LOS ANGELES -- The Wiggles may soon be "entertaining" at a supermarket near you.
The über-popular children's singing group's licensing duties have wiggled their way over to Big Tent Entertainment, New York. The company now will serve as the North American marketing and licensing agent for preschool properties. Among the agency's first tasks will be aligning the band with foods, which could include beverages, puddings, whole grain cereals, fruit cups and other healthy snacks.
"If you look at the Wiggles songs, a lot of them are about eating and drinking," said Rich Collins, CEO at Big Tent. "We thought, '[The show is about] activity, eating well—we saw a perfect connection with healthy eating."
As part of the strategy, Big Tent will narrow the licensing program to two key categories. Aside from food, toys will continue to be a major focus for the Wiggles.
The Australian-based group, formed in 1991, has sparked a Beatlemania-type phenomenon for babies and parents, who find them more palatable than such characters as Barney.
"The power of the Wiggles is simplicity—you don't have to over-think it," said Collins. "We felt there were too many products in too many categories. Our idea was to trim back licensees and find the core categories that are long-term for the brand."
Previously, the Wiggles licensing was handled by Hit Entertainment, New York.
Big Tent is in discussion with several potential partners for playthings that incorporate music and education.
The group will soon open branded Wiggles World family areas at Six Flags theme parks across the United States. They will include rides, food courts and, of course, a concert stage where the band will make guest appearances.
In addition, Wiggly Centers party and play places are expected to pop up across the country. They will compete with Gymboree activity centers. The first will open in Dallas this year and the plan is to grow nationally as a franchised operation. The Wiggles show currently airs on the Disney Channel's Playhouse Disney preschool block. The show's contract was just renewed for five years.