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Face to face with.. Help for Heroes

We chat to head of brand partnerships Marcus O’Shea about the charity’s licensing drive.

There can be no doubt that Help for Heroes has become one of the best-known charity brands, and this is a position that also makes it a popular licensing partner.

The team initially dipped its toe into the waters with an appearance at Brand Licensing Europe in 2015 and, over a year on, it has refined its licensing strategy and has some very canny deals under its belt.

The programme is focused on five key pillars – gardening, baking, sports, DIY & trade work and the shopping basket – split between two licensing agencies and the in-house team at Help for Heroes. JELC is on board to developing the gardening and outdoor living sectors, while The Partnership will be supporting the charity’s push into countryside pursuits such as riding, shooting, camping, fishing, walking, archery and publishing. It will also be looking after the baking sector.


Marcus O’Shea, head of brand partnerships at Help for Heroes, explains that there has been a focus back into categories that reflect who the charity looks after and how they look after them.

For example, the charity has a horticultural programme to help veterans develop skills and coping mechanisms for supporting their recovery, while ‘Bake for Heroes’ has become a popular way of raising funds by its supporters. Sport, again, is heartland brand territory, while a percentage of people who leave the armed forces go into a skilled trade, making DIY another obvious area of focus. Indeed, the charity’s partnership with Dewalt Power Tools has enjoyed strong success, resulting in its expansion going forward.

The fifth pillar – the shopping basket – has also seen some high profile, successful partnerships. The charity worked with Kinnerton on an Easter egg (which saw a considerable sum raised), while Ginsters created a special limited edition pasty (with the help of two veterans). More recently, it secured a partnership with Hildon Natural Mineral Water, with a range of still and sparkling bottled water labeled with the charity logo.

A special Help for Heroes fragrance, created by a team of five veterans and fragrance house Corincraft, was another stand out success – Help for Heroes XTREME was stocked by Debenhams, as well as The Perfume Shop, online at Help for Heroes Trading and in the Sandringham Estate Shop.


British clothing brand Jack Wills has also produced a range based on the DPM camouflage print, including a jacket, rucksack and tote bag, featuring subtle branding and expanding Help for Heroes into another different category and type of audience.

Meanwhile, Help for Heroes’ relationship with Tesco – which extends from staff fundraising to ranges of co-branded products – has to date raised over £1.6 million for the charity. The supermarket has stocked H4H-branded Eggs for Soldiers, Branston Bigger Baked Beans and Alf Turner Sausage and Bacon, as well as Tesco own-label Help for Heroes Bacon and Sausages.

Tesco also supplies 17 products in the Help for Heroes Personalise Me range through Tesco Direct, including customisable mobile phone covers, note pads, mugs, water bottles and even special Christmas decorations.

These are by no means all of the deals – and there is more to come, although Marcus was keeping his powder dry at the time of our chat with him.

“You start with a rock solid brand and everything else works if you’ve got that,” he says. “I think Help for Heroes is very fortunate in the level of awareness that we have, while licensing also helps to keep us front and centre of mind.”

This feature originally appeared in the spring 2017 edition of Licensing Source Book. Click here to read the full publication.

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