What makes Peppa Pig so successful?
13 years after Peppa Pig hit our home screens, she has continued to grow in leaps and bounds. She has become such a phenomenon that most kids can’t imagine their world without Peppa Pig. The story revolves around a five-year-old Peppa, whose fun moments are when she is playing in very muddy pools. Besides living with her parents; Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig, she also lives with her younger brother, George with Suzy Sheep being her best friend. Over the years, Peppa Pig has become a much celebrated and loved animation series with children and adults alike. What has gotten the series so much love and success ever since it first premiered over a decade ago?
- The show can be enjoyed by both adults and children. It’s one of those animated series’ that you don’t have to cringe at when watching with your kids.
- The use of colours that are bright and attract small children
- Storylines that are much easy to follow
- Popular live shows that were centred on the Peppa Pig story
- It’s adaptation into books, DVDs and computer game with the books selling over two million copies, the DVDs more than three million discs and over 250,000 units sold of its computer game version
- The opening of the Hampshire Peppa Pig Park has also helped boost its success and popularity
- Creation of customized merchandise with Peppa Pig on it ranging from backpacks, t-shirts, hats to duvet covers
- An award that the series won the BAFTA awards back in 2005 in the category of ‘Best Pre-School Animation’
History of Peppa Pig
Peppa Pig first became a darling to many in 2004 after it was first premiered on Channel 5. The founders, Neville Astley and Mark Baker, together with Producer Phil Davies, worked together to develop Peppa Pig. Wanting to get the story commissioned in 2000 became hard as they could barely get anyone interested in it after they started running out of funds and debating on whether to shelve the Peppa Pig story. They were also snubbed by the BBC as they would air the show when the target audience – mainly kids- were already asleep. This was yet another major blow to Neville, Mark and Phil. Despite this, the founders, Neville Astley and Mark Baker didn’t give up on it finding it a home later on Channel 5.
Neville, admits that it was quite hard getting the idea commissioned and they had to deplete their savings accounts to make Peppa. Now all millionaires, they look back and smile all the way to the bank. He remembers making only 400 pounds for a 12 months’ work. The hardest part was when they were forced to go their separate ways and try find money if Peppa Pig was to ever grace the screens of their audience. When their accounts ran dry, they had to start watching what it is that they bought. They had come so close to giving up but they still kept going. It is this determination, this zeal and belief in Peppa Pig that made them journey on even through the tough times. They got a commercial that helped them until Peppa Pig became commissioned by Nickelodeon. It, however, took them five years from the time Peppa Pig was creatively thought of till the time it hit the screens and became a series that people fell in love with.
After the airing of the first episode back in May 2004 on Channel 5, Peppa Pig started gaining a multitude of followers. It then dawned on the team on the value they could derive is Peppa Pig became a movement and not just some TV series. The idea of producing merchandise that was branded Peppa Pig would make Peppa become a way of life that went beyond the screens. Different episodes began featuring Peppa dressed in certain ways and the next minute the clothes or fairy wings would become available in shops for the festivities. The team started creating merchandise that was Peppa-themed which helped them in revenue generation.
Now in its 13th year, the cartoon franchise that had its humble beginnings has been translated into 40 different languages and broadcasted across 180 countries. Moreover, the Peppa-themed clothing lines and souvenirs of the same have become a greater part of its success. It’s most notable achievement, however, remains the Peppa Pig World park which acts as a tourist attraction site. The business is estimated to be worth over $1 billion. Although it’s hard for most United Kingdom stars to find success in America, Peppa Pig has been able to break these barriers with sales of merchandise related to Peppa Pig standing at $200 million as of 2016 in the US stores alone. Besides the books and the DVDs, its merchandise also involves houses, spectacles and houses.
All this, of course, wouldn’t have been achieved if there weren’t the easy storylines that were appealing to both the young audience and their parents. Peppa Pig’s success has become a story of discussions and has been written on far and wide that in 2010, the UK Labour Party showed interest by wanting to use the image of Peppa on their election campaign materials. The creators, however, turned down the offer.
Controversies Surrounding Peppa Pig
Just like many successful shows that have been in existence, Peppa Pig’s success story wouldn’t exist with a few controversies. Peppa is seen by some as a bad influence on children by a few parents. Her failure and that of her family to wear seatbelts when they were driving in the first two episodes became a much talked about scene. Additionally, Peppa’s decision to always talk back to her parents, make her dad the center of her jokes in the series and splash herself in dirty pools has seen her face lots of critics. In Australia, one of the episodes featuring Peppa with a spider wasn’t aired in the fear that would make young children view spiders – which are considered deadly – as friendlier insects that they can easily approach and play with.
