The Story Behind the LIMA Awards Ballot

Posted by Marty Brochstein on May 03, 2013

The nominees for the annual LIMA Licensing Excellence Awards have been announced, and LIMA members are in the process of selecting the winners in each of the 15 categories. Yes, it can take quite a while to sift through a ballot of 4-5 nominees in each of those categories – reading the accompanying descriptive material online, and trying to determine the best of the best. (You can access a list of the nominees on the LIMA website.)

But you don’t know the half of it. Literally. That ballot was culled from nearly 250 entries received from a global array of property owners, licensees, agents and consultants. With all the documentation that had to be gathered and, in many cases, samples that had to be shipped, each of those entries required hours of hard work from all the entrants and their staffs.

Louise Caron, LIMA’s VP of Member Relations, who coordinates the entire Awards program, spent countless hours patiently responding to inquiries, explaining the classifications, listening to tales of woe from those requesting deadline extensions, organizing samples, printing and collating – all with an outsized dose of patience and good humor.

All of that set the stage for a committee of 12 licensing executives, representing a wide swath of the industry, who spent an entire business day reading, evaluating, discussing and arguing about the merits of the entries. What makes this special? Is this the kind of thing any competent licensor or licensee would have done with this property or product, or is there something about it that goes above and beyond the norm? Is it particularly creative, either in the idea itself, or in the execution? Did it succeed in the marketplace?

Each of the committee members –all volunteers — filled out anonymous score sheets for each of the entries, and those that garnered the highest averages in each category were placed on the ballot. In the interest of fairness, if a committee member’s company had an entry in a particular category, that member wasn’t allowed to vote at all in the category.

While there are always a few entries that can cause a committee member to quizzically ask, “Really? What were they thinking?,” the day offered a showcase for a boatload of superior work in a wide range of product categories and industry sectors. Entertainment products that went beyond the mundane. Corporate brands extended in unexpected directions. Nicely executed lifestyle programs. In fact, the toughest decisions often came when the committee had to break ties in several categories to meet the limit of five nominees per.

Our thanks to everyone who worked so hard on the Awards program — those who prepared the entries within their companies; LIMA staff members who pulled it all together (particularly Louise); the UPS and FedEx guys who visited our offices so often in the week or so prior to the “judgment day” that we almost thought they were members of the staff; and the committee members who lent us their expertise and knowledge.

How will it all turn out, and who will be judged to be the best of the best? Come to the LIMA Awards Ceremony, Tuesday, June 18 at 5:30pm at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, when the winners will be announced and where we’ll honor our newest Licensing Hall of Fame inductee, former LIMA Chairman Bernard Leifer of SG Companies. See you there.