How can toy licensing recover its sparkle? Licensees speak out        

Following on from the first part of our exclusive Licensing Survey, the September edition of Toy World revealed more findings.

The Licensing Survey was undertaken in partnership with Informa, the organiser of the forthcoming BLE show, with the aim of exploring the current attitudes of toy licensees and retailers towards the licensing category –  the upsides and the downsides, the opportunities and the challenges, its strengths and how partnerships with licensors could be improved for everyone’s benefit.

The follow up article published in September’s Toy World revealed further responses from licensees, suggesting measures that they think licensors could consider adopting. The challenges faced and some of the potential solutions suggested will form the basis of a panel discussion at BLE on Tuesday 1st October between 12.30-1.00. Chaired by Toy World publisher John Baulch, and featuring a panel of licensing experts representing licensors, licensees and retailers, the session is sure to be lively, informative and provide plenty of food for thought.

To read Part Two of the Licensing Survey, click here.

How can toy licensing recover its sparkle? Part 3

The third and final instalment of the research piece Toy World and Informa, the organiser of BLE, have collaborated on.

Rounding off our three-part breakdown of the August issue’s bumper licensing survey, here are questions 7 and 8, giving a sense of how the toy community views the state of play in the licensing arena right now.

Look out for the follow-up piece in September’s issue, which will look at the biggest challenges that licensees and retailers will face in the coming years, and what licensors could do to improve their partnerships with licensees and retailers.


Question 7

Slicensing is clearly affecting the vast majority of licensees, either to a modest (54%) or significant (40%) degree. Obviously the practice is more prevalent in some categories than others, while there is also a massive variance between the levels of slicensing on a ‘hot’ brand compared to steady, long-term properties.

Comments –

  • It is a nuisance and often it is the licensors lust for extra revenue at the expense of partnerships and their inability to say ‘no’ to certain big retailers.
  • The majority of licensors offer genuine exclusivity – with one main exception. With them, it’s a nuisance and does nothing for the category.
  • We have seen RRPs driven down in several categories because of slicensing and it is not sustainable – to the extent where businesses have gone into receivership because of it. Thankfully, we tend to be the licensee that remains, but our business is impacted. Also, the lack of communication between licensor and licensees on this is deeply frustrating – we need to know who the players are or we look pretty stupid in front of our retailers.


Question 8

Responses were fairly evenly spread here – clearly grey imports are an issue in certain quarters, and they can have an impact at various stages of a product lifecycle, especially if a property or range has been launched at different times in different markets.



Comments – 

  • It’s a massive issue which licensors do not want to tackle. UK- based agents are getting away with it illegally day in day out, without any risk or financial stake in the property. It brings gross margin and licensed down massively (for both parties). It affects investment in product development, marketing and dumbs down/devalues licensed products.
  • It’s getting to be more of a concern: certain retailers will source from European manufacturers who do not officially have the licence to sell within the UK. That said, licensors are not happy either, but say they are powerless.
  • We are massively affected by ‘inspired by’ and counterfeit product – this is a growing problem that licensors should invest more in tackling.


To read the full article, published in the August issue of Toy World, click here.

How can toy licensing recover its sparkle? Part 2

The second instalment of the research piece Toy World and Informa, the organiser of BLE, have collaborated on. 

Picking up where we left off yesterday, here are questions 4-6 from our licensing survey, giving a sense of how the toy community views the state of play in the licensing arena right now.


Question 4

Again, with a negligible number believing the approval process to be straightforward, views are split between those who feel it is largely workable and a slightly larger number who find it over-complicated and protracted. With speed to market becoming increasingly important and the short window of opportunity for movie-related properties, a long approval process can put tremendous pressure on the supply chain and result in licensees missing key sales opportunities.


  • Some licensors expect refreshed designs every year, which simply isn’t practical for some licensees or retailers. A protracted approvals process slows down the speed to market, costs valuable turnover and in some cases fines by retailers for late new lines.
  • There is such a difference – some are a joy to work with and others give feedback that is simply not commercial.


Question 5

I suspect that answers to this question were heavily dependent on which licensors were being referenced. Inevitably, there was a noticeable split between movie licences and other properties, with one specific licensor repeatedly identified as the main culprit. It seems that just about every licensee that has tried to sell product to retailers based on only having a SKU number and a retail price has experienced ‘challenges’ – who would have thought it?

