B.O.T. and the Beasties agrees publishing deal as the show’s audience grows

Award-winning merchandise, licensing and brand agency Brands with Influence has announced the signing of two new licensing partners for CBeebies show B.O.T. and the Beasties, made by Ragdoll Productions.

Leicester-based Sweet Cherry Publishing, recent winners of Small Press of the Year 2021 at the British Book Awards, is to produce a series of new book formats for the show, with the first release planned for 2022. These will include story books, picture books and creative play books utilising sounds from the episodes.

In parallel, Immediate Media has signed to run regular B.O.T. and the Beasties content in their CBeebies magazine.

“We are delighted to be welcoming two excellent new partners to the B.O.T. family,” says Martin Lowde, MD at Brands with Influence. “The series is proving really popular with the young audiences and with its colourful and eclectic range of characters there is lots of scope for a fabulous new range of books and magazines.”

Sanjee de Silva, Publisher at Sweet Cherry, explained why they were so keen to sign with B.O.T. “This brand is exactly what we have been looking for here at Sweet Cherry. It has longevity, a range of great characters and portrays the fun and educational values that we are proud to align ourselves with. Sweet Cherry’s creative teams have designed a really innovative and exciting new range for the series.”

Brands with Influence will be at BLE next month sharing more details about the B.O.T. and the Beasties licensing programme.

BBC Studios and Immediate Media to launch Bluey Magazine this summer

The multi-award winning preschool series, Bluey has landed a new children’s magazine deal thanks to a partnership between BBC Studios and the popular kids’ publishers, Immediate Media Co.

Bluey Magazine will feature new ways for children to explore the world of Bluey, with open-ended play activities and opportunities for young readers to engage their imagination, whether its exploring the Bluey family home, or making their own Daddy Robot, tidying the playroom, or making their own Bingo toast.

Each issue of the new magazine will come with a sticker sheet, while the first issue will include a collectable ‘paint your own figurines’ play-set enabling fans to create their own Bluey and Bingo.

Produced by Ludo Studio and jointly commissioned by BBC Studios and ABC Children’s, the hit preschool series follows Bluey, a six-year-old Blue Heeler dog, who turns everyday family life into a series of adventures that unfold in unpredictable ways.

Bluey has gained vast audiences worldwide, winning an International Emmy Kids Award in the prestigious Preschool Category in 2020 and becoming Australia’s most popular children’s television show as well as the number one show for preschoolers in its UK time slot on CBeebies.

Fiona Campbell, Immediate youth and children’s publisher, said: “Bluey has been a roaring broadcast success across the globe, and we’re thrilled to be creating content for fans to enjoy, here in the UK. It’s great to finally give ‘little squirts’ (and let’s be honest, their parents too!) what they’ve been waiting for.

“We have an exciting line up of issues and gifts, featuring themes from family to food along with Bluey classics such as Daddy Robot, Magic Asparagus and the Grannies with plenty of games, makes, puzzles and giggles along the way.”

Mandy Thwaites, director, magazines and consumer products, BBC Studios, said: “We’re delighted to work with Immediate to bring the new Bluey Magazine to shelves and can’t wait for you to see it. It’s packed full of exciting activities to keep your children entertained while learning, having fun and sharing their love for Bluey and her family.”

The first issue of Bluey Magazine is on sale from August 4th 2021. Bluey toys were released earlier this month and are now available at retail.

Wastebuster and Products of Change call on industries to back Recycle to Read and Toy Take Back campaign

The environmental awareness platform, Wastebuster has partnered with Products of Change to bring together a cross-sector of stakeholders to share knowledge, resources, and finance, to develop an efficient, environmental, and sustainable means of recycling plastic toys.

In partnership with EPPIC (Extended Plastics Partnerships for Innovation in Circularity) the programme will operate under the title Recycle to Read and will engage consumers to recycle their toys (including small electricals and textiles) and to reward participating schools and communities with books and reading resources to improve literacy.

The programme aims to provide an industry-wide solution for recycling all plastic toys while providing a platform for consumers to engage with easily. It will look to co-ordinate toy, tech, and textiles ‘Take Back’ collections in retailers, schools, and household recycling centres across the UK.

As it builds it will look to unlock considerable social, economic, and environmental benefits for the communities in which it operates.

The programme also provides research and industry insight into toy design for recyclability, to support the move towards a more circular future for toy production.

Collected plastic toys will be recycled into new products, such as construction boards, outdoor furniture, or playground equipment. Any plastic toys suitable for reuse will be recirculated by charity partners. The project will drive a nationwide call to action to ‘Recycle Right’ and promote the Toy Take Back linked to the Recycle to Read rewards programme across schools, retail, brand, toy, and publishing partners.

By bringing together a critical mass of cross-sector members, Recycle to Read can deliver a recycling system for toys that benefits its members, society and most importantly, the environment.

Developed by Katy Newnham, founder of Wastebuster, the Recycle to Read campaign and its Toy Take Back initiative is being billed as a ‘dynamic research programme’ and the “start of the creation of a circular and sustainable future for toy production.” The programme will be a multi-stakeholder collaboration that spans industry, government, and consumer networks.

Already 40 companies and 70 local authorities have taken steps to become a part of the programme, having taken part in a special roundtable webinar last month.

“We believe in the power of collective impact,” said Newnham. “By coming together, brand owners, toy manufacturers, retailers, publishers, recyclers, governments, schools, and consumers, we have the ability to work together to share intelligence and resources to create a workable, long-term, sustainable solution to plastic toy recycling.

“The real power of the Recycle to Read/Toy Take Back programme is in collective impact. We all have a role we could play to support this important project and the move towards not only creating a more sustainable future for the toy industry but educating and empowering a whole generation to act as responsible consumers.”

“There is no time like now to change the future of the toy industry. Acting as a responsible business is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It is a commercial necessity and environmental imperative. We can turn the dial for a whole generation, to promote and enable responsible consumption and production. Let’s make this a good news story for industry, for children and for the planet. Let’s work together to do that.”

Helena Mansell Stopher, director of Products of Change, added: “Products of Change is extremely proud to be working with Katy and her team to bring a fully circular solution to toy recycling in the UK, to be rolled out internationally over the coming years.

“For an industry to be part of actually building an infrastructure of this magnitude, to also be linked to rewarding schools to positively effect children’s literacy, is pretty phenomenal.”

Among those to have pledged their support to the campaign as founding members is Immediate Media.

“We hope it will bring the whole toy industry together to help create a recycling ecosystem for plastic toys at the end of their useful life and generate a momentum of its own once the word of the scheme spreads,” said Andy Marshall, group managing director of Immediate Media Co.

Peter Rooke, director of Smart Toys and Games, a member of Recycle to Read, added: “Sustainability in toys is so important for the toy industry.

“The single use and giveaway toy world is particularly under threat and is in the sights of regulators so change must come to that aspect of the industry quickly.

“I fully support the circular economy and for toys, one that is restorative and regenerative by design.”

For more details on the campaign (and to sign up to the next webinar), simply click on this link. You can also contact Simon, on Simon@recycletoread.org to find out how to get involved.