In Andy's latest Dateline Disneyland it appears that Disney (the corporation) is continuing the trend of plastering Walt Disney's face on more items such as t-shirts. What do folks think, exploitation or not?
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I don't think Walt would want these designs in his park, so perhaps it's an exploitation of his standards. As much as I love Walt Disney, I wouldn't wear his mug outside of the parks anywhere, and when it comes to inside the parks, i'd rather wear other clothes.
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As far as the images of Walt Disney being used on merchandise, no one promoted the face/name of Walt Disney better than the man himself. My opinion is that it comes of a bit tacky but the images are used to sell a legend now. Walt Disney has faded from the vast majority of the population as a real person into that of an icon. Is it less/more disrespectful than having Bob Marley's image on a t-shirt?
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"The thing that makes us different is our way of thinking, our judgement and experience acquired over the years. Giving it 'heart.' Others haven't understood the public. We developed a psychological approach to everything we do here. We seem to know when to 'tap the heart.' Others have hit the intellect. We can hit them in an emotional way. Those that appeal to the intellect only appeal to a very limited group. Let's not let the mechanics get in here and foul the whole thing." -Walt Disney
Is it less/more disrespectful than having Bob Marley's image on a t-shirt?
I'd say less because Walt marketed himself so heavily in his day. Probably a lot more than Marley did. Just because WE admire the man so heavily doesn't make it more disrespectful. We just have a bias.
In the quest for quality, I have no problem with the characters footing the bill.
Andy's point is correct. Walt Disney has been marginalized by corporate Disney to the point where he is primarily a character and a marketing tool. You won't find the real Walt Disney around Disneyland anymore. You need to go to the Disney Family Museum in SF to get a glimpse of the man and visionary.
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While these new shirts at least look better than the previous shirt/hat with the giant Walt face and stocker looking text, it is still part of the downward spiral that Disney has taken. They no longer hold the same respect for the founder of the company. This is apparent with taking his full name off their movie logos and reducing his likeness to nothing more than a marketing tool. Where does it end? I can see them next releasing an entire line of Walt action figures and bobble heads.
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Those t-shirts give me the creeps. In my opinion they should not have been created for numerous reasons, but mostly because they are inappropriate. Besides, who would wear them?! I would feel uncomfortable wearing them in DL let alone the real world.
To answer the original poster's question - yes, more exploitation of Walt. I seem to remember from somewhere that there was controversy about the Partners Statue because it had Walt's likeness and he never wanted something like that in his Park. In my opinion, the statue goes far enough. As Mr. Wiggins calls it, the T-shirt is cheesy and obviously an attempt to capitalize on Walt the character, rather than to respect Walt the man.
Maybe if sales don't go well, the marketing folks can create a stylized version of Walt's face - you know like they did with Colonel Sanders - to see if a more cartoon version of Walt will be a bigger hit.