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Why Pukeko is leaning into a midway attraction

From shipping containers to TV screens, Pukeko's new cross-platform brand Bogey Ogres gets ready to roll.
January 24, 2020

New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures is testing modular augmented reality for its latest kids and family IP.

The Wellington-based studio is developing Bogey Ogres—which follows a group of comedic carnival employees—to work not only as a 26 x 22-minute CGI-animated TV series, but also as a traveling, midway attraction.

Co-produced by Canadian studio Dark Slope (Scarygirl), the Bogey Ogres Midway Attraction will open at Toronto’s modular market Stackt in April, and in New Zealand thereafter.

Playable in a shipping container, the paid AR experience features three games and lasts about 15 minutes. An onboarding process to build up the story and get players accustomed to using mixed-reality headsets (think superimposed 3D imagery over real-world objects, à la Google Glass) stretches the experience to about 22 minutes in total. In the games, participants can apply to work as interns at the Bogey Ogres midway carnival attraction and are assessed on three tasks—running a roller coaster, a burger van and one of the mini-games played by the Bogey Ogres.

While Pukeko could have launched the IP traditionally (idea to broadcast partner to L&M to live events), building a brand with multi-platform roots allowed the prodco to unlock new forms of financing, increasingly important as linear broadcast options continue to dry up.

“One of the things we do is look at alternative ways of funding content that can support screen-based outcomes,” says Jeremy Hall, Pukeko’s head of development. “[With this in mind], we applied for and received US$770,000 from the Canada Media Fund for the attraction. By using different media to create the property, it gives us more leverage for different types of funding.”

And while no broadcasters are yet attached to the series, should the attraction prove successful, it could show prospective partners that the IP has fan-base potential.

Bogey Ogres is based on characters created by British creator-producer Keith Chapman (PAW Patrol, Bob the Builder) and Pukeko co-founder Martin Baynton (The WotWots). When a midway experience surfaced during meetings with Dark Slope, Hall realized the ogres were a natural fit for a modular and scalable AR experience.

For the IP’s initial launch, participants can roam the interior of the shipping container, but the experience is not restricted to this type of location. Hall says the attraction can be downsized for smaller rooms, or expanded to cater to more traffic with a longer, deeper experience.

Pukeko is now on the lookout for partners to launch the experience in other countries, and is eyeing an interactive TV series, too. However people end up engaging with the property, Hall says the companies have put a lot of effort into making the the games work naturally for everyone.

“We’re not saying it’s for people who use VR and AR every day,” he says. “We made [the gestures and commands] simple and obvious enough so an 80-year-old can enjoy the experience the same way a five-year-old can.”

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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