Bologna’s Licensing Awards: 160 Entries, 10 Winners

In News by Porter Anderson

The Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids program was in its 16th year, and its awards were in their 6th edition in the 2023 show.

At the 2023 Bologna LIcensing Trade Fair/Kids awards program. Image: GLTF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Happy Meals and Smurfs, Pokémon and Peanuts
In cleanup mode here, following Bologna Children’s Book Fair, more proof that there’s always another award program, so don’t sit down.

Today (March 14) we catch up with the winners of the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids‘ program’s 2023 Bologna Licensing Awards, which were announced at a ceremony during last week’s trade show.

You’ll recall that Bologna director Elena Pasoli sees Bologna as being divided into three sections:

While the licensing program isn’t as much talked about among trade visitors, perhaps, its exhibition area is huge and inescapable as publishing pros work their way from hall to hall for meetings and events. Probably not given as much attention as it deserves—especially considering the kind of money that can be involved in some of the biggest properties—the licensing program is a fully vested part of the trade show. You can review some points about its program this year in our story from late February, which includes the shortlists of the 10 categories.

Today, the winners of the Bologna Licensing Awards, which are reserved for international licensors and agencies, licensees and retailers. Last week’s presentation was the sixth edition of the awards, now seen as an integral part of the Licensing Trade Fair/Kids, which was in its 16th year this time. The over-arching program is said by organizers to be the only trade fair dedicated to brands for children, teenagers, and young adults.

Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that the awards this year had 10 categories, and a special mention was also given to a project for sustainability.

Jurors included David Kleeman, Ivan Colecchia, Helena Mansell-Stopher, Susanna Iraci, and Jutta C. Breyer. Their starting pool of entries numbered 160 and submissions from Europe seem to have led the field.

Bologna Licensing Awards: The 2023 Winners

The Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids award for Best Licensed Kiosk Project went to representatives of WildBrain CPLG Hachette Bundles for Peanuts in cooperation with Hachette at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2023. Image: BLTF

SEL Publishing Program

Best Pre-School Licensing Project

The winner in this category for ages 3 to 5 is:

  • Lerner Publishing Group, in partnership with Sesame Workshop, with their SEL Publishing Program project with Sesame Street

Jury: “For its very gentle and humorous way of helping the little ones to learn about the importance of friendship, having fun and solving conflicts.”

Best Kids Licensing Project

Among projects for ages 6 to 10:

  • Creata with McDonald’s Happy Meal and the Smurfs project in collaboration with Schleich

Jury: “For the way that these big brands, from licensor to retailer, drive consumer awareness and action for the sustainable development goals.”

Best Teen Licensing Project

The target ages are 11 to 16 here:

  • The Pokémon Company International with the retail project Pokémon x La Rinascente “in synergy with” La Rinascente retail group

Jury: “For the great mix of choosing one of the best Italian retailer partner, plus a dedicated project development and innovative marketing ideas with efficient Social media and PR activities, creating a one of a kind Best Practice in the industry for the young target ever.”

Best Retail Project

  • TF1 Licensing with the BarbaLouvre project in collaboration with the Louvre Museum

Jury: “For the outstanding way they combined a series of books and cartoon characters together with art, and created a wonderful collaboration to drive consumer awareness of the arts.”

Adidas for Hello Kitty

Best Fashion Project

  • Sanrio with Adidas for Hello Kitty, in collaboration with Adidas

Jury: “For the masterpiece created by a collaboration between a fashion brand and a very sensitive licensor. Two classics that work beautifully together. ”

Best Licensed Publishing Project

  • The Ludattica x Eric Carle project by WildBrain CPLG, for the brand The World of Eric Carle

Jury: “For the extremely innovative project and perfect execution combining easy learning to quality of the physical product. ”

Le più belle storie della Nuvola Olga

Best Licensed Toy Project

A new category for the 2023 edition.

  • Faba with Le più belle storie della Nuvola Olga written by the author and illustrator Nicoletta Costa

Jury: “For the charming material mix that invites children to start the play experience; for the gender-free, low-technology and highly relatable from an aesthetic point of view; and for the entertaining and educational role in developing the language and stimulating the imagination.”

Best Promotion/Loyalty Campaign

  • Jakala with the project Minions Market Mania Sound Collection together with NBCUniversal

Jury: “For the engagement program and achieved measurable business results in partnership with a well-established brand.”

Best Licensed Kiosk Product

  • WildBrain CPLG Hachette Bundles for Peanuts in cooperation with Hachette

Jury: “Thanks to the Hachette collectibles, the Peanuts comic strips by Charles M. Schulz continue being part of our daily life with its inspiring humor, poetry and irony.”

Best Property of the Year

  • BBC’s Bluey, represented in Italy by Maurizio Distefano Licensing

Jury: “This entertaining and enjoyable portrayal of modern everyday family life, with Bluey, has become a very successful licensing property, full of constructive, positive and funny messages.”

Special Mention: Most Sustainable Licensing Project

  • Sanrio with Ecover X Mr Men, Little Miss, in collaboration with Ecover

Jury: “For the way they are using the brand to help driving sustainable awareness and behavioral change.”

Products of shortlistees and winners were displayed at Bologna in Hall 29.


More from Publishing Perspectives on licensing is here. More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing and book awards in the international industry is here. More on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more on children’s books is here, more on the Italian market is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.