Show Cross-collaboration Pays Off with Advanstar’s Licensing Expo Seeing Growth

June 24, 2014

If you’re standing by a Jurassic Park dinosaur and notice a group of Stormtroopers walking by, chances are you’re at Advanstar Communications’ Licensing Expo.

The 2014 even took over Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas June 17–19 and saw a strong uptick in retailers and international attendance.

“We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on targeting retailers and retail attendance is up by 20 percent,” said Chris DeMoulin, president of Licensing & EVP Worldwide Customer Development at Advanstar Communications. “It’s a global show, and international attendance is up 10-12 percent this year.”

Spanning 225,000 square feet, Licensing featured about 470 exhibitors and attracted approximately 15,000 attendees.

Dividing the showfloor into four areas - Art and Design, Characters and Entertainment, Agents and Brands and Fashion – has proven to be a good move.

“The best way to help attendees work the show is to have it be well-merchandized so they’d know exactly where to find what they’re looking for,” DeMoulin said. “This industry has very clear segments, so that’s how we organized the floor. It made navigation simple and has been very successful.”

The show continues to look into development of additional segments. A new area this year was the Motor Sports Café, featuring a large display by Shell and also several motorcycle brands.

DeMoulin has ambitious plans for fashion, sports and sourcing. He also said he expects to see more celebrity action next year. “It’s about collaboration and creating something fun and delightful for the fans,” DeMoulin added.

One of the ways that the show is nurturing growth in additional segments is through collaboration with other shows. In 2014, it implemented cross-promotion agreements with the International Housewares Association’s International Home + Housewares Show, the International Toy Fair and MAGIC Marketplace.

“[This year] we saw growth in attendees coming from those areas,” DeMoulin said. “We’ll look for more of such partnerships in other industry segments where we can build collaborative relationships.”

The show also saw the launch of LicenseConnect.com, an online database that combines the expo’s database with databases of Brand Licensing Europe and License Global.

 “It became the largest digital marketplace for the industry overnight,” DeMoulin said. “The expo is a community, and why not create a digital complement to it that can be used 365 days a year?” Matchmaking and other services will be introduced by the first quarter of next year.

Another tech innovation this year was badges with Near Field Communication (NFC), similar to those used by CES and other shows. Attendee information, including access to expo, events and classes, is stored on a tiny chip in the badge and is read by touching the badge to a phone with a pre-loaded registration app.

DeMoulin noted, “I heard from a lot of attendees that it was the smoothest entry process they’ve had into a show.” It is likely that Advanstar will adopt the same technology for its other shows.”

On the floor, the buzz was of strong connections and exciting future plans.

Attendee Richard Deaver with Monster Studios came to scout out the show for potential exhibiting next year.

“One of our characters will be a perfect fit,” he said. “There are so many opportunities for properties here. If our property is ready, we will definitely exhibit.”

Exhibitor Kate Smith with From Frank said their postcard line inspired by her bulldog Frank was finding good traction. “It’s been a great show,” she added.

 

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