From left to right: Managing Director Jason Knights, Creative Director Ian Smith with the Presenter
Jamie Hardesty

Member Article

Gateshead’s Blue Kangaroo sees export sales jump 70%

Gateshead-based Blue Kangaroo, a creative agency working within the character licensing industry, has reported a 70% rise in its export sales over the past twelve months.

The rise in the company’s overseas client portfolio accounts for approximately £250k, with particular demand coming from the U.S.

Jason Knights, managing director of Blue Kangaroo, said: “We’ve been in the licensing industry for almost 10 years now and work with some big-name brands in the UK from Peppa Pig to BBC Worldwide. During this time we’ve done snippets of work abroad in countries such as India and also with the Arabic news network, Al Jazeera.

“As we began to build our export portfolio and could demonstrate the value we bring to our customers overseas, we started to approach the creators of children’s favourites like Thomas and Friends and Barbie, to offer them our services.

“One contract win led to another and our exporting work just snowballed from there. It’s testament to our team’s skill being trusted to re-create the look and feel of globally recognised brands, and our repeat work ratio just goes to prove the quality of the work we deliver.”

The talented team of designers and illustrators at Blue Kangaroo produce characterisations and brand identities primarily from feature films and television shows, transferring the iconic visuals into packaging, point of sale materials and print. The creative agency also works with its clients both in the UK and the US to create style guides, as well as product and character development.

Ian Smith, creative director of Blue Kangaroo, said: “Not only is it the wide range of design and illustration services we provide our clients -like fully branded and characterised exhibition and event materials - that our clients come to us for; it’s about the quality of the customer service they receive too.

“Working with clients state-side, they often send us an email with a brief late in their day and then go home for the evening. Due to the time difference, while they’re sleeping, we’re in the office working on their project, and so by the time they get back into the office the following day, the first round of concepts is already waiting in their inbox for them – there’s very little downtime. It’s this level of customer service and timely turn around that really appeals to our customer in the US.”

Recently, Blue Kangaroo was recognised for its expanding portfolio of export work at the North East Exporters Awards, sponsored by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). The awards celebrate the companies that are doing the most to boost the regional economy of the North East through overseas trade. Blue Kangaroo was nominated for an award through its involvement with UKTI’s ‘Passport to Export’ programme, and earlier this month, the creative agency won the accolade of ‘North East New Exporter’, recognising Blue Kangaroo’s exceptional exporting achievements over the past year.

Mr Knights concluded: “We’re delighted to have been recognised with this award; it certainly shows that our hard work taking our offering overseas has paid off.

“This is just the start of our exporting efforts at Blue Kangaroo – we’ve lots more meetings in the pipeline to potentially work on exciting projects over the coming months and look forward to the continuing contribution this revenue stream will make to our business.”

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