Disney’s Marketing Mix

Introduction

The Walt Disney Company is an entertainment company that produces films, shows, owns several large production studios, as well as media networks. Disney carries on the marketing for their film and television franchises by selling memorabilia in Disney Stores across the world as well as having theme parks that draw inspiration from films and TV, selling the experience of meeting beloved characters, and visiting the worlds showcased on the big and small screen, as well as selling more memorabilia in the parks’ gift shops. This report will focus on the Walt Disney Company’s marketing approach in relation to their parks and stores.

Product

  • Disney’s product, in a sense, is themselves. The products sold revolve around their films and TV shows, and the company in general.
  • Due to the nature of the Disney company as an entertainment franchise, the parks and stores are in a constant shift to allow for the new merchandise from new films to be sold, new characters are constantly added to the cast of costumed workers in the parks, and new areas are added to the parks to accommodate for the new films coming out, this has expended more in recent years as Disney have been acquiring more production studios such as Marvel Studios and more recently, fox (BBC News, 2017).
  • In the Disney stores you can find a variety of different items, from toys, to mugs, fancy dress and everyday items of clothing, to Christmas ornaments. The key factor that ties it all together is that they are all relating to a Disney film or show.
  • The Disney store offers the option of purchasing products based on the product style itself, as well as to buy it based on character. (Disney, 2019)
  • The main branding of the Disney product is the magic it offers. Inside Walt Disney World in Florida lies Magic Kingdom “Where Your Fantasy Becomes a Reality” (Disney, 2019). This idea idea transitions to the larger Disney brand, preserving the magic of cinema and bringing it in to the “real world”. Inside the world of Disney, by visiting their parks and stores, the magic of the cinema becomes a reality.

  

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Price

  • The prices in the Disney Store range depending on the type of product, however the prices are in line with what is expected for branded merchandise and for the type of product across the market.
  • One example is in the soft toy department. Toys range from £5-£500 pounds depending on the size of the toy.  A Flying Dumbo Soft Toy measures at H31 x W19 x D47cm approx and costs £20 (Disney, 2019).
  • A competitor in the branded soft toy market is Build-A-Bear Workshop. A similar sized stuff toy of Toothless from a film by a competitor studio DreamWorks stands at a height of 38m and costs £22.50 (Build-A-Bear Workshop, 2019).
  • The Disney Store has also collaborated with some luxury brands such as Swarovski to sell products such as crystal figurines that range in price between £69-£349. These prices are similar to non branded figurines that can be purchased directly from the Swarovski website.
  • For the parks the price difference is much more apparent, when comparing the price of Walt Disney World in Florida to the neighbouring competitor of Universal Studios resort on the surface the Disney tickets appear more expensive, standing at £375 for a 14 day pass per adult, in comparison to the £295 Universal studios offer, however the tickets to the Walt Disney World resort include entrance to 6 parks (as opposed to the 3 parks the Universal Studios resort offers).

  

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Place

  • The memorabilia can be purchased online, in physical stores, and in the gift shops in the parks and resorts
  • Disney store locations are spread across North America, Europe, and East Asia.
  • In 2017 Disney has launched the brand new ShopDisney website, designated to attract different types of consumers. Alongside this change the physical stores have had a new design tested in several different locations in an attempt to bring the Disney magic to the retail experience (Disney, 2017).
  • Similarly to the shops. the Disney parks and resorts are spread across the world, with locations with two in the United States, one on each coast, locations in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, as well as Disney themed cruises.
  • Being a company that works in an international scale, Disney have been known to adapt their products to fit in with the culture of the place it works in. For example, when opening their Hong Kong location, Disney have changed their well known Haunted Mansion and turned it into Mystic Manor, due to the different perception the chines culture has with ghosts (Rath, 2014).
  • Each park has their own dedicated website rather than all being a part of one website, to make it easier to find the correct park. All park website can be accessed from the general The Walt Disney Company website under Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products in their About page (The Walt Disney Company, 2019).

