Toy; film; TV. series; book; magazine. . . . . chicken and egg? Or gestalt merchandising? As I write, Disney’s Toy Story – the first totally computer generated animated feature film – goes on general release. Like its predecessors, Pocohontos and Lion King, the film’s release date comes several months after clothing bearing the film’s logo and pictures of its characters – Cowboy doll hero, Woody and Space Ranger, Buzz Lightyear – hit the childrenswear stands in M&S, Woolworth’s and other multiples. Major toy stores are filled with copies of the ‘toys’; and McDonald’s are giving away the collectable plastic characters with their current ‘Happy Meal’ promotion. Buena Vista – marketing arm of the Disney corporation – have discovered a successful formula. My six year old son, instantly recognised the toy characters during a recent television advertisement, without ever having seen the toys, the clothing or most importantly, the movie. The merchandisers, marketing a mix of promotion, licensing, product placement and hype, each segment symbiotically feeding the other, have been able to create an almost syllogistic awareness that transcends reason and guarantees the film’s popularity before anyone has actually seen it.
The fact is, millions will eventually see this movie and in all probability enjoy it. They will marvel at the spectacular computer generated graphics, rave about the technological miracle of its digital effects, warm to the old-fashioned feel-good storyline and wallow in the seductive post-modern nostalgic appeal of 60’s toys coming alive in high-tech fashion. They will spread the good word; tell their friends; implore their parents, to see, buy, use and wear, all the plorethora of merchandise making up the product known as Toy Story.
Supposing nobody liked it. Hardly possible I’ll admit, but let’s say there’s another film hyped in exactly the same way and thus guaranteed an audience of millions regardless of its reception by the critics. Would this film warrant the term popular? A film ‘ of the people’ by token of its box office takings, Would it be merely a commercial success? Or are these two terms interchangeable?
Popularity implies fondness; even liking a book or film doesn’t necessarily make it popular. Popularity depends on either a mutual sharing of pleasure by a number of people or a common appreciation of the same pleasure by many individuals. We may have read a book and enjoyed it so much that we enthusiastically pass it on to a friend, or see a film absolutely everyone you meet just has to see. If your opinion is shared, then these become common pleasures which in time may gain enough support to be termed, ‘popular’. Horse Racing has given rise to the expressions, ‘favourite’ and ‘much fancied’ to describe heavily backed runners and such preferences can be influenced by manipulating the odds. Affection for a particular animal doesn’t come into it; clearly, what’s at stake here is not popularity but material gain. Popular music is another ambiguous term if we consider that over 90% of ‘pop’ records fail to make a profit; and yet if all such records are classified this way, then surely profitability cannot be the sole criteria for defining popularity either. How many admit to following television soap operas? But we constantly see these programmes topping the ratings in the tabloids, statistics revealing millions more viewers than other shows, the same pattern remaining unchanged for years the audience figures for Eastenders and Coronation Street towering above the competition.
So, what exactly have we to gain from Buena Vista’s marketing exercise? The anticipated promise of pleasure to come from the film and its various spin-offs perhaps? Every time we consent to wear a T-shirt in public bearing the legend Toy Story – a tattoo substitute on the extension of our chest skin, we should by rights be receiving a royalty. Not only have we succumbed to becoming a walking advertisement but have also acquired the characteristics of a symbiotic referent system:
Consumer advertises Product : Product advertises Film : Film advertises Product : Product identifies Consumer.
It is one of the most bizarre and depressing triumphs of capitalism in our time that large firms no longer have to buy their own advertising but have discovered a bovine army that is happy to pay a lot to do it for them.
Has this obsequious willingness to be exploited become the modern way to shake off our anomie and achieve some sense of belonging by sharing with strangers a love for a film we haven’t even seen yet? Is this common affinity with a motion picture akin to the quasi shared togetherness of an ersatz experience like lets say a Telethon? where we’re all striving towards the same goal . . . . . or are we? Entrepreneur and garment tycoon, Shami Achmed, shot from moderate success with his clothing warehouse to instant fame by the inspirational use of Joe Bloggs as a brand name; in one stroke he created a product epitomising a sector of the youth market free of identity, presented them with an iconoclastic version of themselves but made it acceptable to one and all – I’m an individual, but I’m just like everybody else.
Disney’s Toy Story is just the latest example of the character merchandising formula pioneered by the Star Wars film trilogy.
