The author Michael Bond published the first Paddington book, A Bear Called Paddington, on 13th October 1958. Since then, for over 60 years, the Paddington adventures have delighted children and families all over the world.
Part of this success is due to the values inherent to Paddington such as kindness, politeness and positivity which have been communicated through every type of content released by the brand. This has been instrumental in retaining the original fan base from the 60’s and growing it with younger generations. No easy thing to do.
The Paddington brand’s longevity is also thanks to the fact that it is both traditional and modern. Starting with publishing, the brand’s intellectual property (IP) has since developed into all areas of the entertainment and media landscape, including TV, film, gaming, theme parks, exhibitions, live shows, etc. ensuring continuity and relevancy over the years. Leveraging the publishing heritage to explore modern types of content has allowed the brand to appeal to a wider audience, whilst at the same time preserving its original values, so that it still generates a certain nostalgia with those who have followed the bear’s adventures for many years.
The cross-generational appeal of Paddington is one of its strongest assets and an aspect the brand’s marketing team has capitalised on to anchor the franchise with today’s younger generation. Indeed, the character appeals to today’s pre-schoolers and children, together with their parents and grandparents who grew up with Paddington. Whilst parents and grand-parents may have watched the 70’s FilmFair Paddington TV series or the late 80’s cartoon series, a whole new generation of fans has discovered Paddington thanks to the two movies released in 2014 and 2017. And today’s children have the opportunity to watch the new preschool TV show The Adventures of Paddington! By continually looking to develop the brand for the whole family unit, the Paddington franchise has achieved relevancy over the years.
Bringing the brand into the modern world has also meant incorporating technology and innovation.
The use of dedicated social media platforms has particularly been beneficial for Paddington, keeping the whole community updated worldwide in a couple of different ways. On one hand, Facebook and Instagram are used in the 3rd person and are helpful to communicate updates and new content as it becomes available. On the other hand, Twitter is used in the first person and Paddington addresses his followers directly, this allows for genuine and personalised interactions, creating fun memorable moments. Those three platforms have seen tremendous growth recently and have helped fans focus on the positive, encouraging them to see the good in everyone, during times that are not always easy. Building on this, a YouTube Channel has been created recently to grow Paddington’s digital footprint and engage with different communities of fans.
he success of Paddington lies also in the fact that 35 million plush products have been sold around the world, further taking the bear into homes. Care has been taken to handpick the partners for such consumers products, ensuring the continuity of Paddington’s values. All the partnerships are very authentic, so the resulting products naturally make a lot of sense for consumers, which guarantees their continued support.
Paddington’s kindness and generosity are so prevalent within the brand that it only seemed natural to be heavily involved with charities and use Paddington’s voice to support children in need around the world. For this reason, Paddington became in 2017, champion for children’s rights for UNICEF to support a variety of projects that have become more and more successful and helped raise thousands of pounds each year. One fantastic example showcasing the strength of this partnership with UNICEF is Paddington’s Postcards. This is a subscription service that includes a monthly donation of £8 to UNICEF and in return, families get letters from Paddington in the mail that tell them about how children live around the world.
Putting the values of kindness and generosity, at the heart of every project and keeping the authenticity has really helped build the Paddington IP and make it one of the most loved brands.
Sophie Kopaczynski, Chief Executive Officer, The Copyrights Group, worked at media giants Groupe CANAL+, STUDIOCANAL and Vivendi before becoming CEO of The Copyrights Group, the international brand licensing agency. So, it’s fair to say she knows a thing or two about international brands and how to build their global appeal. During her career Sophie has worked with high profile brands including the iconic Paddington, The Country Diary and Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas.
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