  

 

Promotion

  • Disney is a unique company to study the promotion of, as the parks and shops are itself a promotion for the Disney brand and for the media it produces (i.e the films and shows). Nonetheless the parks and shops do still use several promotions as well.
  • The first way Disney advertises is old fashion adverts such as TV adverts. One example can be seen in The Little Duck video published on Christmas Day 2018 by the official Disneyland Paris youtube page. The Advert shared the journey of a small duckling who found a comic book showcasing the tales of Donald Duck, a well known Disney character. The ducking carries it around and attempts to imitate Donald until he eventually loses the book. At the end of the the video the duckling arrives at Disneyland and meets Donald Duck himself. The video ends with the tagline “Disneyland Paris: where the magic gets real”. (Disneyland Paris, 2018). This advert expertly showcases the Disney branding of “magic”.
  • Another way Disney promotes their brand is through social media influencers. Recently Disneyland Paris have gifted tickets to several social media influencers who in return shared photos of their trip on their various social media channels showcasing the trip. “Disney vlogs” are a popular content category on YouTube where content creators showcase their trips to the parks, however most of them are not gifted or sponsored content,  by gifting tickets to content creators Disney are able to increase the content shared of their company even more than it already is.
  • Social media is a prominent way in which Disney promotes their fashion products that can be found in their shops. The website Disney Style has their own Instagram page where they share different outfits and news of the company.

 

Process

  • Within the Disney stores the process is similar to any other retailer. The products can be easily found displayed around the shop and in order to pay customers need to queue up to a till.
  • In order to book tickets to one of the parks one needs to go to the wanted park’s website and book tickets.
  • Disney offers a variety of passes from fastpass that offers a quicker entrance to some of the attractions.
  • It is possible to book tickets a year in advanced which allows for cheaper tickets and allows visitors to plan their trips ahead of time.
  • On the website Disney also showcases places to stay while visiting the parks, whether it is the hotels and resorts that belong to the Disney company, or partners hotels that are located in close proximity to the parks.

 

Physical Evidence

  • The Disney Stores are often designed with a clean modern design, accompanied by elements from the Disney films brought in by wallpaper or exhibits of castles and more within the shop itself.
  • The stores will often change in design depending on the current more relevant film to be released and is currently promoted.
  • The parks keep the fairytale atmosphere with a design reminiscent of a movie set and complete with a castle that has become the Disney companies trademark.

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People

  • The employees in the Disney Store are known as Cast Members and their job is to “engages Guests and in magical experiences throughout the Store, delighting them with stories” (Disney Careers, 2019).
  • The cast members are easily recognisable by wearing their uniform, often in the form of a vest over a bottom down shirt, and wearing a name tag or a lanyard.
  • In the park there are costumed employees dressed as characters from Disney’s films and shows. Some characters are dressed in a full suit and mask such as Mickey mouse, and some, mainly the princesses, are dressed in costumes that do not cover their faces.

  

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Task 2

Product

The product view of The Walt Disney Company is somewhat unique, whilst the stores sell a variety of different products from soft toys to costumes, and the parks are a product which also sells similar products in the various gift shops, all these are an advertisement of one bigger product. the Disney Companies films and TV shows, and in a way, the company as a whole. In this section I will breaking down the various different products that the Disney Company has to offer.

The Walt Disney company is, first and foremost, a film production company. However over time Disney has become a household name, one that is mainly associated with American culture becoming a brand powerhouse with it’s parks, stores, TV channels and an overall a mass media organisation (Byrne, McQuillan, and McQuillan, 1999). On their official website The Walt Disney Company describes their mission to be “one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information” (Disney, 2019). They own several media companies and television channels.

Disney would release several feature films each year, both animated as well as live action films mainly revolving around the Superhero genre, as they also own Marvel Studios, who specialise in character based films (Marvel, 2019). The first line of products often comes to promote new releases. These toys would depict the characters as seen in the film, which if released too early could cause key information from the film to be shared, as has recently happened with leaked toy design from Avengers: Endgame (Stolworthy, 2019).

Using products that coincide with film releases is an efficient way to promote new films, however as Disney have a very large repertoire of films and shows and they continue to sell memorabilia of, and original Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and the original Disney princesses can still be seen walking around the parks. This helps one of the key aspects of Disney’s marketing strategy, using nostalgia to create new customers, but also have them keep coming back (Polizzi, 2017).

Whilst for the most part, the Disney parks can be seen as a promotion tool for the films, on occasion the tables are turned and Disney would create a full based on a successful ride in one of their parks. A good example for this is The Pirates of The Caribbean film franchise which started as a ride in Disneyland in 1967, but as the popularity of the ride rose, so did the marketing potential of it, and a film inspired by the ride was released in 2003. Since the release of the film and the success of the original film and it’s many sequels, the original Pirates of The Caribbean ride was redesigned to include characters from the films (Tad, 2015). This is a great example of how the Disney product is truly woven into all aspects of the company.

The Walt Disney Company is a company that has become it’s own product, expending across many different areas of entertainment and using the concept of nostalgia as their catalyst for success. While they may be selling physical products, like toys, amusement parks, and films, the real product is the brand itself and the emotions it can entice in their customers.

So now what?

