Hasbro’s Cat O’Brien on the purpose that propels the PEPPA PIG brand

Cat O’Brien – Director of UK Licensing Consumer Products at Hasbro – details the collaborations that showcase how creative licensees can be with PEPPA PIG.

Cat, it’s great to catch up. To kick us off, what set you on the path to a career in licensing? Was it always on the cards?
Always great to catch up with you as well! Licensing wasn’t always in my plans per se, but it did play a major role in my early career. While I started my professional life as a sales executive at ITV, I soon transitioned to LazyTown Entertainment where I served as the head of Brand and Licensing Europe.

Following that, I held a variety of sales and retail management roles where I grew my love of brands and built the skills to end up where I am now as the Director of UK Licensing Consumer Products at Hasbro.

The licensing industry is infectious and has become a second family in a way… Having now spent over 17 years in the industry, I’ve not only built great business relationships but friends for life. People don’t leave this industry and that says everything.

“Continuously getting to bring to life unique brand experiences to keep PEPPA PIG fresh and relevant to today’s audiences is an honour.”

Absolutely. Now, we’re here to talk PEPPA PIG, as the brand celebrates 20 years this year. What makes it an exciting brand to work on?
PEPPA PIG’s enduring legacy is exciting in itself! It’s always a thrill to be able to work on a brand that has been around so long and carries so much influence in the kids and family space. Continuously getting to ideate on and bring to life such unique and innovative brand experiences to keep PEPPA PIG fresh and relevant to today’s audiences is such an honour. Whether it’s something par for the course or entirely new brand experiences, we’re able to broaden PEPPA PIG’s horizons in ways that everyone in the whole family can enjoy.

Additionally, Hasbro is a purpose-driven company, and PEPPA PIG is a brand and television series that was created with a very specific purpose: to help pre-schoolers gain the confidence to “jump in” to life’s adventures. To see the impact Peppa and her family have on little ones – whether it’s teaching them to find their voice, try new things or build better relationships with their family members – makes the brand a joy to come back to, over and over again.

Cat O'Brien, Hasbro, Peppa Pig, Fashion

What ranges do you feel highlight how creative partners are being with the brand?
With over 1,000 licensees worldwide, there’s no shortage of creative collaborations to choose from! In the UK market specifically, one winning collab is our bed and bath range with MORI, the award-winning sustainable baby and toddler brand.

The line hits close to home for young Peppa fans through clever and fun branded designs into everyday clothing. In the daywear range for example, we’re offering a reversible jacket where one side is made of striped ribbed fabric, while the other features a fun Peppa & George print.

Cat O'Brien, Hasbro, Peppa Pig, Fashion

For bath time, we’re offering hooded towels that are made from soft cotton which is super absorbent and long-lasting and keeps the warmth in for little ones.

Cat O'Brien, Hasbro, Peppa Pig, Fashion

Adding onto our PEPPA PIG clothing portfolio is our new Jojo Maman Bébé collection for new PEPPA PIG-themed items, with everything from dresses and dungarees, PJs to party dresses and waterproofs to wetsuits – each adorned with kids’ favourite familiar Peppa characters.

It’s fun to see how JoJo Maman Bébé used the characters to stay on theme and tell little stories on the clothing. For example, the Waterproof Fisherman’s Jacket features Peppa and Geroge splashing in puddles on the front, and the Towelling Hooded Poncho shows Peppa and Mummy Pig snorkelling together on the front.

Cat O'Brien, Hasbro, Peppa Pig, Fashion

Fun! It feels like apparel is a space ripe for creative designs with PEPPA.
Absolutely. Another example on the clothing front is our recent collaboration with Trotters for an exclusive fashion range using the bespoke Liberty Fabric for a fun and stylish collection. From adorable dresses to playful knitwear and accessories, each piece in the collection reflects the essence of PEPPA’s adventures – while exuding the sophistication and elegance synonymous with Liberty’s iconic prints.