Comments –

  • They need to realise we are in the world of “NOW”, consumers want things quicker than ever.
  • It is absolutely a barrier when a licensee is kept under embargo and the trailer and lots of information is already out there on the internet. It significantly inhibits sales when a licensee can’t send images or launch product at the start of the season.
  • Recent examples have certainly deeply frustrated retailers. However, I am not sure it will impact the end number – it just causes a lot of stress and pressure on relationships along the way.


Question 6

On the plus side, slightly over half say they plan to spend the same or more than they did in the past. On the other hand, almost half say they plan to cut back. One interpretation could be that licensees will increasingly look to just back the winners, rather than taking more of a risk by signing multiple new properties. Responses may also be affected by product category: clearly, licensing remains dominant in some product sectors, while in some other areas, innovation and trend-driven product could be replacing character products.

Comments –

  • We must remain cautious right now and ensure we balance our level of risk as a business.
  • It is really near-impossible to get product to retail without a strong brand. The only way to grow as a company is by creating innovation, delving into new and tangential categories and by having licences to carry those product lines to market.

To read the full article, published in the August issue of Toy World, click here.

How can toy licensing recover its sparkle? Part 1

Toy World has collaborated with Informa, the organiser of BLE, on a research piece which explores the current attitudes of toy licensees and retailers towards the licensing category.

We received some very honest feedback from licensees and retailers to the survey we sent out. The full results appeared in the August edition of  Toy World, and over the next few days we’ll be bringing you some of the highlights. In the September’s issue, the follow up piece will look at the biggest challenges that licensees and retailers will face in the coming years, and what licensors could do to improve their partnerships with licensees and retailers.

For now, here is a sense of how the toy community views the state of play in the licensing arena right now. Each chart shows the question we asked and the percentage of respondents, and is accompanied by additional comments from suppliers and opinion from Toy World publisher John Baulch.


Question 1

The good news is that two-thirds of licensees feel that despite its challenges, licensed toys are as popular as ever with their retail partners. However, one third of licensees are seeing a downturn in retail interest. I suspect that, to some extent, this may be category specific – while some categories are still heavily reliant on licensing, others have shifted emphasis to favour more generic lines.


Comments – 

  • Retailers are sticking to evergreens or innovation – anything in between is a hard sell in our secondary category.
  • All licensing is a gamble, especially new properties – launching new IP in the current climate is challenging. But hasn’t it always been like that?


Question 2

The feedback here is relatively clear cut. Not one licensee believes that every licensor is taking the current retail climate into consideration. One third of respondents believe that at least some of their licensors are playing ball, while an emphatic two thirds feel that ‘few’ (i.e. the minority) are being realistic. The overwhelming evidence suggests therefore that toy licensees perceive that the majority of licensors have not adjusted their thinking despite the evolving economic and retail situation.

Comments – 

  • More and more are getting realistic and understanding the risk to the licensee if a brand bombs in year two and they’re trying to hold them to annualised MGs.
  • Most seem to have become more realistic. It is a shame that a few of them are still so arrogant and do not consider trading conditions.


Question 3

No great surprise that not a single licensee thinks they are paying too little for a licence, but with only 7% perceiving the costs to be about where they should be, a whopping 93% agree that terms are weighted strongly in favour of the licensor. I suspect this reflects a number of current trading factors, particularly the cost of developing tooling and the demands of retailers.


Comments – 

  • Licensees don’t always appreciate the financial pressure that licensors are under, given the investment required to create the content and launch the brand.
  • You always want to help the licensors that are pragmatic. Everybody needs to make money; it’s just about agreeing the fairest possible way for all parties.


To read the full article, published in the August issue of Toy World, click here.

Licensing Expo and American International Toy Fair announce collaboration

Advanstar Licensing and the Toy Industry Association have announced a new collaboration to cross-promote attendance at their two trade events in 2014.TIAlicexpo300

The American International Toy Fair represents the $22b US toy market. The event features more than 1,100 exhibiting companies and nearly 25,000 attendees. Licensing Expo, which represents the $230b licensing and brand extension market, draws more than 5,000 character, entertainment, art and consumer brands from 420 exhibitors and more than 15,000 attendees.

Through the newly established alliance, Advanstar Licensing and TIA will introduce Licensing Expo exhibitors to current and emerging toy trends, and inform Toy Fair exhibitors of licensing issues and opportunities in domestic, international and emerging markets.

