Dreamworks Animation is slowly building a strong library of famous brands and pop culture icons. Adding to their already lucrative portfolio of original properties (Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, etc.), they are positioning the company for profit-making beyond their core business of producing animated features.
Yesterday they announced the acquistion of the IP for the iconic Troll franchise. The characters, initially marketed in the U.S. as “Wishniks” in the 1960s, were actually an international franchise owned by Dam Things of Denmark.
The Trolls joins the portfolio of well-known characters Dreamworks recently acquired with their purchase of Classic Media (which included rights to Underdog, Casper The Friendly Ghost, Rankin-Bass’ Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Mr. Magoo and literally hundreds of others).
According to their press release:
“DreamWorks Animation is now the exclusive worldwide licensor of the merchandise rights for the classic Troll Dolls with the sole exception of Scandanavia, the birthplace of the Trolls, where Dam Things will remain the licensor. In
support of the brand’s enormous global potential, DreamWorks Animation has named American
Girl veteran Shawn Dennis as head of brand development to cultivate this classic franchise.
“Trolls is one of those rare, proven and universally adored brands,” added Dennis. “There
is incredible potential here to engage kids across multiple platforms in a way that is fun,
enduring and meaningful. It is truly an amazing opportunity to be able to re-launch a brand like
Dennis joined DreamWorks Animation to oversee its Trolls franchise in addition to other
businesses within the company’s vast portfolio of branded intellectual property.
The Troll doll phenomenon was born in 1959 when Danish fisherman and woodcutter
Thomas Dam, too poor to afford a Christmas present for his young daughter Lajla, carved a doll
for her based on the legendary Scandinavian troll. This modern-day Geppetto couldn’t have
imagined that the Troll dolls would soon become one of the biggest toy crazes of the 1960s. The
Trolls experienced a resurgence in the 1990s, and in 2003, the Toy Industry of America named
Trolls on its list of One Hundred of the Century’s Most Treasured Toys.