Hopefully you tuned in yesterday for part 1 in our adventure in getting to know The Wumblers and its creator, Laura J. Wellington. Rarely is there such a heart-warming story behind the creation of a new show, and as such it seemed fitting to devote an entire piece to the backstory before moving on to the property itself and where it’s going.
Just as Laura Wellington is not your ordinary businesswoman, The Wumblers is not your typical cartoon. As discussed in yesterday’s installment, Ms. Wellington is firmly ensconced at the development helm. “Nothing that is developed for Wumblers I don’t know about or I haven’t approved,” she says. “I’m very hands-on as far as the creation of the show, because it’s very important to me. Because I’ve seen it… productions where people didn’t take it as seriously. The quality has to go in, first, and everything else will be built around it.”
Given her insistence on creative control, you might wonder if the Giddy Gander Company is a dictatorship. But it doesn’t take long to realize that, again, this is a model built very much on the ideal of motherhood. “You have to work with your partners as well, and hear them. They know their business. You should never be inflexible. You have to rely on the experts. I am certainly listening to all my producers and licensors and partners; they all have a strong say and voice in what we create. That’s called mutual respect and building a brand together.”
Indeed, a peek into the Wumblers brand does seem to be a very different model than what is typical for the world of mass-marketing. And that’s because Wellington is not concerned about making dollars so much as she’s concerned about making a difference.
“We are not going to look to take the entire marketplace by storm in one big sweep; that’s not our goal. We want it to be a brand and not just a moment in time. There’s a difference between a brand and a moment.” When pressed about plans for The Wumblers, she becomes protective: “If you’re looking to gain the whole world, but your brand doesn’t have a soul… that’s very good for you and you’ll be happy in doing that. But this brand has a soul. It came out of many souls. It will continue to. That means you have to protect the brand.”
So what is this brand actually all about? Have a quick look at Wumbleton:
From the Giddy Gander Company landing page:
The Wumblers are a sweet-natured, whimsical collection of characters who live in a world enough like our own to make sense but different enough to be enthralling. The Wumblers are multi-colored, bulbous-shaped characters whose food falls from the sky, whose babies come from watermelons, and whose stories blend inspiration, imagination, and fun. Spiritually and globally conscious, The Wumblers devotes each and every episode to making the world a better place for ALL.
(I’m thinking I could get behind that babies-coming-from-watermelons thing. That sounds a lot easier and more refreshing than the way I did it.)
The Wumblers is a good fit for the the Trinity Broadcasting Network (where it will begin airing in September, as discussed yesterday) because it is intended to be inspirational. This is not to be confused with religious or dogmatic; it’s merely intended to be about wholesome family values and living together in diversity and harmony. (You can read more here.)
And if that doesn’t impress you, maybe this will: The Wumblers is privately funded entirely through “families devoted to the welfare of children,” and in addition to the crack team of business professionals at Giddy Gander, Wellington put together a National Moms Advisory Panel whose “experience and insight into the needs and preferences of the family remains invaluable” to the development of The Wumblers. There’s no lip service here; the devotion to developing a product that’s good for our children is being put into action every day.
And so I doubt it comes as any surprise, by now, that charity is also an integral part of what The Wumblers is about. A portion of the proceeds from the brand will be distributed through the Dean R. Wellington Foundation to a number of worthy charities, with recipients ranging from Make-A-Wish Foundation to Slow Food USA.
It’s easy to see why Ms. Wellington is proud of The Wumblers and what she views as her late husband’s legacy. “You can create wonderful television that’s fun for children, teaches them lessons, and adds to people’s lives—families’ lives—and do something different, and at the same time, you can make money at it. It doesn’t have to be an either/or thing. You can change peoples lives and make money at it. And then,” although we are speaking by phone, here I swear I can hear the smile stretch across her face, “you have the ability to give back, and change more lives.”
I suspect that very few people who come into contact with Laura Wellington don’t feel their lives have been changed.
Many thanks to Giddy Gander and Laura Wellington for graciously agreeing to be featured here at the Ty’s blog. Stay tuned in the coming months for new about upcoming Wumblers products right here at Ty’s Toy Box!