Generally when you look at all the stuff we buy these days we donít think about how say, Optimus Prime got on my t-shirt, socks, baseball cap, book bag, wall paper, posters, or the literally hundreds of other things his glorious shinning face looks out from these days. Well I found out, at the Licensing International Expo at New Yorkís own Jacob Javits Convention center.
Picture being thick in the mess of some the most recognizable images in entertainment from Batman to Barbie, The Mach 5 to Mister Men, all being bought and sold so that you can get more stuff. The process while very business like was truly amazing to witness. Everywhere people were discussing how they can market products, deals were being made on the spot and displays of the fruits of these deals were all around us.
The biggest names there had amazing displays, including Warner Brothers, Marvel Comics and Mattel, but none could top the mammoth that was the Hasbro compound. Featuring gigantic banners promoting last yearís Transformers Movie, and the upcoming GI Joe film along with displays of what they already have put their name to. I have to admit the Bumblebee boxers were pretty nifty.
It was also great to see some smaller independent products that I had never heard of before. Like 3 quirky heroes from a company called Hamsterfly Pictures named Kewl Breeze, Zstrap and the Incredible Elastica. It seems theyíre spokesmen for Sketchers sneakers, but theyíre selling it as a new cartoon. An interesting concept, but weíll have to see where it takes them.
I did get a chance to talk to some of the people trying to sell there and it really can get a little overwhelming. They seem to be under so much pressure to make sure that their product is everywhere, and I canít blame them. For the smaller companies this is really the make or break moment of the year. If someone can get some key licenses picked up it can be a springboard to being the next big thing.
Over all I had a great time at the Expo. Between all the flash, and a chance to get a glimpse of what might be the next big thing, and a chance to see behind where that T-shirt I wear that makes my roommate stare at me like Iím a psycho, (Itís the Soundwave chest one,) came from was a hoot. Itís almost enough to make me want to take my half brained concepts and put them on a lunchbox just to see if itíll sell.