“Yo Gabba Gabba!” began appearing on Nickelodeon in August, and with remarkable speed it has acquired fans who are preschoolers and fans who are old enough to be their parents...Charles Rivkin, the president and chief executive of Wildbrain, which produces the show, says, “I challenge you to find another preschool show that four months after going on the air is actually selling adult apparel at Barneys.”
While plenty of shows for children have also appealed to adults — “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” “H. R. Pufnstuf,” even “Sesame Street” — “Yo Gabba Gabba!” updates this idea for a generation that, it has been argued, is ambivalent about letting go of its own youth.
The real deal came when the original creators hooked up with Wildbrain. Back in 2006, Wildbrain acquired a majority interest in Kidrobot, which makes and sells high-end “designer toys” and apparel that appeal to fashionable young adults (who may or may not be parents). Thus “Gabba”-related products arrived in exclusive retail settings much faster than usual, demonstrating consumer demand to other merchandise partners.
You couldn’t ask for more perfect serendipity in partners, which goes to prove that authenticity starts at the drawing board. Had “Yo Gabba Gabba!” been conceived under other premises, it wouldn’t have been strong enough to bring into the Kid Robot world. On the other hand, if “Yo Gabba Gabba!” merchandise went straight to big box retailers you would’ve had a watered down product. The Kid Robot connection offers the brand longevity, with more staying power than it would have had on its own.