Cockroaches are notorious for sticking around forever. So it should come as no surprise that Oggy and the Cockroaches, the animated series from Xilam Animation, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The French producer is marking the occasion with a new look and a brand expansion that will see its chipper little roaches spreading to new categories.
“We’re creating new designs around Oggy to make it fresh and on-trend,” says Marie-Laure Marchand, SVP of global consumer products at Xilam Animation. “Moving forward, our goal is to expand into apparel, and restaurants and quick-service promotions are also key targets. Fashion and food were a bit of an issue, though, because of the cockroaches.”
Marchand says the property was due for an update, and as the brand continues to expand, the style guide will be adapted to better suit different categories. Apparel and accessories ranges will require more stylized artwork, for example, while consumer products across food and beverage will find a way around the roach stigma.
“We’ve gotten rejections because companies didn’t want to associate their food with cockroaches,” Marchand says. “It’s not an issue for us, and it’s certainly not an issue for the kids, but I think for some parents it’s a problem.”
While Xilam continues to expand into additional categories, agreements with Lansay (master toy partner), CCI Shoes (footwear) and Panini (stickers) will see new products hitting shelves in France this fall and winter.
One of the most exciting new licensing deals, Marchand says, is an agreement with French publisher Hachette Livre Group to launch chapter books inspired by Oggy and the Cockroaches, in the region this month.
“This is particularly exciting because Oggy is a non-dialogue series,” she says. “A chapter book is not an automatic move, because it’s difficult for a publisher to adapt a show when you don’t have any scripts. But in the show’s fifth season, Oggy travelled to different time periods, so we chose that angle for publishing because then you have support from history. Hachette has done an incredible job translating the series onto the page.”
Oggy’s transformation comes as Xilam Animation is poised for more growth. Private investors buoyed a US$26-million funding increase for the company in June, and the bump in capital will be used to expand Xilam’s original content slate. This all follows the company’s highest-ever full-year revenue for fiscal 2017 (up 42% in new production and 80% in international sales, with revenue of US$30.4 million).
According to Marchand, Oggy will be a significant area of focus moving forward. “The big hope is, at some point, to do live entertainment,” she says. “We are looking into customer experiences in shopping malls. There is a market in Asia, for sure, and maybe in the Middle East. There are so many opportunities we’re exploring.”