This article was originally published by Variety Magazine, April 2013
Dream Works Animation is now the exclusive worldwide licensor of Trolls merchandise
With an animated film based on the Troll doll toy franchise already in development, DreamWorks Animation has gone one step further and bought the entire brand, and has tapped American Girl veteran Shawn Dennis to oversee the brand for the toon studio.
Deal with the Dam Family and Dam Things of Denmark now makes DreamWorks Animation the exclusive worldwide licensor of merchandise rights for the Trolls, except for Scandanavia, the birthplace of the characters, where Dam Things will remain the licensor.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. DWA first brokered the film rights for a Trolls movie in 2010. Dennis will focus on relaunching the Trolls brand worldwide and introducing them to a new generation of kids.
“Trolls is a brand with over fifty years of deep heritage and we are thrilled to bring this iconic, multi-generational property to DreamWorks Animation,” said chief operating officer Ann Daly. “We have big plans for this franchise and Shawn Dennis is uniquely suited to lead this charge. She helped grow the American Girl brand into a household name and by bringing this expertise to Trolls she will introduce these characters to legions of new fans around the world.”
Dennis recently served as chief marketing officer and senior VP of marketing at doll retailer American Girl. Before that, she was group head and VP, global branding at computer maker Dell, and chief marketing officer and VP of the National Football League. Her resume also includes stints at MasterCard Intl and Universal Studios.
“DreamWorks Animation is renowned for telling wonderful stories about imaginative worlds while bringing characters with universal appeal into the hearts and homes of families everywhere,” said Calle Ostergaard, CEO of Dam Things. “We are confident that the time-honored legend of the Trolls, which holds such special significance to the Dam family and the people of Scandanavia, will now live on in new and exciting ways with DreamWorks Animation.”
The Troll dolls were first introduced 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. They became one of the toy biz’s biggest phenomenons during the 1960s and enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s.