Rocket Licensing, the local licensing agent in the UK for Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has announced a major collaboration for summer 2019 between the classic children’s character and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) – the world’s leading gardening charity.
Inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s 50th anniversary, The Very Hungry Caterpillar-related events will be running through the charity’s four Gardens and four of its Flower Shows throughout the summer of 2019. The four RHS Gardens annually attract over two million visitors a year, more than 400,000 of them over the summer. The RHS Flower Shows at Cardiff, Chatsworth, Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park together attract over 260,000 visitors.
At the RHS Flower Shows a family trail will guide families around each Show, starting with a giant walk-through sculpture of The Very Hungry Caterpillar created in willow. Other activities are set to include storytelling sessions, have-a-go gardening projects and creative workshops. The RHS Schools competitions at each of the Shows will also take on a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme, with pupils asked to design and create ideas for sensory planters, wildlife habits and gardens inspired by insects.
The four RHS Gardens – Wisley (Surrey), Harlow Carr (North Yorkshire), Hyde Hall (Essex) and Rosemoor (Devon) – will all take part in the Giant Wiggle during May, to launch The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s 50th birthday celebrations ahead of a summer of family fun. Then, throughout the summer holidays, themed activities at the Gardens are expected to include discovery maps and trails, themed picnics, craft activities, face painting, butterfly counts, and costume character appearances. In addition, butterfly-friendly planting areas will demonstrate links between elements of the Very Hungry Caterpillar story and real garden wildlife.
At all the participating RHS Flower Shows and Gardens, table-top displays and hanging banners will point to a wide range of Very Hungry Caterpillar merchandise for sale in the visitor shops. These will include an exclusive bespoke range of Very Hungry Caterpillar products, including a children’s gardening range by Robert Frederick and a back pack by William Lamb, only available from the RHS Shops and online at www.rhsshop.co.uk. This collaboration will be supported by an extensive print and online marketing campaign.
This will be the biggest-ever brand collaboration for the RHS and one of the highlights of The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s fiftieth anniversary year, for which many exciting marketing, promotional and celebratory activities are planned.
The licensing campaign for The World of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is managed in the UK by independent licensing company Rocket Licensing through the worldwide agent, The Joester Loria Group. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is the centrepiece of the successful global licensing campaign around The World of Eric Carle brand, which brings together the much-loved, multi-million-selling works of author and artist Eric Carle.
In the UK, the world’s favourite caterpillar has already inspired lines of developmental toys, plush, games, bedding, apparel, puzzles, craft and activity sets, greeting cards, toiletries and much more. Competitions, readings, retailer partnerships, online and magazine promotions and support from women’s, kids’ and parenting print and online media have further extended awareness of the brand – as has The Very Hungry Caterpillar live show, which embarks on a new tour starting in May 2019, and the Giant Wiggle campaign, now in its fifth year.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar publisher Puffin is planning to publish no fewer than six new books in this anniversary year including a gold 50th anniversary edition, supported by a PR and marketing campaign that includes Very Hungry Birthday Parties across hundreds of bookshops, a major online campaign, lighting up London with butterfly projections, and placement of our favourite caterpillar across a range of print, online and broadcast media.
Charlie Donaldson, Joint Managing Director of Rocket Licensing, says: “This partnership with the world’s leading gardening charity is a marvellous opportunity for both brands to extend their audience in a positive and appealing way. It’s also a chance for kids and families to have loads of summer fun in beautiful surroundings with a children’s character loved and admired worldwide for fifty years.”