Franchises worth $1.5 billion per year world-wide sold, books, tapes, bedlinen, night-clothes, wallpapers, posters, games – and toys worth $500 million per year to, Palitoy, the General Mills subsidiary. Subsequently, much more systematic organisation of character merchandising and multi-media links has tended to reverse the spin off, by basing fictional narratives around toys specifically designed with franchising in mind, rather than developing toys from narratives.
Up until October 1994, George Lucas’s Star Wars (1977) was rated fifth all-time money-spinning film, grossing $285.8millions. Other heavily merchandised movies include Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) the second highest, grossing $356.5 m. at the US box office. Only E.T. (also Spielberg) has taken more, $399.8m. but has been around since 1982, eleven years longer than Jurassic Park. If we consider that the other 2 titles in the Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi (1983) $263.7m. and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) $222.7m. stand at numbers 7 and 12 respectively among the most financially successful; and that other entries include Batman (1989) – $251m. , Ghostbusters (1984) -$220.9m., Aladdin (1992) – $217.3m. and Lion King (1994) – 267.4m. already the most successful animated film of all time; it’s hardly surprising that this form of promotion has not only become the norm but is also eagerly awaited by insatiable consumer media junkies whose gargantuan appetite for the ‘new’ demands its regular fix. For several years now, the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook has provided an extensive list of agents specialising in the handling of rights connected with the promotion of characters from books and television programmes etc. Surprisingly, the BBC is a major player in this respect, and a company trading as Copyright Promotions, handles characters as diverse as Fiddley Foodle Bird and Elvis Presley.
In the departure lounge at Manchester Airport is a shop devoted exclusively to the sale of character merchandise in all its forms. For anyone looking for a last minute gift, this shop stocks everything from the Disney stable in addition to Star Wars, Barbie and many others, guaranteed to please any child, anytime; anyplace, anywhere.
This collaborative merchandising makes the companies involved ‘economically interwoven in the same way in which Television is dependent on the Electricity companies or a haulage company is dependent on petroleum. By using cultural intertextuality to create a secondary communication system, all resistance breaks down.
Character dolls were first introduced as long ago as 1909 by German manufacturers Kämmer and Reinhardt whose dolls were modelled on the grandchildren of the company’s founders. About the same time, Käthe Kruse, wife of sculptor Marc Kruse, used her own children as models for her ‘artistic dolls’ which she made by hand painting muslin heads and attaching them to stockinet bodies and in 1910 produced a range of realistic looking dolls complete with names, some of them the actual size and weight of a real baby, correct in every detail and even including a navel. The idea was taken further by Gebrüder Heubach with both dolls and figurines. During this same period, a number of prestigious dolls were being manufactured in France for the luxury market whilst in America, companies like Acme began importing dolls from Germany and later from Japan as well as commissioning American manufacturers to produce dolls to their own exclusive specifications, thus establishing New York City as the centre of the Doll trade. Borgfeldt, distributed the famous Kewpie doll manufactured by Joseph Kullus in Brooklyn from designs by Rose O’Neill which were supplied in large quantities to the Carnival trade by the TipTop Toy Company. Kallus went on to become a prolific doll designer during the 20’s and 30’s and his designs under license, most often made by the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company include Betty Boop, Popeye(1932) and Disney’s Pinocchio (1939). In 1945, Mattel Inc., an American company began manufacturing dolls in a converted garage. They launched the original Barbie doll in 1958. Although fashion dolls had been around since the latter part of the 19th century in France, they had all been replicas of children with the notable exception of character dolls such as Spanish dancers. Barbie was the first real doll with attitude; not a baby, but a young woman complete with open-mouthed expression, jet-set lifestyle fantasy world, and even a boyfriend, Ken, was added to the range. Barbie was truly an important and underestimated catalyst of social change, paving the way for Action Man figures and shaking the ideological conventions of the girl stereotype and her associated play preparations for future motherhood. Mattel’s most significant achievement however was their revolutionary marketing innovation of selling not only the standard doll, but also a range of matching accessories thus creating the potential for accumulative future sales. Skiing outfits, lounging pyjamas, a wedding dress, car, house and even friends for Barbie to play with, sold of course without clothes as each outfit cost extra and possibly leading to the unfortunate assumption that money can buy friends (and hence happiness). Perhaps the separate outfits idea was merely an extension of the paper cut-out dolls I remember my young sister playing with as a child, but the add-on fantasy world items were an unprecedented masterstroke obviously responsible for the company’s meteoric success. By 1970, Mattel had become one of the largest manufacturers and toy distributors in the world, owning factories at its headquarters in California and also in Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico and England through its subsidiary, Rosebud. Barbie was copied in 1978 by the British company, Pedigree, whose Sindy dolls designed by Dennis Arkinstall had a less aggressive shape and sexiness than Barbie and thus more suitable for the subtler not-so-glitzy British market, but available, nevertheless, with a vast range of accessories.
