Youth culture, music and Yo Gabba Gabba!

Photograph of Yo Gabba Gabba inspired cake pops treats.
Assorted Yo Gabba Gabba cake pops. Image credit: Chris Martin / Flickr / CC.

What marketing and content creation insights might we obtain by examining the tactics used to create a hit children’s television show?

Elements of a successful children’s T.V. show

The important elements appear to include storytelling, colorful characters (in the form of suits or puppets) that embody human characteristics, appealing music, and building episodes around featured guests and popular celebrities.

Yo Gabba Gabba!, created by Aquabats lead singer Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz, has grown in popularity since it premiered on August 20, 2007 on Nick Jr. While the show was intended for young children, it gained popularity amongst teenagers, college students, and parents — in part, because of the fun characters, creativity, catchy music that is included in each episode, and the popular musicians that were often featured. In 2008 and 2009 the show received Daytime Emmy nominations for Best Costume Design.

Creating additional revenue through events and merchandise

From there, one might be able to consider additional revenue streams including live tours and appearances, merchandise, and endorsements.

A new Yo Gabba Gabba! album titled Music Is Awesome 3 was released September 13, 2011 and coincided with a new live concert tour. The album includes music from several well known musicians including The Killers, Lady Tigra, The Flaming Lips, and Weird Al Yankovic.

We can also observe that promotion of a new album and music tour can be facilitated by giving away music (fans can download the DEVO track Watch Us Work It for free from ) in order to draw an audience to press releases about the new content and tour schedule.

Leveraging popularity to gain revenue through endorsements

Finally, there is cross promotion or endorsement opportunities. The success and business model of Yo Gabba Gabba! and its cross-segment market appeal can be compared to other shows that paired creative and vibrantly colored characters including Pee Wee’s PlayhouseSesame Street, and Fraggle Rock. In addition, the setup and storytelling dynamics are similar to those pioneered by classic children’s television programing like Howdy Doody and The Mickey Mouse Club. Though it is interesting to note that few, if any, of its predecessors ever were leveraged to advocate the lifestyle or benefits of new automobiles or other products sold to adults. Yo Gabba Gabba! reached a new level of popular culture recognition when its characters were featured in a Superbowl advertisement for the Kia Sorento (see video below).

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