WALT DISNEY TO OVERSEE CANADIAN MOUNTIES' PRODUCT LICENSING

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There's nothing Mickey Mouse about it-Disney has signed a five-year deal with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to run the force's product-licensing program.

Staffed entirely by Canadians, Walt Disney Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the U.S. parent based in Etobicoke, Ontario, will handle marketing and product development for licensing merchandise using the force's insignia or distinctive look-red serge jacket, flat-brimmed Stetson hat and blue riding breeches with a yellow stripe down each leg.

"It was natural we would get [called] Mickey Mountie," quips Constable Tim Cogan, who works on the licensing program at RCMP headquarters in Ottawa. "But we're not in the business of licensing and marketing. That's not our forte."

Licensing fees for RCMP merchandise are 10% of an item's wholesale price.

Royalties will be split on a sliding scale, starting this year with 49% for Disney and 51% for the Mounted Police Foundation. Over the deal's five years, Disney's share shrinks to 45% as the foundation's grows to 55%

With its international marketing network and promotional expertise, Disney can take the force's image into the U.S., U.K., Japan and Europe in ways the RCMP couldn't, Mr. Cogan said.

Disney's plans were far beyond anything the world-renowned police force had in mind. For instance: numerous product lines aimed at all budgets, ages and activities.

For the quality-minded, consider a line of high-end apparel and housewares featuring the likes of jackets, dress shirts, ties, towels and glassware. Sports enthusiasts can kit themselves out in the "horsepower" line of activewear, while history buffs can head for the history-themed heritage line.

New cartoon character Mac-Lean of the Mounties-"a clean-cut, staunch and upright fellow," said Mr. Cogan-is to appear on a line of merchandise geared for kids. Infants needn't feel left out with their own special Lil' Mounties line.

Final approval of all RCMP licensing remains with the force, which wants to have all unlicensed merchandise out of Canadian and U.S. stores by the end of the year.

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