Andersen Press readies for a bumper Elmer Day celebration

Elmer Day is back on 28 May with a return to in-person and bookshop events around the country, a herd of new and exciting partnerships, and a new paperback edition of the latest Elmer picture book, Elmer and the Bedtime Story, by the late, great David McKee. Rounding off the celebrations is the first Elmer title available on Yoto, the interactive kids’ audio platform.

Elmer Day is Andersen Press‘s annual celebration of David McKee’s iconic patchwork elephant, encouraging bookshops, libraries, schools, nurseries and families at home to celebrate Elmer’s message of friendship, inclusivity and embracing everyone’s colours.

A free activity pack, which has already had over 1,500 downloads in the run-up to the day itself, is available here. The pack is a selection of activity sheets and ideas for games, lessons and story times featuring Elmer, with new resources from charity partners The Sleep Charity, with sleep hints and tips based on the latest Elmer book Elmer and the Bedtime Story, activities from LGBT+ charity Just Like Us extending Elmer Pride activity from 2021, and resources from anti-bullying charity partner Kidscape.

In-person events are also back following their temporary suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Elmer costume appearances and story times in Waterstones stores in Kensington, Altrincham, Manchester Deansgate and the Arndale Centre.

Chessington World of Adventures will celebrate Elmer’s Flying Jumbos ride with its special Mardi Grrra! event from 27 May, which will see Elmer and his own ‘Kolour Krewe’ take centre stage in the park with songs, dance and character meet-and-greets. For more information on the event, click here.

In the licensing space, kids’ audio platform Yoto has launched its first-ever Elmer title. The Elmer Collection will be made available for use with the award-winning Yoto Player and new Yoto Mini.

In addition, Dennicci has launched new babywear ranges with Matalan and Tu at Sainsbury’s, and Robert Frederick has launched Elmer storage boxes with The Works. Plush and toy licensee Rainbow Designs and greetings card licensee Danilo are hosting social media competitions.

Elmer Day is on 28 May 2022. To download a FREE activity pack, click on the link here:

Factory celebrates 50th anniversary of Mr Benn with raft of new licensing partnerships

Mr Benn is celebrating its 50th anniversary not only this year, but this very day, with a raft of new deals and licensing partnerships secured by the Altrincham-based animation studio, Factory.

Among the swathe of new licensees for the property now marking its half a century is the leading distributor of collectable coins and stamps, The Westminster Collection, while Coach House Partners Ltd has got the Mr Benn DVD gift set covered. Tartan Squirrel will launch a selection of Mr Benn pins, badges, and keyrings.

Other licensing partnerships include Signature Entertainment for the original Mr Benn television series, which is now available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video in the UK, Ireland and is available to download on digital platforms including iTunes, Google and Xbox. The programme is also available to download in Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada on digital platforms.

Renowned publishers Andersen Press will be releasing four new Mr Benn books including ‘Red Knight’ and ‘Big Game’ in March 2021, and ‘Big Top’ and ‘123456789’ in July 2021. Plus a renewed deal has also been signed with The Insurance Emporium for the fifth year in a row, which will showcase the brand across its website, social, events and advertising.

Originally created by award-winning writer and illustrator David McKee, Mr Benn began life as a children’s picture book in 1967 which followed an ordinary man who had extraordinary adventures when he visited a magical costume shop.

The book went on to be transformed into an animated television series transmitted by the BBC in 1971. The TV series became incredibly popular and was repeated regularly on the BBC for almost 30 years until Nickelodeon UK aired the series for a further nine years until 2010.

On the 50th anniversary of Mr Benn, creator and illustrator, David McKee, said: “Mr Benn endures, I think, because people like the idea of being able to escape to another life, and at their heart they’re old fashioned stories which last – the elements that make up the films, the voice, the music, the story, all simple elements that endure – good old fashioned stories, with a good rhythm.

“I’m really pleased that the books are coming back in print, I’ve always liked the mix of colour and black and white in them, and I made them long enough ago now to be as if someone else did them – so it feels like a new book to me.

“I often say your characters are like your children, you potty train them and look after them and point them in a good direction, but they go off do things you don’t expect – Mr Benn is living his own life and I’m excited to see what people make of the new products that are coming – and hope a new generation of children enjoy them as much as me.”

One of the most exciting deals for Mr Benn is with the leading distributors of collectable coins and stamps, The Westminster Collection, who will be creating a range of Mr Benn 50p coins issued by Guernsey.

Launching in April, the 50p coins will be available as a variety of bespoke Mr Benn Coin Collections. Starting with a single Mr Benn Anniversary logo designed 50p, up to a collection of 5 Silver coins with stunning colour print, in a presentation case.

Anya Hollis, head of brand licensing at Factory, said: “We’re really looking forward to a year long celebration for Mr Benn’s 50th Anniversary, with a wide and diverse range of products and collaborations. Mr Benn is an all time favourite for so many people and we are delighted to be launching some new and exciting  products which will, as if by magic, bring a smile to everyone’s faces.”

As well as Mr Benn, Factory Rights manages the rights to a number of other properties and art created by David McKee including King Rollo, Victor & Maria, and Watt The Devil; also Towser and Dr Xargle with Tony Ross and the particularly strong Rupert Fawcett cartoons, including Off The Leash, On The Prowl, Fred and Daddy.

Factory acquired the long-established Rollo Rights catalogue in a move that further underpins its ambition to develop a rights ownership arm that supports its studio production business and with an experienced Factory Rights team is managing and building this new division.

JoJo Maman Bebe launches fourth Elmer clothing collection in Andersen Press partnership

JoJo Maman Bebe has launched its fourth Elmer clothing collection, a range of hoodies, joggers, sleepsuits, and cardigans all featuring new styles and graphic specially created by the retailer’s design team.

The launch has been supported by digital marketing and social media campaigns from the retailer and Elmer publisher, Andersen Press. Shoppers who buy two or more items will receive a complimentary copy of Elmer’s Little Library.

The deal is managed by the UK licensing agent, Metrostar.

Sarah Liversidge, childrenswear buyer, said: “We are so excited at JoJo to have our favourite elephant, Elmer, return for our fourth “JoJo Loves Elmer” collection.

“The fresh design direction is bolder and more playful than ever whilst reflecting Elmer’s joy, colourfulness and diversity, all combined with our practical styles, great quality and JoJo sense of humour. We have really enjoyed collaborating with Andersen Press and Metrostar once again and hope our customers will enjoy the complimentary Elmer’s Little Library gifted by Andersen Press.”

Paul Black, brand director at Andersen Press, added: “Elmer has really found a brilliant home with JoJo Maman Bebe, and this new range shows him off in all his multi-colour glory.

“We’re delighted to work with the team to offer a free Elmer’s Little Library for online customers, and hope it brings many fans new and old to this new range.”

Claire Potter, managing director at Metrostar, concluded: “This DTR was one of our first signings for Elmer back in 2017 and it’s wonderful to see the partnership going strong. The design team at JoJo really embrace Elmer’s aesthetic; creating garments which are original yet very obviously Elmer.

“Their ability to develop fresh treatments is undoubtedly a key reason that consumers keep coming back for more.”