The collaboration aims to celebrate childhood joy while offering parents a range of stylish and versatile options for their little ones.

Cat O'Brien, Hasbro, Peppa Pig, Fashion

Great picks. Alongside apparel, which other categories do you feel Peppa is most ‘at home’ within?
I can confidently say that as a global phenomenon, PEPPA PIG has been successful across several categories, but a few that the brand shine in are toys and games, apparel, publishing, location-based entertainment, and music!

In addition to the LEGO DUPLO sets, Ty Inc. has expanded its lineup of adorable Beanie Babies with a limited-edition Gold Tag PEPPA PIG item. In the UK and EMEA, we introduced two refreshed PEPPA PIG magazines with Story House Egmont. Additionally, we have beautiful PEPPA-inspired fashions from Trotters and Uniqlo Baby, as well as footwear from Bums + Roses and Melissa Footwear.

We also have in-person attractions all over the world, including PEPPA PIG World at Paulton’s Park and the PEPPA PIG Afternoon Tea Bus in the UK. We have two PEPPA PIG Play Cafes in China as well! There’s more to come this year with brand-new PEPPA PIG theme parks arriving in Germany, as well as Texas, the second US location following the successful Florida park’s opening.

Cat O'Brien, Hasbro, Peppa Pig, Fashion

Of note, music plays such a vital role in the show, and we’ve seen some great success with PEPPA PIG launching studio albums. And most recently, our first ever cover song with Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ which is all about kids finding their voice and standing your ground. This initiative fits seamlessly with PEPPA’s brand value of helping kids build confidence.

An expansive line-up! On the flip-side, how do you approach bringing the brand into new sectors with exciting possibilities, where there might not be as ‘obvious’ a fit?
At Hasbro, all our programs are strategically grounded in what fans and families around the world tell us they want, need and feel about our beloved franchises – such as PEPPA PIG. Through our indispensable Analytics, Insights and Measurement group (AIM), we are able to develop deep knowledge of the consumers who engage with our brands, providing us with a wealth of information that informs how we expand our brands to meet demand for the current consumer.

Once we’ve identified a new sector, product range, vertical, etc to enter, we go through several strategic steps of testing with internal and external stakeholders to determine the best way to move forward and if the opportunity is worth pursuing. At the end of the day, we want to ensure that any category or program we move forward with stays true to the brand and that it, or the associated product reflect our brand’s values.

“With over 1,000 licensees worldwide, there’s no shortage of creative collaborations to choose from!”

Are there any areas you feel are ‘untapped’ with regards to Peppa?
We certainly have our pulse on a few areas to expand the PEPPA PIG brand into, with LBE being a priority area of focus. With Max-Matching Entertainments Co., Ltd, we recently announced the construction of the world’s largest stand-alone PEPPA PIG outdoor theme park in Asia, which is slated to open in 2027.

Another key area of growth lies in the FMCG space with ample opportunity for growth and further PEPPA-fication. We are always looking to place PEPPA PIG in areas our consumers are and in recent years, FMCG has grown as an increasingly popular place to license and grow a brand. For example, this year, we’re thrilled to bring Peppa characters to Drink Blocks alongside other fan-favourite Hasbro brands to hydrate both the minds and bodies of children!

Not all popular kids’ shows translate into licensing successfully. Why do you think Peppa has endured in this way for two decades?
PEPPA PIG’s enduring affinity is a testament to how the character has been developed as preschoolers’ “first best friend.” With young ones growing up with a deep love and appreciation for the character and her family, their desire to remain involved with the brand grows strong – and lingers well into childhood.

Not only does Peppa have an impact on kids – she is super influential among parents as well due to the series’ relatability among families and everyday life lessons that are key to children’s early development.

Additionally, the show continues to keep up with current times and offers brand-new storylines that connect with our key audiences. It routinely evolves to better match society’s communication styles and topics covered today and represents more diverse family units to help better reflect the world through kids’ lenses today.

A great note to end on. Thanks again Cat.

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