My time in university is nearly over and I’m looking with hope into the future.

In the past year, I’ve worked hard on building up my professional portfolio, experience, and connections. I’ve taken on more projects than I could count, some featured on this blog and some not, some that I felt more confident in than others, but overall it’s all been a learning experience and one that will help shape my business in the future.

After university I intend to work as self employed in photography, continuing my focus on fashion and commercial photography, and also branching out more to events. I also hope to continue using the connections I’ve previously made with the fashion department, and more recently the music department to whom I have just provided some photography work, and build more working relations for the future.

I’m also hoping to start producing stock photography work that I could use as an ongoing project that I continuously add to as a self-driven way to produce cash flow to sustain my business.

I do have a part time job I’m planning to continue working in after I finish university to also help sustain me until my business grows enough for me to be able to work in it full time.

Finishing university is a very big and terrifying step, now is the time I am truly stepping out into the world, but I am confident in the business I am starting to build, in the relationships I’ve created in these past three years, that this is a new beginning and I am excited to see what the future holds.

CV

View my portfolio on my website

Skills & Abilities

• Team work
• Photography
• Videography
• Adobe Premier skills
• Photoshop skills
• Trustworthiness and discretion
• Ability to handle multi-tasking
• Knowledge in IT, specialising with Mac computers
• Creativity and flexibility, including working with stress and change
• Fluent in both Hebrew and English
• Moderate level of Spanish

Internships:
Summer 2016: Photography intern with the head of photography in The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Work included assisting with the photography of the exhibitions and editing the photographs.
May 2017-June 2017: Work placement as a studio assistant in Digital Exposure Studios. Responsibilities included prepping products to be shot, shooting smaller projects, and retouching images.
Commissions and Exhibitions:
Fashion At Chester catwalk show
Children Today Charity catwalk show
Chester Art’s Fair (event photography)
Beatons tearooms
University of Chester international office
Chameleon Style spring collection
University of Chester second year fashion design exhibition (exhibited photography)

Education:
2006-2012: Graduated from the Sha’ar Ha’negev education centre, full Bagrut major- ing in transmitted media (radio), History and English translation.
2013: Took 3 courses in Camera Obscure photography school in photography, studio photography and photoshop skills
2014-2015: Yarin shahaf make up academy
2015-2018: undergraduate degree in the University of Chester studying BA Photography

Personal Development

 

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When starting university I had a general idea of what I wanted to be at the end of my course, the goal has always been to become a fashion photographer, but during the year before starting university my interest for photography has diminished and I was unsure of what I was and what I wanted to be in the field. Due to this, I’ve started my journey in this university at the Warrington campus studying a combined honours degree in digital photography and radio production.

Radio was my safe space as it was something I had an abundance of experience in and something I knew I liked, so it was my blanket to fall back on if photography doesn’t work out. However, when starting the photography course it reignited my passion for photography and fashion photography and helped me narrow down what it was exactly that I wanted to do. This realisation influenced my decision to move to the single honours program in Kingsway and put all of my focus into photography.

What I found difficult throughout these three years was to find my place within the courses. I left the digital photography course because my work was too fine art leaning for the commercial nature of the course, but in the single honours photography course, my work is too commercial. These past two years in Kingsway were focused on finding my place within my chosen field and how I can integrate these two parts of my personality. During these three years I have branched out and tried different types of photography like fine art photography, documentary, and still life, however, there was always one project where I tried to focus on creating fashion photography.

The project I started in first year that was aiming towards fashion was a project I named 2020. This is a project I had floating around my head for a while and one that I still want to peruse in the future. I attempted to photograph my models in modern looking poses but attempted to edit them to look vintage as if they were shot on a film camera. This would definitely would have worked better had I had access to a film camera, however as the course was digital photography based we didn’t have access to those from the university.

 

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In the second year in the final project, we were given the option to choose a brief of an external place, competition, magazine, and work towards applying to it. I had chosen the association of photographers student award and focused on the theme of “people” and worked again fashion photography. I photographed one girl dressed in a costume of a demon, and another girl for a more standard beauty portrait photography some of which I had also tried to manipulate using photoshop to make it more engaging.

 

 

This year was meant to be the year where my final project will truly focus on true fashion photography, something that in the past I have not managed to capture just right. However, at the start of the year, I had experienced another drop in my spirit and interests as I was trying to start constructing my project. My project went back to be fine art based and I decided to keep my fashion work in the live projects I had chosen to do throughout the year. The project was dark and gloomy, and I had used masks to create interest and surrealism within my images.

