Oh, what a show! Record number of retailers attend Licensing Expo

Licensing Expo, the May event organised in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, drew thousands of attendees from the world’s most reputable retailers and licensees. The number of retailers in attendance rose 42% from the 2019 event, marking record growth for Licensing Expo.

Notable attending companies included Target, Hot Topic, Walmart, Fanatics, Five Below, Zulily, Centric Brands, Primark, Burlington Stores, CVS, Forever 21, El Corte Ingles, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Hybrid Apparel, Mad Engine, ASOS, Inditex, Hallmark Cards, Jakks Pacific, PacSun, H&M, Crocs, and Bioworld Merchandising, with many bringing large teams to span multiple product categories.

Held live at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas from May 24 through 26, the event’s in-person return was highly anticipated by the $292 billion global licensing industry, indicated by the nearly 5,500 meetings held on the show floor, with many more expected on the online platform, standing room-only keynote sessions, and well-attended educational and networking seminars.

The vibrant show floor hosted more than 250 exhibitors spanning the widest cross selection of categories to date – Characters & Entertainment, Art & Design, Gaming & eSports, Music, Agents, Corporate Brands, Location-Based Entertainment, and more – all benefiting from 10,000+ unique attendees in search of new partners, brands, products, and trends to introduce to consumers.

“We’re still reeling from what was a truly remarkable event – everything from the engagement, education, to the dazzling booths surpassed everyone’s expectations,” says Anna Knight, SVP of the Global Licensing Group, organisers of Licensing Expo. “All we heard for three days was the incredible quality of attendees, underscoring the pent-up demand for an in-person event after three years apart. Thank you to everyone who collectively made the event the astounding success that it was.

“Each year, Licensing Expo serves as a springboard for new trends that will excite consumers that tap into societal behaviors, and this year did not disappoint. From Gary Vaynerchuk and Pam Kaufman addressing the cross selection of entertainment and NFTs on the keynote stage to the many immersive offerings that show the power of location-based experiences, which was our theme for the year, the show was the meeting place to discover how the most recognisable and up-and-coming brands are shaping and bringing new spins to the hottest trends.”

Licensing Expo was held both in-person and online for the first time, opening the digital platform in advance of the live get-together for attendees to discover licensable IPs and schedule meetings for a productive on-site experience. Additionally, the online platform remained open from May 27 to June 3 to facilitate follow-up appointments and enable guests the opportunity to engage with content on-demand at a convenient time.

“It was wonderful to be back in person; the show exceeded all our expectations,” says Warren Schorr, SVP of Business Development & Global Licensing at Crayola, a sought-after exhibitor on the show floor. “While the show is always great for pre-booked meetings with traditional licensing industry partners, first-time attendees in Location-Based Entertainment, interactive, and traditional categories brought a fresh perspective and energy to the show. Decision-makers came looking for opportunities. Based on how our booth and the booths around us were packed, I expect most attendees came away with a robust pipeline for future new business.”

In addition to discovering trend-driven IPs, registered guests had access to three days of expert-led education. Throughout the show, the Licensing U Theater drew thousands of guests for sustainability education, insights on entering the licensing industry, trend predictions, and much more.

Steven Heller, President and Founder of The Brand Liaison, a prominent exhibitor at Licensing Expo, comments: “It was so great to be back live and in-person; the energy at Licensing Expo 2022 was beyond incredible. The show was crowded; everyone was excited about new licensing deals, bringing new products to market, and new brands. Can’t wait till 2023.”

A highlight of the event included the two keynote addresses that brought inspiration and insights to registered guests on May 24 and May 25, attracting the biggest audiences in the show’s history with seats filling up quickly, thus resulting in standing room only that spilled into the expo hallways.

  • May 24: The Power of Possibilities: What’s Ahead for Licensing
    • Pam Kaufman, president, consumer products and experiences, Paramount
    • Gary Vaynerchuk, chairman, VaynerX, chief executive officer, VaynerMedia and creator and chief executive officer, VeeFriends
  • May 25: From Dream to Reality: The Power of Brand Licensing for Location-Based Entertainment
    • Cecil D. Magpuri, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Falcon’s Beyond
    • Robert L. Ward, President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert L. Ward, Inc.
    • Susan Vargo, Head of Live Events and Location-based Experiences, Moonbug
    • George Wade, President, Bay Laurel Partners (moderator)

The License This! Competition was another well-attended programme that drew a strong audience for the live finale, where six finalists competed for the grand prize package in front of an expert judging panel. Kieche Meleson O’Connell, designer of Catoms: Atoms with Attitude, was selected as the winner of the Character & Animation category, and Stef “Sharky” Shultz won the Brand & Design category with Hunnie Bumble and Friends. Each winner walked away with the following:

  • Free-of-charge 100 square foot booth at Licensing Expo 2023 worth $2,500
  • One-year Licensing International membership worth $1,000 for a small business
  • One-year Products of Change membership, worth up to $450 for a small business
  • One-to-one consultation with License This! judges

Register here to save the date for next year’s Licensing Expo, returning from May 23-25, 2023, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Winners of Licensing Expo’s License This! competition announced

Licensing Expo, the world’s largest trade show connecting the $292 billion global licensing industry, hosted the live finale of the License This! competition yesterday where select illustrators, designers, and animators had the opportunity to pitch their concepts in front of a panel of expert judges. Catoms: Atoms with Attitude, designed by Kieche Meleson O’Connell, was selected as the winner of the Character & Animation category, and Stef “Sharky” Shultz won the Brand & Design category with Hunnie Bumble and Friends.

