I remember at the last Brands & Retail UK conference that a number of the licensees and retailers in attendance mentioned that they like to work with brands that are ‘always on’. I am pleased to say Aardman are experts at making sure there brands are ‘always on’ - we speak to Ian Downes the UK agent for Aardman.

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Friday 11th November 2022 -  UK Brand Interview - Start Licensing / Aardman

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We chat with Ian Downes MD for Start Licensing and the UK agent for Aardman about what they be presenting at our Winter 23 conference in London.

Thank you again for supporting Brands Retail UK conference Ian. It is great you are coming back and this time presenting Aardman IP’s which you represent in the UK.

Q - What will you be showing the audience this time?

Ian - Very pleased to be back. Last time we presented The Ashmolean Museum and found it very worthwhile.

We have decided to present Aardman’s properties Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run 2 this time.

2023 is going to be a very exciting year for Aardman, with the 30th Anniversary of Wallace & Gromit (The Wrong Trousers) and Chicken Run 2 (Dawn of the Nugget) will be released in Q4 and to top it off a new Wallace & Gromit film in production for 2024.

Aardman have a fabulous portfolio which also includes Shaun the Sheep, Morph and Robin, Robin.

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Q - The audience will be itching to know what licenses are available for Aardman – are you able to give us a heads up?

Ian - Given Wallace & Gromit is an established brand in licensing and regarded as a classic brand we are fortunate to have a strong programme in place already but that said we are hoping to develop more apparel activations and partnership.

We would like to look at areas like personal care and toiletries – Wallace & Gromit is well suited to Father’s Day and Christmas and we would love to talk to retailers about Wallace & Gromit as well.

With Chicken Run 2 there is scope for lots of new conversations – we would welcome the chance to chat to licensees and retailers – Chicken Run 2 promises to be as popular as the original film.

Q - Are there any additional marketing activations in place for Aardmans new launches throughout 2023?


Ian - I remember at the last Brands & Retail UK conference that a number of the licensees and retailers in attendance mentioned that they like to work with brands that are ‘always on’.

I am pleased to say Aardman are experts at making sure their brands are ‘always on’.

They have very active and engaged social media audiences which they use to support the licensing programme.

There are a number of Live Event partners including Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Carrot Productions who stage music concerts coupled with film screenings.

In 2023 we will see a number of public art trails created with Wild in Art and charities whilst there will be a range of PR and promotional partnerships. Aardman will be very much on in 2023.

Q - The business is changing so much at the moment – someone we regard as an industry veteran what advice can you give Brands in getting through what looks like a tough year ahead?

Ian -
I think broadly speaking Licensing can provide manufacturers and retailers with an opportunity to tackle tougher times.

A well-chosen license can deliver a ready-made audience and one that is engaged with the brand.

As in the case of Aardman a license can bring a lot of support with it with social media platforms, PR and the potential to link with other partners. Licensing is an added value business.

We need to remember this and play to our strengths. I would also advocate less is more – licensing programmes should be judged on quality rather than quantity. Think about what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Ian Downes - MD Start Licensing - UK Agent for Aardman

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