I am posting some anecdotes about a number of my favorite toys I've worked on in my career.
Toy Stories Chapter 7: Rugrats!
When I started as Director of the Nickelodeon business, Mattel had had a good run with the Activity business, particularly with compounds like Gak. However, it was at that time cycling to a close and losing money. Still, Nick was by far the #1 network for kids. So, why weren’t we doing anything with these great characters that kids loved? Great question! We renegotiated the contract to include the Nickelodeon characters, added dolls and figures, etc. to our rights, and started with Rugrats! The product was fairly straightforward, such as a Talking Tommy, though I quite liked the popsicle dolls that had a fruit-stain color-change feature around their mouths. Nickelodeon complained that they were too generous on our deal, and they were right. We paid out the guarantee by end of our first quarter! However, it was a great business that quickly broke the $100m/year barrier, and their complaints soon stopped as we continued to kick ass. More importantly, it carried on to future great Mattel Brands such as Angry Beavers, Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer and onward!