Dooly Nara: Beyond the National Character in Korea
Press Release from Dooly Nara
Dooly became a nationally renowned character in Korea immediately following its first debut in a comic magazine in 1983 and then was reborn as TV animation show in 90s. The original creator Sujung Kim established a company around the Dooly character in 1995 in hope of building a beloved character worldwide. That was the birth of Dooly Nara (it means Dooly nation in Korean.)
In 2009 Dooly Nara achieved one of its lifetime goals – a new animation series of Dooly. With the support of Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) 26 series of animation was aired on a cable channel called Tooniverse with impressive 4% TV ratings. The success proved Dooly’s longevity and led to the productions of musical Dooly and educational comics. More than 35,000 people saw the musical and Dooly was selected as the Character of the Year in the animation/cartoon category by Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA).
Thanks to its popularity Dooly licensed to 70 companies as producing 1,500 items. And it continued to thrive among 30-40 age groups who remembered Dooly from their childhood and among preteens who just found out Dooly.
Dooly Nara would not stop here. The company tries to adapt to the new character/animation market in Korea which diversified from few TV channels to a variety of cable and Internet channels.
Seungyong Lee, a marketing manager at Dooly Nara, said that the company developed strategies to tap into new media such as flash animation and webtoon which are popular among age 10-20. Also, as an effort to reduce its dependence on Dooly, the company tries to create new characters other than Dooly. The effort led to a success of franchising Green Smile, a popular webtoon character.
Even though it has been 27 years since Dooly was created, Dooly has not been successfully introduced outside of Korea. Dooly Nara targeted the Asian countries rather than North American or European ones because of the lower entry of barriers. The strategy paid off. Dooly’s new animation along with characters was exported to the Philippines. Dooly Nara participated in the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair on January to meet with potential buyers.