Oor Wullie Going Global as 75th Birthday Approaches

Dundee publishing giant, DC Thomson, is to launch a global marketing campaign to cash in on merchandising opportunities during next year’s 75th anniversary of The Broons and Oor Wullie – including the launch of an official Broons tartan.

The Sunday Post revealed yesterday: “The famous comic characters are getting ready to step out of the pages of The Sunday Post and into the hustle and bustle of the commercial world. Number 10 Glebe Street is officially open for business.

“Publisher DC Thomson is in negotiations to license the iconic characters across a range of goods including collectibles, stationery, clothing, music and food. Most of the deals are still in the development phase, with the company putting a focus on quality above quantity.”

The official Broons tartan is – says the paper – being designed by Brian Wilton, of the Scottish Tartans Authority. There are also plans for a Maw Broon bakery range and for a series of limited edition Oor Wullie bronze sculptures.

The two comic strips, originally drawn by Dudley D Watkins, made their first appearance in The Sunday Post on March 8, 1936.

Six years ago, the paper continues to report, Oor Wullie was voted Top Scottish Icon in a survey of 1000 people run by haggis manufacturer, Halls.

Pointed out the Sunday Post: “Companies have wanted to use the characters to promote and endorse their products for years but until recently the only products outside the pages of The Sunday Post have been the annuals.”

The Broons annual first appeared in 1939, followed by Oor Wullie in 1940. They combine to sell around 100,000 copies a year.

The real commercial potential of the characters was underlined three years ago when Maw Broon’s Cookbook became a publishing sensation – selling more than 250,000 copies, followed by Maw Broon’s But An’ Ben which sold a further 150,000 copies.

DC Thomson licensing manager, Martin Lindsay, is quoted, saying: “We hope this will prove very appealing to businesses. It is a chance for them to become associated with these famous Scottish personalities.

“The Broons and Oor Wullie are part of the fabric of Scottish life and can be recognised by the vast majority of Scots. We expect to announce a series of deals over the next six months.”