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face to face:Marianthi O’Dwyer Looking Back


Casting an eye back over the past 12 months, Marianthi cites one of the key highlights as being the growth of the Marvel properties. “Although Disney acquired Marvel two years ago, 2012 was the year when our hard work came to fruition and the industry took notice of what the Marvel franchises are capable of delivering,” asserted Marianthi. Of course Avengers Assemble was a massive


box office success, ranking as The Walt Disney Company’s biggest movie of all time, but this was complemented by a well managed and well executed consumer products and promotional programme. “There were big shoes to fill because Marvel had done a great job before us, but the way The Avengers was rolled out was a very proud moment for us,” said Marianthi. She also pointed to the growth of the Mickey


Mouse and Friends franchise in 2012 amongst both preschool audiences with Disney Junior’s, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and teens and adults which has been driven by fashion. “Mickey Mouse has been around for many years of course, and in other territories has always been very strong, apart from in the UK,” she explained. “That’s all changed recently and we’re very proud of this increased success in the UK - and I’m sure we’ll see more growth for many years to come.” The launch of Jake and the Never Land Pirates at


retail also exceeded expectations but it is the retail executions and strides that have been made in-store that have really stood out for Marianthi. “The shop- in-shops at Asda and the pop-up store in Harrods have been incredible and they mark a real step- change for the business,” she said. Disney’s presence at Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) 2012 was also a key highlight for the business. “We enjoyed welcoming licensees and retailers to the Disney and Marvel stand. To have so many productive meetings over the three days of BLE was fantastic and we’re looking forward to bringing plans discussed with licensees and retailers to fruition this year” commented Marianthi.


cross-category opportunities. This year we’ve truly brought the Disney magic to life for consumers within a retail environment, collaborating with both Harrods and Asda on large-scale retail initiatives,” she pointed out. Another step-change in


Disney’s approach is that the company is sharing the conclusions of its extensive research, its consumer insights with its licensees. “We’re now equipping our licensees with this valuable information to help them with their


Inset: Terry de Havilland 'must have' shoes created as part of the Inspired by Minnie initiative. Below and below right: Publishing activities have progressed as have Disney's retail collaborations, such as the Disney by Asda zones in three of the grocers' super centres.


Below: Existing Disney franchises such as Princesses are joined by new ones such as Lone Ranger.


Looking Ahead


So what are the highlights we can expect from the coming year? Marianthi pointed to Disney’s new-found strength in the preschool sector. The company now has Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First and Jake and the Never Land Pirates in its portfolio, each addressing different play patterns and appealing to boys or girls. “We haven’t had a preschool strength like this for years at Disney and it’s very exciting,” she enthused. “The brands complement each other perfectly and everything is coming together at the same time.” Outside the preschool arena Marianthi predicts that Mickey and Minnie Mouse will continue on their upward trend and likewise the strength of Marvel will prevail. “Between TV and film this is one of the strongest content plans we have ever had,” she said. But a look ahead wouldn’t be complete for Disney without mentioning the upcoming films for the year - Monsters University and Planes. “I watched an early version of Planes recently and it’s a great movie, not one just for the boys. I was surprised that, for an audience comprised completely of adults, the humour it contained had everyone laughing throughout. I think Planes is going to be a very pleasant surprise indeed in 2013!”


selection and buying and planning decisions,” explained Marianthi. Lastly of course, thanks to a very talented team, Disney brings its


franchises and new content to life through innovative products, leveraging the latest trends in technology and providing entertaining shopping experiences. “We want to


A SPECIAL MAX PUBLISHING 7


work with our key licensees long-term, so we think of them as partners,” commented Marianthi.


Licensing In Numbers


l In excess of 200 licensees in the UK and Ireland l 35,000 SKUs launched per year


disney PUBLICATION 2013


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