Vivendi, the global content, media and communications group, owner of the Paddington brand, has announced a long-term partnership with UNICEF, the world’s largest children’s organisation. The partnership will see Paddington, the beloved children’s character becoming a champion for children, and furthering UNICEF’s goal to promote the rights of children all around the world, and to keep them happy, healthy and safe. The partnership was borne out of recognition by both organisations, that the values exemplified by Paddington, of kindness, tolerance, and perseverance in the face of adversity, or marmalade-related mishaps, make him the perfect champion for children’s rights.
The partnership’s first activations will happen in the UK, the USA, and Europe and are planned to coincide with the upcoming release of Paddington 2, the hugely anticipated sequel to the 2014 film Paddington, and the 60th anniversary of the first Paddington book, which will be celebrated around the world in 2018.
In the UK, Paddington will support UNICEF UK’s campaign around refugee children and will be featured prominently in UNICEF UK’s OutRight campaign, in which millions of children around the UK, learn about their own rights and become empowered to speak out in support of the rights of all children. This year’s campaign will feature the story of the small bear, who has to leave his home in Darkest Peru, and is sent to London with a label around his neck politely asking whoever finds him to ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’ Paddington finds a new family, home and community, with a little help from his friendly nature, politeness, and ability to stand up for himself when needed, by fixing people who have ‘forgotten’ how to behave with a ‘hard stare’. His story will help children in the UK learn, that the right to a home, to be cared for and to an education applies to all children.
Activation in the other countries will be communicated over the coming months.
Lily Caprani, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF UK, said: “We are living in a time when millions of children around the world are being forced to leave their homes, and to put their trust in the kindness of strangers. As such, it seems especially appropriate and welcome to be working with a partner like Vivendi, and to have a champion like Paddington, whose own story of leaving Darkest Peru and finding a new family and home in a strange country, resonates as strongly and freshly today, as it did when it was first published. With the help of partners like Vivendi and Paddington, we will be able to make sure that millions more people hear about children’s rights, and with their support, build a world in which every child, wherever they are, knows that there will be people like Mr and Mrs Brown, to keep them happy, healthy and safe.”
Simon Gillham (OBE), member of the Vivendi Management Board, stated: “We are hugely proud that UNICEF has chosen Paddington as a champion for its campaign to promote the rights of children all around the globe. Paddington is the perfect example of tolerance, love and openness to other cultures, from Peru to the rest of the world.”