Indeed, the property is worth over $1 billion. It has been sold to over 190 countries worldwide and both the live and animated TV series are currently in distribution in more than 60 territories.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010, RDF Rights has picked up the licensing mantle for the UK and Ireland from Mr Bean’s owner Tiger Aspect and is ready to ramp up activity.
“There are very few brands which have global appeal to both children and adults,” says Angeles Blanco, head of international licensing at RDF Rights. “Mr Bean has such unique attributes that lend themselves to a whole range of innovative licensing products. For the young viewers, the cartoon quality appeals and generates a whole new fan base. For the original Mr Bean fans, it’s retro, nostalgic and still holds the magic to make you smile.”
There are currently nine licensees on board covering DVD, gaming, t-shirts, plush and costume characters. Blanco and her team are now looking for partners which can reflect the humour of the brand and are keen to form long-term relationships.
“We are looking for partners who can work with us to develop new product lines to tie in with the 20th anniversary and beyond,” she says. “Mr Bean lends itself to a range of innovative gift sets, accessories, promotions, dress up, stationery and more.”
The core target market for the animated series is seven to nine year-olds, with equal appeal for boys and girls. Meanwhile, the live action Mr Bean is seen as appealing to more of a family audience, with make gifting a particular target.
Some plans are already in place for the milestone anniversary next year. There will be a number of new/edited episodes, a HD upgrade of the live action series, plus a US special on the 20th birthday. Special edition DVDs will be rolled out to 45 territories, while a video game for Sony’s PlayStation 2, Nintendo’s DS and Wii systems, plus the PC will be selling in 14 territories.
“We will also have a 20th anniversary edition of the original Mr Bean’s Diary, plus a Mr Bean children’s book range with additional partners who will create product reflecting the brand essence, as well as celebrating 20 years,” Blanco continues.
With plans to speak to potential partners at Brand Licensing Europe, Blanco is confident that Mr Bean can expand even further as a brand.
“Mr Bean is one of the most recognisable brands in the world; it does standalone as a brand in its own right. The live action series continues to perform and has a huge fan base, both old and new. The animation has proven to be a hit, opening the appeal and awareness to a new target group of fans.
“The celebration of its 20th anniversary next year is further testament that this is an evergreen brand that will continue to grow organically. We see Mr Bean as a classic brand that continues to grow and grow with innovative product for all genres,” Blanco concludes.