International media group and rights owner Coolabi has today announced worldwide licensing partnerships with leading soft toy manufacturers Rainbow Designs and MerryMakers, and the UK’s fastest growing preschool toy brand tonies® for heritage brand Giraffes Can’t Dance.
Licensed by Coolabi Licensing Ltd, the number one bestseller Giraffes Can't Dance from author Giles Andreae and illustrator Guy Parker-Rees was first published in 1999. The funny, touching and triumphant picture book about a giraffe who finds his own tune and confidence has been delighting children for over 20 years. Published by Orchard Books, part of the Hachette Children’s Group, the classic picture book has been translated into 36 languages, selling over 10 million copies worldwide.
Allison Watkins, Director of Consumer Products and TV Distribution, Coolabi Group comments: “Giraffes Can’t Dance is such an iconic book and holds such a special place in the hearts of families around the world. I am delighted to be working with such wonderful partners to bring Gerald into homes across a range of products.”
Rainbow Designs will launch its exclusive Giraffes Can’t Dance plush collection into the UK market in A/W 2023, distributing to the rest of the world outside the US/Canada through the year. The newest addition to the Rainbow Designs’ Bedtime Cuddles and Stories programme joins its family of heart-felt children’s storybook characters.
For over 50 years, Rainbow Designs has been creating high quality, made-to-last toys, inspired by the beloved characters from children’s literature, for babies and children of all ages, promoting bedtime cuddles and stories, and providing fun, comfort and sensory learning.
Anthony Temple, Managing Director, Rainbow Designs, comments: “Giraffes Can’t Dance is an exciting and natural new addition to our Bedtime Cuddles and Stories programme. At Rainbow, bringing the story to life, and giving the child a tangible, soft and cuddly version of their much-loved storybook friend, is what we do best. Storytime, whether it is part of a day time or bedtime routine, provides a special, parent, or grandparent, and child moment, supporting the love of stories, creating valuable bonding time and encouraging that all important cuddle.”
MerryMakers has launched its Giraffes Can’t Dance plush range across the US and Canada. These forever-toys are available both online and in-store now with leading retailers Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and across independent retailers and bookstores.
Clair Frederick, MerryMakers comments: “MerryMakers has been keen on offering a Gerald soft toy for many years, and is absolutely thrilled to finally team with Coolabi on the consumer products program.”
tonies® has launched its Giraffes Can’t Dance Tonie both online and in-store globally. Children are invited to dance along with Gerald as he two-steps and tangos his way to becoming the jungle’s best dancer as this bestselling classic is brought to life.
Since its launch in 2016, the preschool toy brand has sold more than 4.1m Tonieboxes and 51 million Tonies globally. The intuitive design of the musical storybox and combination of collectible figurines, known as Tonies, together with the audio speaker, known as a Toniebox, makes tonies® a unique interactive audio system. Aimed at ages 3+, the portable storytime companion gives children easy and instant access to hundreds of adventures at their fingertips, introducing them to the magical world of narrative and storytelling.
Liz Peters, Head of Portfolio, tonies® comments: “We are delighted to bring the heartfelt Giraffes Can't Dance story to life. Narrated by the wonderful Hugh Laurie, this touching tale teaches children the importance of embracing your uniqueness and not being afraid to stand out from the crowd...a valuable lesson for young and old alike! I am very sure the Giraffes Can't Dance Tonie will quickly become a firm favourite with our little listeners!”
