Selling over 2.3 million copies of publications by prioritizing the interests of children and keeping up with industry trends, Nelly Jelly (locally named Kakė Makė), a Lithuanian children’s megabrand, has expanded its IP onto various platforms, such as theater productions, a blockbuster movie, events, and YouTube.
May 4, 2023. With the ever-increasing demand for children’s content worldwide, the market has seen significant growth in recent years. Nelly Jelly — a national children’s brand, has taken the Lithuanian market by storm, with over 2.3M books sold in the country alone. This beloved children’s character has captured the hearts of young readers with her curiosity, creativity, and wit. With 30,000 copies printed for their most popular titles, the IP has achieved a significant accomplishment compared to the local market’s average of 3,000 copies.
Nelly Jelly is now expanding from its local market and looking for suitable co-production partners with animation studios and global broadcasters: taking their successful track record in merchandising, the IP hopes to further increase brand awareness through publishing and licensing opportunities abroad in conjunction with animation projects.
The captivating children’s character
In Lithuania, the name Nelly Jelly (or Kakė Makė, as it is known locally) has become synonymous with childhood wonder and imagination. Her adventures are chronicled in a wide range of books, including picture books, encyclopedias, sound books, and activity books. One of the most popular book titles features the Mess Mess Gnome and children’s toys that go missing due to disarray. This story teaches children the importance of responsibility and helps parents identify skills that aid in their children’s emotional intelligence development. Children are naturally curious about why their parents insist on cleanliness and tidiness, and Nelly Jelly has found the answers to these questions.
The team behind the IP strongly believes in the power of children seeing themselves in character: Nelly Jelly feels relatable to families because she deals with a lot of everyday questions in a magical way. From what kind of adventures children will get into if they don’t brush their teeth to how the companionship of friends can be a saving grace in case children lose their way in the woods and meet a witch — imagination is the key to raising questions and finding answers.
“We’re constantly asking ourselves, “What do kids want and need?” It’s about understanding what kids are curious about, what questions they have, and what challenges they face,” says Simona Krasauskienė, the CEO of Nelly Jelly, who influenced the major turnaround of the brand three years ago. “We felt that the character had become bigger than just books and had grown out of the two-dimensionality; we saw that children needed more: they needed to see, hear, and touch their childhood friend and other favorite characters from these books.”
Expanding beyond books
After the successful launch of Nelly Jelly’s children’s book series, the beloved character naturally expanded into other channels, including theater productions, events, and YouTube. “The IP’s success across different channels is a testament to the dedication of our team,” says Greta Stankutė, the brand development manager. “Our content aims to entertain, educate, and inspire kids. Our team is passionate about children and stays up-to-date with global trends and evolving young audiences to create relevant and engaging content for today and the future.”
Across the entire country, children have been increasingly eager to connect with their favorite characters online. Nelly Jelly has taken advantage of this trend, expanding its brand to YouTube, and with a target audience of 140,000, the channel has now reached over 58 million views since 2018. The brand remains committed to inspiring and educating children across multiple platforms, even as technology and children’s needs continue to change and grow.
The IP has also successfully expanded into theater productions, bringing its beloved characters to life on stage. The production transforms the stories from the books into immersive theatrical experiences featuring real live actors that captivate and inspire audiences. These performances have been hugely popular, attracting a steady stream of spectators and often selling out within hours of tickets going on sale.
Plans to expand internationally
“Nelly Jelly is an ever-evolving story that continues to inspire children’s imagination through new books, live performances, and events. Together, the character and her young audience learn, invent, and grow, and we are thrilled to announce the release of the new film,” says Simona Krasauskienė.
The highly anticipated Nelly Jelly: My Movie, the first Lithuanian blockbuster animation of its kind, was released on April 21st of this year. The movie’s release is a testament to the brand’s success across all platforms: the movie ranked first in the country during its debut week, surpassing even the much-anticipated Super Mario Bros Movie and other non-animated films.
Nelly Jelly’s creators have their sights set on expanding the IP into international markets, bringing the character’s tales to more young audiences worldwide, and are looking to collaborate with experienced and well-known animation studios in the co-production of projects.
Finding your purpose in life(Opens in a new browser tab)
ABOUT NELLY JELLY
Nelly Jelly is a beloved children’s character and national brand hailing from Lithuania, designed to encourage kids to explore, get creative, and overcome life challenges with the help of a witty and fun character. With a team of passionate individuals following global trends, the IP has expanded to multiple platforms, including books, theater plays, events, blockbuster animation movies, and more, providing educational and enjoyable content for young audiences.
Discussion about this post