March 19, 2007

The Hotel Teletubbies: You Can Check Out Any Time You Want, But You Can Never Leave

tween_teletubby.jpgFirst, TMX Elmo, now the Teletubbies. One day after the revolution, citizen parents will recognize the late 1990's as the beginning of the New Dark Ages of kidsploitation. But for now, the marketing and licensing overlords cling tight to power and are trying to whip up more wild orgies of consumerist ecstasy to commemmorate the anniversaries of the hatching of their own business plans. And by celebrating them, they hope to extend their franchise even further.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of The Teletubbies, the brand is launching a Beatlemania-themed campaign designed to reposition the characters for the tween market, the first wave of kids who were exposed to the TV show. After a "funky retool[ing]" to make the controversially infantile characters "relevant to kids now," tween-y T-shirts and accessories will go on sale at Urban Outfitters. [Wait, isn't that a college student store that started as a head shop and that also stocks Nerve.com's Position-of-the-Day series of calendars? The ones I got as swag after my initial meetings about contributing to Babble? Yes, yes it is.]

Also, Isaac Mizrahi is designing Teletubby-themed purses [Wait, isn't a purse what got the gay one into trouble in the first place? I wonder what Garrisson Keillor thinks about this?] which will be on display at a pop-up store in the Village [an industry term for a temporary storefront, allegedly not inspired by Nerve's desk calendar]. There's a parallel campaign targetting "the Teletubbies' core audience—toddlers and moms," too.

But the point here is clear: choose carefully what your child watches from the get-go. Because the producers and marketers behind it are going to be as unshakeable as a sticky booger on the end of your finger, and will follow your kid for his whole damn life, seeking to be "relevant" to him just one more time.

The Biz: Meet The Teletubbies: Kiddie Brand Taps Beatlemania [brandweek, very press-releasey, via fashionista]

7 Comments

Hopefully, unlike the Beatles, the teletubbies will actually see some of the money made off of all this merchandising. If all goes as planned, the teletubbies will be bigger than Jesus! Uh, oh...

toddlers and moms? ... I'm offended by that, as a SAHD dad who happens to love sharing the Tubs with my 20 month old daughter. We have a special rule - any time the tubs dance, we get up and dance with them. The great thing about the Tubs is that you can make the show in to just about anything.

Wait- I thought the Telletubbies' core audience was 1) People who stay home and smoke pot during the day and 2) People coming down from taking E the night before. Do you mean to say kids watch it too?

[that WOULD explain the Urban Outfitters thing. -ed.]

yes, I know I'm a geek, but after checking out the tubby-test website last evening (it still said launching 3.19.2007), I just checked it again just now (4:28am ... daughter teething (though finally? sleeping?)) ... and the launch date has been changed to 3.22.2007

The world (and I, even if they don't think I'm part of their core market) will just have to wait a little longer to test their teletubby skills ... sigh ...

I'm hurting here ... 3/22 is nearly gone ... and the site still isn't live ... is there any inside scoop on why the Tubs are being so shy?

So - 3/22 has come and gone ... and the Teletest site still isn't live. Within the past half hour, they updated the go live date from 3/22 to 3/26. Is there any inside scoop on the delay? Are they just doing this to build anticipation!?

[dude, step. away. from the. teletubbies. I have no idea, but I like to think they're trying to wait for the ridicule to die down. -ed.]

well, joy of joys ... the site is now live ... hopefully the wait will be worth it!

Disclaimer: my interest is two-fold: 1) since my daughter and I love watching the tubs, I hope it will be fun to hook up the laptop to the TV and interact with the site, the pbskids.org stuff gets boring, even for a 20 month old, real quick ... and yes, I will be previewing it first ... just in case there's some weird tween stuff in there I don't want her to see. And 2) As a former IT manager/web guy (pre SAHD), I was feeling for the developers who were probably struggling behind the scenes to meet an unrealistic deadline imposed by the marketing department without an appreciation of the real work involved ...

Now to go see if they have any Tinky-winky shirts in 2XL ...

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