What’s the Beef?

In July of 1996 after the New York Licensing Show, I visited Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo in Brazil.

In Brazil, the central bank of Brazil prohibits Brazilian companies from making any payments out of the country to pay for potential future earnings and in effect, this makes the payment of advances to acquire the intellectual property rights for international properties not possible, which in turn makes doing business in Brazil with an overseas licensed property a little tricky.

Ana Kasmanas from Exim Brazil, the ABC’s licensing agent for Bananas in Pyjamas, had organized a dinner in Sao Paulo with the top two Japanese executives from TOMY Toys Brazil to discuss the Bananas in Pyjamas toy rights, where Bananas in Pyjamas had become a massive hit since going on air in January of that year.

Faced with the situation of advance payments not being possible from Brazil, TOMY Toys Brazil had a novel idea, and at our dinner asked if the ABC would accept a small herd of valuable Kobe beef cows in lieu of an advance royalty payment in order to secure the Bananas in Pyjamas master toy rights for Brazil.

I’d not been offered a herd of cows before but on the spot, I made the presumption that the ABC would not want to get into the cattle ranching business in Brazil, and I replied to the TOMY executives that the ABC couldn’t accept their kind offer of Kobe beef cows but that I was happy to proceed to appoint them as the master toy licensee for Bananas in Pyjamas in Brazil without the need for an advance payment and that we would proceed on this basis.

Lots of nodding, smiling, toasting, more nodding, toasting, smiling, a bow and a handshake and the deal was done.

As they say in Japan, BANANA PAJAMA!

And that is how the ABC managed to be paid its royalties, but not with an advance, for Bananas in Pyjamas toy sales by TOMY Toys out of Brazil.

No advance, no worries mate.

This article originally appeared in Edition 9 of The Toy Universe Magazine




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