It was only when I started working with the fashion students when my final project became clearer in my head and I’ve adapted my work to fit within that to create my final project: Wonder. This project managed to encompass the surrealism I wanted to express in my images while still staying true to the fashion work I want to produce. I feel that with this project I truly succeeded in expressing my true self and what I want my photos to tell about me as a photographer.

 

When looking at my work across the three years it’s clear that I have definitely developed and improved tremendously. I feel much more confident with the camera, with directing my model, my editing skills have improved, my lighting skills, and most importantly I’ve developed a confidence in on location shoots, something I have tried to stay away from in the years previously because I wasn’t confident in shooting in an environment where I can’t control the lighting with artificial light.

There is so much more for me to learn and so many different things within fashion photography that I am yet to try, but I am happy with the progress I’ve made in my degree and am hopeful for what the future has in store for me.

Catalog statment

My chosen catalog image is this:

YamKovatch

And this is the statement that follows:

Wonder

by Yam Kovatch

 

‘What may I do?’ at length I cried

Tired of this painful task

The fairy quietly replied,

and said ‘you must not ask’

from My Fairy by Lewis Carroll

 

My project was inspired Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland and his poetry surrounding the story including My Fairy. The project contrasts the two sides of the tale: the beauty and purity against the madness and surrealism, then link it to different approaches to fashion photography.

 

I collaborated with a fashion design student who has also drawn inspiration from the same story, and together we have created two different sets of images titled Wonderland Pt.2 and Wonderland Pt.3. The project seeks to take inspiration from both the beauty and the madness of the story and showcase two different aspects of fashion photography, one commercial based and one fine art based.

 

My inspiration for the project comes from fashion magazines such as Dazed and Confused, I-D and Vogue, photographers such as Rankin and Inez & Vinoodh, and fashion designers the likes of Alexander McQueen and Valentino. I am interested in the three-way collaboration between magazine, photographer and fashion designer and how this impacts on the final look of the image.

Exhibition planning

My final project has drawn from one of my live projects working with the first year fashion students. One of the designers, Lili, has created a dress with a print inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The project I have been working on previously included masks of a cat and a rabbit, which some of those who have seen my project have linked it back to Alice in Wonderland.

 

As I liked Lili’s design so much, as well as working with her, I decided to start using her dress in my project, drawing inspiration from Alice in Wonderland and the stories surrounding it, mainly focusing on my favourite poem “My Fairy”. My final selection of images was from both series of images, first the ones taken in the studio with Kenzie, and then the outdoor shoots with Louise.

After seeing my work displayed in the second year fashion student exhibition, where my images were printed on a very large scale (6ft).

I decided I would like to print my images for this project on a similar scale, having the portrait images from the studio shoot be 6ft, the main coloured photo from the shoot on the beach to be A0, and the black and white images to be A1. The issues started when I found out that I can’t print on campus in the scale I wanted of 6ft without having to crop my images due to the width of the printer, and so I had to downscale my images to 5″4. I later test printed all images in the correct size to see if they hold up, however, unfortunately, the larger images have started to become soft and the quality of the images have severely been reduced due to the original image file not being large enough to hold up to the scale of the print. This is a known issue when shooting on a digital camera, however, I wanted to experiment and see if it might hold up.

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Due to this test print, I had decided to downscale the images completely and have 4 images (the studio and the black and white photos), as A3 and the main coloured image from the beach shoot to be A2. This allows me to do several things I could not have done before. Firstly this allows me to mount my images on Foamex, something I had considered before but was worried that with the large size of the images it will be too much. It also allowed me to print the images on glossy c-type paper. I prefer glossy paper for these prints however the large printer in university only uses certain types of paper, and the c-type printer can only print up to A3. Having all my images larger than A3 would have forced me to outsource them all if I wanted to have them printed in c-type which is why I opted for the other type of paper, however having them at this size allows me to only outsource one image and have the rest done on site.

In the location selection, I had requested to be placed in either the fashion studio or the foyer. I wanted to be located in the fashion studio as, despite it not being used for that purpose on the day of the exhibition, links to my images as they are of fashion nature. I requested the foyer as originally my photos needed quite a lot of wall space however it is not as relevant now, as well as I didn’t know if the fashion studio will be available to use.

I am hoping to display my images in this manner:

how my exhibition should look

MA study

Going into further study has always been something that I had considered. As a person, I am very much an academic person and I do enjoy study and in my lifetime I would like to reach a Ph.D. level. Studying for an MA is, of course, the next stage. It is not a stage that I am prepared to take now, mainly for financial reasons, however, is one that I am working towards achieving in the 5 years following my graduation.

