#RIOTSKILLS: Moomins Tips and Learnings

As part of our on-going #RiotSkills series where we share our learnings from campaigns we have created, this one’s for anyone managing a heritage brand.

This morning our Associate Director Adele Minchin, spoke at the publishing industry’s annual Bookseller Children’s Conference about this very topic. Entitled Moomin Marvellous: Creating New Audiences for a Heritage Brand, she spoke about our work for our client Moomin Characters whose brand has endured from its beginnings in 1945 to being one of the top ten most recognizable single character brands in the world in 2017. That’s where we come in!

Here are Adele’s top 5 PR tips for ensuring the longevity of a heritage brand:

  1. Identify your brand assets

What is it about your brand that makes it so special and has helped it endure thus far? In the case of Moomins it is the great storytelling, the unique and beautiful artwork and strong brand values. Once you know what the strengths are, do all you can to bring all your brand activity back to these assets. In this way your heritage brand will remain true and consistent to its origins.

  1. Maximise the potential that big moments present

Heritage brands often have a moment in the calendar / existing activity / partnerships in place. Scrutinise them and see if you can leverage them for further reach. This year, Southbank Centre in London recreated the magic of the Moomins in a brand new immersive experience:  Adventures in Moominland as part of their Nordic Matters season. We used Southbank Centre’s exhibition to see how we could connect our various target audiences to what was already happening. Part of this activity included working with fashion brand Chinti and Parker to launch their new Moomin line with fashion influencers at the exhibition as a focal point.

  1. Have a clear overview of all your brand activity

A year of Moomin mania in 2017 from the Southbank Centre exhibition and Easter-themed activity at Kew Gardens, to a retrospective of Tove Jansson’s artwork at the Dulwich Picture Gallery means a huge amount of brand activity to juggle. As brand managers, make sure you have a clear oversight of all the activity taking place and ensure there’s something different / unique for everyone in the mix (licensees, media, stakeholders) with no clashes.

  1. Choose the right partners and spokespeople

Aligning yourself with the right partners and spokespeople is, of course, another way to increase your brand reach and find new audiences. Moomin Characters today launched a partnership with Oxfam called The Invisible Child campaign. With similar values, Moomins will be supporting Oxfam in its work to help women and girls around the world fight inequality and escape poverty for good. Whoever you work with must be aligned with your brand values so the credibility of your brand is never compromised.

  1. Make the most of influencers

Influencers are a great way of expanding the reach of your heritage brand but it takes careful research. Zoella recently shared her love of Moomin in one of her unboxing videos, now viewed over 2 million times. In this instance, she was the right fit because we knew she liked the Moomins. But the macro influencer isn’t necessarily the best or only way to expand the reach of your brand. Sometimes micro influencers with smaller numbers of followers (around 100k) are easier to reach and have a more loyal and engaged audience. You could have much more impact working with a growing community.

Judy Murray and Mike Brearley in Contention for The World’s Oldest Sports Book Prize


Coach and mother to tennis stars, Andy and Jamie, Judy Murray will be hoping to take game, set, and match as she jostles with former England cricket captain and psychoanalyst, Mike Brearley on the 2017 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award longlist, announced today (Thursday 21 September 2017). The ‘Bookie Prize’ – now in its 29th year – is sports-writing’s most valuable and prestigious prize.

Penned with journalist Alexandra Heminsley, Murray’s autobiography Knowing the Score: My family and Our Tennis Story is one of five books on the longlist authored by women, with a total of nine female authors and co-authors – by far the highest number to have been nominated in the Award’s history. They include: Four Mums in a Boat, the story of four working mums from Yorkshire – Helen Butters, Niki Doeg, Frances Davies and Janette Benaddi – who took on the Atlantic to break a world record, rowing 3,000 miles for charity and in turn captivating the nation; a homage to the ‘swimming suffragettes’ who paved the way for the modern female swimmer in Swell: A Waterbiography by Jenny Landreth; Centaurthe story of leading jockey Declan Murphy and his miraculous recovery from the fall that should have killed him, brought to life by writer Ami Rao; and The Talent Lab:The secrets of creating and sustaining success, by award-winning sports journalist Owen Slot, in collaboration with the record-breaking performance directors of Team GB Chelsea Warr and Simon Timson, reveals the secrets to achieving success.

