How to Craft Preschool Brand Engagement with 'Pop Paper City'

Georgina Hurcombe, creator and producer, “Pop Paper City,” talks about the story, how it authentically engages preschoolers, and LoveLove Films’ ongoing exploration of bringing licensed goods to the brand.

Ben Roberts, Content Director

April 24, 2024

5 Min Read
“Pop Paper City.”
“Pop Paper City.”LoveLove Films

The preschool animated series, “Pop Paper City,” produced by LoveLove Films, meaningfully engages preschool audiences by inviting kids to both play and view. Its run on Milkshake in the U.K. has created a positive response with families across the nation, and now the brand is growing. So how is the toyetic, hands-on nature of the series building new opportunities for the brand as it enters the licensing market?  

License Global speaks with Georgina Hurcombe, creator and producer, “Pop Paper City,” to learn more about the story, how it authentically engages preschoolers, and LoveLove Films’ ongoing exploration of bringing licensed goods to the brand.  

License Global: Can you tell us about the concept and design behind “Pop Paper City”?

Georgina Hurcombe: At its core, “Pop Paper City” is all about sparking creativity and wonder. We wanted to create a brand that fully embraces “doing as well as viewing” and encourages creating adventures together. We knew that as an adventure series, the world of “Pop Paper City” had to be vivid, vast and exciting. Still, it was also essential to incorporate a crafty paper feel into everything children see on screen. The result is a spectacular, crafty world with captivating locations and countless possibilities.   

From a writing perspective, our diverse writing team crafted each episode to reflect this brand identity. “Pop Paper City’s” storylines are filled with endlessly exciting adventures that enable children to engage with the characters and eye-catching world. Then – usually, when the characters are facing their biggest challenge – they come up with an idea to make something crafty so they can complete their adventure.   

We were also conscious of weaving potential licensing opportunities into “Pop Paper City’s” concept and design. We ensured every adventure could be translated into engaging toys, arts and crafts kits, games, books and more. Moreover, we took our characters to many exciting places in their vibrant paper world, including meeting animals in safari parks, riding poptastic rides in theme parks, exploring glorious underwater caverns and even traveling outer space. 


How has “Pop Paper City” been received internationally?  

The response to “Pop Paper City” has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re incredibly grateful for the warm reception, both nationally and internationally, thanks to the wonderful work of our distribution partner, Aardman. The series premiered on Milkshake in the U.K. and internationally; we've been thrilled to see it picked up in over 175 territories and counting. Our international partners include some of the biggest broadcasters around the globe, including ABC Australia, BBC Studios (CBeebies), Warner Bros. Discovery and many more. It’s been truly heartwarming to witness the charm and creativity of “Pop Paper City” resonate with audiences worldwide. 

What sets “Pop Paper City” apart in the preschool market?

In a competitive preschool market, standing out requires more than just captivating storytelling; it demands authenticity, diversity and a genuine connection with the audience. We’re proud to offer a series that entertains and enriches young viewers’ lives. Each episode contains valuable lessons and positive messaging. Our commitment to encouraging “doing as well as viewing” and inspiring creative play in the next generation sets “Pop Paper City” apart. These values are at the very core of the brand and are part of what makes “Pop Paper City” such a unique series. With a diverse cast playing the characters and a commitment to inclusivity and sustainability (“Pop Paper City” garners three stars, the top mark for sustainability from BAFTA Albert for on- and off-screen sustainability), “Pop Paper City” strives to reflect the world as children see it – a place filled with endless possibilities and boundless creativity.  

How do you engage preschoolers in a healthy fashion through “Pop Paper City”?

Engaging preschoolers in a healthy and meaningful way is at the heart of everything we do. Each episode of “Pop Paper City” is designed to entertain while providing opportunities for creative play via the one-minute arts and crafts sequences. These sequences feature in each episode where the characters and our live-action “Helping Hand,” played by the brilliant Nick Mohammad (“Ted Lasso”), guide our characters through the crafty steps. Our series encourages family participation, promotes teamwork and problem-solving and fosters a love of arts, crafting and creativity. By instilling positive values and encouraging imaginative play, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of young viewers.  


Could you share news about the future of “Pop Paper City” and potential partnerships? 

We’re incredibly excited about the future of “Pop Paper City.” With a second series on the horizon and a feature film in development, there are countless opportunities for future partners to join us on this incredible, crafty journey. We welcome collaborators who share our passion for creativity and innovation, and we’re eager to work with partners who want to input into the creative process; that’s what’s most exciting to us. It’s truly remarkable to think that a series created by a small studio, born out of Dorset, has garnered such widespread acclaim and attention, including a Royal Television Society Award and a Broadcast Award in the best preschool category. With an extensive asset bank, publishing catalog and an array of additional content available, we have everything a potential partner would need to make spectacular products that children everywhere will love. 

With five child-voiced characters, eight hands-on steps to create crafts across 11 minutes per episode, the formula of “Pop Paper City” organically lends itself to the brand licensing model, not only through its easily translatable intellectual property, but the increasingly popular role it plays in inviting children to play along with the show. 

About the Author(s)

Ben Roberts

Content Director, License Global

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