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The Full Wrapup of the 2022 Licensing Excellence Awards

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

The winners of the 2022 Licensing International Excellence Awards were announced at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas last week.

The awards honor innovation in the way brands use licensing to further their goals, how licensees develop products, how licensees distribute products, and how retailers spotlight licenses on their shelves.

“It’s inspiring to see the quality of work produced by the licensing industry and it was incredible to be able to celebrate those successes together in person,” said Maura Regan, President of Licensing International.

“The Licensing International Excellence Awards are a testament to the power of brands and to the power of licensing to launch products and programs with lasting appeal.”

This year’s ceremony brought back the Best Location-Based Entertainment award, recognizing innovation across location-based brand extensions following significant lockdowns. Gamepath Entertainment took home the LBE trophy for the Monopoly Lifesized immersive experience in London.

One of the big winners this year is BMW, which was named as the top global corporate brand, and also won for best licensed apparel category in their partnership with PUMA.

Beanstalk, a top 10 global licensing agency, came away with one of the most coveted awards, being named for the Best Licensing Agency in 2022, while Moonbug’s CoComelon was tagged as the year’s top Entertainment, Character, and Toy Brand.

One of the most interesting award winners came in the field of licensed digital products, going to a combined effort from Forever21, Roblox, and Virtual Brands Group. In that case, VBG was engaged to create a Forever21 experience in the Roblox virtual world. The result, allowing Roblox users to open their own Virtual21 stores online, and sparked millions of consumer interactions, was an early indicator of how the metaverse can be used to generate new revenue for brands.

As well, as noted by VBG CEO Justin Hochberg, it was the first time the Licensing Excellence Awards have recognized a metaverse licensing product.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am that at my first licensing Expo this week, we won for best digital product,” said Hochberg. “What’s exciting about that is it’s the first time ever, a metaverse product has won anything ever in the history of Licensing International.

“It’s the first time ever that Roblox—which has been around actually for 18 years has ever won an award like this,” Hochberg added. “And it’s the first time ever that Forever21 in its entire history has ever won an award like this, so really, three firsts with one award.”

Hochberg says that’s important, because it has created a wakeup call in the industry that metaverse licensing is important.

“Because it’s voted on by a committee of people here … I think everyone is starting to realize that the future of the licensing business includes the metaverse,” he said. “I think this is the tip of the spear. And if, if people were thinking about it before, now they’re seeing someone win for it … I think was a big wake-up call.

“I think what you’re going to see over the course of this next couple years is all of a sudden there’s gonna be a whole new sector in licensing focused on the metaverse and so this basically day one of the future.”

The 25 award winners were selected from 165 finalists from around the world. More than 800 entries were received, narrowed down by an expert global judging panel and voted on by members of the licensing industry at large.

Here is the full list of 2022 Licensing International Excellence Awards winners:

Best Licensed Products:

Apparel or Accessory for a Corporate Brand:

BMW Motorsport line by PUMA.

Apparel or Accessory for an Entertainment Property: The Legend of Zelda line by BlackMilk.

Appliances, Housewares, Electronics for a Corporate Brand:

Xbox fridge by Ukonic.

Appliances, Housewares, Electronics for an Entertainment Property:

Sesame Street collaboration by tonies.

Digital: Apps, Software, Video Games, NFT’s:

Forever 21 Shop City experience by Virtual Brand Group.

Food or Beverage for a Corporate Brand:

Louvre ice cream by Häagen-Dazs.

Food or Beverage for an Entertainment Property:

Harry Potter mooncakes by Awfully Chocolate.

Health and Beauty Aids:

Friends bath and beauty line by Mad Beauty

Home Décor:

LEGO wooden home décor by Room Copenhagen.

Publishing, Social Expression:

The Beatles advent calendar by Eaglemoss.

Toys, Games, Novelties:

Batman Batcave playset by Spin Master

Toys, Games, Novelties:

adidas Originals Superstar model by LEGO

Best Licensed Brands:

Corporate Brand:

BMW by BMW Group

Entertainment, Character, Toy Brand (Animated):

CoCoMelon by Moonbug Entertainment

Food, Beverage, Restaurant:

Coca-Cola, Hi-C and Sprite by The Coca-Cola Company

Lifestyle: Art, Design, Celebrity, Fashion:

Amy Winehouse by MDR Brand Management

Live Action Entertainment:

Ghostbusters by Sony Pictures

Museum, Art and Design:

V&A by The Victoria and Albert Museum

Sports, Collegiate:

Formula 1 by CAA Global

Other Awards:

Best Licensing Agency:


Best Licensed Collaboration:

Balenciaga x The Simpsons

Best Licensed Promotion:

Rovio & Born Licensing for GEICO’s Angry Bird Problem?

Best Location-Based Entertainment:

Monopoly Lifesized by Gamepath Entertainment

Best Retailer (Corporate, Lifestyle, Fashion, Sports Initiative):

BoxLunch for McDonald’s

Best Retailer (Entertainment, Character Brand):

Bloomingdale’s for Space Jam: A New Legacy

This year’s Excellence Awards were hosted by George Leon, the chief executive officer and founder of Cakewalk Entertainment. The awards were presented by Alifish, InSpirit Designs, Jazwares and participants in Licensing International’s Accelerator Program, including Bedrock Collectibles, Holy Joe, LIBREX, Park Star Media and Somos Arte.

CoComelon Named Top Toy As Winners of 2021 Licensing Awards Revealed

Virtual Brand Group First Metaverse Company Nominated for Licensing Awards