We discuss the classic character's worldwide appeal, new animation and Comic Relief.
Firstly, can you tell me the history behind the brand?
Mr Bean was first broadcast in 1990 and has since gone on to become a worldwide hit with TV broadcasts in over 190 territories. Since then, there have been two feature films and now two animated series with the latest series showing on CITV in the UK from February 16th, 2015, to be followed by a further 70 territories by April 2015.
How did the brand perform over the past 12 months?
Extremely well. In the UK we have enjoyed some significant new signings including Sterling for a range of gift products, Café Press for personalised and non- personalised apparel, homeware and gift products, Puckator for a solar dancing Mr Bean figure and we are delighted that Danilo, who launched an extremely funny range of Mr Bean cards in the mid 1990’s has re- joined the licensing program. Mr Bean has also performed very well in apparel where Primark launched Men’s T shirts in time for Christmas last year.
Internationally we have seen Mr Bean’s vast popularity translate into new product ranges in India with new licenses for apparel and confectionary, adding to growing merchandise ranges in the US, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Netherlands and Japan.
How many licensees does it have to date (in the UK and worldwide) and in which categories?
50 internationally and 14 in the UK with more to be added soon.
What are some of the best performing products?
All of the merchandise sells consistently well – with Mr Bean’s Teddy from Ty being one of the best performing products.
Are you looking to expand the consumer products programme further this year – for example into new categories or territories?
Absolutely. We are looking to licence Mr Bean to products and to manufacturers who can translate Mr Bean’s wonderful humour onto product that will also amuse the consumer.
Do you have any special marketing initiatives or promotional activity planned for 2015?
Comic Relief have filmed a new Mr Bean sketch for Red Nose Day on March 13th, as well as other commercial tie-ins with the character. We are also in discussion with two of our biggest partners, Turner and Universal, to explore events for the summer and around Mr Bean’s birthday on September 15th.
What has the retail reaction been like to the brand?
Extremely good at many levels, from tourist retailers including Cool Britannia to main stream as with Primark.
What are some of the main challenges you've come up against? And how have you overcome them?
As with most brands, finding the right licensees who understand Mr Bean’s DNA and can extrapolate it onto cleverly designed merchandise.
What would you most like to achieve with the brand in 2015?
We would like Mr Bean to be known as the brand that delivers merchandise that makes the consumer smile.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Mr Bean has proven to be a classic, long-term brand for the whole family with worldwide appeal and a Facebook following of 65 million fans. It’s great fun to be associated with such a popular character.