Following on from my slightly contentious post about ‘Rastamouse’, I thought I should provide some balance by writing a little about one of the best things Cbeebies currently has to offer, namely Octonauts…
However, in order to stop myself from turning in to a jibbering blob of unbridled enthusiasm, I wanted to focus on the one disappointment I have with Octonauts – and other shows like it in the past. Namely, the speed at which the makers cotton-on to their popularity before ramping-up the marketing and merchandise machine.
[Yes! Finally I’ve managed to figure out a way to blog about both Fatherhood AND marketing at the same time!]
The BBC started showing The Octonauts back on Cbeebies in October of 2010. According to a comment posted on the blog of Brown Bag Films (the makers), the viewing figures are pretty impressive (number one show for pre-schoolers in the UK) – as you’d expect for such an awesome (and well-trailed) show. So why (oh why, oh why) won’t there be ANY Octonauts merchandise (aside from the below) until the second half of 2011?
The below books are available from Amazon and WELL worth a purchase (click them to go to their page on Amazon) and to be fair to the makers, their website is chock-full of fun stuff to do with your kids. But as the fans on their Facebook page will probably attest, there’s a big appetite for toys and games featuring the underwater adventurers, so why does it take so long to get these out?
It was the same with Chuggington last year too – almost a year went by before you could buy ANY of the trains as toys. By the time they eventually did come out (to coincide with the second series, I seem to remember) a lot of kids had already gone off the show, or grown out of it.
Now call me naive, or a capitalist, or a victim of marketing, or whatever you like in fact, but surely it doesn’t take a YEAR to get toys made these days?! Seriously?!
I am of course more than happy to be proven wrong. Or indeed to be showered with free Octonauts goodies (when they eventually come out) in return for my unwavering commitment to the cause… :D
UPDATE: One of the lovely folk from Meomi (the creators of Octonauts) sent me this reply via their Facebook page: “Hi Henry, Thanks so much for the fun blogpost, and we’re super delighted you’re enjoying the show and books! : ) So – just speaking from our (meomi’s) personal experience with toy production (art toys and toys for the Vancouver Olympics) – it actually -does- usually take a year (and more!) to conceptualize, design, prototype, test, engineer, manufacture, package & distribute toys! : ) It’s a pretty hefty process. We’re just grateful for everyone’s excitement! We can’t wait also! ;o)”