We find out more about the Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom licensing programme, and the plans afoot for further expansion of the pre-school favourite.
Can you tell me the history behind the brand?
Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom is the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning pre-school TV series produced by the very talented creators of Peppa Pig, Astley Baker Davies. The animated series follows the friendship between fairy princess Holly and Ben Elf in the enchanted and magical Little Kingdom of elves, fairies and insects. The series was first broadcast in the UK on Nick Jr in 2009 and Milkshake in 2010 and now airs daily in the UK across both channels where it consistently ranks as one of the channel’s most-watched shows.
How did the brand perform over the past 12 months?
We have received an incredible response since re-launching the brand in summer 2014. It all kicked off with a new logo and branding, where packaging and assets were refreshed. This allowed us to redesign key elements including DVD sleeves, a brand new and interactive user friendly website which launched in late 2014, fresh assets to enhance and increase social media content and additionally launch new themes such as ‘elf and fairy party’ for 2015.
Character Options’ new toy line launched at retail in autumn/winter 2014 and received wonderfully strong sales across the board, whilst Penguin’s line of fiction titles have sold over a £1.3 million worth of books in the UK since its launch in 2010. The TV series secured a stronger timeslot on Channel Five’s Milkshake which has significantly boosted ratings and viewership.
The brand is also casting a spell over international audiences where broadcast and licensing is well underway in Spain, Australia, Italy and Benelux. This strategic approach has generated a rise in brand awareness, exceeded initial sales expectations and increased the brand’s retail footprint for 2015 and beyond.
How many licensees does it have to date, and in which categories?
The programme currently boasts 36 UK licensees covering key categories including toys, publishing, apparel, partyware, DVD and digital, in addition to family events and marketing promotions. The brand primarily targets the mass market with pre-school children firmly set in its sights, therefore we look to form partnerships with best in class licensing partners like Character Options, Penguin and Blues that inspire retail confidence and encourage further licensees to get on-board.
Going forward, our plan is to focus on the upcoming toy, DVD and publishing launches for spring/summer 2015, expand the programme into secondary toy and apparel ranges for autumn/winter 2015 and then extend categories including stationery and homewares from spring/summer 2016.
What are some of the best performing products?
The entire consumer products programme is seeing impressive results; however, Character Options’ latest toy line has had a phenomenal response and stands as an excellent case study of success for the licence. Products such as the Five Figure pack and the Elf Truck have performed particularly well at retail, in addition to the Thistle Castle play-set which has also been a top selling product.
What’s interesting is that the new line has been a big hit with both boys and girls and it really is testament to the vision of Character Options. They have successfully developed a stunning new toy line that fully captures the charm of this award-winning series and also caters for all fans of the franchise.
Are you looking to expand the consumer products programme further this year – for example into new categories or territories?
Absolutely, since the re-launch we have received an overwhelming response from both fans of the show and retailers so it’s vital that we respond with a strong offering.
As such, we have exciting plans to expand the brand into new categories this year to launch for both 2016 and 2017. This will see Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom move into wooden toys, arts and crafts, watches and accessories, homewares, sticker albums and posters, gifting, tech accessories and FMCG.