Gifts Today magazine

Go green with Illumination’s The Grinch

Universal Brand Development (UBD) already has an eye on holiday 2018 as they proudly announce the first raft of UK partners to sign up to the licensing programme for Illumination’s Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. Gifts Today's sister publication, LTW, exclusively catches up with the company’s UK and ROI Consumer Products Country Director, Hannah Mungo, to find out more

Hannah – tell us about Illumination’s The Grinch?
It’s a completely fresh take on the holiday classic, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, starring British heavyweight Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role of The Grinch, which is set for release in November 2018. The newly re-imagined version comes from the creative team at Illumination- the home of the Despicable Me franchise and the Minions of course!

Many of us will have heard of The Grinch – but is it part of the UK and Ireland’s Christmas tradition?
The popularity of Dr. Seuss, in the UK and Ireland is driven, at least in part, by the educational aspect of the books and vital endorsement from parents and teachers. The anarchic and the fun rhyming narratives prove irresistible to young children. Illumination is on track to produce a movie that will stay true to the original storyline but will take the film to the next level in terms of comedy and larger than life characterization.

And where is that brand awareness derived from?
From a parents’ perspective, the Dr. Seuss anthology is credited with being amongst some of the first books to inspire a life-long love of reading and initiatives such as World Book Day are key awareness drivers too. Looking at Illumination’s The Grinch specifically, the property benefits from past movie adaptations, our adoption of US trends like Christmas Eve Boxes and UK retail’s ever increasing focus on seasonality and building narratives that engage consumers.

What makes it such a special and unique story, Hannah?
I think it’s a lovely combination of a classic Christmas story with slapstick humour that feels very contemporary and is brought to life on the big screen. The characters are big and bizarrely surreal which is of course very unique to Dr. Seuss, yet the message is a heart-warming tale of inclusion and acceptance. It’s seasonal without being too saccharine and offers licensees and retailers the opportunity to own the festive space with a cross category offering that appeals to kids and adults of all ages.

And what about the movie licensing program? Who’s on board?

Early adopters to the programme have the Christmas essentials covered including Just Play, our master toy licensee for the film, with a range of toys, plush and playsets inspired by Illumination’s The Grinch.

It’s wonderful to have such a huge player behind this wonderful property. Which other licensees are going green with Illumination’s The Grinch?

In the fashion category, we’re working with our partners to create a range of pieces for all ages. Some partners include: Park Agencies for daywear, Misirli for socks whilst Somberbond and Cooneen will offer a collection of adult nightwear and children’s nightwear respectively. In addition, partners for home products include: Dreamtex for bedding, Corsair for toiletries and Stor for dining wear.

And being Dr. Seuss there must also be a publishing element too, right?
Yes, of course! To honour the literary heritage of the story from the world’s No. 1 children’s author, HarperCollins UK has signed the local publishing rights and will release a selection of imprints based on the new movie IP.

And can you tell us about some more partners – LTW understands there is a pretty long list…!
We are delighted to work with so many excellent partners such as Bon Bon Buddies, World Confections and Give & Go, which meet the demand for delicious treats with seasonal chocolate, confectionary, gingerbread houses and cookie kits. Lastly for gift giving and receiving, Danilo will have greeting cards, gift-wrapping and Christmas crackers.

Hannah, can you sum up what The Grinch will mean to licensees and retailers this year?
Illumination’s The Grinch is an opportunity for licensees to reach life-long fans of The Grinch as well a new audience. The movie will allow us to own the family movie event space for Holiday 2018 and again in 2019 during the home entertainment window. Parents and children will love the unique combination of comedy, mischief and heritage and it will quickly become a much-loved modern classic.

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