Campaign: Mr Men and Little Miss add Birthdays to family

In 2004, entertainment group Chorion (owner of the film, TV and merchandising rights to Enid Blyton's Noddy and Famous Five characters) bought the rights to Mr Men and Little Miss for £28m.

Following the purchase, Chorion was keen to recoup its spend  by reviving awareness of the characters - especially as 2006 marked their 35th anniversary.

Campaign Mr Men 35th anniversary
Client Chorion Plc
PR team Taylor Herring Brand Communications
Timescale March-April 2006
Budget £7,000

Objectives
To generate fresh interest in the characters among adults and children. To communicate the heritage of the brand via 35th-anniversary activity. To build sales, especially for two new specially created characters - Mr Birthday and Little Miss Birthday.

Strategy and Plan
To launch the campaign, Taylor Herring Brand Communications (THBC) worked with a current licensee - The Animation Art Gallery - to organise an art exhibition timed to coincide with the release of books featuring the new characters. A press release was issued and two pre-launch exclusive features arranged with The Sunday Telegraph's Seven magazine and Press Association News.

THBC also created individual angles, including ‘celebrity Mr Men' comparisons in the Daily Star and the Daily Record. This was supported with activity in children's media. Here, an exclusive partnership was set up with Redan Publishing. THBC also worked with Five's Saturday morning Milkshake programme to offer a Mr Men birthday party competition.

Measurement and Evaluation
The two new characters featured on the front page of The Times as well as Seven magazine. BBC Breakfast coverage was followed up on BBC News 24, BBC World News and BBC News South East. An interview with PA News was picked up by more than 150 regional publications.

Radio interviews were conducted with LBC, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Three Counties Radio, BBC Radio Derby, BBC Radio Newcastle and Century FM.

Adam Hargreaves, son of the late Roger, was also requested as a guest on Channel 4 News, Five News, the BBC's 6 O'clock News and This Morning.

The campaign resulted in a spoof character story in Private Eye. Meanwhile, Robbie Williams was reported to be a Mr Bump afficionado.

Results
Chorion, now firmly established as the owner of the brand, is pursuing ‘numerous' enquiries from potential licensees. Elsewhere, the Animation Art Gallery received a record 6,000 visitors in the campaign period, while 100,000 copies of the books featuring the new characters have  been sold to date.

Emma Jones, BBC entertainment reporter, tells PRWeek: ‘The Mr Men have been relevant to everybody. If you're an adult, you'd have watched the TV series as a kid, and it still has an appeal for kids now. We were really pleased with what we were given -particularly the clips from the original 1970s series and having Adam Hargreaves available for interview. THBC couldn't have been more helpful.'

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