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November 2006

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Brian O'Neill

Bad news kids, according to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiggles

Greg Page Leaves the Group
On 30 November 2006, lead singer and founding member Greg Page announced his retirement from the Wiggles due to a chronic, non-life threatening illness called orthostatic intolerance, which causes low blood pressure when sufferers stand up. He has been replaced by his longterm understudy, Sam Moran, who was an understudy for the Wiggles for five years and had already stood in for Page on 150 shows. Greg officially handed over his yellow "skivvy" (shirt) to Sam in this video on The Wiggles official web site. Page had suffered several recent bouts of ill-health, including a double hernia in 2005; he also collapsed several times during a US tour in early 2006, forcing him to return to Australia for treatment. He did not accompany the group on their most recent US tour.

Let the weeping begin...

 wiggle momma

we once saw the wiggles w/o murray (who had a family crisis at the time ) in toronto.

both my 4 year old and i felt we got only 3/4 of the experience. although ryan, who is canadian, filled in, (and much was made of ryan's canadian citizenship and he did an excellent job of wearing the red skivvy) it wasn't the same for me and my daughter.

each of the wiggles except jeff (who hasn't missed a performance in 15 years) have at one time or another missed concerts due to illness or family necessity. the fans have been understanding 'cause life happens.

this is different. greg is not missing a concert, or even a tour
he's going into semi-retirement. While we are all praying for him... i do believe it will hurt (somewhat) the brand

i think this is different from blue's clues. the brand in blue's clues is the dog not steve or joe.
nor is this sesame street (where characters have come and gone for various reasons). sesame street is upfront about a character's leaaving (mr. hooper and "the other mr. noodle" (michael jeter) died. others 'moved away') the brand here is greg, murray, anthony and jeff.

for the wiggles to survive, they have to be upfront w/ the kids (as they were at the toronto concert and as i might poing out they are on sesame street) about greg. hopefully greg will be better soon. if they need a permenant replacement for the yellow skivvy, they will have to honest w/ the kids about why and create a new personality/character for the wearer of the yellow skivvy - for someone to assume greg's personality/character would ring false to the kids. (i might add at the toronto concert ryan did not assume murray's personality/character - he was ryan - w/ his own quirks, and schtick)

Laura

Molly, another excellent example. My kids too watch Blue's Clues. And I thought it was over when Steve left. But the overall brand stayed the same and with the very similar Steve (his younger brother I believe) stepping in the brand did not lose a beat.

Laura

Thanks Neil. You are right, The Wiggles are a powerful brand and the power of it is much greater than any one person. The characters built the brand but the brand now The Wiggles. Now after so many years of success other players can step in and the brand survives. Thanks too for the High 5 case story, very interesting.

Molly Bruce

My first child was between 2 and 3 when Steve left Blue's clues and was replaced by brother Joe...or was it cousin Joe? The goofines was the only thing that was the same. The shirts changed, the opening songs changed and so many other things. I was so hurt. My son however, was totally unaffected. He's since grown a bit and Blue's clues is only interesting if it's little sister's turn to pick a video. Strangely enough, they still re-run the old Blue's clues with Steve. My kids have never asked why. They seem to share equal affection for both characters. I think the Wiggles are not threatened. As long as their replacement has a strong, distinct, leading voice and presence; even if he doesn't have a strong resemblance to Greg. Remember they do have a turn over with their demographic. Kids grow a year or two and lose interest and move on to Power Rangers and Power Puff Girls. Less singing and more action. In a short time, kiddies will be none the wiser and the Wiggles will continued to get paid, courtesy of Mom and Dad and the rest.

Neil Bull

The real question here is who is driving The Wiggles brand?

You have nailed it on the head when you say "my kids could have cared less"

The truth is that the target audience for any brand is what matters... they will understand that he is "sick" and that is enought for them.

I think that for the Wiggles brand in the long term, it might serve as a reminder that their brand is bigger that any one person, and that is the hallmark of a truely great brand.

Take another great Australian childrens export, High 5 who have now replicated themselves accross the globe. High 5 has effectively become a franchisable operation, multiplying its ability to impact through live performance. It is the brand that is multiplied, and not the people (even though the selection of personell is deliberate and clearly linked to original cast members).

High 5 has not skipped a beat since the original Kathlene, (its most talented singer) left to have her first child. Another "Kathelene" figure subsisitutes in (called "Sun") and the High 5 brand is unimpacted.

As long as the Wiggles have 4 quality singers in those colored tops, consistantly delivering their unique proposition of being the "U2 for the little ones" and "playing up to them", their brand will stay strong well after the original members retire. Kids do not overanalyse like adults... Bono leaves, and U2 die... Greg leaves and The Wiggles are still The Wiggles.

Neil Bull, Melbourne Australia

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