U.K.-based Link Licensing is working with Denmark’s Egmont Imagination and Bristol-based Harvest Films to bring the story of an aardvark and his caterpillar companion to life with a wide-ranging, worldwide licensing and merchandising program.
Produced by Harvest Films and Christopher Moll of Wallace and Gromit fame, and developed in conjunction with the BBC’s Animation Unit, a trilogy of half-hour films about hard-luck Hamilton is being commissioned by BBC 1 for delivery in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
The stop-frame, clay-animated saga begins when outcast aardvark jazz musician Sludge befriends talent scout Feldwick the caterpillar, who takes him to the big city, renames him after a billboard ad (‘Everyone Loves A Hamilton Mattress’) and helps him find true success. The first film, currently in production for completion in June 2001, is budgeted at US$2 million. Link and Egmont are handling worldwide television and video rights, while Link oversees merchandising and Egmont manages publishing.
Claire Derry, managing director of Link, says Hamilton, aimed at those 12 and up, is especially attractive because of the talent behind it and the built-in audience familiarity with popular clay-animated series like Wallace and
Gromit, especially in North America.
Licensing plans include a book series by Egmont Publishing.
‘These edgy, book-based properties have a lot of humor. This type of thing is very hot at the moment,’ predicts Derry.
She says Hamilton Mattress merch will initially be aimed at the gift market, because of its edgy British humor and very humble hero. Likely categories for licensing include T-shirts, stationery and plush toys.
Product launches in the U.K. are expected to coincide with the air date of the first TV film-any time between August and December 2001.
Link will be scouting U.S. licensing partners for the property this month at licensing show.