Brand Licensing Europe 2019

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Written by: Chris Mellor (Senior Recruiter)

The 1st of October saw the return of Brand Licensing Europe. The annual convention celebrates some of Europe’s leading brands and franchises. Gathered under the roof  of the Excel Centre in London’s Docklands, the event hosted over 280 brand owners and more than 2,800 intellectual properties and trademarks. The networking, deal-making and trend analysis on offer at BLE attracted over 8000 attendees this year as retailers, licensees and manufacturers descended on Victoria Dock. I was lucky enough to visit the show floor and represent Aardvark Swift.

As Aardvark Swift‘s Licensing Recruiter, I was in my element as I mingled with many of our current and prospective clients. Meeting face-to-face with numerous brands that we’ve assisted with staff placements over the years helps to build the relationships we have within the industry. It allows us to further understand our client’s recruitment pain points on a more personal level. Not only do we want to build on the partnerships we have but we also want to be the go to destination for candidates; from Licensing Exec right up to Head of Licensing roles, building on our experience as we strive for world domination! …or at least to remain the #1 licensing specialist recruiters (if we have to settle).

Laying the foundations for a strong future relationship with our clients is at the core of what we do. Across the three day event I met many of our current partners with KonamiUbisoft France, Manchester City and Games Workshop just to name a few.  I also met with some exciting future clients such as a leading national broadcaster and an internationally respected record label (but I can’t share much more than that yet). Meeting up at the Millennium Dome with several of these brands, I managed to secure more exclusive roles to offer to prospective candidates. Roles including Marketing Manager, Licensing Manager and Sales Manager are all now live on

This year boasted the largest BLE event I’ve ever attended (and I’ve been to four), with great foot fall, it took the best part of two days to fully walk around and experience.  The gaming arcade section was one of my favourite spots with vendors touting retro cabinets of Pac-Man and Street Fighter II. The crossover this year between the gaming and the licensing worlds was more evident than ever, with games developers and publishers really starting to understand the impact it could have for their brand and on their bottom line! With licensing opening up merchandising for some of our favourite titles, there is definitely a market for it (and most of us will be at the front of the queue when the products begin to enter the market).

My stand of the show had to be that of Universal Studios (despite how much I loved the football licensing area).  The booth hosted merchandise and content from DC Comics. Characters such as SupermanBatman and Wonder Woman were displayed prominently, with other intellectual property owned by Universal, Harry Potter and Looney Tunes, also prevalent

As well as networking, the show also allowed for a glimpse into the direction the industry is taking with insights into future collaborations being shared. Games Workshop, the company behind iconic brands such as Warhammer 40K, were revealed to have partnered with Marvel Comics (so we could see a Space Wolves limited-run series in the near future).

So that’s a wrap for Brand Licensing Europe 2019, I’ll see you again on the 6th of October 2020 (or sooner if you’d like to reach out to me)!


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