From Screen to Shelf – Ready for Retail

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2012 6:05pm

Blogged by Nina Koo-seen-lin

Produced and presented by Oliver Dyer, Director, Skew Studios

Top tips to take away from screen to shelf:1-5pm, Wednesday, Millennium Gallery.

  • You cannot shoehorn products into shows but if you believe in the essence of the show you’ll find a way to make it work.
  • Keep in mind that TV, book and digital worlds are all collapsing into each other and the scope to work together is ever growing.
  • Always be prepared to say ‘no’. That’s how valuable ideas are – you have to know what’s core to your brand. Don’t mess with it.
  • At the same time be adaptable. You have to let go a little bit when you take your brand into the arena of a third party. Let someone else’s vision come through to make their idea work for everyone, be it an app, book or pajama set.


How would you describe your children’s media project? Cheeky, loud and relatable? Colourful, messy and a miss-match? What would your project look like if it was an actual person? Is it a seven-year-old boy with a penchant for dressing as a pirate, or maybe a pre-teen girl who’s a trendy rebel who verges more on the safe side?

These are the things you’ve got to seriously consider if you want to get your TV show a life off the screen and in to the world of toys and books, magazines and games. The Screen to Shelf four-hour workshop, led by Oliver Dyers, aimed to do just that.

The first hour of the workshop is devoted to hearing the panel of experts’ stories – how they got to where they are today. Frances Adams was Creative Director of BBC Worldwide where she had to deal with everything from Sir David Attenborough to Dr Who. Eric, from Penguin Group studied Paleontology but the harsh reality that a Paleontologist’s life revolved around mosquitos and rain caused him to take his first proper job at Disney. The delegates in attendance are a fun mix too, from animators and illustrators to a songwriter and 3D production consultant.

Oliver splits the room in three groups to work on a Dummy brand and come up with different solutions. Everyone gets involved. Even the experts step down from the high table to take a seat and join the fun. Large white blank display cards are an integral part to the session. There’s nothing scarier than a white blank page and it doesn’t take long for the delegates to start pasting ideas on it. Exercises include choosing what the characters look like with printouts of adorable kids and super cool teens and choosing words to describe the personality, language and style of the brand.

Within the first three minutes (yes, three, I was timing) the groups were already locked in animated discussions that sparked off ideas and raised issues. After two and a half hours the groups had already pinned and tacked images and words on character charts, product targets and ripped off Top Gear with a ‘cold and warm’ chart.

Obviously, this workshop is a mere taste on the tip of the tongue of the whole screen to shelf planning process. Normally these things take weeks. The personality chart alone could take up to a month’s worth of planning. But in four hours, the class has done quite well. All have agreed that they’ve gained a knowledge on the techniques needed and everyone agrees that they’ve learned the importance of planning. As one of the delegates stated: if your plan fails then you’ve planned to fail. Wise words indeed.


Frances Adams, Creative Director, Shine 360, Shine Group

Phillip Carroll, Book Buying Manager, Sainsbury’s

Nick Cooke, Category Manager Video Games, Tesco

Dominic Gregory, Creative Director CNE Enterprises EMEA, Turner Braodcasting

Helen Howells, Joint MD, HoHo Entertainment

Eric Huang, Publishing Director, Penguin Group (UK)




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