The growing commercial power of Pudgy Penguin


Pudgy Penguins are waddling into the big box stores of America and their collectible star is continuing to rise, with possible movies and television shows looming in the wings.

What are Pudgy Penguins?

They are exactly what they sound like. They are cute toys – action figures, plushies – in the shape of, well, chubby penguins, depicted with a variety of accessories that come with modern living such as headphones.

“Everybody loves penguins,” said Omer Dekel, the CEO of PMI Kids’ World, which distributes Pudgy Penguins. “Penguins are cute.”

Pudgy Penguins, which were a hit at cons across the country, are a line of toys… now. But the loveable birds actually started their cute hand-held existence as hand drawn NFTs that sold out within 20 minutes of their initial release.

“It was the COVID days,” said Dekel, when asked why Pudgy’s pals started off as cutting-edge collectible art in a digital cloud. Dekel, calling from the company’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, said “NFTs were picking up like crazy. Remember, it was all over the news… People were buying NFTs for ridiculous amounts.”

Dekel, however, said PMI began to move toward physical toys around the same time they started to inch away from NFTs as the primary configuration of Pudgy Penguins.

“NFTs (demand) really… was decreasing. (Cryptocurrency) was something, which as you know, was scary (for a lot of people),’ said Dekel.

NFTs are cryptographic tokens bought with cryptocurrency.

With Pudgy Penguin now firmly entrenched in the physical world – 10 million toys depicting the clan have been sold – who is buying Pudgy?

Dekel said PMI markets Pudgy Penguins to the younger crowd. But the company has found that the appeal of the collectibles, figurines, plushies and action figures has a broader appeal.

“Our core audience is kids and tweens,” said Dekel. “(But) I can tell you that everybody’s buying them.”

Pudgy Penguins have been a hit at cons across the globe, according to press representatives for PMI.

“If you go on their Instagram, you have huge communities in Asia, huge communities in France. They just had an amazing event in Paris (where Pudgy was featured),” said Dekel. “There is a big movement of followers on the brand.”

The offerings for Pudgy Penguins also is growing, said the CEO. There also are more and more plush toys being created. The brand is also launching seasonal toys that reflect the holidays.

Pudgy Penguins also are expanding their hold beyond the toy world, said Dekel. For instance, there are now Pudgy onesies available for babies. PMI has teamed up with a cookie company for some Pudgy Penguin baked goods. There also is a video game in the works with the Pudgy Penguins.

Dekel added, “I can let you in on a secret… There are several studios pitching for a movie.” And TV series also is a possibility, he said.

“Everybody’s on board, everybody’s excited,” said Dekel. “We’ve been selling the brand and across every major, major retailer in the U S. like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Walgreens and Five Below, basically all the big boys.”

“The sky is the limit for this brand” said Dekel. “We’re really hungry and we want to make this bigger and bigger.”

For information about Pudgy Penguins, visit

PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN. Background generated using Photoshop Generative Fill.

Model is Katerina Cejas