The Gruffalo readies new Australian adventure with exclusive The Gruffalo Spotter 2 app launch

The Gruffalo is taking further strides down under thanks to a new deal that will see Queensland’s The Ginger Factory, Illawarra Fly and Wildlife Sydney Zoo in New South Wales, and Rippon Lea Estate in Victoria come on board as the brand’s exclusive The Gruffalo Trail partners.

Under a new deal brokered by Magic Light Pictures’ Australian licensing agent, Merchantwise Licensing, the three sites will be the first in the world to activate The Gruffalo Spotter 2 app when it launches at the locations across the country next month.

The Gruffalo Spotter 2 app follows the runaway success of the original, ground-breaking Gruffalo Spotter app launched with Forestry England in 2017, when it was the first development of its kind. Using the very latest Augmented Reality technology, the free app brings to life the characters from the much-loved Gruffalo. This second app was produced by Magic Light Pictures, in partnership with Forestry England, developed and animated by Nexus Studios.

Families can learn about the characters from the picture book, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, and interact with the 3D characters from the film on the self-led trails, which are lined with facts about forest animals, and fun activities. Through face and body recognition technology, the characters now look at the children directly, encouraging them to play along.

Mixing animated characters with the real-world environment, the app encourages children to get exploring, firing their imaginations and enabling them to have an all-new forest experience. The Gruffalo Spotter 2 app is available for free with no in-app purchases from the App Store and Google Play and requires downloading before visiting.

Meanwhile, a further deal executed by Merchantwise Licensing will see a Smiffys range of The Gruffalo dress-up costumes launch next month ahead of October’s Book Week in Australia.  The ‘onesie’ costume available for sizes three to five years, will launch across a number of Australian retail destinations including Spotlight and Costumebox.

“We are thrilled to be announcing the partnership with The Ginger Factory as an exclusive Australian The Gruffalo Trail location in time for the global first launch of The Gruffalo Spotter 2 here in Australia. The trail continues to be as popular as when it first launched at Illawarra Fly, Wildlife Sydney Zoo and Rippon Lea Estate last year, so we anticipate it to be a must-do experience for those in and visiting The Ginger Factory on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast,” said Merchantwise Licensing’s general manager, Kerryn McCormack.

“For the first time, The Gruffalo dress-up costumes will be available here in Australia and we are pleased to be launching this range with Smiffys ahead of Book Week in October across a number of our key retail partners.”

China’s UYoung brings Magic Light Pictures’ The Gruffalo and more to its UKids app

China’s children’s and family entertainment media company, UYoung, has acquired six family favourite films from Magic Light Pictures to broadcast across its educational UKids app and SVOD service.

The new deal will see Magic Light’s hit features The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, The Highway Rat, and Zog all land on the platform, China’s only dedicated content English learning platform for pre-schoolers.

Based on the much-loved children’s picture books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the films were first broadcast to audiences of millions on the BBC as an integral part of its Christmas schedules, for which Magic Light has produced a new festive treat each year for the last seven years.

Ukids is UYoung’s recently launched one-stop service of global children’s programming for Chinese families aimed at helping children to speak English through high-quality developmental content. Available on OTT, iOS, Android mobile and tablet, the dedicated kids’ app contains a wealth of specially curated content chosen for its educational value, ranging from STEM, arts and crafts and nature through to socio-emotional programming.

The English language learning elements of the app have been developed in partnership with the British Council.

Clara Yang, vice president international business and newly appointed general manager for Ukids, said: “We are delighted to have added these wonderful films from Magic Light to our UKids portfolio. They are perfect for the platform’s aim of providing educational and entertaining content in a safe and happy environment to help children grow and develop, and are yet another example of our ability to acquire top-class content from leading international production companies.”

Muriel Thomas, Magic Light Pictures’ head of international distribution, said: “The Gruffalo’s films and subsequent TV specials have a huge international appeal and we are thrilled to have signed our first deal with UYoung to bring these wonderful stories to a whole new audience.”

The Gruffalo takes a walk into new partnerships in Italy

Mondo TV, the third-party licensor for The Gruffalo in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, has detailed a new Italian licensee for the popular children’s publishing brand.

Pon Pon Edizioni has been licensed to launch a range of products including activity and colouring packs and sets. The range is aimed at children aged from three to five.

The deal covers Italy, along with San Marino, Canton Ticino and Vatican City. The range will be available at kiosks and bookstores across all of these territories before the end of the year.

The range uses illustrations and designs from the classic book illustrated by Axel Scheffler and written by Julia Donaldson. The story is a delightful tale of how a tiny mouse outwits a number of animals intent on eating him: a fox, an owl, a snake and finally a big, scary creature called The Gruffalo.

The Gruffalo was initially published in 1999 and has gone on to sell over 24 million copies across multiple formats in 99 languages. It has also inspired a growing global licensing campaign. Global licensor Magic Light appointed Mondo to develop a licensing programme for The Gruffalo in Italy, Spain and Portugal in late 2019.