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About Coolabi Group
As a global leader in the creation of children’s fiction and an award-winning creator of children’s and family TV and apps, story is at the heart of everything we do at Coolabi Group which, since July 2022, has been owned by Talenthouse AG. Within the group we have the skills and the experience in-house to tell our stories, whatever the medium. Warriors, Beast Quest and Rainbow Magic are but three of the c.200 book series and c.2,000 titles we have created and licensed to publishers. Lifetime global sales exceed 200 million copies. Clangers, Scream Street and Poppy Cat are just part of an award-winning roster of hit animated and live action TV shows developed and produced in house, and enjoyed the world over. And Warriors, Beast Quest and Clangers represent part of a digital slate that has been downloaded over 20 million times as apps, is being played by over 2 million unique users a month on Roblox and is being viewed on YouTube over half a billion times a year. Everything we create has global appeal: our books are licensed in over 40 languages, our apps and our award-winning TV shows are licensed in over 140 countries. And we are constantly co-developing and co-producing with networks and producers, for both live-action and animation, from across our extensive catalogue of stories. These are all just part of our deep and constantly expanding well of Intellectual Property: with some 70 new titles being created and published each year there are always new stories to engage with.
About Rainbow Designs
Rainbow Designs is one of the country's leading character soft toy and nursery companies, and the name behind a prestigious portfolio of much-loved classic character collections, featuring joyful and inspiring, forever soft and wooden toys. These high quality ranges include: Paddington Bear and the new The Adventures of Paddington, Peter Rabbit, Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Guess How Much I Love You, Elmer, Spot the Dog, Snoopy, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Maisy, Bagpuss and The Snowman and The Snowdog ranges.
About MERRYMAKERS INC
MERRYMAKERS, INC., established in 1994, designs, manufactures, and distributes a literacy-focused gift and toy line based on bestselling and classic children’s books, museum collections, and historical figures. Carefully constructed from high-quality materials, the line is made last and to inspire years of imaginative play, MerryMakers line can be found at specialty and mass accounts in the US and Canada.
For more information, see www.merrymakersinc.com.
Since their launch, they have developed over 600 different Tonies and sold more than 4.1m Tonieboxes and 51 million Tonies globally. The latest NPD data for July 2022 has revealed tonies® to be the fastest growing preschool toy brand in the UK for 12M June 2022*, and their iconic Toniebox ranks as the fastest growing toy in the overall UK market*.
On Black Friday in Germany last year, they were the third most searched for brand. To date, every second household in Germany owns a Toniebox.** On Black Friday last year, tonies® was the third most searched for brand in its home country Germany, and sold out within hours in the UK.
tonies® has attracted a worldwide fanbase, with celebrity fans in the UK including Millie Mackintosh, Giovanna Fletcher, Martine McCutcheon, Cath Tyldesley and Helen George, to name just a few. Loved by the whole family, it’s easy to see why the Toniebox has developed a cult following since its launch. The intuitive design of the musical storybox and combination of collectible figurines, known as Tonies, together with the audio speaker, known as a Toniebox, makes tonies® a unique interactive audio system.
Aimed at ages 3+, the softly padded Toniebox is available in six eye-catching colours. Designed to replace bright and over-stimulating screens, the award-winning audio system is transforming the way in which young children independently play and learn, with its child-safe, wireless and screen-free approach.
This portable and water resistant storytime companion is perfect for even the smallest of hands and the wildest of imaginations, giving children easy and instant access to hundreds of adventures at their fingertips. They’ll enjoy the freedom to embrace a world of exciting adventure with this introduction to the magical world of narrative and storytelling, one that will instil a passion for reading that will last a lifetime.
Through use of the latest technology, tonies® has perfected the user experience for parents and their little ones. With tactile controls that will make you smile – simply squeeze the ears to change the volume, tap the sides to switch chapters and tilt to fast-forward or rewind – the Toniebox presents an immersive experience, that’s both fun and educational.
With a battery life of 7 hours once charged, the Toniebox is soft enough to cuddle up to and robust enough to play with, which makes them great for children of all ages.
There are over 100 Tonies and 25 Creative-Tonies available to purchase at many of the UK’s major retailers and via www.tonies.com. The Tonie-family includes well-known and much-loved faces, such as The Gruffalo, Stick Man, The Snowman, Little Red Riding Hood, Peter Pan, and a growing collection of Disney Tonies.
*Source, NPD POS Retail Tracking Data data, 12ME June 2022 vs 21.
** Source, Appino Brand Tracking 2nd Quarter 2022 D/A/CH