Preschoolers around the globe have embraced "Peppa Pig."
"The property works on two levels," says Andrew Carley, executive vice president, global licensing, family and brands, Entertainment One. "Children relate to 'Peppa' because so much of what a preschooler experiences in daily life is represented on the show, and that's not true for many children's shows. On another level, parents and caregivers can relate to the gentle humor in the show. Both levels resonate with audiences and that allows the show to travel well."
And as "Peppa Pig" gears up to celebrate 15 years on-air in the U.K., the company will continue to create engaging digital content for "Peppa" via apps, videos and other assets.
"We want to keep 'Peppa' relevant in an entertaining way so fans remain engaged in watching the show and interacting with the brand, capturing the attention of a new generation of preschoolers. In addition, we have significant marketing budgets to enhance exposure outside of broadcast and a retail budget to support our key partners and drive consumers to retail shelves," says Joan Grasso, senior vice president, licensing, North America, family and brands, eOne.
eOne and Astley Baker Davies are currently in production on 117 new episodes that will launch beginning in spring 2019, which provides a fresh pipeline of content through the end of 2022.
“With the new content you’ll see Peppa start to experience new settings and that gives us the opportunity to expand the property’s horizons,” says Carley. “Now that we have a global footprint for ‘Peppa’ in licensing, we can reflect those territories in the show. Ashley Baker Davis has become adventurous with storylines, and that’s opening up new avenues and new exciting opportunities.”
In a special two-part episode, Peppa and her family will travel to a music festival, an adventure that has inspired a style guide and a collection of new toys. Current licensees are at work translating the look into new products.
“We’re always careful with the way we translate ‘Peppa’ into product,” says Carley. “Our intention is for 80 percent of the program to remain on the core of the show, while allowing 20 percent to be lifted onto licensing program.”
The style guide’s graphics and colors inject newness into the evergreen brand to keep it fresh and exciting in mature markets.
“In the mature markets, it’s about making sure ‘Peppa’ remains front and center in consumers’ and retailers’ minds, so the 15th anniversary in the U.K. is a great platform to build on at retail,” says Carley.
Year-long celebrations are planned for next year in the U.K., including brand partnerships, a cinema release and summer experiential opportunities. Two new rides will also launch at Paulton’s Peppa Pig World this year, extending the preschool theme park attraction’s footprint.
“Move with Peppa,” an interactive series of exercise classes for preschoolers using the stories from “Peppa Pig” episodes, has expanded into nursery schools and children’s parties and will roll out internationally.
In the U.S., the property’s licensing partners, of which there are more than 85, have helped push retail sales to $345 million. Deal renewals and new partners continue to drive sales.
“We’re very excited about new introductions this year from a range of blue-chip licensees, including Johnson & Johnson for Band-Aid brand products, oral care items from Colgate-Palmolive and craft and activity offerings from Crayola,” says Grasso.
Also new are toilet-training products from Ginsey Home Solutions, juices from Good2grow and baked goods from Give & Go.
“The licensing program has moved beyond the traditional toys, puzzles and clothing to the types of partners that are open only to mature, proven licenses,” says Carley. “It has taken a long time to bring those partners to the table and to move into that sector, so to have Colgate and Crayola come on board really gives ‘Peppa’ that stamp of longevity.”
Grasso says eOne is focusing on expanding in the consumer products and food categories, and will be seeking opportunities with potential new partners at Licensing Expo, taking place May 22-24 in Las Vegas, Nev.
“This will enable us to secure bigger retail promotions and elevate our brands to the next level,” she says. “We are also beginning to explore new ways to expand our already extensive licensing program with collaborations, direct-to-retail deals and new seasonal opportunities, which will also be an area of growth moving forward.”
eOne is investing heavily in the experiential arena.
The “Peppa Pig” stage show, which has seen ticket sales of more than 445,000 generating revenues of $18 million, continues through 2018 and a new production is planned for 2019.
“We’re seeing increases year-on-year, which is unusual for a preschool show,” says Carley.
Global partner Merlin Entertainments recently launched Peppa Pig Land at Merlin’s Heide Park, with six scenes to explore, meet-and-greet opportunities, a gift shop and “Peppa”-themed rooms at the Heide Park Adventure Hotel. In addition, Merlin is set to create the ultimate “Peppa Pig” indoor play experience in the U.S. and China.
In Australia and New Zealand, eOne has signed several new partners including NurtureCare for diapers and wipes, Park Avenue Foods for a confectionery line and MJM for puzzles. A live tour, “Peppa Pig’s Surprise,” recently launched and will tour across major Australian cities, and “Play Date with Peppa,” an immersive area experience that allows children to interact with the world of “Peppa,” is set to roll out internationally.
“eOne is making a point of building our experiential business, something that’s important to a mature property. Things like stage shows and theme parks give consumers that opportunity to engage with the property on a deep level,” says Carley.
Licensing programs continue to grow around the world, with 35 percent growth in toys this year in Brazil.
“In new markets where things are moving quickly, it’s all about capitalizing on growth,” says Carley.
High growth markets for “Peppa” include Germany, which had previously been a weak link in eOne’s EMEA global portfolio.
“Our broadcast platform recently changed to Super RTL, so for the first time we’re poised to drive a significant licensing program in Germany,” says Carley.
Partner Jazwares signed on as master toy licensee for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and will launch a line this fall.
Carley expects China to become one of the largest markets for “Peppa” over the next few years. A number of broadcast platforms, including CCTV and VOD partners Youku, iQIYI and Tencent, have fueled the property’s growth. In response, eOne has bolstered its Hong Kong office team and recently signed Alpha Group, one of the largest toy companies in China, as the master toy partner in China.
“They’ve got access to a huge retail distribution base so there’s potential to transform ‘Peppa’s’ business in China in a manner we have not experienced to-date,” he says.
“eOne will maximize opportunities around 2019’s Year of the Pig, with further support of exclusive retail partnerships.
In Asia, eOne has a significant presence in mall venues with pop-up events and plans to build on that momentum.
“We’ve invested heavily in our experiential team so we’ll become more sophisticated in what those events look like,” says Carley. “As we move in to 2019, there’s going to be a significant amount of experiential activity across China in the form of stage shows, mall appearances and pop-up events.”
In Japan, master toy licensee Sega Toys recently orchestrated the launch of more than 100 SKUs at retailer Takashimaya in Tokyo.
“The Japanese market is probably the last big market for us, and it has great potential,” says Carley.
“Peppa Pig” debuted in India and Vietnam in 2017 and eOne is exploring those markets as well.