collection will continue to see various additions during the course of the next few years — in terms of both product categories and new character introductions. Egeez is also a proud member of Licensing International, supporting us to onboard licensees and licensors given their 35 years of network with WWE, Warner Bros, Walt Disney, and many more! Nathen Mazri, Co-Founder Egeez, says, “It feels great to know that we are solving an industry problem and providing a disruptive solution to all stakeholders. We live in an over cluttered appeconomy with the fall of QSR and retail and rise of QMR — quick mobile retail. Egeez embraces an exciting digital future curating magical products for fans. When people think Mickey Mouse, they must think Egeez. The fact that we are the only 100% dedicated entertainment licensing products marketplace, we can stand out among other marketplaces as we have found our unique selling proposition. Oh geez it’s exciting!” Pascal Haider, Co-Founder Egeez, added saying, “All his child memories have come into reality on one platform. Being a father of four children, We are very excited about the venture and we feel it is going to be the most revolutionary & destructive marketplace app in the licensing industry bringing billions of fans worldwide and licensees/licensors together.”

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CALL OR EMAIL MATTHEW BUGG

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0407 700 267

MATT@BUGGSOLUTIONS.COM.AU

The Brand Licensing & Market Specialists As the leading independent Brand Licensing Specialists & Market Intelligence Agency in the business, we pride ourselves on being connected to Brands, Agencies, Retail and emerging trends and we are the go-to organisation to provide you with balanced, researched and up-to-date market intelligence. We are the perfect conduit to the market for small to medium businesses that are not in a position to hire a full-time marketing or licensing manager. Let us seamlessly connect YOU to brands & distribution channels at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee!

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0418 321 837

TONY@BUGGSOLUTIONS.COM.AU


FEATURE

The Deserted Schoolyard

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE TOY INDUSTRY AND FOR KIDS Richard Gottlieb — Global Toy Experts How will children spread the word about new movies, television shows, video games, and, yes, toys, with their social network out of operation? I like to call the schoolyard the playground social network. Its a place where children gather before school and during recess to share their movie, television, and toy passions. My thoughts turned to that world as I spoke with Gerrick Johnson, Toy & Leisure Analyst for BMO Capital Markets. Gerrick is an extremely sharp, informed person who keeps a close and studied eye on the toy industry. He is the go-to guy for those who invest in toy companies. During our conversation, Gerrick mentioned that “without school in session, the cool kids are not able to influence other kids with their play and entertainment passions.“ Many toy fads have started in the country’s schoolyards. A kid that other kids look up to brings a toy to school. Pretty soon, everyone at school is craving the same toy. And then the magic happens as the passion moves from schoolyard to schoolyard, city to city, state to state, and eventually country to country. Silly Bandz, Fijit Spinners, Beanie Babies and many other hot toys found their way into children’s hearts and their parents’ wallets by the unseen and mysterious migration of ideas that comes when kids get together. We and the children we serve now face a phenomenon, no schoolyard fun, for the first time since the 1918 flu epidemic. How will children spread the word about new movies, television shows, video games, and, yes, toys, with their social network out of operation? Yes, there is YouTube and TickTock. And, yes, there are social influencers like Ryan and Evan. But what they all lack is the sheer innocence of children, with nothing to gain, sharing what means the most to them when they are five, six, seven or eight. As business people, we will miss the excitement and the dollars that result when children feel that love for a toy, a character, or a movie. For us, however, it’s business. For children, there is a much bigger loss. They miss out on being alone with their peers – no adults around – and sharing their secrets, passions, hates, and loves. I sure will be glad when this COVID thing is over.

www.globaltoynews.com

www.buggreport.com.au

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The Bugg Report Magazine — Edition 34  

Welcome to The Bugg Report Magazine — Edition 34

The Bugg Report Magazine — Edition 34  

Welcome to The Bugg Report Magazine — Edition 34

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