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Is the Suspense Killing You?

16 Nov

Although I have not seen the movie myself, I recently read an article (1) by B. Barnes that went hand in hand with the many complaints I had heard regarding the new Disney movie “Toy Story 3.” The typical story goes like this:

“I was so excited to see the newest Toy Story (since I saw the first one as a kid) that I waited on line for a ticket for what seemed like hours. After a good 45 minutes online an announcement was made that this specific viewing had been sold out. I then left in disappointment and ordered tickets online for a different showing later on. I arrived for the later showing with pure excitement and joy… and then just as Woody and Buzz were going for the great escape… it was over.”

Uh oh. Disney had used a cliffhanger- leaving it’s audience in great frustration and anticipation for a potential “Toy Story 4.” Is this another clever marketing strategy of Disney? I think so.

This example reminds me of the “Disney Vault.” The vault is where Disney “hides” it’s movies from stores and homes around the world until it feels like making a large sum of money on a re-release day. Then, several days or weeks later, it is thrown back into the hidden vault for what seems like forever until the point is reached in which the movie, most likely originally released back in the 1980’s, seems like new again. Everyone is left in suspense for when the movie will be released in stores yet again just like they are in theaters after watching “Toy Story 3.” The suspense kills them… and their wallets.

(1) Barnes, B. (2010) Disney uses cliffhanger to market ‘toy story 3’. New York Times, 5/1/10. Retrieved from the Academic Search Premiere Database


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

A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes… When Your Ready to Break Your Bank on a Wedding Gown

9 Nov

I would be hard-pressed to find a single adult female in the United States that cannot name at least 4 of Walt Disney’s princesses. If not, you either grew up in a cave or were somehow immune to all of Disney’s insanely amazing marketing tactics at an age as young as 3 years old.

I distinctly remember being around 5 years old and begging my mother for a “Belle” crown. Money was tight back then, but if a Belle crown would make me stop crying and behave well around the house, then this overpriced Disney crown from the Disney Store is what my parents would, and did, buy me.

Now, I could have that very same Belle wardrobe again at the age of twenty-one if I wanted to. Only this time it would be a couple thousand dollars more expensive and revolve around a wedding that I am nowhere near ready for yet. Yes, you’ve guessed it- Disney has now created a collection of fairy tale wedding gowns inspired by your favorite Disney Princesses from your childhood. Take a look.