Skip to site content

Will Etch A Sketch Draw Profits From ‘Elf’?

Remember the drawing toy Etch A Sketch? Chances are you’ll be seeing more of it thanks to New Line Cinema’s newly released “Elf.”

In the PG-rated Christmas film starring Will Ferrell, the classic toy is seen being manufactured by Santa’s elves at the North Pole. It also appears in a few other scenes, for a total of 4 ½ minutes of screen time, according to a recent article in the Toledo Blade.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
The drawing toy was first produced in 1960 at a plant in northwestern <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Ohio, according to the Career Journal. These days, the toy is manufactured in China, though the corporate offices of its maker—Ohio Art Co.—remain in Bryan, Ohio.
 
Martin Killgallon, marketing and sales manager for Ohio Art, told AdAge.com that his company is projecting a 30 percent sales bump on account of the movie.
 
“It’s a matter of ‘How many can we make?’ We’re going full tilt,” Killgallon told the advertising trade magazine. “Everything about this movie is perfect for us. The product is part of the cast.”
 
The “full tilt” effort includes a $20,000 cash sweepstakes, “Elf” stickers and inserts included with Etch A Sketches, and “Elf” study guides (sponsored by New Line and Ohio Art) sent to grade-schoolers.
 
Etch A Sketches also appeared in the popular “Toy Story” movies, with the first film boosting the toy’s exposure—and the company’s stock—immensely in 1995, according to the Blade article.
 
AdAge.com reported that Ohio Art was New Line’s “11th-hour partner,” as the studio failed to find other companies interested in placing products in the movie. AdAge.com noted that the studio has previously been known for “horror-fantasy-action movies,” but that recent projects like “Secondhand Lions” and “The Lord of the Rings” have given the studio “a broader audience base.”
 
Nevertheless, “Corporate America didn’t quite know what to make of it,” Russell Schwartz, New Line’s president of domestic theatrical marketing, told AdAge.com. “This is the most family-friendly movie we’ve ever done.”
 
New Line is one of several studios to have hired Grace Hill Media to help promote its movies to religious America. Grace Hill Media, founded by Jonathan Bock, has worked on the New Line films mentioned above, as well as “Elf.”
 
“Elf” garnered generally positive reviews and earned an impressive $32.1 million opening weekend.
 
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.

Read our review of “Elf.”
 
Visit the Etch A Sketch page at Ohio Art Co.
 
Learn more about Grace Hill Media’s Movie Mission.