Graham Dawson states that corporations like Hasbro Bradley maximise profits by designing gender specific product lines in order to construct differential market sectors. In developing two complimentary collectible ranges for example, Action Force for boys and My Little Pony for girls, Hasbro Bradley actively stimulates play narratives which emphasise both masculine and feminine stereotypes. Current research finds that boys show a natural preference to ‘war toys’ (sic), but apart from colour choice and style of packaging, there is essentially no difference between a girls’ first make-up set, an Action Force camouflage kit and a box of children’s face paints.
Children are the starting point. Advertisers have clearly taken a leaf out of the Jesuits’ book: ‘give me a child before he is seven and he belongs to the Church for life’. Children are fiercely competitive; so appealing to their snobbish and peer instincts ensures that at an early age they begin to harass their parents into buying whatever may be the latest childish fashion.
The advertisers begin by luring children. Because of parent’s apprehension, most children no longer go out to play in the streets and the immediate neighbourhood, and since television, not the hearth, is now the centre of the living room, admen have a captive audience; the appetite of the child is inflamed by beaming an unremitting display of the latest mechanical and electronic toys.
The child wearing logo stamped clothing or carrying a toy from McDonald’s becomes much more than a walking advertisement for the film and its associated merchandise. Even McDonald’s campaign is accumulative – a new, different toy gift each week for the five weeks of the promotion – why not collect them all? All these items become cultural reference points, the way children measure their lives. I overheard my young son and daughter playing a guessing game which involved quoting from one of their favourite TV shows and guessing the programme it came from. Whilst the game in itself is harmless and even imaginative coming from children restricted in their viewing habits and sheltered as much as possible from the dangers of advertising, the situation seems uncontrolled and irresponsible with artifacts of merchandise reaching out through perfidious product placement on programmes they are allowed to watch and even over the breakfast table on the backs of cereal packets. McCluhan’s ‘60’s prognosis was chillingly correct:
The new mass culture we are moving into – a world of total involvement in which everybody is so profoundly involved with everybody else and in which nobody can really imagine what private guilt can be anymore.
Children, McLuhan contends, are bombarded with visual imagery, sitting closer and closer to the screen, wanting to be absorbed into it. Gary Day says that, ‘. . . . images on television are so like the images encountered in ordinary life that their veracity seems unquestionable’ and this may pose a real danger to receptive and easily influenced young minds.
Since the 1930’s, a movement for educational toys informed by psychoanalysis has criticised a general tendency towards increasingly representational toys. The argument goes that non-representational toys without a fixed form allow freer reign to the child’s creative imagination: so small figures unmarked by occupational or other codings are preferred to, say, toy soldiers or farm workers. In a connected although different argument, accurate representational detail in toys is thought to interfere with a child’s developing capacity to distinguish between ‘fantasy’ and ‘reality.’
There was recent controversy when Mattel in an unprecedented move, refused to allow Disney to give the Barbie doll in Toy Story a personality. I submit that representational toys by token of their sheer overwhelming quantity and strength of their promotion, created and stamped by Television, Film and Video have gone a stage further than restricting imagination, by providing a ready made fantasy world peopled by characters so realistic that our acceptance of them as real in some way turns us into such willing fanatical champions of their cause that we do not feel in any way demeaned or exploited in offering up our bodies to advertise them. In a world that hero worships a cartoon mouse, is it any wonder that we make no distinction between wearing a T-shirt sporting a picture of, say, a famous footballer or musician and in wearing one bearing the image of an even more famous, verbally-challenged sailor-suited duck. Could there be perhaps a connection here with the soap opera character – not the actor – who receives letters and advice from viewers.
From the workshop to the laboratory, having emptied productive activity of all meaning for itself, Capitalism strives to place the meaning of life in leisure activities and to reorient productive activity on that basis since production is Hell in the prevailing moral schema, real life must be found in consumption, in the use of goods.