Stints at Her Majesty’s pleasure are documented in two of the longlisted titles: a dramatic story of sporting salvation is relayed by author Mark Turley with former gang member and one of Britain’s Most Wanted criminals, John McAvoy, in Redemption: From Iron Bars to Iron Man – whilst serving a life sentence for armed robbery in Belmarsh high security unit, McAvoy discovered a talent for endurance athletics, which he harnessed to become a world record-breaker and one of the UK’s leading Iron Man competitors; and the highs and lows of the life of professional gambler and one of the industry’s most bombastic characters, Harry Findlay – including a one year prison stint aged 21 – as detailed by Findlay with author Neil Harman in Gambling for Life.

Both cricket and football feature highly on this year’s longlist, with three books apiece in the running. Kicking-off the footballing titles is The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory by journalist David Bolchover, which gives an account of the life of holocaust survivor and one of the original superstar football coaches, Béla Guttmann – from evading the Nazis to twice raising the European Cup at the helm of Bentica in the early 1960s; in Quiet Genius: Bob Paisley, British Football’s Greatest Manager, journalist Ian Herbert celebrates the understated personality and talent of legendary Liverpool F.C. manager, Bob Paisley; and completing the trio is a crowd-funded collection of essays edited by Neville Gabie, Alan Ward and Jason Wood, Breaking Ground: Art, Archaeology and Mythologywhich uncovers and reveres the archaeology, art and mythology of Bradford Park Avenue football club.

Opening the batting for cricket-related books is aforementioned former England cricketer Mike Brearley, as he combines his sporting and psychoanalytical expertise in On Form to investigate what it is that makes humans perform at their very best; next up is Feeling is the Thing that Happens in 1000th of a Second: A Season of Cricket Photographer Patrick Eager, Australian writer Christian Ryan’s book centring on arguably the most significant figure in cricket photography, Patrick Eagar; and lastly the life and times of legendary West Indies cricketer, Learie Constantine are explored by Harry Pearson, from Trinidad to England’s North, in Connie: The Marvellous Life of Learie Constantine.

Rounding up the longlist are titles celebrating iconic figures and teams from boxing, cycling and rugby history: in Ali: A Life US author and journalist Jonathan Eig paints a portrait of the world’s ‘greatest’ boxer Muhammad Ali, informed by over 500 interviews and FBI documents; editor of cycling magazine Rouleur, Andy McGrath uncovers the man behind the myth of champion cyclist Tom Simpson in Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire; and the excitement and euphoria of the epic 1971 British & Irish Lion’s tour of New Zealand are captured by author and editor of Arena Sport, Peter Burns with BBC broadcaster and sports-writer, Tom English in When Lions Roared, The Lions, the All Blacks & the Legendary Tour of 1971.

The longlist in full (alphabetically by author’s surname):