“Considering that roughly 30% of the three billion toys and games purchased in the US each year are the result of licensed partnerships, a collaboration with the largest toy trade show in the western hemisphere made perfect sense for Licensing Expo,” said Jessica Blue, vice president of Licensing Expo. “This is going to bring many benefits to both sets of exhibitors. Our exhibitors can attend Toy Fair to seek out the latest trends in the market and every Toy Fair exhibitor could find a potential licensing partner by attending Licensing Expo.”

The new collaboration will also provide cross-promotional opportunities via direct mail and electronic marketing, editorial content and co-hosted seminars.

Marian Bossard, vice president of meetings and events at Toy industry Association, owners and producers of The American International Toy Fair, commented: “TIA is pleased to collaborate with Advanstar in support of our mutual stakeholders. This allows both groups to elevate awareness of the inextricable link between toys, youth product and playthings for all ages, and brand and entertainment properties.”

The American International Toy Fair will take place February 16-19, 2014 at New York City’s Jacob K Javits Convention Center. Licensing Expo, which is sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, will take place June 17-19 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Women in Toys to host ‘A Soirée at Spasso’ in Hong Kong

Those attending can expect an evening of Italian wine and delicacies and networking opportunities. 

With the January Hong Kong Toy Fair fast approaching, Women in Toys (WIT) has released its invitation for A Soirée at Spasso. Attendees can enjoy Italian fine wine and delicacies while networking with professionals from the global toy industry.

The event will be held on Tuesday 7th January 2020 from 7:30pm until 10pm, at Spasso, Empire Centre, 68 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East T.S.T., Kowloon. The entry cost is US $38 (£30) for WIT members and US $50 (£39) for non-members.

Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment is a non-profit organisation, and the leading global networking community for professional women working in the toy, licensing and entertainment industries. It is a collaborative community that champions the advancement of women through leadership, networking and educational opportunities.

To RSVP for the event, tickets can be purchased online. Alternatively email and pay at the door. Those interested need to get tickets on or before 6th January 2020.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield plush toys revealed

Available for the first time, the tie-in Pokémon character plush will be distributed in the UK by Character Options.

The Pokémon Company International has announced a unique tie-in featuring plush toys of characters featured in the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games.

For the first time , fans will be able to buy plush toys of the games’ new first partner Pokémon on the day the games launch for Nintendo Switch – 15th November.

Fans can find plush versions of the new Pokémon – Grookey, Scorbunny and Sobble – at selected retailers in the UK, France and Germany. The 8″ (20 cm) plush can be found exclusively at Smyths Toys Superstores, promoted on special freestanding display units for the video games and plush. The toys will also be available with temporary exclusivity at Auchan hypermarkets in France and Müller stores in Germany, while stocks last.

“We know fans cannot wait for the plush of their new favourite Pokémon characters,” said Mathieu Galante, licensing director (EMEA) for The Pokémon Company International. “This year, they will be able to pick up plush of the curious Chimp Pokémon Grookey, energetic Rabbit Pokémon Scorbunny and timid Water Lizard Pokémon Sobble at the same time as purchasing the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games, providing inspiration to players as they begin their new adventure.”

Manufactured by master toy partner Wicked Cool Toys, the plush is distributed in the UK by Character Options, in France by Bandai and in Germany by Boti.

Set in the new region of Galar, which is inspired by the UK, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield sees trainers battling in grasslands, towns and plains as well as in gigantic stadiums. In addition to the plush, the release of the Pokémon Trading Card Game: Galar Collection coincides with the video games’ release. Featuring three never-before-seen foil promo cards of the adorable new first partner Pokémon, plus one of three glossy pins, it marks an ideal way for fans to kick off their collection for this new region.

2020 US Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award finalists unveiled

Voting will take place in 16 categories between now and 5th January.

The Toy Association has unveiled 114 toy and game finalists for the prestigious 2020 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards. Known as the Oscars of the US toy industry, the TOTY Awards programme recognizes the top playthings on the market and is also a vital fundraiser for The Toy Foundation, which annually delivers toys to millions of children in need.

The finalists were selected from 633 nominees submitted by 236 companies. Eighteen judges, including toy and play experts, retailers, academics, and journalists, reviewed and ranked the products in categories relevant to their areas of expertise. The judges then participated in a discussion to determine the finalists in each category, considering each product’s creativity, design, play value and marketing.

Between now and January 5th, voters can visit to select their favourites in each of the 16 categories. They can also be in with a chance to win one of 16 toy prize packages. More information about the TOTY voting and selection process can be found in the “About the Awards” section of the website.

Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association, commented: “From an extraordinary field of nominees carefully reviewed by expert judges, this year’s TOTY finalists truly represent our members’ ability to bring fun, laughter, discovery, and learning to kids across America and around the world. We are proud to unveil these playthings in advance of the holiday season and celebrate the toy community’s enduring ability to inspire generations of play. Everyone is encouraged to cast their votes at and help decide the winners.”

Winners in each category, as well as the coveted overall Toy of the Year winner and the People’s Choice winner (based solely on consumer votes), will be announced at the TOTY Awards gala on Friday, February 21st, at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City. The celebration will kick off Toy Fair New York and include the induction of three trailblazers into the esteemed Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Open to toy industry professionals, tickets for the event will be available for purchase on December 2nd, with all proceeds donated to The Toy Foundation.

2020 Finalists:

Action Figure of the Year

  • Bakugan Dragonoid Maximus Transforming Figure by Spin Master
  • Disney Pixar Toy Story Basic Figures by Mattel
  • Heroes of Goo Jit Zu by Moose Toys
  • Jurassic World Destroy ‘N Devour Indominus Rex by Mattel
  • Marvel Legends Series by Hasbro
  • My Hero Academia Katsuki Bakugo Action Figure by McFarlane Toys
  • Power Rangers Beast Morphers Beast-X Ultrazord Figure by Hasbro

Collectible of the Year

  • Blume by Skyrocket Toys
  • Hairdorables Dolls Series 3 by Just Play
  • L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Disco Series by MGA Entertainment
  • Lucky Fortune by WowWee
  • My Singing Monsters Collectible Musical Figures by PlayMonster
  • Pulp Heroes Snap Bots by Far Out Toys
  • Shopkins Real Littles Lil’ Shopper Pack by Moose Toys

Construction Toy of the Year

  • Erector by Meccano, Inventor Set, Intro to Robotics by Spin Master
  • Fisher-Price Wonder Makers design system Build Around Town Starter Kit by Mattel
  • LeapBuilders ABC Smart House by LeapFrog
  • Lego City Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control by Lego
  • Lego Marvel Iron Man Hall of Armor by Lego
  • My Robotic Pet – Tumbling Hedgehog by Thames & Kosmos
  • Vex Catapult 2.0 by Hexbug

Creative Toy of the Year

  • Blinger by Wicked Cool Toys
  • Cool Maker GO GLAM Nail Stamper by Spin Master
  • Crayola Glitter Dots by Crayola
  • littleBits Electronic Music Inventor Kit by Sphero
  • Smart Pixelator by Flycatcher
  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Droid Depot Custom Astromech Units by Disney Parks
  • Y’Art Craft Kit by Kahootz

Doll of the Year

  • Ballerina Dreamer Dancing Ballerina by Hunter Products
  • Candylocks Basic Doll by Spin Master
  • Creatable World by Mattel
  • Cry Babies – Kristal Gets Sick & Feels Better by IMC Toys
  • Disney Frozen II: “Into the Unknown” Elsa Doll by Jakks Pacific
  • Disney Princess Ralph Breaks the Internet – Comfy Princess Assortment by Hasbro
  • L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Fashion Dolls by MGA Entertainment

Game of the Year

  • Funkoverse Strategy Game by Funko Games
  • Heist by Megableu USA
  • Ms. Monopoly Board Game by Hasbro
  • Orangutwang by PlayMonster
  • Pictionary Air by Mattel, Inc.
  • Ravensburger’s Disney Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared by Ravensburger
  • Throw Throw Burrito by Exploding Kittens
  • Uno Braille by Mattel

Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year

  • Fisher-Price Linkimals by Mattel
  • InnyBin by Fat Brain
  • KidKraft World of Eric Carle Shape Activity Cube by KidKraft
  • LeapBuilders 123 Fix-It Truck by LeapFrog
  • Mix & Match-a-Saurus by VTech
  • Musical Lili Llama by The Manhattan Toy Company
  • Tinker Truck by Radio Flyer

Innovative Toy of the Year

  • comicam the Instant Comic Camera by Hangzhou Rulei Technology
  • Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak by Wow! Stuff
  • Hot Wheels id Smart Track Kit by Mattel
  • Hot Wheels TechMods by Mattel
  • RockIt Twist by LeapFrog
  • Shashibo (The Shape Shifting Box) by Fun In Motion Toys
  • tori Explorer Pack by Bandai Namco