Using elements of ritual magic, someone has visualised it, manufactured it, and through the technology of interactive audio-visual media – it’s a video, it’s a movie, it’s a computer game – breathed life into it by giving it colour, movement and most importantly it’s own language (magic words) – Shazam, which stamps and fixes its personality (creates it) thus making it ‘real’, at least as real as the latest Pop or Football idol whose image beckons, red hot from the T- shirt press. Whether it’s Michael Jackson, Batman or that ubiquitous cartoon mouse, apparently, we idolise them and advertise them in exactly the same way.
A possible definition of the real is: that for which it is possible to provide an equivalent representation.
Under monopoly all mass culture is identical, and the lives of its artificial framework begin to shine through.
It is not surprising that Baudrillard sees Disneyland as the ‘real’ America, when one considers the ‘hyperreality’ of life in Los Angeles for example, notably Hollywood in particular. Life is nothing but a theme park. He claims that all cultural artifacts and their associated ideology are inseparable from the world of commerce which raises the question of possible differences between exchange value – the price paid, and use value – the intangible benefit gained from the purchase of consumables. Marketing gurus say, we buy dreams. The young housewife on her first trip to London who treats herself to a plastic carrier bag from Harrods or a T-shirt from Planet Hollywood is using the same indexical narrowcast codes as the more sinister scenario of the school dropout who suddenly turns up in the playground sporting the latest £200+ training shoes and designer baseball cap. Their ideologies may be opposed but nevertheless they share the same hegemonic struggle. Could there be a nascent possibility that consumables are being bought and displayed out of the fear of not belonging rather than the need to belong? Look at me, I know what’s happening. I’ve got the latest thing. I seem to belong.
One notable exponent of mass merchandising is Saban International, creators of the deservedly popular Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. A curiously eclectic hybrid, this hugely successful children’s TV show combines elements of teenage comic book superheroes with secret identities, up-to-the-minute space-age technology, cliffhanging serial excitement, Japanese Ninja movies, moral rectitude, heavy metal music, Transformers – an earlier children’s programme from another company, comedy routines, outrageously camp monsters, hammy overacting and universal role models.
The creators of this ultimate postmodern audio-visual cocktail are no strangers to television. Headed by expatriate Israelis, Haim Saban and Shuki Levi who, domiciled in Los Angeles for many years, cut their teeth on cartoon shows like Barney, X-Men, He Man and David the Gnome. Writer and director Levi, is also responsible for the music. According to an article in the Guardian last year, the series uses original Japanese film where all the characters involved in fight sequences are dressed in costumes which totally hide their faces, and footage of the American teenagers we have come to know and love is spliced in. I don’t believe it, although several Japanese names occasionally get a mention in the credits. Perhaps the pilot show was made in this way, but the program relies so much on surreal monsters created from everyday artefacts such as transistor radios, pinball machines, mirrors, cameras and if I’m not mistaken there was one occasion when a chocolate cake came to life and tried to annihilate our heroes; these are such an integral part of the narrative as to be an impossible task to replicate, let alone edit.
As the show began to wane in popularity – semioticians take note – the creators produced a four part episode where the heroes lost their powers – which emanate from gold coins (money = power); and when they finally regained them, they were transformed into a stronger and more powerful force than ever before (a symbolic wishful thinking.) The new powers are accompanied by new combat uniforms and weaponry that result in the toys and ubiquitous paraphernalia that were on sale previously to become redundant and require immediate replacement by the faithful fan whilst providing enough attention grabbing merchandise, i.e. the new toys, to ensnare the hapless potential convert. A similar exercise ensued at the height of the shows dominance. A seminal episode featured a World youth peace conference and featured a guest appearance from Israel’s Teen-Queen, and top children’s television hostess, Michal Yaani. The erstwhile leader – all American boy, Jason, the Red Ranger – together with Afro-American Zack the (surprise, surprise) Black Ranger and Japanese Trini (of course, you guessed it,) the Yellow Ranger, left to go on a mission promoting World peace. This obviously meant that a new leader would have to be chosen, and the Green Ranger Tommy – who would you believe had incidentally just lost his powers – is transformed by the Demi-God Zordon into a White Ranger and given even greater powers (that Zordon said could never be taken away from him. Seems you can’t even trust a Demi-God these days.) He is also given a special sword for his new role as leader, and his mortal friends, Rocky, Adam and Aisha, who had been captured along with him by Lord Zed, become the new Rangers replacing Jason, Zack and Trini. So now we have an extra Ranger as well as a new leader with a new costume and a new weapon. In his new costume, he bears an uncanny resemblance to the Academy Award statuette, ‘Oscar.’ It’s no surprise that the release of Power Rangers the Movie is imminent. NEW TOYS. NEW STICKERS. NEW FANS.
