Friday, September 22, 2023

Licensing Expo provides preview of LBE experiences found on this year’s show floor

Licensing Expo, produced in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, returns to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center this May 24-26 with a location-based experiences (LBE) theme that draws on consumers’ growing interest in immersive, IP-based experiences that bring their favorite characters and brands to life. Of the 200-plus exhibitors confirmed to date, with more signing on daily, many brands are showcasing their foray into LBE at Licensing Expo in search of new licensees, manufacturers and retailer partners that will help bring their IP-based experiences to life.

Hasbro, Falcon’s Beyond, NAFTOS, and Feld Entertainment are among the brands that have revealed extensive LBE plans for the May event, transforming their booths into an IP-based destination that will capture attendees’ attention. From turning show attendees into NFTs and transporting guests into imagined worlds to a VR battle arena, this year’s event is gearing up to be highly interactive and trend-driven in order to provide a more seamless experience that facilitates new IP discovery.

“We landed on the theme of location-based experiences in order to strategically align with society’s transition from product-focused to experience-centric behaviors,” said Anna Knight, SVP of the Global Licensing Group, organizers of Licensing Expo. “More than ever before, people develop profoundly strong connections with the brands and content they engage with daily; LBE enables IP-owners to foster an even deeper connection that lays the groundwork for a loyal fanbase. We’re so excited to showcase the power and potential of LBE and be a catalyst for its adoption across the globe.”

LBE-activations confirmed to date include:

Hasbro, Inc booth #A159 & Hasbro Experience booth #A143

At Hasbro’s Experience booth, the company will be previewing the Transformers: VR Battle Arena with Meta4 Interactive which enables players to play as a TRANSFORMERS robot in a VR world. Players can choose from heroic Autobots such as Bumblebee and Optimus Prime or Decepticons such as Megatron and Soundwave. Once inside the game, each player will become a part of a legendary battle.

Hasbro will also be showcasing inspiration from other LBE initiatives around the world with a sampling of mini experiences inspired by:

  • My Little Pony & Transformers Hotel Collection, the first of its kind, a Transformers and My Little Pony-themed Hotel outfitted with a Family Entertainment Center, is opening in Shanghai in Q4 2022. The hotel features 46 themed rooms in the collection.
  • Monopoly Life-sized and Top Hat Restaurant & Bar, London, guests immerse themselves in the world-famous game of Monopoly to compete in challenges, build houses, charge rent, escape jail and even control London’s waterworks as they travel around the life-sized board earning as much money as they can.
  • Nerf Challenge, North America (touring) the ultimate Nerf playground, is currently touring North America. Among the many interactive activations to experience are Tryathlon, Nerfhoop Doubleshot, Colossal Football, Field Goal, Dodge Blast, Strange Cargo, and more.
  • NAX, Singapore, the NERF Action Xperience family entertainment center brings the NERF brand to life through experiences in an indoor arena packed with multiple-themed activity zones, incorporating NERF sports and blasters that are directed towards igniting adrenaline, inspiring empowerment, fostering connections, and fueling your freedom.

Matt Proulx, VP, Location Based Entertainment, Hasbro, added, “The demand for authentic, engaging and exciting experiences has never been higher; fans of all ages can now uncover new ways to connect with the brands they love. We’re excited to demo the Transformers: VR Battle Arena with our partners at Meta4 Interactive at our booth this year. We’ll also be giving visitors a chance to sample other activations around the world, taking inspiration from our Monopoly Life-sized in London, Transformers & My Little Pony-themed Hotel in Shanghai, not to mention what’s fueling Nerf. We hope everyone can stop by and have a glimpse into the potential of LBE.”

IPM Guest Contributor David Edmonds interviewed Hasbro VP, Location Based Entertainment Matt Proulx to discuss the future of branded experiences.

Artistic rendering of the Falcon’s Vision experience. Image courtesy of Falcon’s Beyond and Licensing Expo.
Falcon’s Beyond, booth U188

At Falcon’s Beyond’s booth, guests will experience immersive and interactive technologies through a tour of Falcon’s X-Lab. The X-Lab will offer a 20-minute demonstration of a handful of Falcon’s ground-breaking products by appointment. These include SpectraVerse, Falcon’s Vision, ON!X Theater, and other exciting themed attraction systems leveraging real-time gaming technologies and metaverse integrations.

“We have already helped many of the world’s most iconic brands connect with their audience to build fandom at a whole new level,” said Cecil D. Magpuri, CEO of Falcon’s Beyond. “We cannot wait to showcase our experiential entertainment innovations and new themed destinations in development that will enable brands to take the connection with their desired audiences to new heights well ‘beyond’ what they could ever imagine.”

NAFTOS, Lobby Display near Entrance D, Executive Suite D101

Licensing Expo newcomer NAFTOS, an industry leader in minting 2D, 3D and 3D interactive NFTs, takes the mystery out of digital collectibles by showcasing actual NFT creations on the exhibition floor at the entrance of the show, booth D3. Companies interested in learning more about NFTs and the Metaverse for their brands can schedule an appointment with NAFTOS at Executive Suite D101 on the show floor.

Barry Rosenbaum, CEO and President of NAFTOS, commented, “We are honored to become a key exhibitor at the Licensing Expo to showcase our expertise in NFTs and the Metaverse. Our highly experienced team employs the newest technology to create dynamic interactive NFTs, unlike any others.”

Photo courtesy of Feld Entertainment and Licensing Expo.
Feld Entertainment, booth A209

This year, Feld Entertainment will have the Grave Digger Simulator Ride Experience, created in partnership with DOF Robotics. This stand-alone attraction allows attendees to experience what it is like to take a ride in a Monster Jam truck. The simulator offers a range of movement on a 6-axis platform featuring pitch, roll and yaw movements. The realistic motion is combined with exciting video delivered through VR headsets, which makes it an unforgettable ride.

Jeff Bialosky, Senior Vice President Global Partnerships, Feld Entertainment, said, “We are thrilled to have one of our Feld Entertainment location-based entertainment activations on site for attendees to experience during the upcoming LE. As a 2022 Industry Award nominee, Monster Jam continues to engage and entertain tens of millions of fans around the world. The Monster Jam Grave Digger simulator displayed and operating in Booth #A209 will give those who are brave enough to ride it the true feeling of being behind the wheel of a 12,000-pound, 1,500 horsepower Monster Jam truck.”

There are 200-plus exhibiting brands confirmed at Licensing Expo this May 24-26, with latest names confirmed including Riot Games, Laika Studios, United Talent Agency, kathy ireland Worldwide, Amazon Studios, Konami Cross Media NY, MLB Players, Netflix, TSBA, Sesame Workshop, Thomas Global Media and more.

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