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.”


Acamar Films partners with ZSL London for Bing family activities this autumn

Acamar Films’ flagship preschool property, Bing is heading to ZSL London Zoo this autumn to bring a host of family activities to visitors and fans. The new partnership is the latest expansion of Bing’s live events and experiential licensing portfolio.

Under the new partnership, ZSL London Zoo will host a variety of themed activities, free to its visitors, from September 20th to October 31st. These will include storytime sessions throughout the day for children to join Bing and Flop in learning about animals.

There will also be a themed self-led Activity Trail around the zoo which features a series of clues and interactive activities at each station. At the end of the trail, families can celebrate their visit with a photo opportunity alongside Bing and his friends.

Kirsty Southgate, director of promotions and partnerships at Acamar Films, said: “It’s an exciting time for Bing and we are thrilled to welcome ZSL to the programme. We hope our Bing experience at London Zoo will encourage young children to build a lasting connection to animals and the natural world.”

ZSL London Zoo chief operating officer, Kathryn England, added: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Bing and Flop to ZSL London Zoo this autumn, supporting our mission to engage the next generation of young animal lovers with the importance of wildlife.

“Bing fans will be invited to go on a journey of discovery, exploring the value of nature, surrounded by more than 20,000 animals – while making lasting memories during a fun-filled family day out.”