Tulipop is narrowing in on its target audience with a new preschool series. From the Icelandic production company of the same name and distributor Serious Lunch, Tulipop (26 x seven minutes) builds on the brand’s primarily CP-centric existence.
This isn’t the first time the woodland IP, which features mushroom-capped characters and adorable monsters, has gone to market with a TV concept. Tulipop originally pitched a show based on the brand’s existing YouTube content at Cartoon Forum in 2017, and partnered with Zodiak Kids to co-produce it. That story was darker and aimed at older kids.
“Tulipop has really, really wide appeal,” says Helga Árnadóttir, CEO and co-founder of the lifestyle brand. “It’s a really good problem to have. [But] it makes it hard to decide who the core audience [is],” she says.
The original series concept had trouble locking in broadcasters, who were confused over the intended demographic. And following feedback from retail locations across Iceland—they reported core buyers were often parents of young kids—Árnadóttir and creator Signý Kolbeinsdóttir went back to the drawing board to age the series down.
After the demo shift, Serious Lunch founder and CEO Genevieve Dexter was eager to come on board the project, which she had followed since its Cartoon Forum debut.
Initially, there was hesitation around targeting preschoolers, as the creative team worried the younger demo would limit their ability to write funny and interesting storylines. “But we were wrong,” Árnadóttir says. “We just needed the right writers and team to make this original world come to life.”
In particular, the team partnered with Spanish studios Ánima and Birdland Animation, as well as recruiting new head writer Sara Daddy (The Clangers, Puffin Rock) to help bring the concept to fruition.
The new stories are faster-paced and more colorful than the original iteration, and will lean into adventure and comedy to reach a co-viewing audience.
Production kicks off this month in Spain, and Dexter hopes to have the first episodes delivered in the spring. The new series has some interest from some Nordic broadcasters, including with NRK (Norway), as well as Icelandic network Siminns.
Upcoming consumer products efforts will include print-on-demand offerings, rolling out at the same time as the new series. On-demand items (think t-shirts and mugs) offer a scalable and environmentally sustainable way of expanding a TV audience, Árnadóttir says. Publishing will also be an area of focus, with print storylines tying directly into the series.