Hasbro’s hugely popular global kids’ entertainment franchise and animated series character, at one time the center of controversy in the Middle Kingdom, OK’d for commercialization only a few years after facing sweeping bans.
Global play and entertainment company, Hasbro, along with China Leisure Development Co., have opened a Peppa Pig Play Café in Hangzhou, China. The new entertainment facility consists of 1,100 square meters with six immersive Peppa Pig settings that integrate themed dining and over a dozen play attractions, targeting kids aged 2-5 and their families.
Lest we forget, back in May 2018, Peppa met the ire of Chinese government authorities. As reported by The Straits Times, Chinese censors deemed Peppa “a subversive icon for slackers and anti-social young people.” According to the New York Times, over 30,000 videos of the cheeky piggy disappeared from Chinese video-sharing platform Douyin, along with the hashtag #PeppaPig, after a trend of celebrities posting selfies sporting Peppa Pig temporary tattoos and other accessories prompted the Communist Party to denounce the harmful effects of the commercialization of Peppa. Peppa Pig and Winnie the Pooh books, along with “James and the Giant Peach” and “Harry Potter” tomes, faced bans the previous year after party officials complained of an intolerable inflow of ideology from the west.
Evidently, the danger has passed. Peppa is safe to commercialize once again. It’s worth noting a 2004 episode of the show was banned in Australia back in 2017 because it championed not being afraid of tiny spiders, because, in fact, in the land down under, arachnids are often small and terribly venomous, and kids should be afraid. Very afraid.
The Play Café features six classic scenes from Peppa Pig's world: Potato City, The Forest, Grandpa Pig's Garden, Rebecca Rabbit's Burrow, her Train and Peppa Pig’s Family House. It offers guests the chance to experience Peppa Pig's favourite things to do: jumping in muddy puddles, dressing up in the wardrobe at the Clubhouse, going down the spinning slide to the Duck Pond, digging and growing vegetables in Grandpa Pig’s Garden, and celebrating a birthday in Peppa Pig's Family House. Also offered is a dining area where guests can live chat with Peppa on the screen at their booth.
“We are excited to be teaming up with Hasbro to bring the beloved Peppa Pig brand to the China market in a Play Café format,” says Linda Dong, President of China Leisure. “With recent policy changes in the education sector, we see a shift in consumer spending towards kids’ entertainment while shopping malls are looking for replacements for anchors vacated by large education institutions. The Play Café format, where kids can play while their family members can relax and enjoy a meal, has been growing in popularity and we see tremendous opportunity in this space.”
According to Matt Proulx, Vice President, Location Based Entertainment at Hasbro, “Peppa Pig is such an adored brand among pre-schoolers and their parents, so we are thrilled to be bringing this type of immersive, play experience to Peppa fans in China with our partner China Leisure Development. The new Peppa Pig Play Café is going to enable play amongst families all while building memorable dining experiences in the very lovable Peppa way. This experience is a great illustration of what we’re always trying to do with our Brand Blueprint strategy – find more and meaningful ways for fans and families to experience our brands.”