Disney’s Muppets, the global franchise originally created by Jim Henson, are working with Google’s YouTube in a bid to broaden the brand to younger audiences via mashup videos with a range of YouTube stars.
The Mouse House’s Muppets Studio and YouTube Space L.A., the studio Google funds to encourage creators to create video for the platform, have teamed with YouTubers including a capella vocalist Mike Tompkins (pictured above, with Miss Piggy), musician Lindsey Stirling, Crash Course, VSauce3, Barely Political and Mental Floss. The videos they have created will appear on the Muppets’ official YouTube channel, as well as on their own channels, and promoted on the Muppets’ social-media pages.
“The Muppets have been entertaining and inspiring YouTube audiences for several years, and we are thrilled to re-engage current fans while capturing new ones through these exciting collaborations,” said Debbie McClellan, VP of the Muppets Studio. “We really enjoyed our residency at YouTube Space L.A. and look forward to many future projects together.”
Disney’s Maker Studios team advised Muppets Studios on collaborations, channel strategy and working with YouTube.
The Muppets at YouTube Space L.A. videos have been slated to go live from late April through June 2015. In addition, the Muppets will be releasing original content created exclusively for the Muppets’ YouTube channel throughout the rest of the year.
“YouTube Space L.A. is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of storytellers through innovative programming and partnerships that push the creative envelope,” Liam Collins, head of YouTube Space L.A., said in a statement. “It’s not every day that our YouTube creators get to work with the world’s most famous frog, the world’s most beautiful pig, a standup comedy bear and the drummer of the almost-legendary band the Electric Mayhem.”
The first of the Muppets-YouTuber videos is from VSauce3 — which has more than 2.3 million subscribers and 192 million views on YouTube. That stars Gonzo and Rizzo, along with VSauce’s Jake Roper and Matthew Santoro, in a detective-themed story titled “What if Quicksilver Ran Past You.” Launched in early April, the video has already generated more than 1.2 million views.
Here is the Muppets’ sked with YouTube talent as it stands now:
- May 4: Mike Tompkins and the Muppets give an a cappella lesson with Echosmith’s “Cool Kids”;
- May 4: Mental Floss enlists Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker to help answer science-related questions submitted by their viewers for “Big Questions” that airs every Monday;
- May 6: Mental Floss sits down with Miss Piggy, Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, the Electric Mayhem and more for a special Muppet edition of “The List Show” that airs every Wednesday;
- May 7: Lindsey Stirling performs “Pure Imagination” with the whole Muppet gang and a special surprise star;
- June 3: John and Hank Green from “Crash Course” encounter a classroom full of rowdy Muppets.