Friday, December 1, 2023
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Freaky Friday- 5 Unknown Licensing stories from the Toy World

The Licensing and Merchandising world is unknown to many but is one of the most fascinating industries. The term “License” gets its origin from late Middle English via Old French from Latin licentia ‘freedom, licentiousness’ (in medieval Latin ‘authority, permission’), from licere ‘be lawful or permitted’. Over the years the word got popular and was beginning to be used by authorities much frequently.


Licensing is quite strong when it comes to Toy and Games industry. There is no doubt that licensing is one of the major drivers of the toy business, and in fact, has become increasingly important in recent years, not less so, as the global movie slate has become so much sharply managed with a quite a few toyetic movies.

This week we peep into the toy industry and unveil their unknown licensing stories:

  1. Teddy Bears

Did you know that the soft toy Teddy Bears got its name after the former President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt? Teddy Bear was inspired by a political cartoon. The story goes like this; one shopkeeper took a pair of stuffed bear and asked the former President for permission to call them TEDDY BEARS. The name “Teddy Bear” eventually caught on and, in later years, was licensed to toy companies for a royalty that was used to establish a network of National Parks.



  1. Barbie

Barbie dolls were actually inspired by German dolls called Bild Lilli which was based on a comic strip in a German newspaper called Die Bild-Zeitung and was popular with both adults and children. The first BARBIE doll was marketed as a “Teenage Fashion Model” and it sold off the shelves. Eventually, in 1964, Mattel acquired the rights to the doll.



  1. Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse is the most popular character from the entertainment and toy world. Each person would know who Mickey Mouse is! The licensing story of Mickey Mouse is that, it was actually created as a replacement for Disney’s earlier character, Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. After Disney releasing Steamboat Willie it didn’t wait waste time acquiring the licensing rights.


  1. Looney Tunes

This animation series which was initially produced by Harman- Ising Pictures was sold to Warner Bros in 1944. With Warner bros acquiring rights and eventually becoming one of the cornerstones of the licensing industries in America, Looney Tunes even became the reason of the Licensing Corporation of America’s birth.


5. Winnie The Pooh

Originally created by A.A Milne in 1926, it was subject to huge number of licensing and merchandising programs conducted by Stephen Slesinger. In 1961, Walt Disney acquired the rights from Slesinger and finally produced a number of merchandise based on the character and the rest is history.



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