Where's Wally?

Classic publishing character Where's Wally? is 25 in 2012 and there are major plans to move the brand further into the licensing arena. We find out more.
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First published back in 1987, Where’s Wally? – or Where’s Waldo? as it’s known in the US – has notched up sales of over 50 million books worldwide. The series is published in more than 38 countries and has been translated into over 30 languages.

Classic Media purchased the brand in 2007 and, in terms of licensing, it’s only really with the imminent arrival of the 25th anniversary that Where’s Wally? is really beginning to stand up and be counted outside of its traditional publishing stronghold.

There are 29 licensees on board in the UK, with consumer products also launching in other key territories such as the US, Australia and France. In Japan, Where’s Wally’s? CP programme launched in the autumn, with 23 licensees and 500 skus. Key global categories include puzzles, calendars, stationery, greetings cards, nightwear, underwear, apparel, costume and dress-up.

On top of this, more than 4.6 million iPhone and iPad apps have been sold to date and Wally has over 3.75 million ‘likes’ on Facebook, while the brand has also translated well into venue-based events – such as those held at the Sydney Aquarium and Legoland Windsor – plus quick service restaurants/fast food chain promotions.

“We’re at the tip of the iceberg and just really beginning the journey with Where’s Wally?,” explains Nicole Blake, EVP, global marketing and consumer products, Classic Media. “There is tremendous opportunity to expand in the territories where we’ve already had successful launches and, of course, there are many more territories we plan to roll out. With Where’s Wally? becoming vernacular for when someone is searching for something, we look forward to seeing growing with promotional partners who look to add an unexpected element to their campaigns, such as Tropicana and Lipton have in the past.”

Notable developments this year include the launch of a new style guide in the spring, as well as work on developing fashion apparel and accessories specifically for trend retailers. A new website has also been launched in the US, with localised versions for the UK, Australia and France due to launch shortly. The march across other territories has also been aided with the appointment of some big name agents – CPLG, Marathon Media and Stella Projects – which will help to build the brand across Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Blake says that next year’s 25th anniversary will be the “biggest global celebration ever”. There will be a presence across multiple platforms, including limited edition products, an all-new annual from Penguin, books from Walker, special events, plus a number of Guinness World Record challenges and bigger promotional partner announcements.

And, to keep the momentum going, the Where’s Wally? feature film was recently revealed.

By the end of 2011, Blake is keen to have achieved a successful holiday season in the UK, a strong product launch in Japan and plans in place with high profile partners for the anniversary in 2012.

But how about longer term?

“For Where’s Wally? to be top of mind on every continent and known for search and find play patterns, a fun experience and high quality, well designed products,” she says. “We want people of all ages to continue the search, whether it’s in books, puzzles, online, in-store or at events. We hope that any time someone is looking for something it becomes a Where’s Wally? moment.”


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