Best of the Year – Licensing Agents

We have come to the last category of KidScreen's Best of the Year Awards nominees - Best Licensing Agents. Here they are...and don't forget to rock the vote and cast your ballot at
November 24, 2008

Bulldog Licensing

In just under two years, London-based Bulldog Licensing has gone from startup to up-and-coming indie agency, amassing a solid portfolio of entertainment and art-oriented properties in fairly short order. Key pick-ups last year included Animation Collective’s Thumb Wrestling Federation (repped globally by Al Ovadia & Associates), infant-targeted and pun-laden IP Goochicoo and collectible-driven GoGo’s Crazy Bones, for which Bulldog has built a roster of 16 licensees since July. Currently, TWF is prepared for lift-off as product from Random House UK and toy licensee Sambro land at high street retailers this month to capitalize on the heat the short series has been generating on BBC airwaves. Meanwhile, Bulldog founder Rob Corney has developed a reputation for being able to mobilize and get product on-shelf quickly. The company has also been steadily building an international network of agencies for the company’s portfolio, and has landed representation in Eastern Europe, France, Germany, North America, the Middle East and Australia.

CopCorp Licensing

The past 12 months have proven to be the best year ever for Carole Postal’s

11-year-old agency. Jim Benton’s groundbreaking tween property It’s Happy Bunny, which CopCorp launched at retail in 2000, moved past the US$500-million mark in global retail sales and won the coveted LIMA Award for Best Character Brand Program of the Year. And in addition to signing dozens of new licensees to the property’s global partner list, CopCorp was also tapped for a special Merit Award for Licensing Creativity from LIMA for the innovative ‘Drug-Free Bunny’ service program created for the public school system in Texas. And despite the rabbit’s favorite motto, it wasn’t all about IHB this year. CopCorp launched new tween fashion brand Pink Cookie and added the fabled entertainment IP Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to its roster. Finally, the company got preschool art property (not so) Scary Monsters off the ground through an exclusive launch at FAO Schwarz, and the toy retailer now carries the product at its in-store boutiques located within Macy’s across the US.

Kidz Entertainment

The Nordic agency continued its plan of aggressive expansion this year, and its merger with Eastern Europe’s EEMC became official in January 2008. Kidz Entertainment has since moved into 15 countries in the region, opening an office in the Ukraine, expanding its Russian operation and quickly learning its way around licensing in the emerging market. Kidz also made two significant additions to its staff to step up efforts to offer turnkey services in design and retail management. The company welcomed Peter Skouboe as VP of retail and brand management, and Bettina Christensen as product development manager. The company continued to bolster its portfolio, picking up representation for Bella Sara, Richard Scarry, Miffy and In the Night Garden, as well as its first brand, Lego. Kidz also took home a Pingu award from existing client HIT Entertainment for a Thomas & Friends promotion it set up with Danish Railways, which helped drive sales of related product to three times higher than expected levels.

The Licensing Shop

The Toronto-based boutique agency is heading into its third year of operation and husband-and-wife team Steve and Nancy Fowler have been steadily building an impressive portfolio, bringing on Sesame Street, CBS Consumer Products and Yo Gabba Gabba! in 2008. And the pair didn’t waste any time in drumming up awareness for Sesame, in particular. On the heels of Canadian 24/7 preschool broadcaster Treehouse airing the iconic series for the first time in the country since 1996, TLS embarked on several marketing and retail campaigns to amp up the property’s presence in the territory. The company helped

Oscar the Grouch get appointed as the official spokes-Muppet for Canada’s Waste Reduction Week and led a whirlwind publicity tour for newest Street member Abby Cadabby to introduce her to Canadian audiences. The combined TV, radio and PSA appearances of both Muppets generated in excess of 50 million impressions.

Wild Pumpkin

Save the current market leader Haven Licensing, perhaps no other agency in Australia has come on as strongly as Wild Pumpkin in the wake of the demise of Gaffney International. Between September of that year and January 2008, the three-year-old company picked up six high-profile properties, including Care Bears, WWE, LazyTown, The Smurfs and Ben 10, and has been busy building their Aussie progams. In 2008, the agency managed to land a three-month placement for a front-of-store WWE concept shop at Australian mass retailers. And the Smurfs celebrated their 50th anniversary in style through an exclusive at Aussie fashion retailer Jay Jays in March. Additionally, locally hatched tween live-action series H2O – Just Add Water continues to move from strength to strength at Australian retail under the agency’s guidance. The series’ DVDs remain in the top five in sales for girls ages five to 12 and the fashion and accessories line has been at retail in the territory since mid-2007.

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