Thursday, August 29, 2013

Character Plush Toy Rescues 75th Brand Anniversary

ObjectiveA national food brand decided to celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary with the introduction of a spokescharacter.  The client decided that one of the mediums of the spokescharacter would be a three-dimensional plush toy.

Purpose:  The makers of SPAM® products launched its first ever spokescharacter, Sir Can-A-Lot™,  a two and a half inch tall embodiment of the brand essence ready to begin a crusade to rescue the world from routine meals. See Press Release. (

Result:  The initial order was for 5,000 pieces Sir Can-A-Lot plush toy character, which resulted in $40,000 of revenue for the Promotional Consultant.  

Development: In November of 2011, a Promotional Consultant approached us about an opportunity to create a custom brand character.  Over the next 9 months we worked with the client to turn their illustration into a stuffed plush toy.   Here is a summary of the steps taken to get from print image to real stuffed plush toy character. 

1.       Original Client Image 

     2.      Prototype 1 - 

     3.      Artistic Toy Design Form - 
     Client Style Guide –
     Client Licensing Requirements -

The order was placed in July of 2012 and delivered in November 2012.    We faced many design challenges, including working with a vague initial photo and also having to take a two and a half inch print character and enlarge him to a nine inch toy.  While the finished toy looks remarkably similar to the print image, a tremendous amount of artistic interpretation was needed to get the correct look and feel of the toy.   As you can see from the multiple versions, we had to prove the viability of the plush character concept, accept client rejections, and overcome the factory’s reluctance to mass produce a work of art versus a standard stuffed plush toy.  Due to the complexity of this character, it took many hours to simplify the design for manufacturing while achieving enough of the important elements needed to represent the brand spokescharacter.  Through continuous revisions we were able to produce a remarkable brand character that is safe and achieved the factory’s requirements for mass production.    

    4.      Prototype 2 –

    5.      Prototype 3 -

    6.      Final Production Toy -    

As you can see the finished product came out better than any of the prototypes.  We were so pleased with the finished plush toy that we decided to use it as example of our custom toy process and an illustrative guide in our 2013 catalog. (  The final plush toy products are on sale right now in the Company’s Minnesota Museum Store.   

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