The two winners of the competition, sponsored by Flowhaven, presented alongside four other fellow finalists to an audience of Licensing Expo registered guests and world-renowned experts in the licensing industry. Each winner takes home a highly regarded grand prize package including:

  • Free-of-charge 100 square foot booth at Licensing Expo 2023 worth $2,500
  • One-year Licensing International membership worth $1,000 for a small business
  • One-year Products of Change membership, worth up to $450 for a small business
  • One-to-one consultation with License This! judges

Details of the winning projects are as follows:

Character & Animation

  • Catoms: Atoms with Attitude – Kieche Meleson O’Connell
    “I took the periodic table and made each element into a cat that represents its unique scientific qualities in the form of coat patterns, superpowers, and personalities,” says Kieche. “The Catoms universe offers fun stories where the characters take you through the mysterious and often invisible world of chemistry but from the Catom’s point of view. Catoms are essentially edutainment. The characters and stories are engaging but based on scientific fact, so they are indirectly teaching real science.”

Brand & Design

  • Hunnie Bumble and Friends – Stef “Sharky” Schultz
    “Hunnie Bumble is a whimsical queen bee who lives in a colourful world comfortably far from our own reality – along with her husband “Hubbie Bumble” and all of their friends,” says Stef. “Buzzing with adorable antics, absurdly zany humour, and with new friends being introduced all the time, Hunnie Bumble and Friends will always keep it cute, adventurous and zany on the countless adventures to be had – from cooking and hide-and-go-seek, all the way to skydiving, rock climbing, spelunking… and whatever else they feel like in the next five minutes!”

“Congratulations to our winners,” said Anna Knight, SVP of the Global Licensing Group, organisers of Licensing Expo. “It’s new creators and out-of-the-box thinkers like Kieche and Stef that keep our dynamic industry fresh and imaginative. Each of the finalists brought amazing ideas to the table and will be the next IPs to watch over the coming years.”

The judging panel consisted of nine senior executives representing industry-leading brands: License Global magazine, Flowhaven, Licensing International, Global Licensing Advisors, Boat Rocker Studio, PowerStation Studios, Redbubble, Lisa Mark Associates, and Product Counsel. Following each on-stage presentation, judges asked questions and shared actionable feedback to help the designers, animators, and creators hone their designs and ideas as they bring products to market. Feedback spanned how to pin down their core audience to working with retailers.

“I am speechless,” said Kieche Meleson O’Connell of her win. “I was not expecting it, to be honest; I am a chemist by trade and have been trying to switch into this creative world. When I first came to Licensing Expo, even though I was super excited, I did feel like a fish out of water, so it’s nice to see that people recognise Catoms: Atoms with Attitude as a good project.”

“I’m so incredibly honoured to win – it was a pleasure and such a great opportunity,” said Stef “Sharky” Schultz. “I’m very thankful and want to use this brand to bring change to the world. There’s a niche that Hunnie Bunnie and Friends supports, bringing awareness to how we recycle and that there is such a division in care. I want everyone to have access to good things; I want people to have opportunities to have access to and afford sustainable things and drive up the demand for sustainable recycled materials. Hunnie Bunnie and Friends is this catalyst!”

Other finalists in the License This! competition who presented on-stage at Licensing Expo include:

Character & Animation

  • I want to be a baller-ina – Finalist Cherie Mays
  • Sunny The Apathetic Bunny – Finalist Claire Schechinger

Brand & Design

  • Game Toy – Finalist Alexandre Silva
  • Monsters & Martians – Finalist Ken Reil


Jazwares makes Licensing Expo debut with Squishmallows

Leading toy and licensing powerhouse Jazwares is at Licensing Expo Las Vegas until 26 May, showcasing its wildly successful Squishmallows plush brand. 

The monumental growth of Squishmallows, the #2 Toy Property and #1 Plush according to The NPD Group’s April 2022 report, has fuelled a raft of cross-category collaborations across beauty, games, apparel, home decor, and more, adding to the brand’s robust portfolio of best-in-class licensing partners.

Building on a phenomenal 2021, this year Squishmallows took the play industry’s top honour, the Toy Association’s coveted overall Toy of the Year award, while also hitting a 125 million plush sold milestone.

On social media, Squishmallows content has officially squished through the roof, generating nearly 6.5 billion video views on TikTok, and @squishmallows (and related hashtags) has been tagged in more than one million Instagram posts. Additionally, the Squishmallows social media channels have ballooned to more than 827,000 followers, and nearly 100 global and local Facebook groups have been created by fans.

In the Metaverse, the recently launched Squishmallows on Roblox game has ascended to the #1 Toy Game, as measured by concurrent players, with a massive 1.5M monthly active user base.

“As Squishmallows continues its evolution as a preeminent global lifestyle brand, we’re opening the door for big-sky opportunities setting the stage for meaningful fan-first product extensions,” says Judd Karofsky, Executive Vice President, Jazwares. “Demand for Squishmallows is skyrocketing so we’re more than ready for millions of people around the world to enjoy their favourite Squishmallows characters via a wide array of growing product categories and experiences.”

Recognising the brand’s vast global audience and multi-generational appeal, Jazwares created its premiere Squishmallows global licensing programme last autumn, supported by some of the biggest names in consumer and lifestyle products including Bioworld, BigMouth, BBC International, Franco Mfg., Fashion Angels Enterprises, Primary Colors, HarperCollins Publishers, and more.

