Best Friends was the first spin off to be developed with artwork based on the successful novel of the same name. Interest was high, with ten licences signed in the first six weeks of launch.
Indeed, in the following 12 months more than 20 licensing partners across over 70 products were signed up. The second brand – Totally Tracy – was inspired by the best selling book and TV series The Story of Tracy Beaker and launched in October 2005. Licensing deals with the likes of Golden Bear, Zak, Portmerion, Wizard Toys and Shreds were quickly secured.
In March 2006, NPD reported that the Jacqueline Wilson brand was one of the fastest growing characters for boys and girls aged 0-14 in the previous 12 months.
Copyrights – and the lady herself – forged on with the launch of third brand, Starring Tracy Beaker, at Brand Licensing in October 2006. Jacqueline Wilson’s World, a new design treatment bringing together elements from many of her novels is now available, and will be introduced to licensees and retailers during 2008.
In total, the Jacqueline Wilson licensing programme currently has 27 partners across apparel, bags and accessories, gift, grocery, home furnishings, publishing, stationery, tableware, toys and games, DVD and media (including TV and theatre).
Successful ranges include Marks & Spencer’s collection of Starring Tracy Beaker products, Portico’s Best Friends and Totally Tracy offerings (which were selected by WH Smith for its Christmas 2007 special gift pack range), plus Portmerion’s ceramics collection (which won the Gift of the Year Award for Licensed Product at the Gift Association awards in June 2007 and the Best Licensed Houseware and Tableware line at the Licensing Awards in September.
“When you start to look for a new publishing property, success and profile are key factors and Jacqueline ticked all these boxes and more,” says Keith Pashley, Copyrights’ marketing manager. “Licensing agents are often called the caretakers of the brand, as they have a responsibility to maintain the integrity and values of the property. The identity of Jacqueline’s characters was already well established, as was the look of her books, so it was paramount that the first and subsequent brands measured up to fan’s expectations.
“Jacqueline and Nick’s [Sharratt, the illustrator] hands on approach to the licensing programme ensured that the final style guide and product designs were an instant hit with retailers and consumers. The annual refreshment of the brand has also been important in order to keep retailers and the customers interested.”
And for 2008 the growth is looking likely to continue. Products due include further initiatives with M&S using the Tracy Beaker brand, while Winning Moves has developed a board game to support its Top Trumps product and Copyrights is also hopeful of extending into more toys and games categories including some new media extensions.
“Jacqueline and Nick are both very committed to the publishing and merchandise programmes and the licensing programme will continue to reflect Jacqueline’s creative output as a writer and her continued success,” adds Pashley.