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Tessa Moore, Head of Marketing at Tom Gates Entertainment, discusses the brand’s journey from publishing to consumer products
Since the first Tom Gates book landed in 2011, the brand has gone from strength to strength, with 18 more titles published, a TV show on Sky Kids and licensing deals spanning apparel, stationery and greetings cards.
We spoke with Tessa Moore, Head of Marketing at Tom Gates Entertainment, about the brand’s journey from publishing to consumer products – and why The Point.1888 has been a great for propelling the IP forward.
Hi Tessa, great to connect. For anyone new to The Brilliant World of Tom Gates, how would you describe the brand?
The core of the Tom Gates brand is the hugely successful, multi-million-copy selling series of 19 books by Liz Pichon which is now also a major mixed-media tv series featuring the life and brilliant world of schoolboy Tom. The first book was published in 2011 and the latest one – Random Acts of Fun – in October this year.
The brand is warm and funny, with rich storytelling full of family, friends and treats. Its bursting with creativity and music. Kids around the world strongly relate to Tom Gates and as a result, the series has been translated into 45 languages – and counting!
At what point did the penny drop that there was brand potential beyond the book series here?
I think that there was always a feeling that the Tom Gates brand could extend beyond books, but Tom Gates Entertainment really got involved about five years ago when the TGE co-founder took her kids to a Liz Pichon event and was simply blown away by her creativity and the kids’ reaction to it.
There are plenty of successful kids’ books that don’t successfully make the leap to licensing. Why do you think Tom Gates has?
It is the special combination of character, illustration and inclusiveness which means the brand translates well into so many areas beyond books. We just couldn’t believe that a TV show had not been made before!
You mentioned the author, Liz Pichon. How involved does she get in the brand extension side of things?
Liz Pichon is core to the brand and its development. She is brimming with ideas, and her creative approach always adds that bit extra to an idea or a product. She is involved throughout the ideation and production process and is a joy to work with at every level.
We should also mention that The Point.1888 is the licensing agent for the brand. What made those guys a great fit for Tom Gates?
We were – and remain – excited by The Point.1888’s approach to the brand and how well they understood the Tom Gates DNA from the get-go. Whilst Tom Gates is an established publishing property, there was a limited footprint in other areas but the expertise within the team and ability to move fast was also important to us.
This was clearly displayed by their swift signing of premium licensees in key categories, and delivery of a major national promotion with Sainsbury’s, all of which were executed within a year.
Impressive stuff! Let’s dive into that – can you talk us through any recent deals that you’ve been particularly excited to see?
The Tom Gates brand heartland is inspiring creative engagement from kids, so we are thrilled to see that translated into a great stationery range from BB Designs as well as some fun apparel and nightwear from Aykroyds & Sons and Poetic Brands.
Our partnership with Woodmansterne is also fantastic – they have really worked hard to distil the essence of the Tom Gates brand into a range of really funny and innovative greetings cards.
We also have a lot of new partners signed which will make 2022 another brilliant year for Tom Gates.
Exciting times. Tessa, before I let you go, Tom Gates is all about creativity so how do you fuel your creativity?
Teamwork and lots of snacks! Seriously, we work as a truly integrated team blending the skills of licensing, sales, TV production, design, marketing, publishing and writing and illustration.
Despite having launched the TV series and products during lockdown, our inability to be physically together has not hindered the creativity at all. We have built a strong following on digital with a website, social media and YouTube channel which all feed each other – and our Tom Gates fans.
The TV series is modular which means we can create additional content, giving fans more choice of what to watch by extracting various elements from the show such as the range of songs which will launch on Sky Kids and NOW later in October as a short-form standalone series.
As we move towards series two launching on Sky Kids and NOW, we are looking forward to celebrating with all our partners in real life in the not-too-distant future!
Great stuff. Huge thanks again for taking time out for this Tessa.
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