Children’s series Monty & Co. ‘hits the ground running’ with trio of UK licensing deals

The popular CBeebies and iPlayer children’s series, Monty & Co has hit the ground running with three major licensing partnerships spanning kids’ magazines, online retail, and audio stories with Tonies.

Immediate Media has added the pre-school IP to its successful CBeebies magazine, while Event Merchandising is in the midst of creating and managing an online store with the aim to be fully functional, with a range of merchandise, for this summer.

Finally, Tonies will be adding a Monty Tonie figure to its line-up of pre-school audio characters with a launch planned for summer 2022. The licensing deals arrive following the successful debut of the Monty & Co. series late last year. Since then, it has been hitting consistent audience numbers both in the linear space and on iPlayer, where it has hit one million plays already.

New episodes are now planned for production towards the end of 2021.

“Everyone involved is incredibly positive with the performance of the show to date. The characters are easy to engage with, the scripts for each episode are well written and play like mini dramas. Parents and children are loving the live action, the humour, the songs and the silliness included in each episode,” said Ian Wickham, director at Licensing Link Europe which is handling the global licensing programme for Monty & Co.

“Monty & Co is a refreshing change to the plethora of animated content pitched at the preschooler. Warm, traditional and endearing are definitely aspects of Monty’s success and I’m sure one of the reasons why parents are talking about the show in the playground – which is a very good thing.”

Liz Peters, portfolio manager at Tonies, added: “We are very excited to add Monty Tonie to our portfolio for 2022. He’s going to make a very popular figurine that little ones will love to pop on their Toniebox. We are looking forward to working closely with the show’s producers to create bespoke audio content for the Tonie, incorporating all that humour, fun and silliness, as well the action and songs that fans enjoy and expect from Monty & Co.”

With the new online store due to be up and running by the summer, Jeremy Goldsmith of Event Merchandise explained why the company was keen to be involved.

“The producers have created a wonderful show, and we are delighted to be designing and operating the online store for Monty & Co, along with a fun selection of products,” he commented. “The characters of this hit series join our selected line-up of licensed properties.”

Hollie Fisher, editor, CBeebies, concluded: “It’s a funny, loveable mini comedy drama which we think will resonate well with both our grown-up and younger, preschool audiences.”

Licensing Link Europe scores Phat Kandi for the UK and Eire

Licensing Link Europe is continuing to build its portfolio, this time with the addition of the popular, bittersweet character brand, Phat Kandi, an IP that is inspired by ‘rule breakers and misfits.’

The partnership will see Licensing Link Europe manage the brand’s licensing opportunities across the UK and Eire. The team joins a wider network of licensing agents for the brand which already includes EASIA’s Empire Multimedia corp and Italy’s Brand Licensing Studio Di Ambra Farioli.

Licensing Link Europe currently represents brands such as Molang, Build a Bear Workshop, The Van Gogh Museum, and Pantone within its portfolio.

“Chris and I are both flattered and really excited to be working with such an enthusiastic and proactive licensor,” said Ian Wickham, director at the agency.  “The brand DNA, the handwriting and delivery are going to make for a strong lifestyle statement at a time when individuality is very much embraced.”

Phat Kandi has been described as a bold statement brand with a Japanese, edgy twist that lends itself to consumer products in categories such as fashion, personal care, stationery, and digital campaigns

Opinion: How I met Vincent Van Gogh and its future for licensing

It was at the opening of the Van Gogh Museum’s newest UK venture, the Meet Vincent van Gogh experience along London’s South Bank last night, that a glimpse into the high-spec future of immersive licensing was offered.

A collaboration of efforts between Holland’s Van Gogh Museum and the UK’s own Golden Tours, the three month exhibition comes with a big promise; to give art lovers and families an all immersive insight into the life – and mind – of one of history’s most celebrated artists.

And it’s a promise on which the Van Gogh Museum – first established in 1973 and now watched over by the Van Gogh family, relations of the Dutch artist himself – truly delivers; bringing visitors as close to the talent and his family – short of meeting the man himself – as is possible.

In a statement to opening night visitors, Mikesh Palan, the managing director of Golden Tours, with whom The Van Gogh Museum has partnered to bring the UK leg of the experience’s global tour to life, riffed off the company’s own mission statement, that tourism is the only business that brings cultures together.

I believe now that a caveat can be respectfully added to the sentiment, and that is that licensing, tastefully done with as much care, attention, and scrutiny as carried by those presiding over the Van Gogh estate, can do it just as well.

Today, more so than ever, the most successful licenses know that key to it all is a brand’s ability to tell a story. There’s certainly no lack of storytelling when families put on their headsets and step straight into a story of love, vision, and a relationship between Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo, all while walking through, engaging with and becoming part of the art work that has made Van Gogh (although visitors learn he’d rather be known as Vincent) the revered artists, and by extension, the brand, he is.

Families and art fans are invited, if not actively encouraged, to engage with the installations around them – whether that is touching the walls, the table and chairs of a Parisian café setting, the hay bales of the Wheat Field, become the Potato Eaters by getting their hands quite literally on the focal point of the famous painting, or scale the walls of the Yellow House with their eyes as they peer into – and out of – some of the most significant windows of Vincent’s life.

A chilling walk through the passages of the asylum the artist spent a year of his life within takes visitors on a deeper journey of Van Gogh’s mind as it battles those famed psychotic episodes that encompassed the ‘Yellow Years’, and draws empathy from an audience that, in Meet Vincent Van Gogh, finds a new way to engage with art and artistry.

All of this, of course, positions Meet Vincent Van Gogh as the perfect platform from which audiences can continue their love affair with the work of the artist in a gift shop that could just as easily be a part of the exhibition itself, so seamlessly does it transition from 1890 and the death of Van Gogh, and the legacy that his art left behind him.

Were I an art critic, I’d be singing my excitement for the future of art exhibition from the roof of the National Theatre that this experience sits tucked behind. For the licensing community however, this is a prime example of immersive entertainment done the right way. Now, time to go and get my hands on all that merchandise.