I was delighted when I first found Peppa Pig on TV. It's a charming, funny series made with style and panache. Both my kids enjoy it (although Himself feels too old for it now) and it doesn't revolve around anyone, male or female, with an unfeasible physique (allowing for the expressionistic extremes of Daddy Pigs rotundity).
However, as the years have passed I've become increasingly bewildered by the depth and tenacity of the cross marketing. There are books, obviously, and then toys - well, okay - but then you start burrowing down into the wendy houses, bed sheets, party invitations, puppet sets, Easter eggs, cultery sets and anything that any child is ever likely to need ever.
This seems to be the strategy for kids properties these days. It's almost impossible to buy toys that are not related to media or to watch a show that's not trying to sell you toys. Star Wars is the worst (obviously!) but at least it aims for an age group outside for the nursery (even if nursery age kids are sometimes caught in the cross fire).
Lego is a serial offender these days - Star Wars Lego was cute, but the new Ben 10 Lego toys are wearyingly awful. (Himself looked them over long and hard at the most recent disbursement of pocket money before opting for a couple of smaller Lego Atlantis toys - a good decision, in my opinion). These are not cool toys created by people who love children. These are cynical marketing ploys aimed at fleecing kids from their cash. Adults are somewhat to blame, as the trend of Peter Pan-ish nerds to buy toys like this has already made the Star Wars line overly model-oriented (rather than emphasising free building).
Ah well, I suppose it was ever so. They'll be old enough soon to see for themselves, I hope. In the meantime, I guess we'll just have to renew our subs to Okido and keep our fingers crossed.