Licensing Shows Its Turtle Power at BLE in London

Jennifer Needham by Jennifer Needham, VIMN UK

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mural by Village Underground, Shoreditch in London, England. (Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo have certainly showed no signs of slowing down their quest for global domination, as they accompanied Viacom International Media Networks execs to Brand Licensing Europe (BLE), the world’s largest brand and property marketplace held at London’s Olympia in October.  With special guests Rich Magallanes, SVP, Animation, Current Series and original co-creator Kevin Eastman at their side, the Ninja fab four and the Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) team were ready to showcase some of the hottest Nickelodeon franchises and characters available for license in 2013.

In true Turtle style with their comedic sensibility, Rich and Kevin took part in the market’s lead keynote presentation, hosted by Guardian columnist and broadcasting consultant Steve Hewlett.  When asked Nickelodeon’s reasons for re-launching and revamping the iconic franchise first created by Eastman and Peter Laird back in the ‘80s, Magallanes replied with gusto “Because it’s cool!” before adding that its iconic status, along with its  relatable, dynamic characters and added layers of action and fantasy that have kept this property an evergreen favorite with generations of audiences around the globe.  

Providing exclusive anecdotal insight into how the idea behind the Turtles first came about (from a quick sketch drawn for amusement with friend and colleague Peter Laird back in the ‘80s!), Eastman captivated fans by revealing previously unheard secrets behind the show (that Shredder was born from washing a cheese grater, that Raphael was based on Kevin’s own personality and that April was originally in her 20s).  Delighting audiences with their in-depth knowledge and good humor, both Eastman and Magallanes perfectly embodied the excitement and enthusiasm felt by the whole team at Nickelodeon about the new franchise.

Meanwhile, down at the ‘can’t help but miss it’ Nickelodeon booth (with a 12-foot Dora and SpongeBob looming high above the industry crowds), the Ninja-powered NVCP team couldn’t wait to showcase the brand new Turtle lines and products with global partner Playmates, set to hit stories in Spring 2013.  Just days earlier, the team had also announced that that  The LEGO Group, makers of the world’s leading construction toys, have also expanded their global partnership to develop a range of Turtles construction toys, set to launch early next year.

 

And as if all that wasn’t enough, the market presented a perfect opportunity for the NVCP team to announce new infant programs around Nickelodeon’s evergreen properties SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.  Announced by Michael Connolly, Senior Vice President, NVCP, the new lines, Dora Baby and Bubbly Baby Bob! [working titles], are set to roll out internationally in Winter/Spring 2013.   

And breathe!

To mark the truly exciting year ahead for NVCP, the team hosted an underground cocktail party in true Turtle style at Village Underground, London. With an 16m x 7m bespoke mural painted on the outside of the building, painted by acclaimed US artist David Flores, and with the London trains rattling overhead, guests couldn’t help but feel like they had been invited into the Turtles very own underground lair (albeit with cocktails and canapés at the ready!)

With presentations from Michael Connolly, Mark Kingston, VP, Pan Euro Licensing & Retail Sales, and Charlotte Castillo, VP Marketing, NVCP, guests were privy to a sneak peak reveal of the highly anticipated TMNT movie (set to launch in 2014) before raising a glass in celebration of all that is to come in 2013. 

In the words of Connolly, “licensees, retailers and Nickelodeon fans will not be disappointed.”

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