Continental conversation: French animators Xilam talk 20 years of Oggy, the return or Mr Magoo and breaking the preschool market

The French production company and animation specialist, Xilam has been entertaining children across Europe for the last 20 years. 

Next year will see the outfit celebrate two decades of its flagship animated series, Oggy and the Cockroaches with a host of live events, workshops, treasure hunts and even an Oggy and the Cockroaches themed escape room.

But that’s not all Xilam has up its sleeves for the milestone year, and having recently secured the rights to bring back a reimagined take on Mr Magoo, it has global expansion firmly set within its reach. talks to Xilam’s senior vice president of global licensing, Marie-Laure Marchand about the firm’s plans for the anniversary year and beyond. 

It’s a big year for Oggy and the Cockroaches – what plans have you got around the 20th anniversary of the brand?

We have extensive marketing and partnership plans in place to celebrate Oggy and the Cockroaches 20th anniversary in France that started in October, which agents will be able to replicate globally. 

Firstly, we’ve kicked off a partnership with Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris that will see young visitors receive an Oggy branded booklet explaining how to draw a cartoon through Oggy’s eyes and give them to the chance to enjoy animation workshops. Alongside this, we’re teaming up with L’Aquarium de Paris to provide every child with a booklet featuring a treasure hunt, allowing kids to learn more about sea life and its animals with Oggy.

We’re also strengthening Oggy’s presence in the live brand extensions space and recently opened a permanent Oggy and the Cockroaches themed escape room in Paris. It’s based on the show’s fifth season, “Oggy through the Ages”, and the fully branded experience gives kids and families an opportunity to solve a series of puzzles and riddles against the clock.

An Oggy and the Cockroaches branded truck is also touring across French cities offering meet and greets and lots of fun activities at each location. The final destination is Salon du Chocolat Junior (The Chocolate Fair), in partnership with our broadcast partner, Gulli.

The anniversary is being supported by PR activity, alongside a media campaign with Oggy’s French FTA broadcaster, Gulli and national radio station, France Bleu. 

Gulli recently hosted a special Oggy night and will air the Oggy movie, as well as new episodes. Throughout the celebrations, we’re running an extensive #Oggy20 digital campaign encompassing user generated content and influencer partnerships. We’re also hosting a competition to win a VIP weekend in Paris that will include a visit to the Escape Room, a trip around the Xilam studio, entrance to the Musée des Arts et Métiers and lots of great Oggy merchandise.

Over in Italy, Funwood and Discovery Italy, the brand’s local licensing agent and broadcaster partner (K2 and Frisbee channels), are together planning an extensive line-up of activity that will include a wide campaign against bullying and pro-kindness utilising Oggy as a spokesperson, along with other fun activities for fans including meet and greets at Leolandia theme park over Christmas.

How are you growing the brand’s international consumer products portfolio?

We have robust Oggy licensing programmes in key markets including France, Italy, South East Asia and India, covering all major categories. 

In Oggy’s home territory France, we’re expanding the merchandise offering and our new master toy partner, Lansay, launched its first range earlier this year with a new line on its way for Christmas.

Moving forward, as we continue to grow the merchandise line-up for Oggy, apparel will be a key focus and we’re currently working with a French agency to develop fresh mood boards and find trends that match Oggy’s DNA. These new designs will be offered to licensees and retailers.

We’re also building upon Oggy’s popularity in the digital space and our mobile game partner in India, Nazara, has just launched its second game “Oggy Super Speed Racing” across Asia, the Middle-East and Latin America, with a third game in development for launch later this year.

We’re very excited to see Mr Magoo make a comeback next year – why is now the right time for the brand’s revival? Can you talk us through the plans for the brand in the consumer product space?

Mr Magoo is based on the hugely successful 1960’s cartoon of the same name, and our hilarious new take was commissioned by France Télévisions, K2 Italy and Cartoon Network Asia. The series is currently in production and will be fully delivered by Spring 2019.

There’s been a huge level of interest in the show from broadcasters all around the world and we’ve have already secured over a dozen pre-sales for the new series, including ITV and CITV for the UK market, as well as Super RTL in Germany and RTVE in Spain. 

We brought Mr Magoo to BLE for the first time this year and the property will be a key licensing focus for us in the future, starting with France and the UK. 

As we start assembling the consumer products line-up, our initial key categories include publishing, accessories and apparel.

Can you talk us through your pre-school IP Paprika? How does this new brand position Xilam as a studio across the age groups? How will you achieve stand out in a very competitive area?

Paprika is our first ever preschool property; it’s bright, bold but utilises our experience in comedy to feature humour that appeals to this younger audience. 

The show promotes positive messages around inclusion and careful consideration went into showing young audiences that Stan’s disability is not a problem as he enjoys everyday adventures with Olivia and friends. 

The show recently started airing on free-to-air channels France 5 in France and Frisbee in Italy, with ratings already looking strong. It’s also just launched in EMEA on Disney Junior and Netflix is on board as our worldwide SVOD partner.

The show has a unique Japanese kawaii-inspired aesthetic which, combined with the great storylines and endearing characters, makes it really appealing for L&M opportunities. 

Paprika has also been designed as a playground for kids’ imaginations and features distinct settings that would lead very naturally into exciting toy and game products. The bright colour palette and unique props found in the show also lend themselves very well to the apparel category, alongside back-to-school, bedding home decor and many more products.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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