He is perhaps the most lovable bear in the world and Disney is sparing no efforts to make Winnie the Pooh’s 80th birthday celebrations special. In fact, the celebrations will continue for 18 months. Disney has planned an exciting range of entertainment activities and special edition products for fans across the Asia Pacific region.
Winnie the Pooh’s 80th Anniversary kicked off in late 2005 with the New York premiere of Disney Live! and continues globally through 2007 with entertainment from Disney Live!, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Walt Disney Records. Disney Consumer Products will also offer exciting special edition products, including clothing, stationery, toys and much more.
A new, original Winnie the Pooh song – My Friend Pooh – from Walt Disney Records artist, Ralph Covert, is also scheduled for release with celebrations culminating with the 2007 premiere of Disney Channel’s learning-focused animated series for pre-schoolers, ‘My Friends Tigger and Pooh’.
Disney Consumer Products in India has several reasons to celebrate this anniversary. Winnie the Pooh has been in India for over seven years and is today the highest selling plush toy in the market. Winnie the Pooh products range covers infant and kids apparel, back to school products, stationary, toys, footwear, the newly launched Disney-Nerolac paints, and bedding. Winnie the Pooh contributes about 30 per cent of the Disney’s licensing and merchandising business in India.
“Winnie the Pooh is one of Disney’s premiere character franchises that remain as relevant to parents and kids today as it did 80 years ago,” said Matt Ryan, Senior Vice-President, Disney Corporate Brand Management. “Pooh’s 80th Anniversary celebrates the tremendous heritage of this franchise, and a key initiative for Disney is to continue to develop Pooh with new creative programs across the company that will keep it fresh for the next 80 years. The new Winnie the Pooh television show planned for 2007 is part of that effort.”
“Winnie the Pooh has a rich heritage and has made a big impact on generations of kids – his messages of friendship, imagination and adventure – are timeless and felt here in India and the Asia Pacific region as much as it does around the world. Pooh is very popular in the region and enjoys very high awareness and we believe children across India will be excited to celebrate the 80th anniversary for Pooh,” said Rajat Jain, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company (India).
Disney Worldwide Outreach community initiatives will also host “Reading Together” programme s during vacation periods to support this worldwide campaign. Winnie the Pooh reaches children and families through seven theatrical releases, more than 30 home videos, an award-winning television series, consumer products and in Disney theme parks around the world. ‘Forbes’ magazine has consistently ranked Winnie the Pooh and Friends a top-earning character franchise with more than $5 billion in retail sales worldwide.