We're happy to welcome Blippi to the CARD.com roster! Stevin John, the creator and star, was nice enough to sit down and share the story behind the character, as well as what it means to make an educational program.
Where did the inspiration behind Blippi come from?
I noticed my nephew, who was 2 years old at the time, watching YouTube videos for young kids. First thing that stuck out to me was that it wasn’t that good of content. Before Blippi, I was doing a lot of work with online video production and commercials, so I had a good understanding of how Internet viewership worked, so I just thought, well maybe I can come up with something better for my nephew that he might like.
Did you design and develop the look yourself?
Yeah, it’s a funny story, actually. When I first sketched out the character, the ideas I had were absolutely atrocious. The outfit had about every color you could imagine – with polka dots and lightning bolts and laser beams – just a mess of ideas, it was all very noisy.
I took a step back, though, and dived into the science of color. I made everything more simple, and noticed that blue and orange really fit the idea of what I had in mind for this character. Then, I just kind of thought, “Okay, what would look presentable and cool, but if a child wore it, they would look absolutely adorable.” After that, Blippi all sort of came together from there.
What does Blippi represent to you and what do you want fans to take away when they watch an episode on YouTube?
I wanted to show kids the things they love, especially things my nephew loved, like tractors and diggers and stuff like that. But also, I wanted to represent an older brother or a friend to these children. I think that’s especially important when doing something like this, where it’s educational, but also fun and relatable, and tie it to the things kids love – but make it feel like it's coming from someone a kid would look up to.
Why did you pick YouTube as the platform to first introduce Blippi?
The main reason is that it's free for the viewer. I wanted it so that any kid with access to the Internet could watch, but also because it’s an amazing platform. They’re giving this bandwidth to both content creators and viewers for free, and I don’t know if people realize how much it would cost to keep a site up and running when you’re streaming hours and hours for millions of views. It's really a win-win for everybody.
Does Blippi teach children something in each episode?
Yeah, I definitely try to keep every episode educational in some way, whether it’s about numbers, colors, shapes, and so on. Not every video is necessarily about one thing in particular, but I'll phrase things like, “Whoa, look at this red thing – or look at this round thing!” You know, but super casually, so kids watching get embedded with information without them even realizing that they are learning.
How do you feel about the new partnership between Blippi and CARD.com?
I’m pretty darn excited! I think since there’s a lot of parents that really love what I’m about and the character that I’ve created, so they want to show their support in many ways. Some ways that do that now is through social media and how they comment – it’s really insane to see the engagement from parents on my pages compared to other children shows. It really seems like that parents connect with me as much as the kids.
Have you done any live shows?
I haven't done any live shows yet, but there are plans for that in the future. I have done a bunch of meet and greets, though, and those are amazing. With the viewership being on YouTube mainly, I don't get to see the fans too often. So, meet and greets are really fun for me, and super fun for the kids - seeing the kids see Blippi is amazing!
Where can you find the show?
You can watch it on YouTube, Amazon Video, Kidoodle TV, and Roku. Also, we are currently under negotiations with a very reputable live show production company, so hopefully the tour will be starting Fall 2017!