Strawberry Shortcake is a licensed character owned by American Greetings, originally used in greeting cards and expanded to include dolls, posters, and other products. The Strawberry Shortcake properties also include a toy line of the character's friends and pets.
The Strawberry Shortcake line has their own fruity/dessert-themed name to match their clothing, and they each had a dessert- or fruit-named pet. Like the Strawberry Shortcake doll, all the other characters' dolls had hair scented to match their dessert theme. The characters lived and played in a magical world known as Strawberryland.
Strawberry Shortcake and her pet cat Custard was originally designed in 1977 by Muriel Fahrion during her time as a greeting card illustrator at American Greetings' Juvenile & Humorous card department.
After the idea was presented to Bernie Loomis of General Mills and became a licensing entity, Muriel then designed thirty-two more characters for Those Characters From Cleveland. Cindy Moyer Patton and Janet Jones designed the other later characters of the classic Strawberry Shortcake line. Lyn Edwards was the editor of the line and along with brainstorm group developed the personality profiles, the story line and philosophy. The first doll was a rag doll directed by Muriel Fahrion and created by Susan Trentel, Fahrion's sister.
During the 1980s, Strawberry Shortcake became a huge fad. At the time, there were several related products, such as sticker albums, clothes, a video game for the Atari 2600, and several other products. Several TV specials were made featuring the characters, one each year between 1980 and 1985, when the fad had apparently waned. Kenner produced no new dolls or toys thereafter.
In 1991, THQ tried reviving the franchise by producing an updated line of Strawberry Shortcake dolls. Strawberry and five of her classic friends each got a makeover, with new clothes, hair, and eyes. The changes were not extreme but they did contrast the outdated designs of the 1980's However, the line enjoyed at best a modest success, lasting just the one year. This would be the ending of an era for the next 11 years.
In 2002, the franchise was revived again, this time with a revamped look by a different designer. Also, for the first time ever, a television series with new DVD and VHS (and in certain markets, Video CD) releases was made, with soundtracks for the episodes being put out on CDs at certain intervals, along with many strong licensing deals. Bandai (along with KellyToy) was granted the rights to manufacturing the dolls and toys. DiC Entertainment was granted rights in producing the TV series, who sub-licensed the production of videos, DVDs and Video CDs of the series to 20th Century Fox Home Videos (who subsequently licenses the production of the video outside the US to various other licensees). For the first time in almost two decades, new videogames were launched, produced by The Game Factory for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. Educational CD-ROMs for the PC were also produced. The current revival is still running, with the most recent activity being the release of a CGI-animated feature film into the US market as well as games based on the feature film for various different gaming platforms.
In 2006, Playmates Toys picked up the rights to make Strawberry Shortcake figures. The line is named "A World Of Friends". The doll Frosty Puff was new to this line, but, although a good deal of shuffling and re-distribution was made concerning the pets of the re-launched characters, very few of the new dolls were actually merchandised with pets. The line was received with mixed reactions from the series' fans. This was the year that the franchise also introduced fillies. Each character got an individualised filly but rarely were they sold with their actual owner. They were sold separately from the doll except for Honey Pie Pony and Strawberry Shortcake.
In 2009 Strawberry Shortcake got a drastic new design to revamp the outdated designs. This would be the most successful update out of the other three. This was the first time that the strawberry shortcake franchised focused on the fruit part rather than the dessert part. This generation of strawberry shortcake also is the first to have the girls run and own real business. Other than the 2006 edition where the girls did jobs for each other such as Orange Blossom owning her orchid, the 2009 series actually has the girl's own business. Hasbro chose 5 of the orignal girls to be Strawberry Shortcake's pals in this series and even included Huckleberry Pie to appear in season three and four.