As long as Pooh’s colour stays brown, they can change what they want.

Disney gives Pooh a makeover for 80th anniversary
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Winnie the Pooh is getting a makeover as the Walt Disney Co presses its second-largest franchise into play for a larger share of the $21 billion preschool market, the company said on Wednesday.
Disney is readying a yearlong marketing push in 2006 to commemorate and capitalize on the 80th anniversary of the publication of “Winnie-the-Pooh” and expand the brand beyond The Forest and infant toys, clothing and furniture.
The tubby yellow bear will appear in brighter colors and Disney will emphasize the active side of Pooh’s adventures as described in A.A. Milne’s 1926 book to appeal to activity loving preschoolers, said Preston Kevin Lewis, global director of the Winnie the Pooh franchise.
“Trust, friendship and happiness — Pooh doesn’t lose any of those things, it just changes how we talk about him,” Lewis said.
Disney is still battling an appeal of a 14-year-old Los Angeles lawsuit by heirs of Milne’s agent, who claim they are owed millions in royalties.
The company won a dismissal of the lawsuit last year but had warned investors that it could be on the hook for “hundreds of millions” of dollars if it eventually loses the case.
In its December report on the U.S. market for infant, toddler and preschool toys, Packaged Facts, a division of, said the sector has outperformed the general toy market.
“The single greatest reason for the overall toy market’s decline has been that kids now have access to many other amusements, especially video and videogames,” the report said. “The good news is that the infant/toddler/preschooler population will trend higher in the long term, unstoppable, forever and ever and ever…”
Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood generated $5.3 billion in retail sales in 2004 — topped only by Mickey Mouse among the Disney stable. Disney gets a portion of those revenues through its licensing agreements.
Martin Brochstein, an analyst for EPM Communications, said the growing preschool market is one of the most competitive and Disney will by competitive only if it convinces retailers to feature the Pooh products prominently.
“Pooh has a wonderful thing going for it in that it is a heritage brand. It’s just a matter of them as marketers making it important enough so that retailers will commit to it,” Brochstein said.
Disney plans to toast the honey-loving bear throughout the year with a Broadway show, a weekly radio show, a new animated television series in 2007 and toys and collectibles.
Major international retailers such as Sears and Toys ‘R Us in the United States, Takashimaya in Japan, Carrefour in France, BVG in Germany as well as corporate partners Coca-Cola and Fuji have also signed on to do promotions with Pooh, Disney said.
“This is the first type of retail promotion that the Walt Disney Co has done across the company with promotions taking place worldwide,” Lewis said.
The festivities start December 24, 2005 — the 80th anniversary of publication of Milne’s first Winnie the Pooh story in the London Evening News. The next year Milne published the first “Winnie the Pooh” book and followed it in 1928 with “The House at Pooh Corner.”
Simon Waters, vice president of infant/toddler/pre-school franchises for Disney Consumer Products said 2- to 5-year-olds generate an average of $1 billion in retail sales across all product categories.
Disney will add the Pooh cartoon to a mix of Disney Channel programs that target preschoolers and spur sales of other consumer products — including Little Einstein and the new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.