BLE hailed a triumph as it reconnects licensing industry

Published on: 25th November 2021

BLE took place at Excel London last week, after more than two years away, and reconnected thousands of retailers, manufacturers and designers in person.

Anna Knight, VP licensing, Informa Markets, commented: “A massive thank you to everyone who not only made it possible for BLE to return in person this year, but who delivered a top-quality event that delivered on its promise to reconnect the European licensing industry for three days of incredible networking and content. We couldn’t be prouder or more delighted with the feedback we’ve received from exhibitors, visitors and partners.”

Brand Licensing Europe was back in person after more than two years away with over 150 exhibiting companies and a marked increase in retailer attendees compared to 2019 – from11% to 15%. Attendees participated in 2,669 pre-booked meetings and many hundreds more arranged spontaneously during the three-day show, resulting in one exhibitor hailing the event a ‘triumphant return’.

Philippe Glorieux, head of marketing and communications, IMPS The Smurfs, said: “What a pleasure to get together live. We were all really happy to be able to look each other in the eyes and no longer through a screen. Congratulations to the entire Informa team for having braved all the complications and for having masterfully organised this beautiful BLE 2021 opus.”

Laura Nevanlinna, CEO, Ferly added: “BLE 2021 to me felt almost like a homecoming; a return to the community most of us hadn’t had the chance of spending time with for almost two years. It was great to be back.”

Two packed keynotes saw Team GB and Olympic gold medallists Tom Daley and Charlotte Worthington speak about their journey to success in Tokyo, and ViacomCBS Consumer Products present a fascinating report on diversity and dolls. The BLE Sustainability Activation in partnership with Products of Change was consistently busy, the Battersea & Guide Dogs for the Blind dogs regularly patted, and the two costume character parades left everyone smiling.

BLE 21 networking continues online.

A further 870 (and rising) meetings have now been booked on the BLE platform for the follow up online event, which takes place on 30th November and 1st December. Attendees unable to attend BLE in person, and those who did attend but want to book overflow meetings, will be able to reconnect with most of the in person exhibitors as well as 53 online-only exhibitors, including Mattel, The Pokémon Company, Playmobil, ITV Studios and more.

The event’s online content programme will expand BLE’s ‘What’s Next’ theme including three online-only ‘In Conversation’ sessions with senior executives from ViacomCBS Consumer Products; a sustainability panel with Products of Change, and Licensing U, alongside the option to watch recordings of the Team GB and ViacomCBS live keynotes, five ‘What’s Next at Retail’ sessions and the Kelvyn Gardner License This! final which took place at the show. All of this content will be available to watch on demand for free until 28th February 2022.

Anna Knight added: “Next stop BLE online. This is the last real opportunity for the European licensing industry to connect en masse in 2021, so book those meetings now. Then next year we’ll be travelling over to Vegas for Licensing Expo and finally – just 10 months from now – BLE 2022, which will take place from 20th-22nd September at Excel London. Despite the sore feet, we can’t wait.”

Maura Regan, president, Licensing International, concluded: “We and our members were particularly enthused about the quality of the meetings we had during BLE. Everyone was there to do serious business. At the same time, people were so excited just to be back together again, and the good cheer at the Opening Night drinks and throughout the Expo was invigorating. We’re looking forward to the virtual BLE for those who weren’t able to make it to London, and to the outstanding Licensing U educational programme that we’ve prepared.”



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