Friday, January 9, 2009
Spongebob Picture Gallery
Through-out the run of SpongeBob SquarePants, the SpongeBob character has become very popular with both children and adults. The character's popularity has spread from Nickelodeon's original demographic of two to eleven year olds, to teenagers and adults, including college campuses and celebrities such as Sigourney Weaver and Bruce Willis. Salon.com indicates that the unadulterated innocence of SpongeBob is what makes the character so appealing. SpongeBob has also become popular with gay men, despite Stephen Hillenburg saying that none of the characters are homosexual. The character draws fans due to his flamboyant lifestyle and tolerant attitude, and he is seen as a gay icon.
The popularity of SpongeBob translated well into sales figures. In 2002, SpongeBob SquarePants dolls sold at a rate of 75,000 per week, which was faster than Tickle Me Elmo dolls were selling at the time. SpongeBob has gained popularity in Japan, specifically with Japanese women. The Japanese market is seen as a significant market to break into. Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom purposefully targeted marketing at women in the country as a method of building the SpongeBob SquarePants brand. Sceptics initially doubted that SpongeBob could be popular in Japan as the character's design is very different to already popular designs for Hello Kitty and Pikachu.
Not all reception for SpongeBob has been positive. AskMen's Top 10: Irritating '90s Cartoon Characters ranked SpongeBob at number four. The publication said that his well meaning attitude is extremely annoying.