Attendees of Licensing Expo are encouraged to experience the Squishmallows lifestyle at booth #0214 in the Bayside Exhibit Hall at Mandalay Bay. New licensee highlights include:

  • In the United States, Taste Beauty, a leading beauty brand for teens, tweens, and beyond, will make a unique line of lip, nail, cosmetic, and bath and body products inspired by the colorful world of Squishmallows.
  • Additionally, The Op I USAopoly, a leading developer and manufacturer of board games and puzzles, has been tapped to create a custom Squishmallows Monopoly game with an exclusive 4incharacter.
  • Kurt Adler will develop a line of Squishmallows ornaments and stockings, perfect for the holiday season.
  • In Europe, an expansive consumer products licensing programme will also be supporting Squishmallows with a wide array of cross-category support. Soon to be announced licensees are expected to include bath and beauty, swimwear and apparel, and bedding, as well as multiple products from world-class lifestyle brands.

Since Squishmallows debuted in 2017, each plush has featured its own lovable personality, and they have become known for their ultra-soft feel and whimsical design that have captivated fans of all ages, both online and in person. More than 1,000 Squishmallows ranging in size from 2in to 24in have gained the attention of bona fide Squishmallows fans in more than 40 countries. Such strong brand retention has resulted in multiple line extensions, including HugMees, Squish-Doos, Stackables, and Squishville.


Licensing International unveils Excellence Awards winners

The winners of the 2022 Licensing International Excellence Awards have been unveiled in a ceremony that brought together industry executives from around the world to celebrate the best of the global licensing industry.

The 25 award winners were selected from 165 finalists from around the world. More than 800 entries were received, narrowed down by an expert global judging panel and voted on by members of the licensing industry at large.

This year’s Excellence Awards were hosted by Cakewalk Entertainment founder and CEO George Leon. The awards were presented by Alifish, InSpirit Designs, Jazwares, and participants in Licensing International’s Accelerator Program, including Bedrock Collectibles, Holy Joe, LIBREX, Park Star Media, and Somos Arte.

The awards honour innovation and creativity in the way brands use licensing to further their goals, how licensees develop and bring those products to market, and how retailers creatively spotlight licenses on their shelves. This year’s ceremony saw the return of the Best Location-Based Entertainment award, recognising innovation across location-based brand extensions following significant lockdowns. Gamepath Entertainment took home the LBE trophy for the Monopoly Lifesized immersive experience in London.

“It’s inspiring to see the quality of work produced by the licensing industry and it was incredible to be able to celebrate those successes together in person,” says Maura Regan, President of Licensing International. “The Licensing International Excellence Awards are a testament to the power of brands and to the power of licensing to launch products and programmes with lasting appeal.”

The 2022 Licensing International Excellence Awards winners are:


Apparel or Accessory for a Corporate Brand – BMW M Motorsport line by Puma

Apparel or Accessory for an Entertainment Property – The Legend of Zelda line by BlackMilk

Appliances, Housewares, Electronics for a Corporate Brand – Xbox fridge by Ukonic

Appliances, Housewares, Electronics for an Entertainment Property – Sesame Street collaboration by Tonies

Digital: Apps, Software, Video Games, NFTs – Forever 21 Shop City experience by Virtual Brand Group

Food or Beverage for a Corporate Brand – Louvre ice cream by Häagen-Dazs

Food or Beverage for an Entertainment Property – Harry Potter mooncakes by Awfully Chocolate

Health and Beauty Aids – Friends bath & beauty line by Mad Beauty

Home Décor – LEGO wooden home décor by Room Copenhagen

Publishing, Social Expression – The Beatles advent calendar by Eaglemoss

Toys, Games, Novelties (ages 0-8) – Batman Batcave playset by Spin Master

Toys, Games, Novelties (ages 8+) – adidas Originals Superstar model by LEGO


Corporate Brand – BMW by BMW Group

Entertainment, Character, Toy Brand (Animated) – CoComelon by Moonbug Entertainment

Food, Beverage, Restaurant – Coca-Cola, Hi-C & Sprite by The Coca-Cola Company

Lifestyle: Art, Design, Celebrity, Fashion – Amy Winehouse by MDR Brand Management

Live Action Entertainment – Ghostbusters by Sony Pictures
Museum, Art, Design – V&A by The Victoria and Albert Museum

Sports, Collegiate – Formula 1 by CAA Global


Best Licensing Agency – Beanstalk

Best Licensed Collaboration – The Simpsons x Balenciaga

Best Licensed Promotion – Rovio & Born Licensing for GEICO’s “Angry Bird Problem?”

Best Location-Based Entertainment – Monopoly Lifesized by Gamepath Entertainment

Best Retailer (Corporate, Lifestyle, Fashion, Sports Initiative) – BoxLunch for McDonald’s

Best Retailer (Entertainment, Character Brand) – Bloomingdale’s for Space Jam: A New Legacy   

TheSoul Publishing names Retail Monster as U.S. licensing agent for 5-Minute Crafts

Award-winning global digital studio TheSoul Publishing has announced a partnership with brand extension specialist Retail Monster, to develop licensing and retail programmes around its flagship franchise, 5-Minute Crafts.

