The Very Hungry Caterpillar munches his way to 50

Increased marketing activity and product launches planned for milestone anniversary.

Major plans are afoot to mark the 50th anniversary of children’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar next year.

Rocket Licensing – the UK licensing agent for the Eric Carle brand – is further building the licensing campaign and retail presence for one of the world’s best-known children’s characters.

2018 will see a large number of new The Very Hungry Caterpillar products. Young cooks and gardeners will enjoy a brand-new melamine range with cutlery and a children’s baking kit from Portmeirion, plus an extensive gardening range from Robert Frederick, as well as a stationery range and art supplies from the same licensee.

Fans can also look forward to a new board game – Let’s Feed The Very Hungry Caterpillar – from Paul Lamond Games and a range of creative activity publishing from Alligator, including a play pack and dot-to-dot books.

Woodmansterne will be bringing new ranges of seasonal and everyday greetings cards, as well as a The Very Hungry Caterpillar advent calendar, to retail this year.

Babywear licensee Paul Dennicci is launching new and growing ranges for spring/summer and autumn/winter this year, while Roy Lowe & Sons is planning a range of socks. Not surprisingly, the world’s biggest online retailer is responding positively to this activity: a new The Very Hungry Caterpillar Amazon store is set to launch in spring 2018.

World Book Day 2018 will also be an important one and Rocket is maximising The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s potential for the event with a range of dress-up outfits by Amscan launched into leading grocery channels and independents ahead of World Book Day, supported by a social media campaign.

Competitions, retailer partnerships, online and magazine promotions and support from print and online media have further extended awareness of the brand, as has The Very Hungry Caterpillar live show, which continues to attract audiences throughout the UK.

The brand also has a powerful charity presence through The Giant Wiggle, an event hosted by Action for Children. Over the last four years, more than 4,100 Giant Wiggle events have taken place across the UK, with a 166,245 children taking part in numerous activities, including, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar-style wiggles. The 2018 giant wiggle in May is gearing up to be the biggest year to date, with even more ambitious plans already in place for the anniversary year in 2019.

Finally, Rocket has started discussions with promotional partners, retail partners and licensees in the lead-up to the 2019 anniversary celebrations of 50 very hungry years. Areas of new opportunity include healthy snacks, infant care and feeding, garden and plants, outdoor toys, accessories and magazine publishing.

After nearly 50 years in print, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is today the most-read children’s book in the UK.

Charlie Donaldson, joint md of Rocket Licensing, said: “These 2018 launches underline the still enormous popularity of The Very Hungry Caterpillar with young children and their parents many years after the first edition of this magical book was launched.

“Not only will these delightful and diverse ranges appeal strongly to fans of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but this activity kicks off a very busy year for this amazing brand as its 50th anniversary gets ever closer.”

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