The Very Hungry Caterpillar is chomping itself through a summer-long campaign with the Royal Horticultural Society that has seen the star of the World of Eric Carle at the centre of four RHS flower shows this year, currently running in four RHS gardens for the rest of summer.
Inspired by the brand’s 50th anniversary, for which events and celebrations have been taking place all year, The Very Hungry Caterpillar-related events have included family sculpture trails, storytelling and creative workshops, themed picnics, craft activities, face painting, butterfly workshops.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar-themed competitions and events supporting the schools educational programme have also all been part of the summer fun, as well as fruit and vegetable garden areas, butterfly-friendly planting areas and appearances from The Very Hungry Caterpillar costume character.
At RHS gardens across June and July, family trail leaflets directed visitors to signage points around the garden and impactful metre-high 3D trail fruit sculptures. A large The Very Hungry Caterpillar willow sculpture was also a stand-out feature at the shows.
Featured on the BBC’s RHS Flower show Tatton Park programme, The Very Hungry Caterpillar activity at the Cheshire show also included a caterpillar-themed show garden with caterpillar-shaped bushes, butterfly-friendly flowers, a butterfly feeding station and bug hotels.
Alongside the garden was a The Very Hungry Caterpillar activity marquee, surrounded by peep-through standees and containing a central, themed sensory tree trunk.
At all four shows visitors could enjoy the show shops which featured displays of The Very Hungry Caterpillar merchandise, including books from Penguin and toys from Rainbow Designs as well as co-branded gardening-related product from Robert Frederick and co-branded backpacks and lunch bags from William Lamb.
The four visitor gardens – RHS Wisley (Surrey), RHS Harlow Carr (Yorkshire), RHS Hyde Hall (Essex) and RHS Rosemoor (Devon) are featuring family trails, along with caterpillar-themed craft exhibitions and workshops.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar costume character has been making appearances at several gardens, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar picnics have been encouraging children to dress up and take part in activities such as bug-hunting, face-painting and juice-tasting with licensee Cawston Press.
In addition to the gardens themselves, visitors can again find The Very Hungry Caterpillar in the RHS shops, where dedicated retail spaces are displaying a range of licensed product.
With BLE on the horizon, this, the biggest-ever brand collaboration for the RHS and one of the highlights of The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s fiftieth anniversary year, underlines the strength of the property in the UK market.
The collaboration has been supported by extensive print, online and social media marketing from the RHS, with promotional and celebratory activities under way or planned for the character’s birthday year. A busy programme of competitions, readings, retail events, new licences, online and magazine promotions and media support continue to extend public awareness of the brand throughout 2019.
The licensing campaign for The World of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is managed in the UK by independent licensing company Rocket Licensing through the worldwide agent, The Joester Loria Group.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the centrepiece of the successful global licensing campaign around The World of Eric Carle brand, which brings together the much-loved, multi-million-selling works of author and artist Eric Carle.
Melissa Satterly, brand manager at Rocket Licensing, said: “It has been wonderful to see how these amazing activities have engaged and excited families and children across the UK this summer, highlighting one of the most successful children’s properties in the world as he celebrates his 50th birthday.
“With the values of nature and playful learning at its core, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is uniquely suited to a collaboration with the RHS and we’re thrilled that this partnership with the world’s leading gardening charity has been such a big success.”