UK Games Expo were given the opportunity to interview Stephan Brissaud, who is the Senior Director for Funko EMEA. Here is what we discussed -
- We are delighted to have you as an exhibitor at UKGE2023, what are you most excited about for this year’s show?
Hello James, thank you for your question. We are excited about our official exhibition at UKGE for the first time and proud to be a sponsor of the event. While Funko has been represented at the event through retail partners in the past, we believe it is important for us to have a direct presence, especially since our office is located in London. We love interacting directly with our fans and presenting them our newest titles, like our re-interpretation of Big Boss from Wolfgang Kramer.
- How excited are you about the Cranium 25th anniversary launch at the expo?
We think UKGE is a great place to launch our reboot of a classic such as Cranium. We obviously applied the “Funko touch” to it, which looks very different from the beloved original game. We’re so excited to show fans the way we’ve updated and improved the game while keeping that classic Cranium touch. We’re also really excited to show the other games in our Cranium lines at UKGE. Hoopla, Hullabaloo and Big Brain Detective Game will all be launching alongside the Cranium 25th Anniversary edition at UKGE.
- We are excited about the pre-release of Star Wars Rivals. Can you tell us more about it?
It is actually the second pre-release of Star Wars: Rivals, the first one being during Star Wars Celebration in March, where it received raving reviews and sold out every day. We aim to surpass this success at UKGE, where fans eagerly anticipate its release. Lucasfilm is an incredibly important and exciting license for us at Funko Games and this is or first partnership with them to bring our fans an expansive and excited card strategy game.
- What is your biggest achievement in your role as Senior Director at Funko EMEA?
Our major accomplishments is increasing the visibility of Funko Games in the market. Prior to establishing our department in London, our games had limited exposure in important areas such as press, media, influencers, and hobby stores, and their availability was unreliable. Through collaboration with our PR team and affiliated agencies across EMEA, as well as securing partnerships with key distributors, we are enabling our game catalogue to gain the recognition it deserves.
- What is the best thing about working for Funko EMEA?
Funko is the best company I have worked for in my career. My colleagues are passionate and hard workers and our leadership is kind and supportive. Additionally our catalogue is fantastic, with access to the largest selection of licenses in the world. That makes it hard to beat!
- Do you and your staff have your own Funko Pop! creations?
When you join the company, HR ask you to use the POP Yourself website to create your own POP avatar to use in your email signature.
Those of us who still use business cards get to choose 3 POP from the entire POP multiverse. Mine are Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast because I want you to ”Be our guest!”, Iron Man because “I am Iron Man.”, and Wall-E because “Directive!”.
- What are some of the biggest challenges facing the industry right now, and how is your company working to address them?
Despite the economic downturn affecting the toy market, the game and puzzle industry is experiencing steady expansion. However, the financial situation worldwide is impacting all sectors. Despite this, there are still numerous game releases every month, and people's disposable income is decreasing. To adapt, we are evaluating our packaging and introducing lower-priced options such as the Star Wars: Rivals Character Packs, which are sold for £5, making us highly competitive in the Star Wars toy market.
- How do you balance creativity and innovation with commercial success?
Funko has a highly skilled R&D team and proactive leadership that constantly seeks out emerging trends and brands. In fact, we even have a department dedicated to this. Our recent acquisition of Mondo perfectly complements our existing brands, Core, Loungefly and Funko Games.
- How do you stay current with industry trends and developments?
I strongly value the benefits of networking and the vast amount of knowledge accessible through technology. As a result, I make a conscious effort to stay connected with my industry peers both in North America and Europe. I am actively involved with organizations such as GAMA, the Toy Association, and ASTRA. Additionally, I enjoy staying up-to-date with popular culture (ain’t my job fun?).
UKGE would like to thank Stephan for his time answering these questions. We look forward to welcoming Funko games to this year's show. Please pop by and say hello on stand 2-602.