Known around the globe for its positive, fun and quirky crafts, 5-Minute Crafts is the world’s top DIY brand and the only channel to consistently rank among the top 10 on both YouTube and Facebook. Igniting a creative spark on a daily basis by offering viewers clever solutions to everyday problems, 5-Minute Crafts boasts an audience of 350M+ YouTube combined subscribers, 300M+ Facebook combined followers, 55M+ Instagram subscribers and 25M+ TikTok combined followers.

“As TheSoul Publishing premieres at Licensing Expo for the first time ever, we are incredibly excited to announce our collaboration with Retail Monster, a leader in the consumer product space. They continuously elevate brands with compelling retail and licensing opportunities, and we know they will bring an innovative and fun approach to our flagship brand, 5-Minute Crafts,” says Ines Pacheco, Director of Licensing at TheSoul Publishing. “With successful touch points to our audience already established through digital and streaming video, podcasting, music and more, licensing programmes will now further connect TheSoul to our fans and develop our suite of brands into household names.”

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with TheSoul Publishing on their immensely popular brand 5-Minute Crafts,” says Michael Connolly, Founder of Retail Monster LLC. “There is an incredible opportunity to connect with U.S. consumers at retail by creating compelling and tangible products which replicate the fun DIY experience of this brand.”

Known as the “powerhouse of positivity”, TheSoul Publishing is diving into the merchandising world as it opens its doors to opportunity at the 2022 Las Vegas Licensing Expo. With over one billion followers and subscribers across social media, the digital studio will be exploring potential licensing partnerships around the studio’s brand portfolio including 5-Minute Crafts, 123 GO!, Baby Zoo, Avocado Couple, La La Life, Polar and more.

TheSoul Publishing has garnered numerous accolades including the ‘Digital Studio of the Year’ at the 2021 Digiday Video & TV Awards, a 2021 Drum Award win, a 2021 Webby Award nomination for 5-Minute Crafts, seven Shorty Award nominations, a pair of 2022 Digiday Video & TV Award nominations including ‘Best Use of YouTube’, and a 2022 Webby Honoree for ‘Best Overall Social Presence in Media/Entertainment’.

For further information about TheSoul Publishing visit the website.

Banijay unveils slate for Licensing Expo

Banijay Brands, in collaboration with Endemol Shine North America, will be attending Licensing Expo on 24-26 May in Las Vegas, showcasing its diverse portfolio of IP, including the worldwide smash-hit cookery show MasterChef; the multi-award-winning cult drama Peaky Blinders; the Netflix hit anthology series Black Mirror; internationally-loved digital animation Simon’s Cat, and British icon Mr Bean.

Banijay Brands is co-sponsor of this year’s Licensing Expo opening party, which will feature a Peaky Blinders branded bar. It is also sponsoring the show badge, which incorporates a competition for attendees to win a case of MasterChef wine.

In addition, MasterChef and Peaky Blinders have been shortlisted in the 2022 Licensing International Excellence Awards for Best Live Action Entertainment Brand, and Best Product – Appliances, Electronics or Housewares for an Entertainment Property respectively.

Owain Walbyoff, Chief Commercial Officer, Banijay, says: “We are keenly exploring new opportunities and emerging technologies as we continue to drive consumer engagement with our brands. Banijay’s world-class portfolio provides endless opportunities for authentic products and experiences, and we look forward to forging new partnerships across multiple categories.”

Banijay Brands controls the brand licensing rights to some of the most high-profile and creative IP in the world across multiple genres, from scripted to entertainment.

Award-winning anthology Black Mirror explores themes of contemporary techno-paranoia. Available on Netflix globally, the series, created by Charlie Brooker, boasts a stellar fanbase with numerous industry accolades including Emmys, International Emmys, BAFTA Craft Awards and a Rose d’Or.

Peaky Blinders is the award-winning crime drama that is sold to more than 180 countries, airing on BBC One in the U.K. and widely available internationally on Netflix. The final season will be launching in the U.S. and other international markets from 10 June. The recently aired season six was the UK’s number-one drama of the year for young adults, with over 17 million views on BBC iPlayer to date. Brand-owner and series producer Caryn Mandabach Productions recently announced an immersive theatre show and a first-of-its-kind dance theatre show which will run through to 2023.

Simon’s Cat is one of the biggest YouTube sensations of recent years. From a single free-to-air, two-minute cartoon, it has gone on to become a major global success, with not only 1.3bn views and 5.7 million subscribers on YouTube but also over 15m followers and over 1bn views across social media too.

MasterChef is the most travelled food format, last year celebrating 500 seasons airing globally since its 2005 reboot. With more than 65 local versions aired in over 200 countries, the MasterChef brand is respected and recognised all around the world.

Adventure-reality stalwart Survivor was last year ranked #1 Best Reality Show of All Time by Variety magazine. One of the most watched formats around the world, last year was its most successful to-date with 24 productions.

The global game show phenomenon Deal or No Deal has been commissioned in 83 territories worldwide with 324 productions internationally. A ground-breaking show known all around the world, contestants play and deal for a top cash prize in a contest of nerves, luck and raw intuition. 

Action-packed family entertainment brand Wipeout has won the world over with its zany crashes, smashes and hilarious mud splashes. Following the success of the recent U.S. reboot, which was the #1 unscripted series on cable, the John Cena and Nicole Byer fronted version has been renewed for a new season. Wipeout continues to grow a substantial digital audience with over 10 million active followers worldwide across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Banijay is home to a raft of homes and interiors titles including the award-winning Your Home Made Perfect, Your Garden Made Perfect and the Alan Carr-hosted Interior Design Masters. From the use of cutting-edge technology and VR to the competitive world of interior design, these increasingly popular brands are synonymous with innovative and stylish transformations.

