Avengers: Endgame Iron Man insult helps power stuffed-animal sales

Rocket Raccoon may not have liked Iron Man's insult, but Build-a-Bear Workshop is loving it.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Rocket does not appreciate being associated with Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Marvel Studios

When popular films poke fun at giant brands, those companies usually just have to grin and bear it. But in at least one recent case, a movie joke was a boon for a big corporation.

Early on in Avengers: Endgame, you may remember, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) gets in a dig at Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper).

"I thought you were Build-A-Bear," Stark cracks to the genetically enhanced raccoon/trash panda. (In case you haven't been to a mall lately, Build-A-Bear Workshop is an interactive toy store where shoppers build the stuffed animal or other creature of their choice.)

That was meant as an insult to Rocket, but it turned into a big boost for the store chain. On the company's recent first-quarter earnings call, CEO Sharon Price John said the joke helped drive shoppers to the store.

Price John credited Avengers: Endgame for driving sales of movie-related products. The store sells numerous Marvel hero-themed bears and outfits. Total revenues increased by $1.2 million to $84.4 million, she said on the call

"(The sales) were further enhanced by Marvel's generous and welcome to nod to Build-A-Bear in the movie's first 10 minutes," Price John said, according to a call transcript published by SeekingAlpha. "(That's) just one more example of Build-A-Bear's top culture presence and power."

The store seems happy to Make Mine Marvel, even tweeting out a photo of an Iron Man bear along with a tweak of the line referencing the chain.

That Iron Man bear looks pretty savage. Build-A-Bear? Damn near killed a bear.

An infinity of bizarre Avengers products

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Originally published June 4.