I’ve been involved in some kooky one-sided retailer negotiations lately, including thorny topics like exclusivity. The retail market is more concentrated in the UK than in the US, so it’s pretty clear where the power lies here. But, I think the basic dynamic holds true in the US too.
Of course, in this one-sided dynamic, it takes extra creativity (and fast two-stepping) to turn it into something like a partnership. Instead of submitting to pressure, it’s possible to create something unique and powerful even when you’re much, much smaller than the retailer.
And then, last night, my daughter’s school hosted a Gaelic Scottish dance called a Céilidh, which involved a lot of dance instruction (not to mention a lot of kilts). As everyone danced around the room, my mind wandered to cartoons. Retailer relationships struck me as a sort of elaborate dance.