Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oscar the Grouch Promoting Waste Reduction in Canada

By way of Gary Rusak over at KidScreen, news that this year's annual Canada wide Waste Reduction Week will be brought to you by none other than Oscar the Grouch. Rusak writes:
Oscar the Grouch, with his penchant for collecting trash and reusing it, may just be the original and strongest advocate for recycling [...] The grumpy green Sesame Street character is participating in the week-long event from October 19 to 25 through two television public service announcements, promotional posters and a public relations campaign. The first PSA will debut on Canadian national broadcast outlets later this month in which Oscar explains ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

This "Waste Reduction Week" appears to have some pretty heavy associations with corporate sponsors (some of which produce more waste than all the kids the Canada combined, I'm sure) and not all that much publicity, so the inclusion of a beloved Sesame Street character could definitely provide a much needed profile boost for the whole reduce part of the old "reduce, reuse, recycle" strategy (funny how the first two are so often left out of the equation). I think this generally sounds like a pretty excellent match-up: Oscar loves trash, kids love getting involved in environmentalism, and so the idea of pairing him with the reuse/recycle message makes a lot of sense. He's also been used in similar campaigns in the US.

And in other Muppet News...

The Jim Henson company is currently shopping/launching a number of new kids' properties...Five years after buying back the company from German conglomerate EM.TV, the Henson kids appear to have worked out quite a multi-tiered strategy for reviving the Henson media brand. And the company appears to be focused on recovering its roots in combining educational/social messages with fun, imaginative themes and characters. New projects include a CGI series called Dinosaur Train (tentatively linked to PBS Kids), and The Skrumps (character-based series with built in collectible-toy tie ins, first launched on Yahoo!Kids as a webisode series). Continuing in the Jim Henson puppetry tradition (and unmatched expertise), the company is launching a bedtime-focused short-form (i.e. interstitial) series called Pajanimals on PBS Kids Sprout in November, and is working on a number of other undisclosed cross-media properties. All of this in addition to its existing new properties, which include Sid the Science Kid (also on PBS Kids, and the first full series produced by the Jim Henson Digital Puppetry Studio), Unstable Fables (direct-to-DVD series) and Frances (another PBS series). Be sure to check out Muppet NewsFlash for ongoing coverage of all this. Gotta love the die hard Henson fans!

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