Mr. Bean is a globally loved animation that has been in continual distribution for over 30 years. A pioneer for Banijay, the brand recently became the company’s first activation in the Metaverse with a Mr Bean NFT drop. The brand has amassed a huge digital following across a number of platforms with over 129 million followers on Facebook, making it the biggest TV brand on the platform; nearly 50 million subscribers and 15 billion lifetime views across official YouTube channels; 8.7 million followers on Instagram; and 8.3 million likes on TikTok.

Banijay Brands will be attending Licensing Expo, 24-26 May, in Las Vegas.

ITV Studios brings Love Island, The Voice, Hell’s Kitchen and more to Vegas

ITV Studios’ Brand & Licensing team is excited to return to Licensing Expo 2022 to catch up face to face with existing and new partners and present its brand portfolio.

With its line-up of premium global brands including Hell’s Kitchen, The Voice, Love Island,  The Chase, Schitt’s Creek, Snowpiercer and many more, ITV Studios is looking forward to establishing successful partnerships with companies that are best in class and have a strong understanding of their market, region and consumers.

With ITV Studios’ extensive catalogue of over 90,000 hours of finished content and 150+ iconic formats – including some of the world’s most beloved brands – there is potential for creating a diverse range of brand licensing deals. ITV Studios is always looking for natural extensions of its brands and the potential to create a true experience, an amazing product or a new way for audiences to engage with its brands, while being relevant at the same time.

The Voice

An all-time favourite amongst families is talent show The Voice, which has been entertaining audiences all over the world for more than a decade. Some of its high-profile partnerships include The Voice of the Ocean with Carnival Corporation, where passengers of Princess, Aida and Costa cruises can experience being part of The Voice competition, and The Voice land-based slots with IGT starring celebrity coaches Ricky Martin, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Rita Ora.

On the digital side there is a premium Voice Karaoke App with Yokee and more recently The Voice of Avakin, a metaverse experience from Lockwood Publishing that had 7.5 million visits and over 80 million views on social media. The Voice of Avakin is nominated in the category ‘Best Licensed Product – Digital’ at this year’s Licensing International Excellence Awards. Further licensing  highlights for The Voice include a beauty partnership with MAC Cosmetics for a capsule in-store collection, supported by an on-air campaign and show sponsorships.

Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen is the most popular cooking show around the world. ITV Studios is growing the Hell’s Kitchen licensing programme, which to date includes four Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen restaurants with Caesars Entertainment in the USA and in the Middle East, offering fine dining in a unique ambience, and 2022 will bring another five brand-new restaurants to the USA. There is also cookware and kitchenware available at Macy’s, premium spices by Spiceology, and a mobile game with Qiiwi, in which you can manage your very own restaurant.

Given the popularity of the series amongst a wide audience demographic that spans men and women from 18 to 55 years old, Hell’s Kitchen lends itself to a variety of consumer products including apparel and accessories, collectibles, gifting and others. And that wide appeal is translating into success – the product Hell’s Seltzer by Brew Pipeline Inc is nominated in the category of ‘Best Licensed Product – Food or Beverage for an Entertainment Property’ at this year’s Licensing International Excellence Awards.

Love Island

A reality television phenomenon that dominates social media wherever it airs, Love Island attracts a global audience, who eagerly anticipate watching their favourite islanders’ love lives unfold. Love Island has travelled to 21 countries, including the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain and the Nordic countries. Current partners include a mobile roleplaying game with Fusebox, a partnership with I Saw It First for a capsule apparel collection and the iconic Love Island Water Bottle available via dedicated e-shops. New global partnerships in the beauty and mobile category will be announced soon. Licensing opportunities for the series include fashion, fitness, beachwear, events,  food and beverage, and more.

And many more popular brands…

The Multiple Emmy award winning Schitt’s Creek is one of those ITV Studios brands that continues to go from strength to strength, with over 20 partners producing carefully crafted products for the series’ many eager fans, ranging from collectibles to pop-up events, apparel and accessories, beauty, gifts and board games.

The current licensing portfolio for The Chase includes a bingo game with Gala Bingo supported by an on-air partnership and set tours, numerous board games and a new partnership in the mobile space to be announced soon.

Brand new to ITV Studios’ licensing portfolio is the acclaimed post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller series Snowpiercer, based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige and the film of the same name. Recently renewed for a fourth season, the series averaged 2 million viewers across its episodes on TNT and featured in Netflix’s Top 5 global shows in early 2021.

ITV Studios is currently at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. To book a meeting, contact brandlicensing@itv.com

Beanstalk returns to Licensing Expo with new partnerships, clients and initiatives

Celebrating its 30th year in business, global brand licensing agency Beanstalk continues to grow its clients’ licensing programmes, and has announced a series of recent new partnerships and clients in addition to new corporate initiatives in sustainability, diversity and charitable programmes.

Diageo’s Irish Stout brand, Guinness, has grown its presence in the aisles of UK supermarkets by expanding its partnership with The Flava People. The Irish beer brand launched two new sauces, the Guinness Smoky BBQ Sauce and Guinness Smoky Tomato Ketchup, bringing a twist to Britain’s much loved classic table sauces. This follows the Guinness cooking paste, a blend of Guinness beer, honey and soy, which launched in 2021.

