This week I am attending the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies “Look Who’s Leading” conference in Los Angeles. Today I got to hear Brown Johnson speak about the process of developing and launching the character English and Spanish speaking character Dora the Explorer on Nickelodeon. Ms. Brown shared her insights on how Nickelodeon uses a variety of consultants to create great episodes including linguists and cultural consultants for this bi-lingual show. But the most important consultants she said are the three year olds in the focus group. For one episode, the whole room of youngsters walked out…and so they started again from scratch on that episode.
Most interestingly, she asked the audience, “What makes Dora the Explorer so engaging?” She paused three seconds…and said it was pausing three seconds after every question. In other words, give three year olds the time to think and come up with the answer themselves. (In our over-stimulated world, we all need a little time to process information, not just the kids.)
Kids are responding well to Dora the Explorer not only on TV but also with its consumer products. For example, Dora the Explorer underwear outsells Barbie underwear by 50% in the U.S. In France, Dora the Explorer consumer products outsell all Barbie products. So, are skinny white girls out and bi-lingual, bi-cultural darker-skinned kids in? It seems so.