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"The feedback was Excellent from the UK Retailers and Licensees for our NEW industry conference. The NDA Screenings were captivating throughout and the audience was delighted when the Summer dates
were announced for the 6th and 7th July... "
Ryan Beaird - (B&RUK Event Director)
Friday 25th Feb 2022 - News from the United Kingdom
The First ever Brands & Retail UK conference
I could tell everyone involved was delighted I postponed the event from the height of covid on the 20th January to the 24th February. The brands all had extra time to work on their Sizzles and presentations and as I started to receive them in the run up to the revised date I was blown away by how much effort went into them.
We were all set.., all the badges were printed and I headed off very early in the morning down to the British Library. I want to thank Rebecca French and Francesca Wooldridge my media partner from Total Licensing for helping with registration, and also to Richard Radford of Bioworld for the being the very first attendee of Brands & Retail UK as he got the early train down to Kings Cross (pictured).
As the audience started to turn up I could tell they were amazed by the British Library conference centre. I was also informed they found it easy to find as it is right next to Kings Cross and Euston stations so a perfect location for those coming down from the midlands and the north.
I was also delighted that the morning presenters had turned up as well. You always worry your speakers and presenters will show up. So we were all set and the audience took to their seats with smiles on their faces and ready to see what their partners were going to show them.
Rob Corney Managing Director of Bulldog Licensing led the conference and showed the Retailers and Licensees three new exciting properties he was representing - 'Magic Mixies' by Moose Toys, 'Odo' the new Preschool show from Sixteen South and 'Gus The Itsy Bitsy Knight' by Technicolor.
Rebecca Jenkins Director of Retail told us about the name change from ViacomCBS to Paramount and informed the audience about their 22 plans for Consumer Products across all the Paramount categories - from Preschool, Adult Animation to Film and TV.
Sally Carnota and Cat O'Brien of Hasbro UK presented their 2022 plans for Hasbro, and even showed us all a sneak peak of some exciting product developments for one of their IP's which is heavily under-wraps.
Sarah Fletcher and Kiran Bajwa showed some exciting NEW products from their new IP's that looked fantastic. Clearly looks like a new hit.
Moonbug's Adam Steel and Drew Dainton (first time at presenting) gave the audience some fascinating insights into their Youtube statistics and went into details about their huge IP's Blippi, Morphle and CocoMelon.
Larkshead Licensing (Numberblocks)
Clare Piggott from Larkshead who represents the BlueZoo IP 'NumberBlocks' told us how big the IP is in the UK and how it is embedded into the curriculum and now used as a tool by teachers to help children learn mathematics - making maths fun.
Anita Serradimigni and Nick Stratton told us about Warner Bros' plans for 22 and also 23 and showed us some incredible sizzles from their hugely diverse properties.
Jennifer Greenway showed us their classics such as Peter Rabbit and Snowman but went into detail on their plans for Flower Fairies and showed us their beautiful designs.
Warhammer (Games Workshop)
Erik Mogensen was sadly unable to attend but Finn Arnesen stepped in and surprised the audience that over 11 million people in the UK have engaged with Warhammer. There were also sizzles showing new IP's.
Victoria Justice and Franca Bernativicius informed the audience updates on World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot and King's Candy Crush.
Tinderbox - XBOX, Halo, FarCry, Just Dance
Dave Tovey Head of Licensing of Beanstalks Digital division 'Tinderbox' showed the audience the IP's they represent including - Just Dance, XBOX and Halo.
Toby Rayfield stepped in for Jason Rice last minute and showed the audience SEGA's plans for 2022 - including some exciting news on Sonic The Hedgehog.
Fabacus (our sponsor)
and lastly to close the presentations we heard from our Sponsor 'Fabacus' - Andrew Xeni and Jonathan Baker told us what their software can really do for IP owners, Licensees and Retailers. It was a great way to end the NDA'd section of the conference.
The Retail Buyers Panel - (sponsored by Fabacus)
Sadly Neil Mitchell 'Toy buyer' from Studio Retail was unable to attend last minute but I have asked him to come and speak on the Summer panel and he can't wait.
I amvery grateful for Karen Hewitt co-owner of Character.com and Ruth Golighlty of ASDA for taking to the stage and answer some fantastic questions from the audience. The take-aways from the Retail Buyers panel was an in-sight into how retailers work around drop searches and also logistics during lockdown which we are grateful is a distant memory now, although it seems if you are an online retailer you would have done brilliantly in sales.
The Keynote - Stephen Phipson CBE - (CEO - MAKEUK.org)
Sadly Stephen Phipson CBE was unable to attend very last minute but the audience heard a brilliant speech from Ben Fletcher MAKEUK's Chief Operating officer who stepped in for him.
Ben gave the audience of Licensees and company owners insights into what the trade association does for UK manufacturing and also told them of some government support and objectives for the coming year. I will be asking MAKEUK to come back and speak to the audience again in the summer because I was told by the Licensees it was what they wanted to hear as it was dedicated to them and of huge interest.
The Ivy Club Party
The party was SOLD out with two weeks to go and 100 delegates were all driven from the British Library to the Ivy Club in two separate coaches, which I was delighted worked out logistically (we didn't lose anyone!).
I've put on numerous parties for the Brands & Retail industry over the years but it felt to me the audience really enjoyed this one. As it took place in the exclusive Ivy Club I am afraid I can't give you more details.
All I will say - I was surprised who turned out to be a brilliant singer on the Karaoke and who needs some more singing lessons.
and onto the Brands & Retail Summer Conference - 6th & 7th July
At the start of the day I told the audience about the plans for the Summer conference which is confirmed as the 6th and 7th July. The 6th I will be speaking with the Commercial, Lifestyle, Heritage and Charity brands about giving them a day to present to their Retailers and Licensees who manufacture for that side of the business.
The 7th July I can confirm Acamar Films, Mattel and Paramount are confirmed and with a slight tweak to the program as I will be extending the Lunch and coffee breaks this means I now have only 14 slots left for Day 2 on the Thursday, and 17 slots for Day 1 on the Wednesday.
I also announced in my morning speech we will be having the Party onsite at the British Library up on their incredible rooftop terrace. Meaning I can now give 200 of the audience the opportunity to network in the summer sunshine and do business.
I also want to take the opportunity to clarify what the format of the conference is. I wanted to create this event to give the Brands a setting where they would feel comfortable sharing their plans to a room full of their partners and Retail Buyers only. This is why I have restricted the audience to only Licensees and Retailers only. NDA's all have to be signed and the brands for the winter conference have worked with me in vetting who they are happy to share their classified information with.
So I am now looking at creating a 'membership' for Brands Retail UK which will solely be for Licensees and Retailers. I will be starting this after the summer conference and speaking with animation studios and Brand owners about how they can present their new IP's for consumer products in a secure way either in regular digital screenings for the members and in person at the Winter and Summer conferences.
To keep the service providers of the industry happy I will be looking at how they can advertise their services possibly with articles to the membership later in the year.
This proposal to the audience was pretty unanimous in that is what they want, and I will listen to our Licensees and Retailers and work with them going forward, this event is for them and I want to make them as comfortable as possible.
I cannot wait to get the next one moving and secure the program for the Summer. If you are a Brand please contact me, the conference will sell out so don't miss out, and if are a licensee I hope you can make it in the Summer - contact me to pre-register your seat.
and so from the first Brands & Retail UK Winter conference - 'That's all folks'... thanks to Warner Bros. for that.
....and lastly if you was in the audience just remember...
'I know nothing'... ;)
Ryan Beaird - Event Director and Owner - Brands Retail UK
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