American Marketer


Mulberry supports Children in Need with limited-time teddy bear auction

November 9, 2011


British designers including Mulberry, Erdem, Giles Deacon and Jonathan Saunders have created exclusive fashion Pudsey teddy bears for this year’s Children in Need auction.

The nine designer fashion Pudseys are part of an online auction running Nov 7-17 that benefits the London-based Children in Need online auction. Children in Need is a BBC-owned charity that gives grants to local projects in Britain that focus on helping disadvantaged children.

“When we were approached to design the fashion Pudsey bear, we thought it would be a great opportunity for us to use our resources and create something genuine, loveable and close to our hearts to support the cause,” said Emma Hill, creative director of Mulberry, London.

“The work Children in Need has done to support children in the UK is outstanding and we are excited and thrilled to be able to contribute in this way,” she said.

The Children in Need organization raises funds through various events during the year that benefit local community programs that support disadvantaged children.

The Pudsey Bears are the organization's mascot and are sold as plush toys and printed apparel throughout the year.

Once a year, Children in Need asks British designers to create a special bear to be auctioned online to benefit the organization.

Bear necessities
The Mulberry fashion Pudsey was inspired by the brand’s Fall/Winter 2011-12 men’s collection.

Mulberry’s Pudsey was handmade from the soft buffalo leather in an oat hue that is used for the brand’s coveted Alexa bag.

The branded Pudsley is relatively simple and is wearing only a black bandana that is made of the same monogramed material as the Mulberry bag lining.

“As Mulberry began 40 years ago with and is still loved for leather accessories, we decided to use leather for fashion Pudsey,” Ms. Hill said.

Mulberry Pudsey’s eyes and nose are made from the brand’s gunmetal grey rivets found on the handbags and has a Mulberry fob on the back of his neck.

Mulberry was not the only luxury designer brand to make a Pudsey for this year’s online auction.

Indeed, Erdem, Henry Holland, Katie Hillier, PPQ, Giles Deacon, Jonathan Saunders, Liberty and Patrick Grant all made bears to be included in the auction.

The minimum bid permitted for the bears is $320.

Children in Need holds the designer Pudsey auction every November while it sells original, non-designer Pudsey plush toys and merchandise year-long.

The organization also hosts a special television appeal aimed at raising money that features a slew of designer and celebrity interviews as well as guest performances. It can be found at

Paws for concern
Mulberry dedicated a post to the Pudsey bear on its branded blog found at and linked to it on its Facebook account.

Philanthropic efforts should be a focus for luxury brands as it is generally known as a passion of the wealthy.

Indeed, more than half of the world’s affluent consumers feel a responsibility to give to those who are less fortunate (see story).

Knowing what motivates consumers to get involved can help luxury brands choose the correct social responsibility strategy.

Many luxury brands have chosen children-focused fundraisers and charities as of late to connect with affluent consumers.

For example, Italian label Gucci continued its participation in the United Nations Children's Fund’s Gifts That Give Back holiday program through a $250,000 donation and a specially-designed bag this year (see story).

Additionally, Italian linen brand Frette hosted two fundraisers in the United States, one on the West coast and one on the East coast, that benefited two different children’s charities (see story).

Luxury brands likely turn to support children since it is a relatively likeable cause as opposed to more controversial charities such as women’s rights and gun control which are two causes that are highly supported by the brand Kenneth Cole, for example.

Mulberry wanted to help children and thought this was likely to intrigue and engage its core audience.

“To me, personally having a six-year-old son, Children in Need is one of the most wonderful and worthwhile causes we can support,” Ms. Hill said.

“I have enjoyed watching the broadcast year after year and certainly feel like I have grown up with the show, watching the amazing things people do to support children in our country and see the fantastic way everyone unites to raise money is truly inspiring,” she said.

“We were delighted to be asked and we hope our fashion bear does Children in Need proud in the auction.”

Final Take
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant at Luxury Daily, New York