Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

July 10th is a very special day—at least my six-year-old thinks so—because it is Teddy Bear Picnic Day. Yes, you read that correctly—July 10th is meant to be spent picnicking with your Teddy Bear. I am going to go ahead and assume this is a child centric event, but I know plenty of adults who have an unnatural attachment to their childhood Teddy bears. Not that I am judging of course, it’s just that I don’t get what’s so special about a stuffed animal that makes it worth saving for twenty or thirty years. Now, a vintage lanyard or antique promotional mug, those I understand—they have real value. But my motto is live and let live, so if you want to lay out a blanket, unpack the picnic basket and share a PB&J with Charlie the stuffed Koala, be my guest.

Even if you still have your childhood Teddy bear, you may not know the entomology of everyone’s favorite stuffed toy. Fortunately for you, I have access to Wikipedia and a little too much time on my hands. In 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt was in office, he was hunting in Mississippi and refused to shoot a small bear. The Washington Post picked up on this story and made a cartoon of the event. Toy storeowners, Morris and Rose Michtom, wrote to President Roosevelt for permission to call their stuffed animals “Teddy Bears” and a phenomenon was born. Incidentally, their company went on to become the Ideal Toy Company, one of the largest toy companies in the world.

I don’t know when Teddy Bear Picnic Day was created, or whose idea it was, but here we are. Hallmark may not make a card for this particular wacky “holiday” but Rush Imprint has an adorable Plush Bear wearing an imprintable t-shirt if you find yourself bare come July 10th. I am not a big fan of stuffed animals, but I do enjoy a good (or really, really bad) pun.

Well, I’ve got to go practice for National Ice Cream Day (a much more sensible holiday), Mrs. Winston bough me an ice cream machine! In the meantime, remember, “A bear in the hand is worth two in a cave.” Or something like that.