This story received second place children's writing in the 2011 NAA Foundation Youth Content Awards. It was originally published in the May 2010 issue of FlipSide magazine.
Every so often, the Charleston Town Center Mall welcomes the friendly face of a children's television show character for a meet-and-greet with customers. Recently, Plex, the yellow robot from Nickelodeon's "Yo Gabba Gabba," visited the toddlers of Charleston.
Have you ever wondered how the mall puts these meet-and-greets together?
"We need to know what everyone watches," said Marketing Director Lisa McCracken "It needs to be kid friendly."
When planning an event, McCracken and her marketing team have a list of characters that they go through and cross out the characters that have already visited. Then, they choose between the characters that are left.
After they have chosen a character, Marketing Coordinator Angie Paxton goes through a list of contacts. She finds the right one and calls or e-mails the company to get a costume. Then, the company sends her the height requirement for the costume.
If one of the mall's Junior or Teen Board members fits the requirement, he or she will play the role. If none of the members fit the requirements, then the company will have to send an actor or actress.
The Plex costume was very big and heavy. It almost didn't fit through the door. It consisted of a huge circular body, a cylinder shaped head, silver pants with a silver shirt, pinchers and two square robot shoes. The shoes were meant to fit all size feet so they were very uncomfortable.