Licence of the Year

  • Baby Shark by Pinkfong
  • Barbie 60th Anniversary Program by Mattel
  • JoJo Siwa by Nickelodeon
  • Marvel Avengers Endgame by Disney / Marvel Licensing
  • Paw Patrol Mighty Pups Super PAWs by Spin Master / Nickelodeon
  • Pokémon by The Pokémon Company International
  • Ryan’s World by
  • Toy Story 4 by The Walt Disney Company

Outdoor Toy of the Year

  • Crazy Cart Shift by Razor USA
  • Create A Castle by Create A Castle
  • EzyRoller Drifter X by EzyRoller LLC
  • Globber GoUp COMFORT by Incredible Novelties
  • My Buddy Wheels by Yvolution
  • Toilet Paper Blasters Sheet Storm by Jakks Pacific
  • Zuru X-Shot Fast-Fill by Zuru

Playset of the Year

  • Beyblade Burst Turbo Slingshock Cross Collision Battle Set by Hasbro
  • Disney Frozen Ultimate Arendelle Castle Playset by Hasbro
  • Hape Fire Station by Hape
  • Hot Wheels Colossal Crash Track Set by Mattel
  • L.O.L. Surprise! Winter Disco Chalet by MGA Entertainment
  • Playmobil Mars Space Station by Playmobil
  • Timber Tots by Fat Brain

Plush Toy of the Year

  • Cutetitos by Basic Fun!
  • Dolce Safari Adventure by Magformers/Dolce
  • Little Live Scruff-A-Luvs Real Rescue Electronic Pet by Moose Toys
  • Pinkfong Baby Shark Song Puppets with Tempo Control by WowWee
  • Pomsies Lumies by Skyrocket Toys
  • Shimmer Stars by KD Group
  • Zuru Rainbocorns Ultimate Sequin Surprise Series 2 by Zuru

Pre-school Toy of the Year

  • Demo Duke by Spin Master
  • Coding Critters by Learning Resources
  • Kid Trax Rideamals Unicorn by Pacific Cycle
  • Kindi Kids by Moose Toys
  • Myla the Magical Unicorn by VTech
  • Peppa Pig’s Magical Parade Floats by Jazwares
  • Wild Ones by Razor USA

Specialty Toy of the Year

  • AirFort by AirFort
  • Hape Emergency Services Headquarters by Hape
  • Lego Ideas Central Perk by Lego
  • Lego Stranger Things – The Upside Down by Lego
  • littleBits Space Rover Inventor Kit by Sphero
  • OombeeBall by Fat Brain
  • ThinkFun’s Thinking Putty Puzzle by ThinkFunsmos

STEM/STEAM Toy of the Year

  • Amazing Rescue 50Pc Set by Magformers
  • Artie 3000 by Educational Insights
  • Beaker Creatures Alien Experiment Lab by Learning Resources
  • Crayola Color Chemistry Arctic Lab by Crayola
  • Gumball Machine Maker by Thames & KoLego Boost Star Wars Droid Commander by Lego
  • Mech-5 Mechanical Coding Robot by Elenco

Vehicle of the Year

  • Grrrumball by Alpha Group US
  • Hot Wheels Mario Kart Die-Cast Vehicle Assortment by Mattel
  • L.O.L. Surprise! 2-in-1 Glamper by MGA Entertainment
  • Monster Jam Mega Grave Digger Remote Control Vehicle by Spin Master
  • PJ Masks PJ Seeker by Just Play
  • Star Wars D-O Interactive Droid by Hasbro
  • X-Power Dozer by Jakks Pacific

BLE toy licensing panel discussion hailed a success

On day one of BLE 2019, Toy World publisher John Baulch chaired a panel discussion entitled ‘How can toy licensing recover its sparkle?’ which explored all areas of licensing, from brand to product to retail. 

Following on from the licensing survey which Toy World conducted in partnership with Informa, the organiser of BLE, the panel debated some of the survey’s findings and explored ways in which sales of licensed merchandise could be boosted after four consecutive years of decline. Looking at ways in which toy licensees and retailers can collaborate with licensors to reinvigorate the licensed toy category, the lively and informative discussion provided food for thought for the licensors, licensees and retailers in attendance.

A stellar line up of expert panellists from across the licensing industry included Hannah Mungo, director of Consumer Products, UK and Ireland at NBCUniversal; Mark Kingston, SVP international consumer products, Viacom International Media Networks; Andrew Barrett, director of product development, VTech Electronics Europe; Lucy Wynne-Jones, head of licensing, Europe, Moose Toys UK and Stuart Grant, buying director, The Entertainer

Stuart Grant talked about the rapid growth in content available to children and how consumer buying behaviour is changing as a result. He noted that, “gone are the days when children are fanatical about one property, when they’re presented with so much content across an ever-growing range of media platforms.” Stuart went on to highlight how it is becoming increasingly more difficult for brands to make a connection with consumers and how retailers need to adapt, as buying behaviour continues to shift as a result.

