Consumer Products

Aging gracefully

Aardman helps transition Canimals from preschool to older girls for CP program.
February 8, 2011

It’s not something that happens every day in kids entertainment. In its first incarnation, South Korea’s Voozclub series Canimals was decidedly developed for a preschool audience. But after careful deliberation, Aardman Rights, the licensing arm of Vooz co-pro partner Aardman Animations, stepped in and helped determine that the series and property would be better suited to an older girls demographic.
“It became quite apparent from the nature of the characters and the edginess of the story that we should move up to a six to nine demo, and have more of a girls skew,” says Sean Clarke, head of Aardman Rights. He adds that with the evolution of the property, category priorities have also shifted. For example, typical first-wave preschool categories, such as publishing, are now part of the second phase of the program. “I think of the property now as a similar demographic to Hello Kitty,” explains Clarke.
The 52 x seven-minute mixed-media series from Voozclub, BRB’s Screen 21 and Aardman follows the high-energy adventures of several mischievous can-shaped animals. The plan is for it to hit UK airwaves this spring with a soft launch on merchandising to follow in the fall. Aardman holds the UK licensing rights and is currently very close to securing master toy and UK broadcast deals. “The animation standard is superb,” Clarke says. “Asian producers are particularly good at creating design-led super-cute characters.”
Clarke adds that the marketing of the series and the CP program will be geared towards the tween girl demo, noting that the actual six-to-nine target demo is often attracted to merchandise that is aspirational in nature. He also points out that the collectible characteristic of the IP is something that initially attracted Aardman, a company that prides itself on its careful selection of series fit for a CP treatment.
“The good ideas are really few and far between,” Clarke says. “But we jumped at Canimals. We felt it was a real standout in terms of its look and feel. It’s very fresh and you can see the collectible and toyetic aspects of it right away.”
Clarke expects that by the time Licensing Show rolls around, Aardman will be locking down deals in the lead categories with an emphasis on apparel and fashion accessories. “Vooz has already done amazing things with its website and apps,” he says. “We will certainly be looking to do something in the social media and gaming space to market the IP as well. You really have to.”

About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at


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