Thursday, July 8, 2010

Disney as a Key to a Happy Brand

I was recently at Disneyland, and I was amazed at the number of products they sold that weren't made by Disney. For instance, a giant Mr. Potato Head interacts with the guests standing in line to ride Toy Story Midway Mania; not only is it my favorite ride at ANY Disney park, it's also a great cross-promotional opportunity for Hasbro. There's no way to know how much Disney pays each year to use Mr. Potato, but it has to be a lot since he's featured so prominently in the ride's "pre-show" line cue.

Continuing with the Toy Story theme, when you get done with the ride, you're emptied into a gift shop selling Toy Story-related paraphernalia. Many of the products sold here are Disney-branded items, like the stuffed Buzz Lightyear (with matching blanket!) that we bought for our son. There are also numerous items that are not, like the Barbie dolls (Mattel) and the LEGO Toy Story sets. I don't claim to know the details of the contracts between these companies and the Disney empire, but I'm sure it's a sweet one!

It's also a probably a confusing mess to figure out, even if someone DID get their hands on the contract. The backs of all these products say, "Used by permission," by there's obviously money involved. I think the toy maker has to pay to use names and images, but then I think Disney has to pay something, too. Again, I'm not sure.

No matter what the contract is for, if you can get in with Disney, you could be set for life.

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