Mercis, the company that manages the commercial activities for late author-illustrator Dick Bruna, recently named the Joester Loria Group as the brand licensing agency for Bruna’s Miffy character in North America. JLG is already ramping up a full licensing program to coincide with the property’s 65th anniversary celebrations in 2020.
The focus of the program will be products for both infants/toddlers and adults, which will be sold by specialty stores and other high-end retailers. While much of the recent licensing activity in North America has been tied to the 3D-animated TV show, which continues to air on Nickelodeon, the emphasis now will be on the classic book art and the ten style guides Mercis has developed for on-trend lifestyle products. Collaborations with fashion-forward designers and experiential initiatives such as touring museum shows, which have been important internationally, are also part of the plan.
“Miffy is a sophisticated, art-based property,” says Debra Joester. “The black-and-white artwork, a centerpiece of the global collection of products, is beautifully on-trend, while the entire portfolio of 2D art provides exceptional creative assets for lifestyle categories.” JLG will focus new brand extensions on the classic 2D art, plush, soft goods for infants and adults, and products for the home. The 65th anniversary in 2020 will provide the ideal platform to elevate Miffy in North America with new products and global collaborations.
Bruna wrote 124 original picture books that have sold 85 million copies worldwide, with 32 of those featuring Miffy. Simon & Schuster is the current U.S. publisher and will release Sweet Dreams, Miffy—its first book in the style of Bruna’s classic publishing rather than the TV tie-in look—this spring. The Miffy brand, which drives approximately $300 million globally in retail sales of books and merchandise annually, is particularly popular in Europe and Asia.