  1. The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory by David Bolchover (Biteback Publishing)
  2. On Form by Mark Brearley (Little, Brown)
  3. When Lions Roared: The Lions, the All Blacks & the Legendary Tour of 1971 by Tom English and Peter Burns (Polaris Publishing)
  4. Four Mums in a Boat by Helen Butters, Niki Doeg, Frances Davies and Janette Benaddi (HQ, HarperCollins)
  5. Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig (Simon & Schuster)
  6. Gambling for Life by Harry Findlay (Trinity Mirror Sport Media)
  7. Quiet Genius: Bob Paisley, British Football’s Greatest Manager by Ian Herbert (Bloomsbury Sport, Bloomsbury)
  8. Swell: A Waterbiography by Jenny Landreth (Bloomsbury Sport, Bloomsbury)
  9. Redemption: From Iron Bars to Iron Man by John McAvoy and Mark Turley (Pitch Publishing)
  10. Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire by Andy McGrath (Rapha Editions)
  11. Centaur by Declan Murphy and Ami Rao (Doubleday, Transworld)
  12. Knowing the Score: My Family and Our Tennis Story by Judy Murray (Chatto & Windus, Penguin Random House)
  13. ConnieThe Marvellous Life of Learie Constantine by Harry Pearson (Little, Brown)
  14. Feeling is the Thing that Happens in 1000th of a Second: A Season of Cricket Photographer Patrick Eager by Christian Ryan (riverrun, Quercus Books)
  15. The Talent Lab: The secrets of creating and sustaining success by Owen Slot (Ebury Press, Penguin Random House)
  16. Breaking Ground: Art, Archaeology and Mythology edited by Neville Gabie, Alan Ward and Jason Wood (Axis Projects)

Chairman of Judges and co-founder of the Award, Graham Sharpe, said:

“Judging the Award is a sport in itself. This year’s submissions were of an extremely high standard – excellent for the health of sports-writing, not necessarily so good for those of us embarking on the challenge of seriously considering, debating and ultimately deciding on which worthy titles will make our starting line-up. In any competition decided by opinions, there will be those who feel dismayed and disappointed. I have now been through this process 29 times. It never gets any easier or more enjoyable, I’m afraid! Congratulations to those who made the cut, commiserations to those who missed it.”

The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award is the world’s longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £29,000 cash prize, this year’s winning author will receive a free £2,500 William Hill bet, and a day at the races.

The judging panel for this year’s Award consists of: journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson; retired professional footballer and former chairman of the Professional Footballer’s Association, Clarke Carlisle; broadcaster and writer John Inverdale; broadcaster Danny Kelly; award-winning journalist Hugh McIlvanney; and The Times columnist and author, Alyson Rudd. Chair of Judges is Graham Sharpe, co-creator of the Award alongside John Gaustad, founder of the Sportspages bookshop, who retired following the 2015 Award and passed away last year.

The shortlist will be announced on 24th October 2017. The winner will be announced at an afternoon reception at BAFTA, in central London, on Tuesday 28th November.

All-Star Cast for New Moomin Animation Series, Moominvalley

Rosamund Pike, Kate Winslet, Taron Egerton, Warwick Davis, Matt Berry, Richard Ayoade, Will Self and Akiya Henry among cast members to voice the inhabitants of MOOMINVALLEY.

Gutsy Animations, the Finnish production company bringing the Moomins to life in a family TV drama, has today (Tuesday 12 September 2017) announced the first tranche of cast members confirmed to star in the animation series.

Taron Egerton will play the much-loved Moomintroll, with Rosamund Pike as the wise and caring protector of the Moomin family, Moominmamma, alongside Matt Berry’s adventurous and knowledgeable Moominpappa. Akiya Henry will voice the part of style-conscious and sometimes flirtatious Snorkmaiden.

Kate Winslet takes the role of spick and span Mrs Fillyjonk, while philosopher and deep thinker, The Muskrat, is played by author Will SelfWarwick Davis plays Moomintroll’s adopted younger brother, the slightly cowardly little creature Sniff, and Richard Ayoade will enjoy spooking viewers as The Ghost.

Creation of novelist, painter, illustrator and comic book artist Tove Jansson, the Moomins are one of Finland’s biggest cultural exports with the original books having been translated into over 50 languages and the previous animation broadcast in 124 territories.

Creative Director and Executive Producer at Gutsy Animations, Marika Makaroff, said, ‘We are thrilled with this stellar cast who have been carefully chosen to inhabit Tove Jansson’s much-loved characters. They will speak to audiences young and old and for the family drama that we are creating, which doesn’t shy away from the depth and complexities of Jansson’s original work, they couldn’t be a more talented or suitable line up.

