All that Glitters Ain’t Gold

16 Nov

Apparently there is a new “bridezilla” in town says R. Setoodeh and J. Yabroff in their article “Princess Power” (1)- her name is “princesszilla.” This princesszilla is one very lucky girl- she is worth about $4 billion and is said to be just about the most successful marketing venture ever. Sadly, this princesszilla does not actually exist in human form. She is made up of products from the Disney Princess line launched in 2000 and works her way into homes of little girls (and now adults) everywhere. Her many faces are branded onto everything from ice shows, to DVD’s, to books, to sleepwear, to toys, to dolls, to wedding gowns and now even house wares, credit cards and Mac Cosmetics. Either this is one very popular girl, or her main man, Walt Disney, is an excellent marketer. I’ll go with the latter.

I often wonder what it is that makes Disney’s products, more specifically princess products, so enticing to purchase. Is it the glitter? The pink, the purple? The actual movies themselves? The desire to hold a Disney doll in your hands as if you have just found a new best friend? I’m not too sure that any of these reasons can be all that true because think about it… there are several other companies such as Barbie that create similar “girly“ commodities, but the success rate of their products is not as high, long lasting, and successful in as many age groups as Disney.

After doing some research, I came across and article by A. Donahue entitled “The Mouse that Roared in Retail” (2), that helped me form a better understanding of the marketing strategies behind Disney’s Princess product success rates. Some of the key ingredients to their princess marketing strategies are:

-Targeting at an age range where girls are old enough to want to grow up, but young enough that they still want to play.

-Working closely with stylists to help girls see what Disney thinks would be popular, or take from what they are actually doing.

-Taking a “style-guide” to retailers for orders 18-24 months before the products will be sold in stores which will help serve the quick turn over of clothing merchandise in addition to giving an ample amount of time to manufacture.

-Not advertising with blunt, “in your face” campaigns because many viewers (even tweens) are more sophisticated than that these days.

– Advertising in a way that makes girls look up to these princesses, so they therefore want to be them and need to have their products to do so.

– Getting into the “DNA” of the show or movie to see what it is about it that appeals to females of all ages.

-Creating a large variety of product diversity.

-Crafting pitches based on the audience that each retailer attracts (ex. Walmart attracts a different audience than Target.)

After discovering some of Disney’s main marketing strategies my one and only response was- “Wow.” On one hand I want to give Disney a round of applause for creating such effective strategies that help them market to females of all ages, but on the other hand I want to scream at them for forcing themselves into the minds of such young and innocent girls. So is Disney really as “kid” and “family friendly” as they are cracked up to be? I don’t think so. I don’t know many moms and dads who would appreciate anyone forcing commodities and mature ideas into their young daughters’ minds.

(1) Setoodeh, R, & Yabroff, J. Princess power. Newsweek, 150 (22), Retrieved from the Ebsco Host Database

(2) Donahue, A. (2009) The mouse that roared at retail. Billboard, 121 (30), Retrieved from the Ebsco Host Database

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3 Responses to “All that Glitters Ain’t Gold”

  1. afertel689 November 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Sounds like we read the same article on “princesszillas.” I agree that it is just a crazy marketing plan, and the craziest part is that it’s working so well. Disney has perfected its sales techniques and found the perfect audience. I think it’s really time for the parents to intervene. It’s understandable that young girls are aesthetically attracted to the pretty dresses and sparkly crowns, but the parents need to explain what those princesses symbolize. At least provide an alternative to the “happy ever after” lifestyle.

  2. DisneyInfluence November 22, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    I agree with the statement above but at the same time I think that its important to realzie that it is not just Disney that parents need to protect their kids from. YES it is bad because Dinsey is supposed to be targeting kids and kids friendly and looking out for their best interest (which is why so many advocacy groups against Dinsey exist). I cant believe just how crazy and deep these companies go to make sure that they are going to get a product that not only will sell but will prosper. Its not wonder kids are growing up so fast with these hypersexualized images.

  3. effie724 December 15, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    A main reason as to why Disney’s marketing is so effective is because it plays on the innocence that adults once had, and that they now long for. It relates to the peaceful, carefree time of life where nothing mattered, and happiness was our most popular emotion. Disney knows and plays on this sensitivity, without explicitly spelling it out.

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