Associate Director Caitlin Allen shares her thoughts on the launch of Moominvalley

1 May 2019 -

As animated TV series Moominvalley came to living rooms across the UK over the Easter weekend, we share how we shaped and executed a B2B and consumer communications strategy for our client Gutsy Animations from concept to transmission…

We’d been working with Moomin Characters for about a year when Marika Makaroff, CEO of Gutsy Animations, got in touch in spring 2017 to ask for our support with a crowdfunding campaign for a new television adaptation of the Moomin stories.

We immediately fell in love with Marika’s vision for a new adaption that was totally loyal to the spirit and values of Tove Jansson’s creation and portrayed the full range of emotions – good and bad – explored within her Moomin stories. We worked with Gutsy and their crowdfunding consultant to secure widespread media coverage and mobilise the Moomin fanbase worldwide, resulting in the campaign securing 127% funding and reaching a total of US$253,230.

On the back of that success, we were thrilled to be appointed by Gutsy to handle consumer and B2B PR throughout the development and production process, helping to attract the attention and interest of buyers around the world.

Our remit included making all major announcements about the production, including our UK voice cast announcement which saw Moominvalley being discussed by presenters on the BBC Breakfast sofa and by Nick Grimshaw on the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show as well as news stories on Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Stylist, NME and many more.

At MIPCOM 2017 we organised a beach party with from Rosamund Pike, who voices Moominmamma, to guarantee that buyers would take time out of their hectic schedules to come to our event. We also took the opportunity to arrange a full-page interview with Rosamund for the MIPCOM Daily Paper, ensuring that Gutsy and Moominvalley had high visibility during the market.

We announced various acquisitions, working with broadcast partners worldwide including Yle in Finland, Sky in the UK and NHK in Japan. Further collaborators came on board in the form of Columbia Records, part of Sony Music, who we announced would be partnering with Moominvalley on the soundtrack with Columbia artists including Tom Odell and First Aid Kit writing brand-new feature songs for each episode of the first series.

In the run-up to the animation airing, we identified what needed to be done to supplement the work of Sky’s consumer PR agency in the UK and placed a couple of major features looking at the new animation from a literary point of view. Tove’s original Moomin stories are at the heart of everything that the Moomin brand does so it was important to make sure they featured alongside interviews with the starry cast and team. We invited journalists out to the worldwide premiere in Helsinki, where they were able interview Tove’s niece Sophia plus Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, the lead writers on the series, for spreads on the source material in the Guardian and The i Paper. We also collaborated on some trade media opportunities, telling the story of the production from Gutsy’s perspective with written pieces from Marika and Academy Award-winning director Steve Box.

At the Helsinki premiere, we hosted four members of the UK cast: Rosamund Pike (Moominmamma), Taron Egerton (Moomintroll), Jennifer Saunders (Mymble) and Edvin Endre (Snufkin). Together with Gutsy and Sky’s team we organised an afternoon of international media interviews for the voice talent plus key members from the production team. Later that day we hosted the UK talent at the premiere itself, which included a red carpet moment with photo opps and further interviews, and were the first port of call for talent during their visit to Finland.

Seeing something turn from creative vision into reality is always a magical experience, but it’s even more wonderful when the timing is so right. The world needs the Moomins – and the lessons they can teach us about tolerance, respect and welcoming difference – more than ever right now. It’s been a joy to have played a role in this project right from the beginning. Marika, Steve and the incredibly talented team at Gutsy have done a wonderful job of honouring Tove’s work, presenting it for a contemporary audience in a fresh and cutting-edge way.

Caitlin Allen, associate director

Photo credit: Jussi Nahkuri and Ilmari Fabritius