UK Spring Fling rocks again!

Posted by Kelvyn Gardner on May 15, 2010

A sunny Thursday in London and we’re in town for the LIMA Licensing Essentials Course and Spring Fling.

We’ve enjoyed record attendances for our last few seminars so we’re all a little disappointed that we’re down on numbers for the full day. On the plus side we had a number of key retailers send staff as part of the ‘retail mentoring programme’ that we’re running with Advanstar leading up to Brand Licensing Europe in September. The seminars were well received and we presented  a wide variety of speakers. Listening to the speakers from Oxford University, Event Merchandising ( the music merch people ) and Michelin you couldn’t help but be struck by such varying approaches to the business, whilst all being rooted in some fundamentals. I’m always especially pleased when we can do this as it shows to delegates the sheer breadth of the potential for licensing, and that the industry can thrive with the efforts of individuals with backgrounds as diverse as MBA-trained Greig Coull and ‘school of rock’ Jeremy Goldsmith.

As is now traditional, 5pm sees our ‘champagne debate’ ( although in keeping with these straightened times it was actually Prosecco in 2010 ) and the day-delegates were joined by around seventy more experienced licensing pros as they gathered to hear views from Tina-Louise Phipps of DreamWorks, John McInnerny of Allsorts and Graham Saltmarsh of Turner. Adding a new perspective this year was Clive Crouch, former COO of GMTV, a channel  much coveted by UK licensors and licensees alike. Clive stayed for the day and learned a few things about licensing, too. LIMA stalwart Simon Skelton of Big Ideas nobly stepped in when we lost a panelist through illness, backing up his earlier presentation on the slightly controversial topic of ‘What makes a good licensor?’.

And thus we retired to the Fling party itself next door at the Sway Bar. This is the type of trendy place where, usually, slightly disheveled over-fifty Northerners like me are not normally  admitted ( unless it’s to wash the glasses ). I’m getting a bit more used to such places managing my daughter’s rock band, though the day’s activities had not allowed me to arrive at the Sway in ‘band manager black’. Beer, wine, finger-food, conversation, loud ‘club’ music, a bit of impromptu dancing from the Fremantle team, will we get to Vegas at all due to the BA strike, such elements created the usual upbeat mood for the Fling. I was pleased to see and talk to a number of industry newcomers and, indeed, outsiders to whom I’d recommended attendance at various points this year. All seemed to be pleased that they decided to come for the evening. There must be other businesses where networking works as well, but no-one there on Thursday, including nary a lawyer and accountant, gainsaid the  Spring Fling’s claim to top the poll in this regard.

Thanks to everyone who took part and you can pick up the conversations at the LIMA Awards party in Vegas next month!