BLE announces License This winners


The winners of this year’s License This! competition – Carrot & Toast and My Little Opera – were announced at Brand Licensing Europe this afternoon following an hour of pitching and presentations from seven finalists.

The brainchild of Drew Bristow who was also a License This! finalist in 2018, Carrot & Toast are two best friends: an odd combination who adhere to the chaos/order theory. Carrot is grounded and sensible. Toast is a little haphazard, clumsy and silly. They both feature in a series of mini comics aimed at younger readers and their first adventure ‘Carrot & Toast Are Coming Home’ sees them get into trouble on holiday when Toast loses his passport.

License This! judge Will Stewart commented: “It really wasn’t an easy decision this year, we had quite the battle choosing just two winners. My Little Opera is visually very beautiful, but what I loved about Carrot & Toast is that Drew had taken on board everything we said to him in last year’s final and returned with characters who have a distinctive identity. I also loved that he shared the back story of how his two characters came about – few creatives will share that level of vulnerability but I think it’s a a really important thing to do.”

Chair Kelvyn Gardner added: “With over 50 entrants, it’s an achievement in its own right just to make the final.”

My Little Opera is inspired by the world’s greatest operas and ballets and has a fresh visual illustrated narrative.

“Well known characters that were part of the contemporary culture a century ago have now been side-lined, unlike many from classic literature and myths,” said its creator Rosie Brooks. “I am bringing these characters to a modern audience through this new fun and humorous illustrated brand. The target demographic extends way beyond the ‘opera lovers’: it is a springboard for the creation a new world of characters with limitless global possibilities.”

This year’s License This! winners will receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2020, one year’s Licensing International membership and PR support. Finalists will also receive legal consultation from competition sponsor Wynne-Jones. Previous entrants – both winners and finalists – have also signed lucrative agent and licensing deals off the back of the competition. Last year’s winners – Zara Picken and Sara Burman Designs – both exhibited at BLE 2019 in the Art, Design & Image zone.

The finalists were:

  • Adorabubbles
  • Carrot & Toast
  • Slime Fury (Argentina)
  • MINU’ Tiny Little Wonders (Italy)  
  • My Little Opera
  • Noodoll
  • Owlasanas

This year’s judges are:

  • Kelvyn Gardner, managing director, Licensing International (chair)
  • Sarah Ward, CEO, Giftware Association
  • Victor Caddy, partner, Wynne-Jones

Character & Entertainment award                                                                                            

  • Dan Grant, director of licensing, Danilo Promotions
  • Nikki Samuels, licensing director, Sambro                                
  • Clare Piggott, director, Larkshead Media
  • Julia Redman, head of buying, M&Co

Brand & Design award                                                                                                             

  • Stuart Cox, founder, I Like Birds
  • Vicki Thomas, owner, Vicki Thomas Associates                                      
  • Sarah Lawrence, owner, This is Iris                                
  • Jehane Boden Spiers, founder, Jehane  
  • Will Stewart, managing director, The Point 1888

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