Beanstalk also debuted a pair of cookbooks for two of its well-loved brands; Baileys partnered with HarperCollins to publish The Baileys Cookbook, featuring a collection of over 60 delectable delights, from sophisticated cocktails and desserts, to sensational hot chocolates and puddings. The recipes showcase the versatility and deliciousness of Baileys, inviting consumers to enjoy “the ultimate adult indulgent treat” at any time. Additionally, Guinness joined forces with publisher Insight Editions to bring the taste of Guinness to home kitchens with The Official Guinness Cookbook. Providing recipes for everything from savoury braised short ribs, to traditional Irish soda bread and decadent cheesecake brownies, this comprehensive book boasts over 70 recipes for dishes that feature or pair with the stouts, ales, and lagers of the Guinness breweries, including classic Guinness Draught, crisp Extra Stout, and citrusy Baltimore Blonde.

Chocolatier Godiva, together with Beanstalk, continues to expand its licensing portfolio in the U.S. and Canada with Godiva-inspired products developed in conjunction with new licensing partners, Boardwalk Frozen Treats for ice cream pints; Jimmy’s Gourmet Bakery for frozen cookie dough; Le Vian for special edition Chocolate Diamond jewelry at Kay Jewelers; and Cookies United for gingerbread house and cookie decorating kits. The four new partners join Godiva’s extensive North America licensing portfolio, including General Mills, The Cheesecake Factory and Jessica Pastries, which debuted as part of Godiva’s Holiday 2021 collection.

TGI Fridays, the iconic American bar and grill, expanded its exclusive strategic partnership with the UK’s leading frozen food retailer, Iceland, through a range of new sides, mains and sweet treats, created solely with the forthcoming BBQ season in mind. The mouthwatering dishes include Beef Short Ribs with Maple BBQ, Cheese & Jalapeño Hot Dogs and Chocolate Cookie Pie.

Long-standing client U.S. Army partnered with Manly Bands for U.S. Army branded rings; Ice Shaker, a “Shark Tank” success, for shaker bottles and stainless-steel drinkware; and Diamond Supply Company for skate apparel and accessories.

For The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Beanstalk has developed partnerships across home décor, fashion accessories, gifting and educational gaming categories. Inspired by the artworks and stories within its robust collection, The Met has worked closely with selected partners who exhibit the highest level of creative development, from home textiles to accessories to social expressions. The new licensing partnerships include Lingo for educational card games, Pura for home fragrance, Caspari for paper goods and social expressions, and Scalamandré for textiles, wallpaper and trim.

In the digital media space, Tinderbox continues to develop the licensing programme for Call of Duty. Call of Duty partnered with Middle Eastern manufacturer and distributor of licensed products, Trucare, expanding the brand’s licensing program into the MENA region, which has quickly proven to be a valuable emerging market for the global gaming industry. The partnership will see Call of Duty grow its consumer product reach into these new territories across categories including apparel, accessories, housewares, and gifting.

Keeping the momentum going, Beanstalk has also added to its diverse client portfolio of global brands. Earlier this year, Skullcandy joined the agency’s client roster to unleash the power of expression; the client partnership will extend the lifestyle audio brand across consumer electronics, sporting and outdoor goods, apparel and accessories, and experiential spaces. Beanstalk also signed Cath Kidston, extending the joyful British brand into new categories in home, fashion and gifting, globally. Most recently, Beanstalk announced its partnership with Audi, the German automotive manufacturer of premium vehicles, to extend the automotive brand into new lifestyle, technology and mobility categories.

“Throughout our 30 years, Beanstalk has strategically developed licensing programmes for some of the most globally recognised brands. These new partnerships and clients demonstrate how we continue to harness the power of licensing to successfully extend brands into new categories around the globe,” says Allison Ames, President and CEO of Beanstalk. “After a two-year hiatus, Licensing Expo 2022 provides the perfect opportunity to reconnect with our industry colleagues and forge new partnerships across industries, categories and territories.”

Complementary to Beanstalk’s robust client activity, the agency has premiered several corporate initiatives. In keeping with Beanstalk’s “best practices” model, it has established a global, cross-functional Sustainability Team. The key objectives of Beanstalk’s sustainability initiatives are to align clients’ sustainability goals with licensees’ efforts and capabilities and to share information across clients, licensees and industries.

Additionally, Beanstalk’s Antiracism, Allyship and Action programme continues to make diversity, racial justice and advocacy for marginalised groups a priority through education, client service and monetary donations.

Most recently, Beanstalk unveiled Licensing Labs by Beanstalk, an initiative to raise funds for charity while providing a service to the licensing community. Through the Licensing Labs by Beanstalk promotion, the agency will work with three winners to help them identify areas of opportunity for brand extension. In turn, the winners will be asked to donate to UNICEF to aid in Ukraine relief efforts. For more information on Licensing Labs by Beanstalk, visit https://www.beanstalk.com/licensing-labs-by-beanstalk.


BBC Studios showcases global brands for all ages in Las Vegas

With Licensing Expo 2022 opening in Las Vegas today (24 May), BBC Studios is set to share an impressive roster of brands with delegates.

 BBC Studios’ raft of titles includes global preschool hit Bluey, adventures in time and space with Doctor Who, multi award-winning animation Hey Duggee, much-loved entertainment show Top Gear and natural history brand BBC Earth.

