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“The Gruffalo’s themes are timeless”

We chat to Magic Light’s Daryl Shute about the plans around the 20th anniversary.

March 23 marks 20 years since The Gruffalo was published. A special 20th anniversary logo with new artwork from Axel Scheffler and accompanying style guide, along with a series of anniversary events and souvenirs are in place for the anniversary.

The year kicks off with a very special product launch this month to commemorate 20 years of The Gruffalo, while The Forestry Commission is planning parties and picnics and a character tour among other activity. Luna Kids Cinema is rolling out its open-air cinema to more sites for summer with some Gruffalo mini festival days, supported with costume characters.

An increased presence at Chessington World of Adventures will include summer-long activities featuring a character parade, an anniversary ride photo opportunity and bespoke merchandise, plus the Gruffalo Arena entertainment.

Daryl Shute, brand director, Magic Light Pictures, comments: “There will be special retail activity at major stores including Sainsbury’s and the John Lewis Partnership, with the latter featuring a costume character tour at key locations. There will also be various high-profile live events across the year including film screenings with a live orchestra and Julia Donaldson stories and songs on stage.”

On the consumer products front, licensees are planning anniversary products including Star Editions at, Aurora, Merlin, Sainsbury’s and M&S.

Daryl puts the brand’s longevity down to ageless stories: “The Gruffalo’s themes of exploring the outdoors are timeless, and we have a number of experiential opportunities for children to engage with the brand first-hand.”

And continuing the careful management is key to The Gruffalo’s continued success and extending its international reach, building on the presence already growing in the US and Germany. Daryl concludes: “Because the brand has been wisely nurtured to see slow and careful growth, it has become a trusted character with strong associations of quality, meaning that successive generations are turning to it as an enchanting, entertaining yet safe choice for their children.”

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

You can also read our dedicated The Gruffalo supplement by clicking on this link.

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