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What’s in store for Tetris this year? Lisle Licensing’s Francesca Lisle tells all!
Francesca, you’re the MD at Lisle Licensing. How did you come to be doing what you do?
In a previous business my father, Colin Lisle, managed the international sales for a toy brand called Zhu Zhu Pets…
I remember them! Many’s the time I’ve seen people playing with their Num Nums… Your dad managed sales for them?
He did! The line was developed by Cepia. Later, the owner – Russell Hornsby – offered Colin management of the licensing programme outside of North America. The rest, as they say, is history. We’ll always be grateful to Russell for putting his trust in us and securing our first licensing client.
At the same time, I was leaving my job with Santoro and looking for a new opportunity. When the Zhu Zhu Pets licensing programme opportunity was confirmed, I decided to join my father and help set up the programme with him. Gayle Goldsmith – nee Tarrant – also joined the team.
Excellent. And can you tell me about some of your other clients?
Of course! We represent a variety of properties that span gaming, lifestyle, character & entertainment, toy, sport, fashion and art. The licences in our portfolio include Masha and the Bear, Nitro Circus, Kate Smith Company, The Style Sisters and the children’s pre-school series, Milo. That currently broadcasts on Channel 5’s Milkshake.
Milo the cat! I’m familiar with it. Terrific! You also represent Tetris. Earlier in the year, you launched a collection of leisure apparel with tikiboo.co.uk. How’s that going?
It’s been an incredibly successful collaboration and fits so perfectly with the Tetris brand! The range looks fantastic and brings together the visual energy and vibrancy of Tetris to leisure. We’re really pleased with how it’s all come together and proved popular with consumers.
I thought you were going to say about how it’s all been fitting together… You did well to resist the obvious joke! How did it come about?
We approached Tikiboo last year, having seen some of their previous collabs and the amazing designs they achieve. The range was created in-house by Tikiboo using their very talented design team. And of course, The Tetris Company had approval every step of the way.
“This is key for reaching a breadth of consumers and Tetris fans…”
They look terrific. And on a similar subject, Fizz Creations is launching a Tetris giftware range later in the year. I know there’s a Tetris Waffle Maker – which sounds awesome!
We are VERY excited about the Tetris Waffle Maker! We know it’ll be a hit with consumers – who’d have thought you could eat Tetrimino shaped waffles?
They look awesome! And I know you’re not supposed to play with your food, this makes it hard to resist… What else is in the range?
The Fizz Creations collection for Tetris includes gifting and novelty items, plus tech and gaming, so it’s quite broad… Which is key for reaching a breadth of consumers and Tetris fans, who are incredibly brand loyal. Fizz Creations are a very creative and innovative business, and we are delighted to be working with them on Tetris.
And when it comes to representing Tetris, what is it you’re looking for? What kind of products excite you the most?
The incredible thing about Tetris is that it’s grown into a world-class brand with 37 years of heritage and nostalgia. And it continues to be one of the most widely played games of all time! The defining factor for Tetris is innovation and fun, which is why this brand has stood the test of time. Plus, the style guide for Tetris is extremely strong… When buyers or licensees see it, they’re always blown away with the brand’s endless possibilities.
And to that end, is there anything you’d love to do that you haven’t yet got round to? Or a new market you’d like to get into?
Food and gifting, and health and beauty are two areas we’d love to explore. They’re next on our list. Both have been done very successfully in other markets, and think could work exceptionally well here!
Brilliant! And just touching on something you mentioned earlier: what do you think it is about Tetris that means it’s so well-loved after nearly 40 years?
It’s a simple, fun game that anyone can play. The owners of Tetris make sure the game is available on the latest platforms. They also work with some of the best video-game publishers to keep it fresh, and deliver continual appeal. The success also comes with retaining the core values of the game and brand, and ensuring the licensing programme is truly aligned.
“The success also comes with retaining the core values of the game and brand.”
Great answer, thank you. What else is in the pipeline?
We have a new range of apparel launching this year, as well as two new deals which have just been signed and will be announced shortly!
Intriguing! Well, look; keep us posted on those… We need to start wrapping this up but let me ask you this: Which question have I not asked you that perhaps I should?
What are some other brands you should keep an eye on?
By an astonishing coincidence, they’re the exact words I’ve written down from my last question! What’s the answer?
That is a coincidence! I would say Kate Smith Company and The Style Sisters!
Brilliant. Thank you very much, Francesca, for your time. I know you’re tremendously busy; I appreciate you fitting us in.
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