 “We’re so excited to share our incredible range of brands with the industry, update people on our latest plans and products and meet potential new licensees,” says Stephen Davies, Managing Director of Consumer Products and Licensing, BBC Studios. “It’s been a while since we’ve been able to get together like this and we’ve certainly got a lot to catch up on – not least global hit preschool show Bluey, new Doctor Who and so many more popular brands we have in our roster and in development.” 

Licensing Expo is also a chance for BBC Studios to discuss the recently launched Kids & Family Division, which combines the exceptional talent and expertise of the BBC Children’s Production team and the content investment, customer and brand experience within BBC Studios into a new and integral part of the BBC Studios content powerhouse.


Global-hit animation Bluey was Disney Junior’s #1 ratings driver with kids 2-5 in 2021 in the US.

With audiences worldwide falling for the lovable Blue Heeler pup and her family and friends, Bluey has set viewing records in its native Australia and features in the top three Disney Junior shows in five EMEA markets. BBC Studios is establishing a long-term global licensing programme for the brand and has already appointed agencies and licensees in markets around the world. Key existing agreements include master toy partner Moose Toys and master publisher Penguin Random House as well as global and multi-territory deals including VTech, Crayola, Colgate and a recently announced deal with Hasbro.

Season three of Bluey debuted on ABC TV in Australia in November 2021 and is set to be released globally on Disney platforms later this year. It was recently announced that hit stage show Bluey’s Big Play will be touring in the US from November 2022 after a successful debut in Australia. The show has also made international headlines for an innovative partnership with Airbnb which saw the Heelers’ home recreated ‘for real life’ in Brisbane for a lucky family to stay at.

Bluey has had an incredible couple of years of rapid growth with strong sales across markets and product lines; we’re excited for the future of the brand and we’ve put a strong platform in place to support the development of Bluey for the long-term,” says Andrew Carley, Director of Global Licensing, BBC Studios. “The show itself is so special and touches so many people and we are delighted to have assembled a fantastic global licensing programme with partners around the world who are busy making great products and experiences for fans.” 

Doctor Who

With over 58 years of history as the world’s longest running action-adventure television show and the Doctor’s next regeneration due to air later this year, Doctor Who is a hit global franchise with hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide and over 50 long-standing licensees including Character Options, Moonpig.com Limited, Winning Moves, Eaglemoss, Build-A-Bear and Brand Alliance.

Titan has renewed its worldwide licensing agreement for collectible figurines, apparel, cards, art prints and gifting/novelties. Battlefront Miniatures will continue to produce toys and games across Europe, the US, Canada and New Zealand. 

Hey Duggee

Multiple BAFTA and Emmy award-winning preschool animation Hey Duggee continues to delight fans and was recently commissioned for a fourth series as well as hitting the headlines for special collaborations with fitness guru Joe Wicks, and naturalist David Attenborough who narrated The Green Planet Badge. Hey Duggee has an impressive global footprint in over 150 territories and more than 1.2million fans across its social channels, and its official YouTube channel has more than a billion lifetime views. In 2021 in the UK, Hey Duggee was the most-watched kids’ show on CBeebies and was streamed more than 250m times on BBC iPlayer. 

The licensing programme continues to grow with new UK licensees recently announced for health and beauty products, H&A and an expanded range of wheeled toys from MV Sports. Master toy partners are Golden Bear (UK), Bizak (Spain) and Lansay (France), with wooden toys from 8th Wonder in the UK and roleplay and bubbles from HTI Toys (UK). Master publishing agreements are with Penguin Random House (UK), who recently scored a #1 bestseller for The World Book Day Badge, and Hachette (France). Ypsilon Licensing were announced as agents for Spain last year while France TV are licensing agents for France.

Earlier this year a new attraction, Hey Duggee’s Big Adventure Badge, opened at CBeebies Land at Alton Towers Resort in the UK.

Mandy Thwaites, Director, Magazines & Consumer Products, UK Division, BBC Studios, says: “Hey Duggee continues to delight audiences and we continue to be delighted with the growth of the brand. We have great existing partners for Hey Duggee and we’re continuing to welcome more on board. It’s going to be an exciting year for the brand with new content to share later this year and new partnerships to announce soon.” 

Top Gear

Top Gear still sits in pole position with its 31st series and BBC Studios are looking to expand the licensing portfolio for the hit global brand. Current successful partnerships include Danilo for cards and calendars and TDP and Aykroyds for nightwear, DreamTex as bedding partner, and Assured Products Ltd for car-cleaning gift kits. Kimm and Miller are partnered for food gifting,  Immediate Media for magazines and recently signed Ginger Fox for board games. BB Designs will also be working on the direct-to-consumer website selling multiple product areas.

BBC Earth

As BBC Studios’ natural history content pipeline grows bigger than ever, the BBC Earth brand continues its partnerships with Teemill, who have added a fun children’s collection to its sustainable clothing range, and Danilo for cards and calendars.

BBC Studios is at stand N204 for the duration of Licensing Expo 2022 with representatives from offices in all global markets in attendance.


LICENSING EXPO: Q&A with Morgan Weyl, MD of Licensing and Global Development, TOMY International

Offering a range of innovative, high-quality toys and nursery products that kids love and parents ask for by name, TOMY International is on a mission “to make the world smile”. We caught up with the company’s Managing Director of Licensing and Global Development, Morgan Weyl, ahead of Licensing Expo to find out about TOMY’s latest licensing deals and the products we can expect to see on-shelf in the months to come.

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Hi Morgan! First off, can you describe your role at TOMY and what your responsibilities are?