’MOOMINVALLEY is being made using a cutting-edge 2D/3D hybrid technique, where characters are rendered in 3D in an environment with some 2D illustrative or painterly elements. Two series of 13 x 22-minute-long episodes are slated to air in spring 2019.

The pioneering animation is produced by an outstandingly talented team, including Oscar®-winning director Steve Box; BAFTA- and Emmy-winning producer John Woolley and Emmy-winning writing duo Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler. Classical violinist Pekka Kuusisto and percussionist Samuli Kosminen, both from Finland, are creating the music for the series. Kuusisto’s father composed with Tove Jansson in the 1970s and wrote the Finnish National Opera’s Moomin Opera in 1974.

The animation is being developed in association with Yle Drama and with the full support of Moomin Characters, the business set up by Tove Jansson and her brother Lars to manage the Moomin brand. To this day Moomin Characters is run by family members with Sophia Jansson, Lars’s daughter and Tove’s niece, as Chairman of the Board and Creative Director.

Sophia said: “Tove gave the inhabitants of Moominvalley the values of tolerance, love, respect, friendship and bravery – which are needed in today’s world more than ever. We’re very excited to have a wonderful cast and team who share these values bringing Moomin to life in a new way for fans young and old.

”Further cast members, including the actors who will voice popular characters Snufkin and Little My, will be announced in the coming months.

For further information please contact Caitlin Allen at Riot Communications on

020 3174 0118 / 07814 403 000 / caitlin@riotcommunications.com

Cast and characters:

  • Moominmamma – Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, A United Kingdom, An Education)
  • Moominpappa – Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, Toast of London, The Philanthropist)
  • Moomintroll – Taron Egerton (Kingsman, Eddie the Eagle, Testament of Youth)
  • Snorkmaiden – Akiya Henry (Bing, Bottersnikes and Gumble, Noddy in Toyland)
  • Sniff – Warwick Davis (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Life’s Too Short)
  • Mrs Fillyjonk – Kate Winslet (Titanic, Revolutionary Road, The Reader)
  • The Muskrat – Will Self (Shooting Stars, author of Phone and Sky Arts drama The Minor Character)
  • The Ghost – Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd, presenter of Travel Man & Crystal Maze)


About Gutsy Animations

Gutsy is a team of creators and producers who believe that the world is in need of funny, clever, gutsy and – above all – meaningful content.

All of its productions are aimed at international audiences and based on a concept of genuine social impact.

About Moomin Characters

Oy Moomin Characters Ltd is the owner, originator and official company responsible for supervising and managing the Moomins’ brand, copyright and registrations. The company was started in 1958 by Tove Jansson and her brother Lars Jansson and even today is run by family members. Sophia Jansson, Lars’s daughter and Tove’s niece, is Chairman of the Board and Creative Director at Moomin Characters. All characters from Moominvalley are registered trademarks.

Moomin in the UK

A series of major Moomin-themed events and exhibitions have taken place in the UK in 2017, including Southbank Centre’s immersive Adventures in Moominland and Kew Gardens’ Easter Festival. In autumn 2017, Dulwich Picture Gallery will present the first major UK exhibition of work by Tove Jansson – including not only Moomin drawings but also Jansson’s surrealist-inspired paintings of the 1930s and abstract works of the ‘60s, her satirical anti-war cartoons and book jacket designs – and the Moomins will feature prominently at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.A diverse range of quality Moomin products are available in the UK, from new Collectors’ Editions of the original Moomin stories (published by Sort of Books) and a guide to the Moomins, The World of Moominvalley (published by Macmillan Children’s Books), to 100% cashmere sweaters and other accessories from fashion label Chinti and Parker.

Moomin around the world

In June 2017 the world’s first Moomin Museum opened in Tampere, Finland, presenting 300 of Tove Jansson’s drawings and paintings and 30 Moomin tableaux created by Tove’s partner, the artist Tuulikki Pietilä. Later in the year, a 12-month Moomin exhibition will begin touring major cities in South Korea, and a new Moomin theme park is soon to open in Tokyo.