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How a 75 year old brand met the ‘now normal’

Virtual Moomin brand immersion event is a hit with licensees as new deals and plans unveiled by The Point.1888.

Brand licensing relies heavily on relationships – the building of which has proven challenging over the last few months without the ability to meet face-to-face or attend the industry’s biggest shows and exhibitions. But with The Point.1888 continuing to win new brands and expected to deliver hugely successful licensing programmes, it has had to find ways to overcome the barriers the pandemic has enforced. And which better brand to do this with than a children’s character brand that is celebrating 75 years of fame this year – Moomin.

The Point.1888 recognises that there can be no room for error when it comes to  communicating a brand’s values and objectives to potential partners and negotiating with licensees and retailers, which is why its brand immersion events have always been a crucial and popular element of every programme.  Usually held at a swanky venue with an equally swanky guest list made up of the cream of the crop in the licensing and retail industries, this brand immersion event had to have the same calibre and entice the same experts – pandemic or not.

Held on September 9 2020, with speakers presenting from Brentwood, Helsinki, Stockholm and London, the event successfully encapsulated what the Moomin brand stands for, where it is going and how missing the opportunity to get involved would be a big mistake.

From left: Bethan Garton, Sarah Crimes, Gabbi Langdorf, Hannah Stevens and Will Stewart from The Point.1888.
From left: Bethan Garton, Sarah Crimes, Gabbi Langdorf, Hannah Stevens and Will Stewart from The Point.1888.

The licensing programme is one of many important activities marking the brand’s 75th anniversary this year, with Moomin also seeking to raise 1 million EUR to save the Baltic Sea with its charity campaign #OURSEA in collaboration with the John Nurminen Foundation. In the UK specifically, Moomin is enjoying the success of its TV show on Sky Family which launched its second series in January. Working with The Point.1888, Rights & Brands and Moomin hope to capitalise on the increased popularity and awareness the show is delivering.

The record-breaking 82 attendees of the event (which included LicensingSource.net) heard from Moomin Character’s ceo Roleff Krakstom and art director Sophie Jansson (niece of Tove Jansson), who explained the brand’s history and values, its mission to spark new enthusiasm for reading and writing in the Moomin community and beyond, and its licensing goals. The pair also unveiled the brand’s newest patterns and artwork assets.

Patrick Ullman, ceo of Moomin master agent Rights & Brands then outlined its strategy for the brand, sharing details of the licensing success enjoyed to date with some of its most exciting and innovative partnerships.

Moomin first ventured into brand licensing in the 1950s with a range of hand-painted mugs by Tove and her mother and now has an established global licensing programme with over 800 licensees worldwide. These include theme parks, branded cafés, as well as homeware, publishing and apparel.

The 82 attendees heard from Rights & Brands, Moomin Characters and Riot Communications, as well as The Point.1888.
The 82 attendees heard from Rights & Brands, Moomin Characters and Riot Communications, as well as The Point.1888.

Patrick’s colleague, Hanna Pajunen-Walsh, international publishing director at Rights & Brands, illustrated to the event’s attendees how effective publishing has been (and will continue to be) for the Moomin brand, unveiling details of soon to be launched books for the baby market, as well as new adventures and stories for children and adults of all ages.

Next up, it was turn of The Point.1888 – which had organised the event – to share its involvement in what is clearly a major part of the brand’s development. The agency’s programme to both nurture existing licensees while also welcoming new ones in new areas shows a clever plan is in action and the results are already coming in. Attendees were treated to the grand unveiling of the brand’s eight new licensee partners Denicci (for babywear), GWCC (for gifts), Petit Jour (for home), Star Editions (for collectable coins), Artisiania Miniatures (for figurines), I am FY (for retail partnerships), ‘Our Sea’ Louis Kennedy (for insulated water bottles) and Half Moon Bay (for garden and ceramics).

“So much has already been achieved as part of the programme and we wanted attendees to see what they had the opportunity to become a part of,” commented Gabbi Langdorf, senior commercial manager at The Point.1888. “We’re thrilled with the partnerships we’ve created but there is so much more ground that this brand can cover.”

Hannah Stevens, the agency’s head of retail, then explained to the audience why the agency is seeing its spectacular growth: using a retail-first model where new products are created based on the gaps the team sees at retail; rather than what it thinks the brand’s target demographic might like. This supports a higher chance of retailer buy-in and a better sales performance, and was apparently one of the reasons why Moomin and Rights & Brands chose The Point.1888. Hannah also set out the details of the retail strategy being put into action for Moomin.

Some of the treats included in the event's goodie bag.
Some of the treats included in the event's goodie bag.

Riot Communications closed the event by sharing the media collaborations and celebrity partnerships in the pipeline that should raise the profile of Moomin and in turn those of any retailers or licensees who get on board with the programme.

“Being online, this event could have fallen flat on its face. Surely you can’t engage people in the same way that you can in person? You can and that’s thanks to the collaboration and support of our partners on this programme,” Will Stewart, md of The Point.1888 explained. “I’ve been saying since the start of this pandemic that collaboration would be key this year and what we have with this extended Moomin family is a bunch of people who deeply love this brand and will do all they can to ensure it’s a success. From the feedback we’ve received so far on the event, we’ve now made that family a whole lot bigger.”

Having realised success with the new format – and with the pandemic not quite ready to disappear – The Point.1888 has further online immersion events planned for later this year and beyond.

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