Macmillan marks 40 years of Dear Zoo with new key partnerships

Celebrations are underway at Macmillan Children’s Books to mark the 40th anniversary of Rod Campbell’s interactive picture book, Dear Zoo. The publisher will celebrate this much-loved family classic with a year-long programme of activity, starting with the publication of a new golden board book edition in January.

A dedicated marketing and PR campaign will see a series of immersive events, national press coverage, experiential advertising and other surprise deliveries. A year-long digital advertising campaign will run alongside far-reaching trade and consumer promotions. An instore competition is currently running with JoJo Maman Bébé across 88 UK and Irish stores.

A major partnership with leading family attraction ZSL London Zoo launches in the spring. A Dear Zoo trail featuring all the animals from the book will feature through the zoo during the Easter holidays, launching on 2 April. ZSL will also be running an experiential activity based on Rod Campbell’s 2021 book Look After Us.

The sell-out Dear Zoo Live! on stage production will return for its third nationwide tour in 2022.

Further partnerships designed to bring the brand to an even wider audience will be launched through the anniversary year.

Sales of Dear Zoo now exceed 13 million copies. In 2021 it appeared 38 times in the Preschool & Picture Books weekly Top 20. Rod Campbell’s titles had a record year in 2021, with sales across all of his titles growing 9% to total 1.5m copies across all markets. Internationally his sales grew by 59% in volume across all markets. Five new languages were sold, bringing the total to 31.

Dear Zoo is available in a variety of formats in addition to the classic board book edition, including paperback, cloth and buggy, sound and pop-up, as well as audio books. For countless babies and toddlers Dear Zoo is their first book and many go on to share it themselves with their own children.

Rod Campbell said: “I am absolutely delighted that so many generations of young children continue to love Dear Zoo. Their pleasure when interacting with the story is so pleasing to see, and for me is the greatest of compliments. Here’s to the anniversary activities bringing Dear Zoo to an even wider audience of families.”

Stephanie Barton, Publisher, says: “With just eight animals, 16 pages and 115 words, Dear Zoo hits the spot every time. Putting the child at its centre, Dear Zoo is a joyful, playful first book for little children everywhere, and is much loved by parents and grandparents who remember it fondly from their own childhood. Rod Campbell finished 2021 as the second bestselling author/illustrator in the UK’s Preschool market and Dear Zoo was the number-one best-selling preschool title by an author /illustrator in 2021. That’s quite an achievement over 40 years and we are so proud to work with Rod and on Dear Zoo.”


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.”

JoJo Maman Bébé extends its Very Hungry Caterpillar clothing range in Rocket Licensing deal

Rocket Licensing has facilitated a renewed partnership between the leading nursery retailer JoJo Maman Bébé and the World of Eric Carle that will see the baby brand extend its successful Very Hungry Caterpillar range of children’s clothing.

Launched on July 27th, the second phase of the JoJo Maman Bébé and The Very Hungry Caterpillar partnership builds on the success of the initial range launched in 2019. The extended collection features eight special designs, available in an increased range of sizes up to the age of four, and including toddler sizes.

The designs carry the signature JoJo Maman Bébé stripes, coupled with phrases from the storybook such as ‘hungry, hungry, hungry’ and ‘tiny and very hungry’, as well as appliqué, embroidery and prints to capture The Very Hungry Caterpillar brand.

Iconic images from the Eric Carle book are used to create individual and recognisable pieces including rompers, baby grows, jogger and T-shirt sets, and dresses.

Also new to the range are two additional Very Hungry Caterpillar gift box designs. The collection will be supported by a heavyweight social media campaign, as well as a central in-store display unit, and will be accompanied by other Very Hungry Caterpillar products including toys and books to provide an immersive brand offering to JoJo Maman Bébé customers.

Melissa Satterly, brand manager for The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Rocket Licensing, said: “The initial range from JoJo Maman Bébé last year was so well received, that it was only right to extend the deal for a new season, and we’re thrilled to be expanding the offering with this best-in-class partner.

“The momentum with consumers created during The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s 50th anniversary in 2019, is continuing apace and we will soon be announcing more partnerships for the beloved Eric Carle property.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the centrepiece of the successful global licensing campaign around The World of Eric Carle brand, which brings together the much-loved, multi-million-selling works of author and artist Eric Carle.