“At the heart of Elmer is an incredible message”

We chat to Andersen Press’ Paul Black about the brand’s 30th anniversary plans.

Andersen Press is planning a whole year of celebrations for Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. The brand will turn 30 officially on May 25 and plans include the first ever retrospective of David McKee’s illustration at Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books; Elmer family sculpture trails in partnership with Wild in Art across the country, partnerships with anti-bullying charity Kidscape on ‘Friendship Friday’ and Empathy Lab on Empathy Day.

The publisher is also making its annual Elmer Day celebration on May 25 the biggest ever – working with over 2000 retailers, libraries and schools on running Elmer-themed events.

The licensing plans for the anniversary are also wide ranging with new anniversary baby clothing ranges in Tu at Sainsbury’s and Jojo Maman Bebe, new products from Moonlite, brand new publishing, plus new retail ranges and more partnerships to be revealed as we go through the year.

So why has the patchwork elephant prospered for three decades? Paul Black, PR and brand director at Andersen Press, explains: “At the heart of Elmer is an incredible message, that we should love and embrace our own true colours, and accept and celebrate everyone else’s – it’s a message of acceptance and friendship, which sadly, 30 years on is still needed.”

Paul also credits Elmer’s creator, David McKee, as key to the brand’s success. David has written and illustrated 27 Elmer books since 1989, including this year’s, Elmer’s Birthday, which provides the publisher with new messages and creative to bring to the fore.

2019 will see the beginning of the biggest investment ever in Elmer. Plans are in place, not only for the 30th celebrations, but also to support retailers and partnerships, which will continue far beyond this year.

This feature originally appeared in the spring 2019 edition of Licensing Source Book. Click here to read the full publication.

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