In a rare collab with another preschool brand, Sesame Workshop’s “Sesame Street” and Moonbug’s “Blippi” are getting together for a series of videos in which Elmo and his pals interact with Blippi and his friends. The videos kick off on Saturday with the premiere of “Blippi and Meekah’s Birthday Surprise for Elmo.” (Yes, that happens to actually be Elmo’s birthday.)
That’s the first of three videos that have been produced for social and online, with the possibility of more along the way. Elmo, Big Bird, Abby, Blippi, Meekah, Herb the Dinosaur and more will be seen in the collection of episodes and music videos when they premiere simultaneously on the “Blippi” and “Sesame Street” YouTube channels. Further videos will launch in June and September.
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Both shows feature collaborations with celebrities and other figures, but it’s rare for two completely separate preschool entities to get together and work on a project like this. But from the moment that the possibility emerged to work together, Moonbug chief creative officer Richard Hickey said it was a natural fit.
“I’m a Brit and Sesame Street was for me when I was small, represented Hollywood for in my mind, and so heritage wise and legacy wise, that was one of the more iconic U.S. IPs that I just loved,” he said. “We had a meeting with ‘Sesame Street’ to see if there’s any common ground. They were interested in do something with this and we’re like, oh my god, this would be amazing for Blippi. This is this is a legacy IP that everybody loves. It’s based in hard skills and socio-emotional learning, that is told through fun and joy. And that’s actually part of Blippi’s DNA, and it’s all about learning through play and curiosity.”
Hickey said he has been impressed through the years with memorable “Sesame Street” partnerships with Elmo and Ricky Gervais, as well as the show’s take on Feist’s “1-2-3-4” and even an episode where celebrity babysitters joined in. And recent partnerships for Blippi have included snowboarder Shaun White and popular YouTuber Ms. Rachel.
“We’ve done other collabs that have been great for different reasons,” Hickey said. “But this one, the synergy, neither is neither is having to lean in or too far one way or the other. Both complement each other. That felt like perfect synergy, a perfect marriage. At their hearts, both shows have those values of compassion, empathy and resilience. Those things are kind of present in everything that ‘Sesame Street’ does.”
Hickey noted that there were benefits for both brands in putting this together. For “Blippi,” it’s working with a legacy, well-known brand that has been around for decades. And for “Sesame Street,” it’s a chance to be a part of a tremendously popular digital-first brand. According to Moonbug, some of the most popular and highest ranked “Blippi” content across the board are its collabs.
“The idea of doing collaborations is quite common in the digital space,” Hickey noted. “We’re always looking for opportunities to work with other other folks. We love collabs. It’s it’s a great way to, like I say, ‘stretch the dough.’ It was just this really beautiful union…. we have huge channels that we can expose their audience to as well. I think for both of us, there’s a huge benefit of exposing each other to each other’s audiences, where there’s obviously a lot of crossover.”
The “Blippi” team traveled to New York and shot the “Sesame Street” episodes there. Hickey said he was especially impressed with the improv skills of the people behind the Abby and Elmo “Sesame Street” Muppets. Much of what those puppeteers do is improvised, and “Blippi” is heavily improvised as well.
“Blippi is improvised. We write story beats, we don’t script anything. He’s very to camera,” Hickey noted. “So is ‘Sesame Street.’ There’s a lot of improv with Sesame Street as well. That idea of two sets of IPs collabing over being open with each other without any egos, I think has created some really beautiful moments. I’m so proud of it, it’s definitely one of the highlights for me last year. We didn’t really know how it was going to play out. But they were really open. And they rift off each other really well. It was fantastic.”
“Blippi” began as a YouTube series in 2014, created by Stevin John; it became a part of Moonbug (now a part of Candle Media) in 2020. “Blippi” is available via platforms including Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer and YouTube Kids. Moonbug is also behind the popular “CoComelon” series.
Hickey said he’s looking forward to the reaction to this first Blippi x Sesame Street collab video, which includes a new version of the popular “Blippi” song about garbage trucks. “It just makes you feel super joyful,” he said. “The interaction between Elmo, Abby, Meekah and Blippi is just really on point and so natural. We’d like to try more of this stuff.”
Indeed, Hickey said he’d love to pursue more seasonal content with “Sesame Street.” “Halloween or Christmas with ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘Blippi ‘feels like a really great space,” he said. “Adding seasonality to it feels like a really great place for us all to land, hopefully.”
Here is a first look:
Here are the descriptions for three upcoming collab videos:
“Blippi and Meekah’s Birthday Surprise for Elmo!”: “It’s party time! Abby is excited to throw a surprise birthday party for her friend Elmo, and she wants to make it the best party for her best friend. Blippi and Meekah reassure her that the party is going to be great and pitch in to help! When Elmo gets a very special RED garbage truck (his favorite color!) as a gift, they sing The Garbage Truck Song! Meekah suggests everyone look for a colorful toy before surprising Elmo with one last colorful surprise… a birthday cake!”
“Blippi and Elmo’s Big ABC Dig”: “Blippi and Elmo visit Diggerland! They come across an Excavator ride, sing the Excavator Song, and realize ‘Elmo’ and ‘Excavator’ both start with the letter ‘E’! Together they search for other construction vehicles and equipment that begin with ‘A,’ ‘B,’ and ‘C,’ like ‘Aerial Lift,’ ‘Backhoe,’ and ‘Claw’ in ‘Lumberjack Claw’! Blippi and Elmo are ready to ride the excavator ride! They had the best day learning letters of the alphabet!”
“Blippi and Meekah’s ROARing Dino Day”: “Dino Blippi and Dino Elmo join paleontologist Meekah and dinosaur expert Big Bird to explore Field Station: Dinosaurs with a prehistoric tour guide, Stanley-Saurus, by their side. Curiosity leads the way and they can’t wait to see a little T-Rex, play hide and seek with a dino twist, and explore while learning all about dinosaurs from Stanley-Saurus. All of the dino activity inspires Blippi and Meekah to dance, so everyone stomps along to the Dino Dance Song!”
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