“We are constantly recruiting new generations of fans.”
Shaun the Sheep celebrated ten years broadcasting on air last year; although the character himself has been around for more than 20 years, having first appeared in Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave back in 1995, it wasn’t until 2007 Aardman launched the first 40 episodes on CBBC.
Aardman has now shot over 150 x7 minute episodes, on air in over 170 territories around the world with audiences and fans continuing to grow by discovering the brand in different ways.
“Not only did [this milestone] offer an opportunity to celebrate all that is loved with a brand an anniversary can reinforce brand heritage evoking a strong sense of nostalgia, in turn reconnecting past fans,” points out Rachael Peacock, Shaun the Sheep brand manager. “However, we are constantly recruiting new generations of fans so an anniversary milestone can help bring a brand right up to date and boost brand awareness amongst core demographics, connecting with new audiences through PR and marketing campaigns.”
The anniversary plans, which started last summer, really did move fans… literally.
Rachael explains: “We wanted to bring our fans together in celebration and what better way than to get them dancing. We invested in a bespoke 90-second piece of animation which saw Shaun and the flock moving their hooves to the beat. We supported this with a tutorial dance walk-through to encourage children at home to learn the routine and a live experience at the Ministry of Sound hosted by Rave-o-Roo.”
Aardman worked with partners all around the world to package up ‘Shake it with Shaun’ with existing fan voted episodes and supporting content into special collections, for on air broadcast, DVD and SVOD themed rooms.
In the UK, CBBC hosted a special presenter-led themed morning, of which the top five voted episodes by CBBC fans were aired back to back alongside A Close Shave and the global launch of Shake it with Shaun which was also pushed out through iPlayer to excite audiences of all ages. All this was supported through a global social media campaign.
“At the studio, our main focus is now on Shaun the Sheep Movie 2 for 2019 and we’re delighted to be going into production on this in the New Year,” Rachael reveals. “However, we don’t just build the brand with the next couple of years in mind, we have a content plan for the next five years and we position ourselves as an evergreen property.
“We release at least three new style guides and design themes a year, an annual promotional theme every year, offer short-form content, gaming, and we have a big focus on live events over the coming months. All of these elements come together to offer a programme which tailors content across a range of platforms to keep the brand flexible in responding to the way media is consumed across our core markets.”