The Wiggles are big business. The group of four Aussies, who got their start fifteen years ago, are now among the world’s most popular children’s entertainers. Its four members (Anthony, Greg, Murray and Jeff) and their friends (Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword the friendly pirate) have been entertaining Australian children with their song and dance since 1991. The Sydney-based band is also popular in other English-speaking countries such as New Zealand, Canada and the United States. Even in South America and Europe, there are Wiggles songs sung in Spanish and Portuguese.
In a unique move, The Wiggles have licensed their name and image to media outlets in several Asian nations. “Through a deal with the Walt Disney Channel, the band has authorized various Asian clones that perform its hit song ‘Hot Potato’ in different local languages. The first Taiwanese Wiggles debuted in March of 2003, closely followed by a Japanese version. The Taiwanese group has also adapted several of the original Wiggles songs into Mandarin – something that seems to have further contributed to the group’s increasing popularity around the island. According to Taiwan’s Taipei Times, recent television ratings show that ‘a staggering 3.2 percent of the island’s population tune into the evening Wiggles show on a daily basis. Ratings for the show’s morning and afternoon slots are somewhat lower, and presently stand at 0.69 and 1.04 percent of the population respectively.’ The success of the Taiwanese Wiggles suggests the amazing power of popular media products across geo-political boundaries. Yet, it also indicates the extent to which these products need to be localized in order to cross various cultural barriers successfully.”
Steve, a reader of this site (and a Sovereign Grace Ministries insider), sent me a picture of The Wiggles and compared it to one I posted on my site yesterday. He suggests that perhaps the Wiggles are also being franchised to appeal to different audiences even within North America. They are being localized not only across cultural barriers, but across age barriers. Is it possible that the photo below represents auditions for the new “The Wiggles for Seniors?” You tell me!
I don’t intend to make this blog another Purgatorio. It is fun to laugh sometimes and I just couldn’t turn this one down. We’ll now return to our regularly-scheduled, far more serious programming. Honest.