Clever networking ensured that each complete story is shown in 15 – 20 minute episodes over several days, or at weekends in 2 or 4 part segments. Not only are the episodes punctuated with the obligatory advertisements, but a totally irrelevant 5 minute feature – Mr. Motivator visits Spain, for example – is spliced in when you least expect it, thus interrupting and hindering any attempt at video-taping. It will come as no surprise that commercially produced videotapes of the series, containing 2 x 20 minute episodes of the show can be purchased at most supermarkets and video shops for about £10 each.
An important factor in communication in the mass arts is high redundancy. TV plays, radio serials, entertainers, tend to resemble each other ( though there are important and clearly visible differences for the expert consumer).
Riding the momentum of the movie and the continuing success of the TV series, Saban brought out a new show aimed at slightly older children, VR Troopers, which was a variation of the same formula but slightly more sophisticated in content; it was scheduled to be shown concurrently with Power Rangers, but there was no contest. The magic words were there, ‘We are V. R.’ and ‘Forces of darkness empower me; take me back to my virtual reality’ replacing ‘It’s Morphin time’ and ‘ Tyrannosaurus, Dinosaur, Red Dragon Thunderzord ’ but it lacked the charismatic appeal and innocence of the original.
So is this aggressive marketing policy a purely a cold-blooded exercise in extracting as much money as possible from the consumer, or merely a way of stretching more out of the original product which in this particular case is a good one, and as with any film involves an enormous creative effort? Using similar strategy,Tesco recently extended their opening hours until 8 o’clock each evening thus effectively gaining an extra day’s trading for a ridiculously small additional outlay, (minimal wage bill for a skeleton staff; same overheads.)
With the making of Toy Story, the Pixar Company’s producer, Ralph Guggenheim’s deal with Disney finally allowed director John Lasseter to realise his artistic dream after years of experimentation during the 80’s. Lasseter first got excited about the potential of computer graphics after seeing them used in Disney’s, Tron (1982). That same year, he started to make Wild Thing which combined regular cartoon animation with computer graphics to flesh out the images; but the film was never completed. In 1986 he made the short, Red’s Dream and quickly followed it with Luxo Jr. a milestone in animation as the characters looked alive because of the 3 dimensional element and superior quality of the computer graphics.
The popular arts of our industrial civilization are geared to technical changes which occur, not gradually, but violently and experimentally.
In 1989, Lasseter directed Knick Knack and also Tin Toy which won Pixar an Academy Award for best animated short film. This ‘Oscar’ spurred Lasseter’s endeavour to create a full length feature, and with the help of screenwriter Andrew Stanton, and staying with the idea of toys, they eventually came up with Toy Story. Toys were not a new concept to animation having been successfully featured in Broken Toys (1935) and Pinocchio (1939) amongst others. Lasseter always wanted to make a ‘’Buddy’ movie and after analysing several films of this genre he concluded that the narrative worked because of the partnering of two characters that were essentially opposites. It was decided that a new toy ( plastic spaceman, Buzz ) and an old one, (cowboy puppet, Woody) would be tantamount to pairing Buck Rogers with Roy Rogers. Number one box-office draw, Tom Hanks was cast as the voice of Woody and television comedy actor, Tim Allen as the voice of Buzz. The result is Toy Story which has received very favourable reviews although the animation and technical achievement has been admired considerably more than the story itself. The 78 minute film consists of 114,000 separate frames of 2 – 4 hours each in its original unedited form and would take over 9 months to view if played 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One scene, involving green plastic, badly moulded toy soldiers is totally self indulgent and adds nothing to the story, doesn’t move the narrative along in any way, but does, however add considerable nostalgic appeal for fathers who happened to grow up in the 50’s and 60’s.
So, I suppose that makes Toy Story a work of Art, although it almost isn’t.
And, Power Rangers clearly isn’t, although it almost is.
Art as Merchandise : Merchandise as Art. Pop Art.
Movies and Radio need no longer pretend to be art. The truth that they are just business is transformed into an ideology in order to justify the rubbish they deliberately produce.
Art and industry can thus exchange signs: art, in order to become a reproductive machine (Andy Warhol), without ceasing to be art, since this machine is only a sign; and production, in order to lose all social purpose and thus to verify and exalt itself at last in the hyperbolic and aesthetic signs of prestige, that are the great industrial combines, the 400-meter-high business blocks and the statistical mysteries of the GNP. . . . . . .
