'We knew the creative had to sing virtually' - Behind the Campaign with Mr. Men Little Miss

Poppy Lewis, creative director at Aduro Communications, takes us behind the scenes of the agency's Mr. Men Little Miss 50th Anniversary campaign.

What was the campaign in a nutshell?

For the 50th Anniversary of Mr. Men Little Miss, we threw a birthday party worthy of Little Miss Sunshine. That meant getting the whole country excited about the stories they remember, and driving the public online to vote for two of our five new characters.

Our content focused around the brand’s history with illustrator - and son of the original creator - Adam Hargreaves, discovering the new characters, finding superfans, and more.

How did the idea come into being?

Because the 50th Anniversary was landing during the pandemic, we knew the creative had to sing virtually, while still capturing hearts. In some ways it worked in our favour because we were able to involve many more people than we might’ve done ordinarily with more physical, experiential executions.

And so to celebrate such a milestone, the creative was based on all the elements of a great birthday:

● Cake: a bespoke collaboration with London-based Biscuiteers, delivered to press, influencers and other celebrities sharing a 50th birthday with Mr. Men Little Miss, eg: Gary Barlow and David Tennant

● A party: in-line with restrictions, Mr. Men Little Miss’ virtual party invited influencers to learn how to draw the new characters from home, over a celebratory glass of Champagne

● Presents: to give something back to consumers, a national media partnership offered thousands of Mr. Men Little Miss books as part of a giveaway; one free per reader.

What ideas were rejected?

With such a rich brand as Mr. Men Little Miss, it’s easy to just let your imagination run away with you. But because we were having to do everything virtually, that forced us to think single-mindedly. Every time we came up with an idea we asked ourselves two questions: would there be a big compromise to execute it virtually? And, is it excluding any fans from getting involved? If we could answer ‘yes’ to either of those then the idea got a red line through it.

Briefly describe the campaign planning and process

We drew insight from our work on Mr. Men Little Miss’ 45th Anniversary in 2016: the award-winning Mini Museum live event showcasing 45 years’ worth of memorabilia, displayed at child height.

The need for international roll-out, and varying COVID restrictions, meant we needed to develop a central campaign creative, as well as a global toolkit for ease of activation in all other markets.

We worked with partners to execute plans in France, and shared our 54-page toolkit with all other territories via video briefing calls. Phasing was crucial, and so triggering creative, press coverage and social amplification at the right times made sure the work hit as hard as possible.

What were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

The pandemic obviously provided its own unique set of hurdles, but as with any major international brand and global campaign roll-out, we needed to make sure everything was cohesive, timed perfectly and easy to implement. This meant a lot of planning, a lot of video calls, and ultimately a very comprehensive toolkit featuring agreed assets, templates and guidelines.

How did you measure the results and what were they?

Our key objective in announcing the launch of five new characters was to drive consumers to the Mr Men Little Miss website to vote for their favourite. Against a target of 20,000 votes, we achieved more than 67,000, with clear spikes driven from our waves of coverage in the UK and France.

Reach was also a key metric for the campaign, as the brief was to let as many fans as possible know it was the brand’s 50th birthday. Coverage reached 300m consumers in the UK alone, with 177 hits secured in total, including Good Morning Britain, Sky News, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Mail Online, as well as 66 radio interviews with the likes of the BBC.

Meanwhile in France, we secured a reach of 1.4m from 62 media hits, including national titles such as Elle, AFP, France24 and BFMTV.

What's the biggest lesson you took away from the campaign?

Sometimes people just need a lift. And after the year we’ve had, channelling all those lovely nostalgic, positive vibes of childhood reading and imagination couldn’t have been better timed.

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