Cartoon Network and all that jazz.

Viewers like me who watched the world of animation evolve on the television screen are familiar with the cable channel Cartoon Network. It aims to brand the experience of embracing growth development in their audiences albeit unconventionally. Cartoon Network successfully pulls off this branding strategy through their original series they produce and commercials. It is also important to mention how large the demographic spread is for this cable channel. Cartoon Network unusually desires to appeal to all ages of people from kids to teens to adults.


Cartoon Network keeps viewers entertained by providing them with relatable cartoon characters in unconventional circumstances from their productions. Currently, Cartoon Network’s most popular animated television series are Steven Universe, Adventure Time and Regular Show. Steven Universe is a fantasy, coming-of-age story that focuses on the titular character’s struggle to balance understanding his own identity as a half-alien and half-human while protecting humanity from monsters and other threats. Adventure Time and Regular Show depict the daily lives of their characters engaging in surreal, extreme, and often supernatural misadventures. The narratives of these shows fall under the umbrella of characters attempting to embrace the developmental stages of life in the midst of fantastical exterior forces. These productions brand Cartoon Network as a cable network that provides audiences with a place they can grow and develop in spite of what they’re going through.

Additionally, Cartoon Network is starting to take revolutionary steps into appealing to a wide variety of  identity and social constructs. Viewers that watch Steven Universe will quickly learn of its affirming representation of queer themes, such as the androgynous fusion Stevonnie and the openly romantic relationship between the Gems Ruby and Sapphire. The series is not afraid to unabashedly show the younger audiences positive representation of LGBT relationships and it’s admirable that CN is allowing Sugar to produce a television series that has endearing characters queer youth can identify with on the prospect of love. Despite having two male leads, Adventure Time is particularly strong when it comes to questioning and challenging gender stereotypes because Finn and Jake are anything but charming and chivalrous heroes. Sarah Banet-Weiser talks about in her article that Nickelodeon “establishes a discrete boundary between adults and children” creating a branding strategy and specific consumer market that empowers children and makes the claim they are on the “kid’s side.” While Nickelodeon prides itself on this, Cartoon Network blurs the line between age groups with these programs and has matured.

In its early phases of branding when it first launched in 1992, Cartoon Network relied on commercials showcasing characters such as Yogi Bear, the Jetsons, Tom & Jerry, and other Hanna-Barbera classics to hype viewers because it was the first 24-hour single-genre channel with animation as its main theme. In just 30 seconds, Cartoon Network packed this promo with explosive animated short clips of various wild scenes in order to seize attention . Strategically, the live-action snippets feature people from every age group and different racial identities which sell that this is a network that all can enjoy. Cartoon Network wanted to make it clear that they were a network that was broadcasting the best cartoons and knew how to “talk toon.”

Banet-Weiser, S. (2007). The Nickelodeon brand: Buying and selling the audience.
        Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship.

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