An Expo for Names, Images That Sell

The Warner Brothers exhibit at Licensing Expo featured life-sized Justice League figures.
Photo by Diane Taylor

In Las Vegas, we know about licensing. Our casinos boast slot machines dedicated to Willy Wonka, Orange is the New Black, Kiss and Betty White, among others. Licensed popular names and images seem to add some sort of extra prestige to pushing buttons.

The same can be said for t-shirts, toys, watches and pillows. Popular names and images are a $250 billion business.

Licensing Expo, called “the world’s largest and most influential trade show’ of its kind, was held May 23-25 at Mandalay Bay’s Convention Center. The event brought together the folks with the famous names and images and the companies interested in making money using those names and images. Attendance of more than 16,000 people and 485 exhibitors representing 5000 brands were on site at the expo.

This show was the first one that I used the new convention parking structure at Mandalay Bay. The structure is large, so parking required some walking to the elevator, but the parking structure elevator dropped us inside the convention center without walking outside. Parking was free for me because I had an M Life Pearl Card; otherwise “convention parking fees” ($7 to $12) applied.

This iconic face of Grumpy Cat is now a brand available for licensing. T-shirt anyone?
Photo by Diane Taylor

All in all, Licensing Expo was colorful, exciting and surprising. Who knew that the F.A.O. Schwarz brand name was alive and well and that the four words, “Say Yes to the Dress”, would be appearing on apparel for sale. I even visited one booth that simply had the name “John Wayne” printed on a sign.

Other iconic brands are surprisingly, still around. The once popular Pac Man and its characters are still available for branding as are the many characters made famous several years ago when Beanie Babies were hot items.

You’ll see many of the convention exhibitors in the attached video … and don’t miss the magician at the end and his surprised expo attendee.