On the 21st July 1796, Robert Burns, at the age of 37, died in Dumfries, Scotland, in abject poverty. In fact, his friends had to club together, to pay the funeral costs. Yet today, it is believed that his legacy contributes £200 million, each year to the Scottish economy. For a man, so opposed to injustice, that is certainly, the final injustice.
Now, if he were around today, his life could probably be turned around by one four letter word - merchandising. Yeah I know it's a four syllable word, rather than a four letter word, but readers pay more attention when you tell them that you're going to use a four letter word. And certainly, a good merchandising manager would probably make a huge difference to the prosperity of Robert Burns. He would be a bit confused by the fact that his poems and songs were unlikely to make much money, but the merchandising of Robert Burns could make him a fortune, but once he saw the potential he would be convinced.
Holy Willie Prayer Mats, together with Mountain Daisy perfume and after shave would make a good start. "I love Rabbie" T-shirts could generate a fortune, even if they were only purchased by the women in his life. Little Robert Burns models, speaking the lines of "Tae a Mouse" while a little mouse scurries around his legs, could compete with the best dolls and action men.
Furthermore, with a good merchandising manager, it could have gone much further than that. "Tae a Mouse" is rather anonymous (if you'll excuse the play on words). If he had been given a name like Monty the Mouse, and the name got patented think of the profits from Monty the Mouse cuddly toys, action dolls and computer games - Save Monty the Mouse's house before it gets destroyed by the evil ploughman. Even Monty the Mouse Ploughman's lunches.
Come to think of it, it could have been even better than that! If the mouse had been called, wait for it, Mickey, just think of the ramifications for entertainment in the western world . Makes you think doesn't it? I can just imagine the newspaper headlines.
Robert Burns Has Mickey Mouse and Walt Dis nae