Stopping the runaway train that is BLE 2013
There’s not a lot of dignity in the way that trade shows end. One minute the full-on blast of meetings, discussions, screenings, opinion exchanges, reminiscences, bright ideas, technical breakdowns, urgent and not-so-urgent text messages and e-mails is keeping several thousand people gainfully employed, the next it’s like stopping a runaway train in fifty metres flat. And thus it was at 4pm yesterday when the final whistle went on BLE 2013. BLE over, Advanstar hands back control of Olympia to whomever control is handed ( the gods of Olympia, one imagines ) and the cold hand of shut down grips licensing’s collective neck and , shall we say, encourages us home. The loudspeaker announcement that ‘no alcohol may be consumed during stand breakdown’ brought some amusement, the implication being that we were all free to imbibe extensively during business hours, but not anymore.
It has to be said: what a great show! BLE maintained its record of working right up to the last minute, though , I confess, my last meeting ended at 15.45, so I skived for a quarter of an hour. The new Brands Zone proved a mini-triumph, whilst long-termers in the entertainment section could only have been pleased by quantity and quality of visitors. I was able to meet with and discuss licensing with groups of buyers from Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda, and from those conversations I believe that they were genuinely excited about what they saw. Licensing Academy drew many full houses, and the party life of BLE continues to grow apace. On the second night the party vibe was reinforced substantially, with big events from Mattel and Mind Candy (with buses laid on to each of these), and LIMA’s own Global Networking Party. We hadn’t planned to hire a comedian for our event, but the speaker for our sponsor, Mr Raymond Yip, Assistant Executive Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, entertained all those gathered with his sharp wit in explaining HKTDC’s role in the growth of Asian licensing.
Who can doubt that we now have two truly fully- international licensing events in the calendar, Las Vegas and London? Certainly it looked like the whole show had re-gathered at the Moshi Monsters party late on Wednesday night and Mind Candy’s generosity in seemingly inviting everyone ( well, almost everyone ) was remarkable. They also kindly indulged me a little, too, courtesy of the excellent Bible Code Sundays band. Including set-up at Olympia, many of us spent four intense days in West London, much too lively and ‘buzzy’ to allow a hint of tiredness to creep in, though I suspect Friday morning may involve a few late starts. I trust that all of you did excellent business at Brand Licensing Europe 2013, and that you’ll all be back in twelve months’ time – don’t forget to bring your mates next time!