A wind-up spaceman Buzz Lightyear figure from MacDonald’s lies abandoned in deep space 9 somewhere in my son’s bedroom. Toy story pencil cases, colouring books and plastic beakers linger unwanted on the reduced-to-clear counter of the local supermarket. Saban International have temporarily dropped the Power Rangers to introduce their latest superhero, The Masked Rider. It is now July, the school holidays have begun and the Disney corporation has a new hit. My son, Orrie, pulls on the ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ socks he has managed to talk my wife into buying for him, and comes downstairs to the kitchen where his sister, Alexandra is carefully arranging a plastic Esmeralda that glows in the dark among 3 friendly looking gargoyles – MacDonald’s latest bait, on the mantelpiece. It is raining and my wife asks them if they’d like to go to the cinema; a rare treat. ‘ Which film would you prefer to see, Toy Story or the Hunchback of Notre Dame?’ Quasimodo – an unlikely hero – wins hands down. There is no contest. The King is dead. Only Queen Barbie, who doesn’t have a Hollywood contract – lives forever.
 John Fiske; Television Culture. London. Routledge 1987
 Marshall McLuhan; Understanding Media. London. Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1964
 Paul O’Flinn; T-shirts and the Coming Collapse of Capitalism,included in Readings inPopular Culture edited by Gary Day. London. Macmillan 1990.
 Graham Dawson; War Toys included in Reading in Popular Culture op.cit. See also Marc Dery; Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century. London. Hodder and Stoughton 1996. pp144-7.
 John Walker, editor; Halliwells Filmgoer’s Companion, 11th edition. London. Harper Collins 1995.
 Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer; Dialectic of Enlightenment translated by J. Cumming. London Verso 1979 p.123
 Jean Baudrillard; In The Shadow of the Silent Majorities. New York. Semiotext 1983 .Also see John Berger; Ways ofSeeing . p153. BBC and Harmondsworth. Penguin 1972.
 Maree Tarnowska; Rare Character Dolls. London. Robert Hale 1987
 Kenneth and Marguerite Fawdry; Pollack’s History of English Dolls and Toys. London. Ernest Benn 1979.
 Maree Tarnowski; Fashion Dolls. London. Souvenir Press 1986.
 John Berger; Ways of Seeing. op. cit.p.43
 Kenneth and Marguerite Fawdry, Pollack’s History of English Dolls and Toys op. cit. see also, Collette Mansell; The History of Sindy: Britain’s Top Teenage Doll 1962-1994. London. New Cavendish 1995.
 Graham Dawson; War Toys. Op cit.
 Guy Arnold; Brainwash: The Cover-up Society. London. Virgin 1995.
 Leo Abse; Margaret, Daughter of Beatrice. London. Cape 1989 quoted in Arnold; Brainwash, Ibid.
 Marshall McLuhan; The Medium is the Massage. London Allen Lane Penguin Press 1967.
 Gary Day; Introduction to Readings in Popular Culture. Op cit.
Susan Issacs; Intellectual growth in Young Children. London Routledge 1930.
 Graham Dawson; War Toys. op cit.
 Nathaniel Wice; Playing Safe. The Guardian 16/3/96
 Guy Debord; Situationist International Anthology (1960) edited and translated by Ken Knabb California 1981
 Israel Regardie; How to Make and Use Talismans. Wellingborough. Aquarian Press 1972. Also
Judith Williamson: Decoding Advertisements; Ideology and Meaning in Advertising. London. Marion Boyars 1978.
 Jean Baudrillard; The Hyper-realism of Simulation from Jean Baudrillard: SelectedWritings ed. Mark Poster. Stanford 1988. pp143-7
 Adorno and Horkheimer. op cit
 Jean Baudrillard; Simulations quoted in John Storey; Cultural Theory and PopularCulture. Hemel Hempstead. Harvester Wheatsheaf 1993. also Ian Chambers; Popular Culture: the Metropolitan Experience. London. Methuen 1986. p186
John Fiske; Introduction to Communication Studies. London. Methuen.1982.
 Jim McGuigan; Cultural Populism. London. Routledge.1992. pp13-44.
 Lawrence Alloway; The Arts and the Mass Media. ArchitecturalDesign; London Feb 1958
 Alloway. Ibid.
Inside the Toybox – A Toy Story Special. BBC 8/4/96
 Adorno and Horkheimer. op cit.
 Jean Baudrillard; The Hyper-realism of Simulation op cit.