I serve as the Managing Director of Licensing and Global Development. I joined TOMY in 2000 as we were expending the Gacha licensed toy vending machine business outside of Japan, and that early interaction got me hooked on the licensing business realm. I use my 20 years of licensing expertise to help build a complementary strategy across each of TOMY’s divisions (Juvenile Products, Preschool, Vehicle and Toys) and bring amazing brands and content to life with our innovative products.

In addition to my licensing role, I’m also responsible for optimizing our brands and product platforms across geographies, applying successful regional programmes to further expand TOMY’s global reach.

What is TOMY’s history in the licensing sector?

In 2024, our company will celebrate its 100th anniversary! Licensing has been an integral part of TAKARA TOMY’s history. Some of our early historical successes are licensed; a 1924 Breguet Airplane tin replica or a 1956 Mickey Mouse tin toy, for example. We have fostered and strengthened our licensing portfolio and expertise since then, partnering with top studios and brand owners around the world.

Above: Jurassic Toomies

Across the entirety of the baby, vehicle and toy business today, we partner with inspiring brands like Mickey and Minnie, John Deere, Ford, Peppa Pig, Jurassic World, DC Comics, CoComelon, Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, to name just a few.

Partnership defines our success in licensing. We highly value the uniqueness of our partners’ brands and ensure we infuse their DNA with a little bit of TOMY magic to always come up with something innovative and fresh.

You develop toys for large properties.  How do you ensure the TOMY products stand out in the marketplace – and keep their TOMY ‘essence’?

As just mentioned, it is all about DNA! We look at licensing as a strategic part of our product offering and make sure it complements our core and proprietary brands. By the time we select a property, we already know we’ll be able to bring TOMY’s quality and innovation. We strive to keep our DNA intact, always putting play, surprise, creativity and design at the forefront of our design thinking.

To echo our founder, Eiichiro Tomiyama, “Toys must have an element of fresh surprise, a sense of creativity and design. Without these, there is no progress.” This is TOMY’s founding philosophy and remains true for all our toys today.

Any challenges in the licensing realm?

Credit to all creators, content quality is just too good! Between new brands, and evergreen and nostalgic properties making their way back, there is so content much available. A concentrated retail landscape, added to broadcast and content diversification, brings a dilemma to licensors, licensees, and retailers alike. Opportunities to widely launch brand-new IPs have compressed greatly and we need to adapt our go-to-market strategies.

Getting the time for a property to find its audience is more and more challenging. We partner with our licensing friends early in the process, growing the brand awareness, and getting to a place we feel confident we can launch. We narrow the initial offering down to hit clear winners, while preparing a wider range of products enabling us to chase success as it comes.

You’ve recently acquired Fat Brain – how do you expect that to impact TOMY’s go-to-market strategy?

I just talked about the impact the consolidation of retail has had on toy companies. We also need to take into consideration the fact that consumers’ shopping habits have evolved in the last two years. The 2020 acquisition of Fat Brain diversified our product brand portfolio with amazing toys and brands like Dimpl and it also expanded our ability to reach and connect our brands to consumers directly, building that ever-so-important sense of community.

As a digitally native brand, Fat Brain Toys has tremendous omni-channel reach, offering us a critical platform to nurture the brands and new products and receive real-time consumer feedback.

What’s in the pipeline for TOMY, licensing-wise, for 2022 and beyond?

We have news across all our divisions and categories, starting with our licensed toddler feeding cups. In cups, we have historically worked with some of the biggest IPs in the world. We’ve seen great success with our latest partnerships including Mickey, Minnie, and Baby Shark. CoComelon was just added and is already doing very well. More IPs will soon complement our portfolio. We ensure we stay on top of the latest trend in this highly competitive category.

Looking at our vehicle business, we keep our foot on the pedal with new brands and partnerships. Monster Treads’ fans will soon get their hands on amazing Transformers stylised vehicles, coming this autumn. In 2023, we will expand our “Build A Buddy” STEAM accredited vehicle platform, offering 2-in-1 building fun thanks to amazing AAA brand collaborations. For older kids, all collectors’ eyes will be turned to an amazing diecast ship from the beloved Star Trek universe!

Recently, our toy division also shared news: we announced a new partnership with successful author Diane Alber. We’ll be taking Diane’s acclaimed book series, “A little SPOT”, to the toy aisle. Our playthings will offer young children really fun ways to understand and interact with emotions.

Preschoolers will enjoy new Toomies collaborations and toys with Peppa Pig, DC Comics and a special nostalgic treat with the cutest look of E.T. to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Finally, our Club Mocchi- Mocchi- collector plush platform will expand its POP culture portfolio with many partnerships to be announced very soon.

All these strategic initiatives will further strengthen our portfolio as we approach our 100th milestone.

What are you most looking forward to at Licensing Expo – and what would you like to achieve from the show?

Seeing and celebrating the industry, creators, buyers, and retailers who make life a little happier and more fun. It has been almost three years since we all last gathered in person at the licensing show. I’m personally looking forward to seeing all my friends from the industry as well as sharing all the TOMY news.

Our company motto is to “Make the world smile.” It’s rare to come across someone in the toy industry who doesn’t just love being in it. We’re popular with friends and family because of what we do, we play all day – it’s fantastic. The Licensing Show is one of the moments in time when we gather to be inspired by each other and explore possibilities.

TOMY will be at Licensing Expo, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, from 24-26 May 2022.