A love of books brought together Gianni Bono and Marilla Pascale, who launched Pon Pon Edizioni in 2013. Today Pon Pon Edizioni has a portfolio that ranges from first reading and classic fairy tale books to magic pens, sticker albums and much more, with a strong profile in partnerships with licensed brands.

Valentina La Macchia, Mondo TV Licensing director, said: “This is a brand famous for its illustrations as well as its wonderful storyline and Pon Pon Edizioni is the ideal partner to bring those illustrations to the market in the form of activity and colouring packs.

“We are expecting to appoint further high-quality licensees very soon in Italy, Spain and Portugal, where sales of The Gruffalo book are very strong.”


Wow! Stuff named master toy partner for Magic Light Pictures’ portfolio

Magic Light Pictures has tapped Wow! Stuff as its master toy partner for the company’s full catalogue of award-winning brands, including The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Zog, and The Snail and the Whale. The toy deal spans multiple territories, and products will be available across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia, the US and Canada.

Wow! Stuff is known for its own portfolio of award-winning innovations in tier one brands, and from January 2021 will launch a full line up of toy figures and play-sets based on Magic Light’ library of characters. Prices for The Gruffalo will range from £7.99 through to £39.99 and will include collectables, character action figures, play-sets, electronic animated plush, and more.

Wow! Stuff’s head of product development and licensing, Kenny McAndrew, said: “This is a fabulous way to show what we can do when we have a Master licence and are free to explore traditional key toy categories and add our innovative take. Partnering with Magic Light we’ll bring Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s characters to life with the physical figurines the children dearly love.

“Each character and the play-sets are part of a special universe and perfectly complement and pay homage to the books and films. The characters are hugely ‘toyetic’ and our tests showed the reaction from parents and grandparents and their propensity to purchase was at the very highest level – family awareness and parental approval on the brand is sky high.”

Daryl Shute, brand director at Magic Light, added: “A master toy partner is something we’ve long wanted for our Gruffalo family of brands. The toy category has grown massively for us over the past year and Wow! Stuff are joining us at just the right time. They have added the innovation they’re renowned for and brought the characters to life in a way that is full of the charm and wonder that our little fans know and love.

“This is the third new license announced in this category in the past month, which is something else we’re pretty chuffed about.”

The imaginative play range will complement Magic Light’s existing range of fantastic toy and games partners that have been carefully collated for the Gruffalo over the last 10 years.

Long term Gruffalo partners include high quality plush from Aurora; and puzzles and games from Ravensburger, Asmodee, Winning Moves and Schmidt Spiele.

The Gruffalo taps sustainable play-sets and playground signage in latest raft of licensing partners

Magic Light Pictures has secured a raft of new licensees for its hit animated IP, The Gruffalo, as development of its licensing programme continues for 2020. Visage, MBI, Robert Fredrick, Playpress, and Snappyjack are the latest to join the Gruffalo family.

Textile specialists Visage will produce Gruffalo craft printed fabrics, MBI has signed on for gifting and collectables, including gift packaging for the recent 20th anniversary coins issued by The Royal Mint and stamps from the Royal Mail, and Robert Fredrick will launch a range of stationery, gifts, and games this summer.

On top of all of this, Playpress is working on a Gruffalo buildable play-set, made with recyclable and biodegradable material, while Snappyjack will be offering new Gruffalo playground signage.

Magic Light has also signed renewals with two of its biggest partners: Aurora, a partner since 2009 who has now committed to a further three years, as well as its biggest DTR partner, Sainsbury’s, who has been a constant retailer for The Gruffalo since 2011.

Daryl Shute, brand director at Magic Light Pictures, said: “We are thrilled to see The Gruffalo venturing out in new categories, to give the many fans fresh opportunities to engage with him and his world. The Gruffalo’s 20th anniversary in 2019 saw exceptional growth and a big range of marketing activity, so it is great to carry on this momentum into 2020 with further development of our licensing programme. It’s testimony to the fantastic work our in-house licensing team is doing to grow the Gruffalo brand.”

The Gruffalo, first published in 1999 and written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler is a modern classic of children’s literature, adapted for both stage and screen and has been translated into 84 languages.

A year-long programme of exciting activities in 2019 to mark its 20th anniversary included The Gruffalo’s first-ever appearance on a coin with a commemorative 50p piece collection issued by The Royal Mint.

The Royal Mail issued a set of commemorative Special Stamps, while the Global Gruffalo campaign saw 20 cuddly Gruffalos let loose around the world, a host of special anniversary Forestry England picnic parties, bespoke summer celebrations at Chessington World of Adventures, open-air cinema mini festivals with Luna Cinema, a pop-up shop in Covent Garden, and special activity across major retailers.