Gifts Today magazine

Big plans for The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Rocket Licensing, the licensing agent in the UK for Eric Carle’s classic title, is further building the licensing campaign and retail presence of this much-loved property in readiness for 50th anniversary in 2019

2018 will see an impressive number of new The Very Hungry Caterpillar products. Young cooks and gardeners will enjoy a brand-new melamine range with cutlery and charming children’s baking kit from Portmeirion and an extensive gardening range from Robert Frederick – including a bright bug catcher and paint-your-own butterfly house – as well as a stationery range and art supplies from the same licensee. Fans of the world’s most famous caterpillar can also look forward to a new board game – Let’s Feed The Very Hungry Caterpillar – from Paul Lamond Games and a range of creative activity publishing from Alligator, including a play pack and dot-to-dot books.

And that’s not all! Woodmansterne, which has experienced a hugely positive response and strong sales for its initial range of The Very Hungry Caterpillar cards, will be bringing new ranges of seasonal and everyday greetings cards, as well as a The Very Hungry Caterpillar advent calendar, to retail this year. Babywear licensee Paul Dennicci Ltd is launching new and growing ranges for spring/summer and autumn/winter this year, while Roy Lowe & Sons is planning a range of socks. Not surprisingly, the world’s biggest online retailer is responding positively to this activity: a new The Very Hungry Caterpillar Amazon store is set to launch in spring 2018.

World Book Day 2018 will be an important one for the most-read children’s book in the UK, and Rocket is maximising The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s potential for this major event with a lovely range of dress-up outfits by Amscan launched into leading grocery channels and independents ahead of World Book Day, supported by a social media campaign.

Competitions, retailer partnerships, online and magazine promotions and support from print and online media have further extended awareness of the brand, as has The Very Hungry Caterpillar live show, which continues to attract audiences throughout the UK.

The brand also has a powerful charity presence through The Giant Wiggle, an event hosted by Action for Children, the charity supporting disadvantaged children across the UK. Over the last four years, more than 4,100 Giant Wiggle events have taken place across the UK, with an incredible 166,245 children taking part in numerous activities, including, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar-style wiggles. The 2018 giant wiggle in May is gearing up to be the biggest year to date, with even more ambitious plans already in place for the anniversary year in 2019.

As if all that were not enough, Rocket has started discussions with promotional partners, retail partners and licensees in the lead-up to the 2019 anniversary celebrations of 50 very hungry years. Areas of new opportunity include healthy snacks, infant care and feeding, garden and plants, outdoor toys, accessories and magazine publishing.

After nearly 50 years in print, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is today the most-read children’s book in the UK, and 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.

The licensing campaign for The World of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is managed in the UK by independent licensing company Rocket Licensing through the worldwide agent, The Joester Loria Group. The campaign has already seen the world’s favourite caterpillar inspire lines of developmental toys, plush, games, bedding, puzzles, craft and activity sets, greeting cards and much more.

Charlie Donaldson, Joint Managing Director of Rocket Licensing, says: 'These 2018 launches underline the still enormous popularity of The Very Hungry Caterpillar with young children and their parents many years after the first edition of this magical book was launched. Not only will these delightful and diverse ranges appeal strongly to fans of The Very Hungry Caterpillar but this activity kicks off a very busy year for this amazing brand as its 50th anniversary gets ever closer.'

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