In my MA study, I would not like to study photography, or a specialised version of it (such as MA Fashion Photography, MA Documentary Photography, etc), but a subject that might be related to my photography practice, but expenses on the theoretical side and considers other paths within the photography practice. The three courses I am currently interested in are:

The first course I found was MA/MFA Visual Cultures in Manchester Metropolitan University, however in recent searches for the course I could not find it in the course list anymore, however, there are similar courses to this in other universities.

I am also considering a path in digital marketing, MA courses for which can be found in my current university, the University of Chester in the Warrington campus, and in Liverpool John Moores.

Other courses I am taking an interest in are inUniversity of the Arts London. The two courses I am considering are MA Fashion Cultures, MA Narrative Environments, and MA Fashion Media Production being my favorite one of the three.

At the moment postgraduate study seems pretty far away as I do want to take a short break from study to rest, save up money, and also start gathering work experience in my field however it is definitely a path I would like to pursue.

Fashion Photography-Research

My goal since I’ve started university has been to become a fashion and editorial photographer. Getting your foot in the door in fashion photography can be challenging, it’s a very high demand discipline and one that requires a very large portfolio of work in order to succeed in. In the past year, I have spent speaking to photographers, applying for jobs, and attempting to create a large working portfolio of work outside of university, in the form of the work I have done in my live projects.

I have met with a photographer who works as a fashion photographer and also runs a studio for other photographers to use when in need of one. She has been working in the field for ten years and she recommended to continue to apply for as many opportunities as possible, send over to magazines my own personal work, attend as many events as I can, and generally just continue to push forward until something sticks. This is something I’ve already been doing, I am a member of several Facebook groups that are around photographers and fashion work in general, and whenever a job comes up in one of these groups I automatically offer my services.

I have been constantly job hunting through websites such as indeed, glassdoor, and LinkdIn to see what jobs are available within my chosen field. In the photography field, most jobs I have found have been commission based/self employed basis, however, there are some “in house photographer” jobs available mainly in e-commerce websites. In the recent months, I have started applying for jobs in e-commerce websites as those are a great gateway into the fashion photography world, and jobs in which I can gather experience in the field. I had already gone to one job interview for the site ISAWITFIRST for a junior video editor position and I intend to apply for more in the future.

I am going to continue to attend and photograph events to later send to magazines or sell on stock photography websites. In the coming months I will be photographing Manchester Fashion Week and in the summer I will be photographing Nakshi Fashion Week in London.

At the end of May, I will be attending The Fashion Network Recruitment Fair, to which I will take along my portfolio and CV to showcase to the various brands attending the event in the hopes for future work. TFN is a great source of research for jobs and what is going on in the fashion field. I have subscribed to their newsletter and check their website periodically to see if any new jobs come about.

Venture

Throughout the year I have taken part in the university’s Venture program. This program was set up by careers and employability to help support start up business set up by students. The program invites guest speakers to hold workshops and lectures with students to help support them in their developing business.

The lectures include things such as tax information, building website skills, social media for businesses, and more. At the end of the venture program, those who have completed 12 hours of lectures within the program can apply for “the pitch” an opportunity to win a grant of up to £5000 to start your business.

Initially, I started going to events by the Venture program because I wanted to apply for the pitch, as if I were to win the grant it can assist me in building a small studio for myself that I could use once I graduated and to start working professionally on my own without the support of my tutors or the university’s equipment.

However, as I continued to go to the lectures each of them have taught me new things I haven’t even considered such as creating a trademark for my business. I don’t plan on having a name for my business, I would like to just use my own name, however during the “What’s in a name” session regarding trademarks it was mentioned that it’s worth registering a trademark for the business even if it is my actual name, in the events that someone with an identical name starts working in a field similar to mine or even external and could potentially cause bad reputation for my name.

I have also begun going to one-on-one sessions with business advisors from Natwest who have helped me start creating a business plan and prepare for the Pitch coming up in June.

Degree show promotion

Throughout the year the promotional team has been focused mainly on social media and have had our Instagram page run by Alannah who has been sharing work in progress posts from all students. Coming to the month before the exhibition, it is now time to start doing active promotion by inviting people to our show.

Within the promotion team, we decided to split up the roles in a way where each of us would contact relevant magazines and galleries in correlation to their own personal interest as well as connections. I took on the role of inviting relevant magazines as I have an interest in editorial in my career ambitions.

I first contacted Laura Robertson from the Double Negative as in the past year I have made connections with her in the hopes of becoming a contributor in her magazine.

I later also contacted The Skinny, Flux magazine, Redeye who will be relevant to the photography students, and Paper Gallery.

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