Prisoners of Geography taps Map Marketing for licensed merchandise

Independent publisher Elliott & Thompson’s Sunday Times best-selling Prisoners of Geography books by author Tim Marshall continue to engage fans of maps and facts from 6-80 years. With unprecedented and continued global sales success, the franchise is extending into a range of licensed merchandise for launch during 2022.

Map Marketing Ltd is on board to develop a range of printed maps, posters and framed prints in various sizes and gifts featuring the beautiful map illustrations from the Prisoners of Geography illustrated edition.

“Map Marketing lives and breathes everything to do with maps, so Prisoners of Geography was a no-brainer licence acquisition for us,” explains Brian O’Donnell, MD of the Devon-based business. “We absolutely love the detailed but easy to understand map illustrations, which in themselves are beautiful works of art. We’ve seen a huge growth in consumer interest in geography and maps as both educational and beautiful art for home decor in recent years. Prisoners of Geography is a hugely versatile brand and is also perfect for our growing direct-to-schools business Geopacks.”

Maggy Harris from BlueSkye Licensing, which brokered the deal, says: “Extending the franchise is a natural step forward for Tim’s books and we are delighted to welcome Brian and his Map Marketing team into the Prisoners of Geography brand family. We’re seeing a great response from companies responding to increased consumer interest and demand for quality, factual, fun, family brands. The detailed illustrations are perfect for family-focused edutainment merchandise. Watch this space for further 2022 product launches across jigsaws, games, puzzles, gifts and stationery.”

Lorne Forsyth, Chairman of publisher Elliott and Thompson, adds: “Prisoners of Geography has been an astonishing, long-lasting hit in hardback and paperback, providing a gripping exploration of the power of geography to shape humanity’s past, present and future. It is acknowledged as one of the bestselling international geo-politics books of all time.”

Sagoo’s Rilakkuma readies for UK growth with Maggy Harris and Kirsty Guthrie

The Paris-based licensing agency, Sagoo has appointed the KJG’s Kirsty Guthrie and BlueSkye Licensing’s Maggy Harris to manage the UK licensing activity for its increasingly popular kawaii brand, Rilakkuma.

The move has been made as Rilakkuma begins to see increases awareness among European audiences and licensees, spotting an ‘enormous brand potential’ for the IP here in the UK. Both Guthrie and Harris are well-known to the UK licensing industry and together have established a new bespoke licensing sales service for brand owners looking for local development.

The pair will be working closely with Sagoo to manage, expand, and diversify the Rilakkuma merchandise programme, starting with carefully selected retail launches planned from the late summer.

Veronique Pichon, president of Sagoo France, said: “Awareness of Rilakkuma is building fast among European Licensees and consumers and this is an ideal time to grow Rilakkuma and its enormous brand potential in the UK. We’re delighted to have Maggy and Kirsty on board as Sagoo’s ‘Team UK’.

“They both have a wealth of licensing experience and will strengthen our commitment and ability to build successful partnerships for Rilakkuma across our European territory.”

Guthrie has been vocal in the “long-term opportunities” the pair have seen in the UK for the Rilakkuma brand, spanning some of Sagoo’s existing licensed ranges launching in spring next year from Blueprint for stationary, Hype for greetings cards, and Difuzed for apparel and accessories.

Harris, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Sagoo to deliver additional licensing strength to their team in the UK. Kirsty and I both have a wealth of experience licensing cute design based brands and we fell in love with Rilakkuma.” 

Created in 2003 by San-X, Rilakkuma got its name from the Japanese words for ‘relax’ and ‘bear’, summing up the characters approach to life and helping it achieve stand out among the popular kawaii brand sector.