A single record of the theme song of the series will be released to tie-in with the series. “It is not a pre-school record, it is an up-market production. We are also putting out a cassette of songs from the series for children, there will be three 40-minute videos, and four story books. Other elements are the little things like jigsaws, painting and colouring books, confectionary and anything else we can include by Christmas.
“The major toy companies will wait to see if it is successful in the television ratings before they pick it up. We just keep our fingers crossed, grit our teeth and hope the bank manager will stay the course.
“I am sure if we keep the cost of a series below £2,000 a minute we can eventually get our money back. Over that, you are taking a hell of a gamble in the pre-school market. It’s got to be an overwhelming success to get your money back once it goes above £2,000 per minute.
“You’ve only got to go into Hamley’s and see all the American pre-school toys, the Wuzzles, Care Bears and numerous others – it’s unbelievable! In six months they will be on to the next thing, the market changes so fast. It never used to – the Wombles lasted five or six years and everybody thought it was a short run. Nowadays, if you last more than 18 months you have a big success on your hands.
“Last Christmas Hasbro, the American toy manufacturers, spent millions advertising My Little Pony on British TV. They did individual advertising campaigns for each country with people specifically sent to look after Great Britain, France, Germany and so on. The stores are bound to pick the product up with that amount of advertising to back it.
“In the pre-school market it is the parents who make the purchasing decisions, rather than the children, but first of all you have to get your product into the shops. The toy manufacturers and shop-keepers decide what stock appears on the shelves, not the general public.
“I am hoping the Pondles look different enough to stand out amongst all the other pre-school material on television this Autumn,” concludes Ward.
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Printed in Animator Issue 20 (Autumn 1987)