Peppa Pig was at some point being sued by Gabriella Capra, an Italian woman for £80,000. Capra in Italian means goat and the show has a goat that is named Capra. Gabriella claimed that she hadn’t known peace since the goat, in one of the episodes, bleated after introducing herself. In September 2014, there was an uproar by some followers to have the Peppa Pig series banned for what was considered an offence to the Muslims. This even led to the creation of a Facebook campaign. However, it was later on revealed to be a hoax that most people fell for. A study in 2016 asserted that too much time spent watching the popular Peppa Pig cartoon series could hinder the emotional development of a child. The study further linked the popular cartoon to autism. All these controversies have however, not limited the success, market share and growth the series continues to enjoy.
Peppa Pig’s Storyline
Loved and hated in equal measures and considered as a heroine to plenty of adults and children alike, Peppa Pig continues to just be her; Peppa Pig. The creatively written story lines that keep families glued to the TV for five minutes are mostly inspired by family experiences. Phil Davies, the producer, admits that some of the storylines on Peppa Pig are as an inspiration from his family. Three episodes of the Peppa Pig series are fully based on Phils’ family experience or through him having a family of his own. The fact that the voice behind Peppa is that of a child makes it more appealing to them. children, they say, are more inclined to be attentive when the voice behind it is that of a child.
The use of bright colours – Peppa Pig and her family are pink and she wears a red dress – also makes the show very popular among children. The fact that they are able to see Peppa go down to the shops also helps create some sort of awareness of the kind of environment they live in. It’s continuity and repetition also enables children to engage. Celebrities alike like Mel B, Claire Richards and Dj Zane Lowe are also fans of the Peppa Pig story. Analysts state that a parent to any pre-school kid in Britain will spend nothing less than £40 on a Peppa-themed merchandise. 95% of the franchise’s revenue comes from the merchandised items that are stocked and sold in various retails shops while the programme licensing only take 5%.
As Peppa Pig continues to grow and enjoy market share, the team behind it hopes to get the sales to $2 billion dollars by 2020. From a three-man team that was behind its making, Peppa Pig now boasts of a team of 30. It is produced at its headquarters at the Elf Factory in London. The factory is also home to Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom which still works by Neville, Mark and Phil. By cracking both the US and China markets that are considered giants with a lot of buying power, Peppa Pig proved that her storyline knows no boundaries or limits. All these successes that Peppa Pig has been able to enjoy says quite a lot when it comes to the writing skills of its creators; Neville, Mark and Phil. Peppa’s behaviour and tendencies depict those of most children making it relatable to parents.
The episodes are full of humour to entice audiences of all ages. Most parents who love it, love the fact that the lead character, Peppa, is female. Most animated cartoons usually have male lead characters. The different storylines revolving around Peppa at times act as an eye opener in how kids behave whether around their parents, siblings or friends. Peppa also depicts acts of kindness, sharing and being considerate all of which are crucial for kids. Having a character your child enjoys watching teach them a few things about being human cannot be swept under the carpet. However, based on the episodes aired, it is advisable for parents to watch the series with their children and be able to engage them and get their understanding on what message they think is being communicated.
With an inspiration of about 12,000 products to its name, there is so much that brands or those planning to go into entrepreneurship can learn. Even as a pig, an animal that plays around in the mud and eats almost everything, Peppa has grown to become a darling. What brands can do better is to:
- Create your own identity – whatever your business, pic what will make you stand out and run with it. This is what the three creators did with Peppa. She was made such a strong character and has been able to weather any kind of storm that comes her way.
- Target audience – understanding the kind of audience you want to position your brand to is important. The creators having in mind that their audience was mainly children, created short storylines that are easily relatable to even 2-year old making it become a booming series that continues to grow in leaps and bounds.
- Patience – it took five years before Peppa Pig could make it to any TV screens. Even at that, its first screen times on the BBC were when its target audience were asleep. Commissioning issues of the series also plays a key role on the delay. Despite all this, Neville, Mark and Phil ever gave up. Key lesson here is that no business gets built over night. It takes hard work and patience to get to where you want to be.
- Merchandising – depending on your business, you can leverage on getting customized merchandized product that can help generate revenue. When running a business, don’t be too rigid that you let opportunities pass you by. Remember, only 5% of revenue generated from Peppa Pig’s licensing comes from its licensing for broadcast, the rest are all gotten from the sales of Peppa-themed merchandise.
- Creativity – whatever business you are in, find a unique angle to tell your story. Let your content be inspired by the people or things around you – things that are much more relatable than making complex stuff that is hard to understand.