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  • Oakley Weddle

The Brillance of Disney's "Magic"

The Walt Disney Company, founded in 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy Disney, has flourished into one of the biggest companies to ever exist. Better known as simply Disney, the company pioneered a film animation sphere for itself and revolutionized the amusement park experience from early on. What started as a rudimentary drawing of a mouse has flourished into a global empire.

The target audience for this brand is typically families, particularly children. However, Disney has purchased significant studios and film rights within the last two decades, such as Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, Blue Sky, and Fox Studios. This has broadened their target audience to all ages, with more adult content being produced on the whole. Through this effort, they can add these intellectual properties to their parks – for which they have twelve – that rival similar ones, such as the highly successful Harry Potter world in Universal Studios. If all of these efforts weren’t enough, Disney produces their own animation and live-action films in addition to their owned properties. In 2019, they announced and launched Disney +, a streaming service to house all of their content and rival Netflix. That effort has proved to be the most successful venture that Bob Iger, former CEO, completed in his tenure.

In addition to their movie studios, they also have divisions rooted in television, such as Freeform, FX, ESPN, and National Geographic. In 2017, Disney bought Hulu, a popular streaming service that offers counter-programming to the more family-oriented Disney +.

While the pandemic hit the company severely hard, they have made an incredible yet expected bounce back. Stock is up (NYSE), and investors are happy (Baillieul.) Bob Chapek, current CEO, previously in-charge of the amusement parks, is proving to be a satisfactory choice to run the company. Through this pandemic, Chapek has been penny-pinching and cutting budgets to have the company survive, and investors stick around. However, this doesn’t come without a price. Disney, unfortunately, had to lay off 32,000 employees over the last year (Whitten.) Nonetheless, the company sees the light at the end of the tunnel as the parks open back up to palpable crowds, and movies get released on Disney + to a fair amount of subscribership and views.

Disney’s brand will go down in Marketing and Advertising history. With magic and whimsy, the company proves time after time that they are superior in the sense of the word. When you see a billboard, social media ad, or commercial, you immediately get nostalgic and think about the wonderous times you’ve had watching their content or in their prestigious parks. While their brand has a leg-up on the competition with their rich history, it stays relevant and classic.

Their most fantastic formula relies heavily on the success of their movies, of course. The marketing department has mastered the skill to leverage the story by creating merchandise and toys that consumers will pay copious amounts of money to. When you go to the parks, most of their rides are based on their owned IPs. When you leave that ride, you have to walk through the gift shop full of swag based on the IP. It’s a genius way to get people to buy their products.

Their design brand is traditionally blue and white. They always highlight either a picture from their most popular movies or sometimes quote Walt Disney, a widespread phenomenon in the parks, to drum up nostalgia. They paint the picture of a perfect world, one that you can only experience by visiting their parks or watching their movies.

With advertising phrases such as “Reclaim your childhood,” or “The holidays begin here,” and “Magic is here,” Disney implores its customers to either rekindle what once was or experience what will be. Being in Disney World could be described as stepping into the past, present, and the future at the same time. With a feeling like that, marketers capitalize on that emotion when you’re living your everyday life—attempting always to draw you back in.

Conclusively, Disney isn’t operating on just one thing. However, it’s a systematic approach that they take. They make a movie, add that movie to the park, make money off of that movie’s merchandise, and eventually add that movie to Disney +, which gains them, subscribers. Therefore, Disney doesn’t have a product. They sell an experience, one that has been rightfully put on a pedestal for almost 100 years.

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