Just stopped in at my humble hotel after the LIMA Gala, and thought I’d take a moment to fill you in on the evening’s big wins. Disney Consumer Products came out on top, snagging the coveted Best License of the Year and Best Film, Television & Entertainment Brand License awards for Disney/Pixar Cars, which has banked a cool US$2 billion at worldwide retail to date. Other kids industry accolades went to United Media’s Peanuts (Best Character Brand License of the Year), Toys ‘R’ Us (Best Retailer of the Year for its work on the Deal or No Deal program), Warner Bros. Consumer Products (Best Promotion of the Year for Happy Feet), Fisher-Price (Best Film, Television & Entertainment Brand Hard Goods Licensee of the Year for T.M.X. Elmo) and Disguise (Best Film, Television & Entertainment Brand Soft Goods Licensee of the Year for its Pirates of the Caribbean range).
And I couldn’t be happier for KidScreen cartoonist extraordinaire Jim Benton, whose graphic property It’s Happy Bunny won Scholastic a Best Character Brand Hard Goods Licensee of the Year award. It was also awesome to witness the induction of toy biz wizard Neil Friedman into the Licensing Industry Hall of Fame. Elmo and muppeteer Kevin Clash were on hand to say a few words about the man who turned the character into a still-strong toy craze, and it was a kick to hear Sesame Street’s popular Muppet give Neil ‘props.’ (Elmo’s choice of words; not mine.)