Reimagined and recycled.

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2013 12:26pm by Milly Ali


A great session but wish it was longer Michael Rose (MD, Magic Light Pictures)

Great stories and great characters shouldn’t be forgotten, Alison Bakunowich (VP Director of Marketing & Communications, Nickelodeon UK)

Top Ten Takeaways…

  1. Old brands are making successful comebacks for new audiences.
  2. Heritage brands have multi-generational property.
  3. Give your creative team the freedom to push boundaries in the creative process.
  4. Technology has helped develop change.
  5. A strong story and characters which resonate with their audience is at the heart of any successful show, old and now new.
  6. A big media campaign helps bring new audiences to old brands.
  7. Children identify with figures of authority in animation such as Fireman Sam.
  8. Not all popular old brands can be modern successes.
  9. Popular heritage brands are deeply routed in our culture.
  10. Reinventing heritage brands cost a lot of money.

Many of us have nostalgic memories of our favourite childhood programmes so what is it about heritage brands, characters and stories that still hold an appeal to today’s new audience?

Nickelodeon recognised that ‘Teenage Mutants Ninja Turtles’ had a great track record and seen many previous transformations. But the network wanted to bring this old favourite back to the screens. Keen to give the show a different look, the creative team mixed 3D with animation to produce a unique and individual look. The ‘new look’ character designs were softer but distinct. The brand also offered multi-platform potential which in today’s children’s media market is HUGELY important. The network then launched a big mainstream media campaign.

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ were back and they were a success!

But no-one could deny that at the heart of its success were the great characters & strong storylines which resonated with its audience. Other such successful recycled brands  include ‘Fireman Sam’ and ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’.

The new look is CGI, though still based around the same setting. To the audience the sets and characters are still recognisable. Technology has been a big factor in driving change.

You have to give your team the creative freedom to make some changes. It’s a risk but you need to make sure that it doesn’t deviate too far from the brand. Not all shows have been successful, and not all heritage brands have been modern successes e.g. ‘Andy Pandy’, ‘Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men’ and ‘ThunderCats’. Success is determined not only on TV ratings, but also down to how well it performs on other platforms such as digital and merchandise.

With the focus on the old, does it mean that new IP is not coming through? I very much doubt it. Judging by the CMC delegates we have a very talented and creative community that’s always looking for the next big thing!

Alison Bayunovitch (Nickelodeon UK)
Anthony Lukom (Cartoon Network)
Michael Carrington (HIT Entertainment)

Kate Dickson

Exec Producer:
Matt Barbrook

Event Reports

Milly Ali, Producer & Director

About the author

Milly Ali

Producer & Director

Milly has worked for the BBC, ITV and several major indies on multiple genres - Observational documentaries, Factual Entertainment, History and Crime docu-dramas. She has made programmes for all the major UK broadcasters: BBC, ITV, Ch4, Channel 5 and produced for digital channels Yesterday and the Crime and Investigation Network… Read more