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Toy Story Effect: How Film's Product Placement Increased Sales Of Toys

Posted by Stacy Jones on November 17, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Disney And Pixar's Surprise Announcement

In November 2014, Disney and Pixar made a surprise announcement that confirms they’re working on Toy Story 4. The film will be directed by John Lasseter, who directed the original 1995 Toy Story – the first computer animated film in Hollywood. Written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, the film is rumored to “Open up a new chapter in the lives of Woody, Buzz and the Toy Story gang.”

With earnings upward of $1.06 billion, Toy Story 3 is currently the second highest grossing animated film of all time, (Disney’s Frozen is currently the highest grossing at $1.276 billion). Arguably, the Toy Story films have been a game changer for animated movies, triggering a chain of Disney Pixar animated feature films - and a chain of toy-turned-action-movie feature films backed by Mattel.


Entertainment Content Has Long Been Considered A Major Sales Tool

In fact, entertainment content is considered a major sales tool for toy brands. Case in point, this week, Hasbro has promoted veteran exec Stephen Davis to the newly created role of EVP-Chief Content Officer, responsible for developing content for Hasbro’s brands across multiple platforms.


Here's How The Toy Story Franchise Has Impacted Sales

Sales of the Mr. Potato Head toy increased 800 percent after the original Toy Story movie release. Mr. Potato Head was created in 1953, and is licensed to Mattel. The original product was sold as a box of mixed body parts that children could use their imagination and ‘stick’ into their own root vegetable. In 1964, Mr. Potato head was manufactured with a plastic body. The original Toy Story added eyebrows to their character interpretation of Mr. Potato Head – the appeal of the film adaptation of Mr. Potato Head influenced the toy make to adopt Mr. Potato Head’s on screen look and from there forward Mr. Potato Head has now been manufactured with character eyebrows.

The Slinky Dog’s producer, James Industries of Philadelphia, had stopped manufacturing the toy at the time the first Toy Story was made. The manufacturer had been out of business for 10 years and the slinky dog toy off the shelves for four years prior to the movie’s release. However, following Toy Story’s success, James Industries was inundated with 20,000 new orders and put back into business.

Toy Story Blog image 2

Perhaps the most exemplary experience has been by Etch-A-Sketch, for which product placement increased sales by 4,000 percent. The toy was created in 1960 by the Ohio Art Company. The company reports that they have sold well over 100 million units.


Here's What To Look Forward To

Scheduled for a June 2017 release, Toy Story 4 will likely be introducing even more new toys to the film, and creating major toy sales impact. The franchise has realized the power it has in the toy space, and now also features in the content Disney-owned and manufactured toys, having successfully created its own marketing machine.

Toy Story 4 is not the only sequel Pixar is working on. Hot on the heels are Finding Dory, Cars 3, and the sequel for The Incredibles, all currently in production. The next Disney/Pixar studio film following the now-in-theaters box office hit Big Hero 6 (sure to be developed into a sequel too) will be an original project named Inside Out, coming to theaters in June 2015. All of these films result in licensed toy deals, furthering the impact of movies on the toy industry.

Learn More About The Benefits Of Product Placement 

Check out our blog post for more examples of how product placement increased sales for various brands!

Are you interested in learning more about how product placement can benefit your brand? There are so many product placement options for brands seeking a brand integration in films - to learn more, download our Product Placement 101 infographic.


Download The Infographic

Topics: International Partnerships, Strategic Partnerships, Public Relations

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Learn How Brands Are Increasing Sales Through Entertainment Marketing

We're About Engagement

Hollywood Branded is an expert at creating consumer engagement programs that increase brand sales using tactics such as:

  • Product Placement and Integration
  • Celebrity & Influencer Endorsements
  • Hollywood Event Activations
  • Branded Content Creation

Follow our blog to learn best practices for incorporating these tactics into your own brand marketing.

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