Today is international Roald Dahl day, an apt tribute to an author who has captivated the imagination of many a child with his ingenious and swishwiffling stories. On what would have been his 95th Birthday and the year of the 50th anniversary of the release of James and the Giant Peach, celebrations of the great author and his work are being held internationally.
Roald Dahl’s writing has become somewhat of a brand, synonymous with Quentin Blake’s illustrations and his fantastical story telling. He has captured the hearts of millions of children and in turn linking Roald Dahl’s name to a company or campaign immediately catapults it into the affections of the public.
From characters to stories to the man himself, companies grapple to associate themselves with “The greatest children’s storyteller of all time”. From Nestles branch into Wonka chocolate to Alton Towers Charlie and the Chocolate factory ride we are obsessed with the man and in turn use of his brand will increase sales or visits to the park.
The excellent Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity also is indicative of the power of the Dahl brand. Set up by his widow, the charity’s relationship with the author creates an affection and association with the charity. Donors will also be more aware of the charity due to this relationship.
The power of ‘Dahl’ led me to notice that children’s books succeed in creating a successful and powerful brand in a way that books for adults seem unable to do. Just the phrase ‘Harry Potter’ can send crowds into a frenzy and when Harry was introduced to us in J K Rowling’s book’ s a multi-billion pound brand was born.
Mr Men, Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh; authors and characters from children’s literature provide effective and endearing brands that go on to make millions of pounds.
Why is this? Is it simply children take much loved characters or authors to their hearts and want to prolong that relationship and story? Or children’s characters have greater scope to create a successful brand, hence companies focus upon this for affiliations and increasing sales.
Returning to Dahl, the fact that a simple internet search reveals hundreds of products within the brand ‘Roald Dahl’, cereal brands will give away his books or print extracts on boxes to increase sales and the sheer volume of fan sites, Facebook pages and blog entries encapsulate the power of the brand. Even the language used in his novels has a special place in our hearts.