From Toyetic to Toyesis: The Cultural Value of Merchandising
This chapter is an attempt to understand the cultural value of toyetics – a media property suitable to be merchandised across a range of licensed tie-ins – by mapping their development through a specific case study, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy. Merchandising is now regularly used to extend and enrich narratives, to personalise media properties, increase the cultural circulation (or shelf-life) of properties and occasionally even enable them to jump media platforms and survive in entirely new textual environments. Most importantly, toys themselves are increasingly becoming content providers for new screen franchises. I therefore argue that toyetic properties are important forerunners of convergent media and that what we are seeing now is actually better understood as toyesis – where a text’s origins are erased altogether.
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