Peter Hollo: It´s Groundhog Day …again!

The easiest way of saying something (about licensing) in Germany and beyond, would be doing some copy and paste with my last years comments. 2021 basically was like 2020, only with a shot. And to make myself perfectly clear, I´m neither talking of alcoholic beverages of questionable content, nor of the use of weaponry. It´s the vaccination, that makes the only difference. In more than just the true sense of the word.


Unlike in the 1993 movie, mentioned in the headline above, we are trapped in a time loop without any hope of catharsis and personal or societal development, so it seems. Governments, including the old and the new German government, are over and over repeating the same mistakes without any signs of a learning curve. And social groups of questionable political abilities and cognitive resources with special needs dominate the scene. The louder, the more public attention.


It seems to me, it´s not only the pandemic, that makes people retreat into the idyllic world of the family and their own four walls. A place, where they feel safe and protected from a world outside, that is perceived as being increasingly hostile and obscure. A significant trend, that goes along with rediscovery of old values, like „the family“ or the increase of regressive behavior – everything was better in the past, even us!


So it´s no surprise, that exactly these brands, companies or whole sectors, that satisfy these demands, are the winners of 2021. In licensing and in almost any other business fields. Board games, puzzles, home-decor, furnishing, garden products and many more. And even if the customers were facing some financial setbacks, there still were free resources. Coming from the travel industry or the automotive sector, that suffered from massive drops in sales.


Brands, franchises or properties with a positive heritage in 2021 very often outmatched the rookies. A trend additionally fuelled by retail buyers, who in times of a crisis concentrated on things they knew, instead of giving novelties a fair chance. Regressive behaviour is no stranger to business decisions too.


I wish I could say, I saw sunny skies in 2022. Actually I don´t. The pandemic is not over yet, China is demonstrating it´s will to power and Russia is continuing working on the destabilization of the European idea. 


But instead of complaining about the darkness, it´s time for our industry and probably for our western model to turn on the light and face what it shows us. With courage and with inventiveness, with perseverance and with a vision. Instead of downheartedness and lament. And with giving up false tolerance towards certain societal and political powers. We can no longer accept, that the smart are discouraged and the stupid determine public perception.


Because if there is only one upside in any crisis, it´s the opportunity to shape our future. Licensing is a worldwide multibillion industry. There´s so much we can do – for our business and for a society we want to live in.


First published: TOTAL Licensing Magazine, 17.01.2022

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