Perhaps the most successful CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) merchandiser of all time is The Walt Disney Company. Sales of Marvel’s superheroes, Disney’s princesses, Pixar’s characters and Lucasfilm’s Jedi knights totaled over $40 billion in global retail sales in 2013, according to Disney Consumer Products. Those kinds of numbers have long made the company the world’s top entertainment industry CPG seller, and there are important lessons that can be learned from their success.
Having subsidiary titles from Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm gives Disney a ripe portfolio of stories that they can profit from on the retail level. Maximizing on the different characters in their portfolio is a surefire way to increase profits, and solidify their brand recognition, which is already amongst the strongest of any corporation in the world.
Toys and Much Much More
It could be said that children’s toys are the most important piece of their packaged goods business; however, apparel is also very strong, and top designers are now working with Disney to market products toward a broader range of age groups. Disney’s products appear in over 100 different categories, but they make sure not to over license things, and are selective about which ideas make the cut.
By partnering with multinational corporations like Walmart – who also promotes Disney’s films and products – they are able to make their goods accessible in markets around the world. Their incredibly successful princesses business has only gotten stronger with movies like Frozen and Tangled, and they achieve massive sales numbers for toys, and beauty and lifestyle products such as the glass slipper or castle. Mattel collaborates with them to produce a very popular line of dolls.
The following is a list of 4 flourishing labels in which Disney has packaged products currently being sold online or in retail stores around the world:
- Cars: Since 2006, Disney Pixar's Cars has broken every film-licensing model and proved to be a huge success. The franchise has been a hit with young boys through products reflecting storytelling, a diversity of characters and popular themes of racing, humor and friendship. The Cars franchise includes a healthy assortment of CPG products in apparel, toys, home, stationery, consumables, publishing and more.
- Disney Baby: Disney Baby provides parents with the essentials they need to create wonderful moments with their babies. By working with top of the line brands from the baby industry, Disney Baby offers parents quality products that are infused with the magic of Disney. It is a great place for new and expecting parents looking for the perfect baby product or gift.
- Marvel: Marvel Entertainment is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, and one of the world's foremost entertainment companies. Their library of more than 8,000 characters has been featured in a variety of media over the past seventy-five years. Marvel develops its numerous character franchises in areas such as merchandising, entertainment, licensing and publishing.
- Star Wars: This science fiction masterpiece introduced iconic characters such as the evil Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Lucasfilm Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is likely to continue the rapid growth of Star Wars around the world through film, television, publishing, interactive experiences as well as live shows and events.
Strong Partners Make a Strong Company
For the release of Marvel’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” in 2015, Disney recruited help from their vast network of collaborators. Mattel, Lego, Hot Wheels, Under Armour, Mad Engine, Hallmark and American Greetings are only among some of the licensing partners that pumped out products around the heroes.
As Marc Graser, a Senior Editor at Variety magazine said in a recent article, “The release of products is now seen as another piece of not only promotion but storytelling”. Disney is truly an example of an entertainment company that has mastered the CPG industry.