If you’ve got kids, and they’re between the ages of, oh I dunno, maybe 2 and 7, chances are they love PAW Patrol.
The adventures of those talking Canadian puppies in an array of high tech rescue vehicles has been captivating children since August 2013. And of course, the company behind Paw Patrol, Spin Master, makes millions from those lovable pubs (literally, they made something like $2 billion in 2022).
And while you, the adult parents of those captivated kiddies, might have had a lot of time to ponder the various questions that arise from watching countless episodes of PAW Patrol (who funds them? Where are Ryder’s parents? Does Mayor Humdinger have some sort of mental health problem? Why don’t they just fine Humdinger every time he does something stupid and they need to bail him out??) – the biggest question might just be: Why is PAW Patrol so popular?
Why are kids drawn to episodes of PAW Patrol like a junkie to a crack pipe?
Lets take a look.
The appeal of PAW Patrol
First of all…
They’re puppies. And who doesn’t love puppies?
Next up. They’re talking puppies.
OK, still with me here?
And thirdly, they’re talking puppies who have access to an impressive line up of rescue vehicles. And who doesn’t like rescue vehicles?
In short, the guys behind PAW Patrol stumbled on a fairly failsafe mixture of cute animals and cool cars. So the basic ingredients for the success of PAW Patrol are one of relatively timeless appeal. After all, just watch your kids faces when they see a real fire engine, helicopter or police truck. (Recycling trucks maybe less so, but hey).
Now, with this basic mixture of simple and appealing elements, we also have….
The bad guys
The main bad guy in PAW Patrol is the Mayor of Foggy Bottom, a town near Adventure Bay that we never quite get to see. But it must be kinda rubbish because the mayor, Humdinger, is always hanging out in Adventure Bay waiting for an opportunity to do something idiotic.
So the idiotic bad guy and his nefarious kitties always end up needing rescuing thanks to his silly schemes. So far, so easy to laugh at.
Later episodes of PAW Patrol have also managed to include a royal puppy from Barkingburg (basically London, with castles and a princess and … Dragons, which London obviously doesn’t have) who is always up to no good; a mechanical robot cat who eats metal; the genius nephew of Mayor Humdinger; a REALLY annoying woman who flies around collecting shiny things and a genius cat with magical super powers.
In short, they have managed to keep things fresh by moving the focus of PAW Patrol to different locations with different bad guys and even roll out new vehicles to keep the attention (and get parents spending more on merch).
One final element that has made PAW Patrol so popular is the formula of every adventure. Something happens in Adventure Bay (or wherever the action is due to happen), the pups assemble and Ryder, the world’s best funded and strategically minded 10 year old, plans the rescue.
Marshall does something silly (usually being clumsy), Chase does something cool and the shows token female, Skye, saves the day in her cool pink ‘copter.
The bad guys end up looking like idiots, and everything turns out perfectly fine after some mild peril.
In short: it’s colourful, noisy, exciting and inoffensive fun for kids.
Oh, but wait. There’s more.
By the sheer fact that it is EVERYWHERE Paw Patrol manages to ensure that at some point your kids will be into it. And there is some form of ‘affordable’ low grade merchandise everywhere from Poundland to Waitrose, and obviously every toy shop in between.
In fact, a quick Google search turns up 7.5 million results for Paw Patrol merchandise. And of course, there is plenty of Paw Patrol kit on Amazon too.
Spin Master have clearly found a winning formula and so long as we keep on having kids (which it seems we are), there’ll always be a willing audience to buy more PAW Patrol merchandise.
And that basically ensures that PAW Patrol remains popular until the end of time.
Yes, your grandkids will likely be watching a PAW Patrol spinoff.
Get used to it.