Smiley, ABG and Alibaba announced as first Festival of Licensing keynotes

The iconic Smiley brand, the world’s biggest retailer Alibaba, and globally-renowned brand management, brand owner and marketing company Authentic Brands Group (ABG) are the first keynotes revealed for the Festival of Licensing Live Stage agenda, sponsored by Crunchyroll

A month-long virtual celebration of the global licensing industry running from 6-29 October, Festival of Licensing incorporates three regional events linked to the world’s biggest markets – Europe, Asia and the Americas – and culminates with the global C-suite and executive-level virtual conference, Licensing Leadership Summit. Festival of Licensing is organised and produced by the Global Licensing Group at Informa Markets.

Going live at 0900 BST on 6 October, The Smiley Co., the French brand that’s been dedicated to the way we share happiness since the 1970s, will open the festival and kick off the event’s Europe content. Alibaba will take the centre stage for the first day of the Asia week. ABG will headline day one of the Americas week with insight into their unique business strategy that has been making business headlines thanks to a strong partnership with U.S. mall owner Simon Property Group; and Live Stage sponsor, Crunchyroll, will keynote the America’s second day of content with a lively discussion around anime, one of the hottest entertainment trends in pop culture right now.

Festival of Licensing will also include educational content from event sponsor Licensing International, the leading trade association for the global licensing industry, working to foster the growth and expansion of licensing around the world.

To have businesses of this stature, who are globally known and respected throughout licensing and beyond, headlining on the Festival of Licensing Live Stage is phenomenal. We couldn’t have asked for more,” said Anna Knight, Vice President, Licensing, Informa Markets.

We have amazing regional sessions confirmed, as well, including fantastic panels. This is just the start. We have another four weeks to go and a tonne more keynotes and content yet to announce. It’s going to be an incredible line up with some truly inspirational sessions and can’t-miss educational content.”

View the agenda here: 

Week 1: 6-8 October – Europe, powered by Brand Licensing Europe

Tuesday 6 October, 9am BST

Keynote presentation: Putting Purpose into your Licensing Programme
Nicolas Loufrani, Founder and CEO, The Smiley Company. Additional special guests to be announced.

Wednesday 7 October, 9am BST

Keynote panel: How the Sports Industry Swerved the Biggest Brand Disruption of Recent History

Joan Carrera Lopez, Senior Manager, Retail & CPG Licensing, Formula 1®; Tim Ellerton, Commercial Director, Team GB; + more panellists to be announced

On-demand sessions available from Tuesday, 6 October, 9am BST, including:

What do Gamers Want?

Dan Amos, Head of Esports, Difuzed. Additional panellists to be announced.
Moderator: Ben Roberts, Content Editor, EMEA, License Global

Building a Long-Term Programme: What do Licensors Need to Do?
Nikki Samuels, CEO, factory; Ruth Golightly, Head of Buying, Children’s Clothing, Asda/George; Ashley Holman, Managing Director, Riverside Brands; Gabrielle Sims, Licensing Director, Fatface
Moderator: Richard Pink, Managing Director, Pink Key Licensing

Richard Pink: “More than anything else, a brand will want to develop a licensing programme that has longevity. The licensing industry is littered with programmes that ran out of steam and fell by the wayside; our panel, with experts from each of the core components of a programme – brand, agent, licensee and retailer – will give you their view on what a licensor needs to put in place to ensure their licensing programme not only has legs but also, crucially, has the stamina to last the course.”

Week 2: 14-15 October – Asia, powered by Licensing Expo China and Licensing Expo Japan

Wednesday, 14 October, 2pm CST

Keynote presentation: How Alibaba, China’s eCommerce Giant, Embraces Licensing
Alex Tsai, Head Of Partnerships And Licensing, Americas And Europe, Alibaba/Alifish

On-demand sessions available from Wednesday 14 October, 2pm CST

Understanding China’s eCommerce Ecosystem for Licensing
Moderator: Sky Canaves, Editor, Content Commerce Insider. Additional panellists to be announced.

Week 3: 20-22 October – Americas, powered by Licensing Expo

Tuesday, 20 October, 9am PST

Keynote presentation

Jarrod Weber, Chief Business Officer and President, Lifestyle, Authentic Brands Group

Wednesday, 21 October, 9am PST

Keynote presentation: Anime 101: Breaking Down the Hottest Pop Culture Medium

John Leonhardt, Head of Consumer Products, Crunchyroll

Moderator: Amanda Cioletti, Event and Content Director, Licensing, Informa Markets

On-demand sessions available from Tuesday, 20 October, 9am PST, including:

What do Licensees Want?
A broad look at the licensing landscape and unique business terms in light of COVID-19, unpredictable entertainment calendars, the current retail climate and the growth of e-commerce.

Moderator: Steven Heller, Founder, The Brand Liaison. Additional panellists to be announced.

Doing Business in Latin America: Trade Promotion and Export Assistance to U.S. Brands

Sandra Tinajero, Economic and Commercial Section, U.S. Embassy to Quito

What do Retailers Want in Latin America?
Hear from some major retailers in Latin America about what they look for when it comes to licensing.

Moderator: Dalia Benbassett, Vice President, Corporate Relations and Acquisitions, Tycoon Enterprises. Additional panellists to be announced.

Lightning on a Canvas: How Bob Ross Became an Icon of the New Generation

Cynthia Modders, President and Founder, Firefly Brand Management

Weeks 1-3 – On-demand session available from Tuesday, 6 October, 9am BST

A series of sessions curated by industry trade association Licensing International will also be available to view on demand during all three regional weeks.

What you Need to Know to do Business in… (Series)

This series will include 15- to 20-minute on-demand sessions covering information on market size, local licensing and retail trends, business practices and much more, for the following regions:

  • Europe: France, Russia and Germany
  • Asia: Japan, China and India
  • Americas: Brazil and Mexico

Basics of Licensing (Series)

Licensing 101 on-demand sessions will be available to view in local languages, including English, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish.

Maura Regan, President, Licensing International: “We are again delighted to partner with the Global Licensing Group to provide best-in-class information and educational resources advancing the business of licensing for professionals in every market. Through our network of global representatives and associates, we’re preparing a slate of regionally focused content that will help executives new to the industry, as well as those looking to expand their business to new parts of the world. There truly will be something for everyone.”


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