Mark Kingston agreed that this is a major challenge facing the licensing industry: “To get time with kids at the moment, when they have so many different touchpoints, comes down to emotional connection. If properties have that real emotional connection with audiences and with the kids, it then translates into consumer products.” He noted, however, the challenges presented by SVOD platforms which often release a whole series at once, meaning that the consumer then has to wait six months or a year for the next season. He thinks it likely that appointment-to-view may return to popularity, which would allow viewers time to build a connection, in turn translating into demand for character licensed product.

Hannah Mungo forecast that YouTube will increasingly be utilised as an initial touchpoint for content: “I think we’re going to see a YouTube first approach more and more, because so many kids are tuning in, and it has the biggest number of eyes. Moving forward, I think YouTube is going to be a platform that CP can hang off the back of.”

Hannah also noted that NPD analysis viewed by Universal had revealed that the number of new properties on the market this year had risen from 40 in 2018 to 47 this year. She added: “If you take out one major licensor from the equation, the actual share is pretty much the same as it was in 2016,” a point re-iterated by Mark Kingston.

Adding a licensee’s perspective, Moose Toys’ Lucy Wynn-Jones was keen to focus on the positive impact of particularly strong properties among the many available in today’s market. “Even though the overall share might be down, there are still some real winners out there, such as L.O.L. Surprise! and Paw Patrol, that are enormous. People tend to forget those when they are talking about the decline of licensing.”

Andrew Barrett discussed how licensed goods can still command a premium, as consumers remain willing to pay more for them. “If the IP is strong enough, it can command a premium. How much will depend on what the product is.” He went on to explain how VTech considers it vitally important to look for product innovation with licensed IP. “If you can combine product innovation with a licensed character, you can probably go up to a premium of 30%.”

The panel discussion was one of 25 sessions that took place in BLE’s License Global Theatre. Other highlighted topics include sustainability, publishing, animation, gaming, eSports, food and beverage, heritage, fashion, influencers, digitalisation, retail and Brexit.

Toy World would like to thank all the panellists who took part and everyone who came along to listen.

Coolabi secures licensing rights for Giraffes Can’t Dance

Written by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees, Giraffes Can’t Dance celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Coolabi Licensing has announced that it has secured the global licensing rights for the much-loved classic children’s picture book Giraffes Can’t Dance. Published by Orchard Books, part of the Hachette Children’s Group, the book has been translated into 34 languages, selling over 10m copies worldwide. Giraffes Can’t Dance promotes self-esteem in young children by championing the important and universal message of acceptance and self-belief.

Coolabi Licensing plans to build an extensive licensing portfolio across core categories, driven by plush, apparel, games and puzzles.

Allison Watkins, director of consumer products and TV distribution at Coolabi Group, commented: “Giraffes Can’t Dance is such a beloved book all over the world and remains one of the best-selling picture books of the last 20 years. I am delighted that Coolabi Licensing has the opportunity to extend this wonderful book in to merchandise for the very first time. The beautiful colour palette and wonderful characters created by Giles and Guy will work across all product to delight boys and girls across the world.’’

Karen Lawler, head of licensed content at Hachettte Children’s Group, added: “There is a reason Giraffes Can’t Dance has been a perennial bestseller for 20 years. Giles Andreae’s text is a fun, funny celebration of acceptance, with gorgeous, jubilant illustrations from Guy Parker-Rees. Those same elements are sure to make its merchandise a huge hit. Coolabi is a brilliant partner and we can’t wait to see Giraffes Can’t Dance products on the shelf.”

The news follows the recent announcement of the new Giraffes Can’t Dance stage adaptation for Christmas. The Made at Curve production will run in the Curve Rose Theatre in Leicester from 9th to 29th December this year and will be produced in association with Hachette Children’s Group and Coolabi Group.

On top of Giraffes Can’t Dance, Coolabi Group own certain rights for a large number of Giles Andreae’s children’s books, including the much-loved Rumble in the Jungle, Commotion in the Ocean, Farmyard Hullabaloo, There’s A House Inside My Mummy and The Lion Who Wanted to Love, plus many more.