Thanks : ) And I loved your post, DuffyD.
I enjoyed your post over there too, DuffyD. Apparently some people have their minds closed and set regarding Duffy, which is a real shame. If they took the time to actually LEARN about the little bear and what he's about to the fans in Japan and the fans elsewhere (including the US), they'd maybe understand why we defend him when people start talking trash.
I think another reason why I adore Duffy is because here in the states he's kind of an "underdog". And I always root for the underdog. Using baseball as an example, Duffy is the Tampa Bay Rays as, say, Mickey Mouse is the New York Yankees. Mickey is established with a long history and success. Duffy is the "new kid on the block" and still trying to fit in. Hope that makes sense.
My response is Mickey has a dog. Why cant he have a teddy bear? If a Teddy bear is too generic shouldnt mickey have like a ferrett instead of a dog?
I looked and voted on the poll, then looked at the results....
40 people said that they think Duffy is a soulless ripoff!!
30 people say certainly not... Thank goodness at least 30 :)
I just hate how people treat Duffy. :(
I found another post on that thread saying "Duffy is garbage"!!!
How could they say that about the lovable bear??? :(
I could not agree more, DuffyD.
I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago for the Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Celebration event at Wizarding World of Harry Potter & I decided to take my Duffy with me to everything I attended. Duffy, of course, dressed in wizarding robes & even went to Olivanders and was chosen by a wand, which he brought home with him (so he's a wizard for sure). But what was interesting to me was that everywhere I went on Universal property, everyone went crazy for my Duffy. He was extremely popular, he posed for photos (even with some of the Potter stars when I went to the red carpet gala), people tried to buy him from me, and I had castmembers repeatedly hand me their phones, since they aren't permitted to use their phones on stage and beg for photos (especiallly when Duffy had a bit too much butterbear and passed out in the Three Broomsticks). One castmember was so taken with Duffy that she befriended my friend & I and walked us onto Forbidden Journey (thus saving us a 90 minute wait) and after the ride took us over to the Hog's Head Tavern and got us a free butterbear. It was amazing and I definitely felt like Duffy brings love.
Then ... Duffy changed clothes, got all wintery, and we went to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. What a contrast! I got a lot of, "Ugh! Duffy, I hate that bear," comments and people (castmembers, mostly), in general were kind of nasty about the bear. Except from little kids and from the "real" Duffy at his Christmas photo op - he was so charming and fun when he spotted my Duffy that it made for a very memorable moment that night.
My experience kind of tells me that a lot of Disney people are closed-minded and Duffy snobs, but my personal feeling is that Duffy is what you make of him. If you have fun with him, he brings you back fun tenfold ( I guess you could say that about life in general though, couldn't you?) and I sure had a great time with my Duffy!
I'm not understanding in the least about all the Duffy hate and snobbery.
I didn't experience any Duffy hate when I was at WDW last month for the Halloween party and a day at Epcot. I actually had cast members totally fawning over Duffy and Shellie May (especially at Epcot), along with some guests here and there. That sucks you had to experience that, Sue.
On the other hand, as I posted yesterday in another thread, over at Busch Gardens, the stiltwalkers at the main entrance went absolutely insane over Duffy yesterday. They were all "OMG IS THAT DUFFY?!" And when I said it was, they were all "DUFFY! GIMME GIMME! TAKE OUR PICTURE!" I was totally cracking up! Then my mom pulled her Duffy out of her bag and it was Duffy pandemonium! And there have been other times I've been stopped by Busch Gardens employees asking if my bear was Duffy and just fawning over him. I even got "Jungle" Jack Hannah to pose for a photo with Duffy (who was dressed up in his safari outfit from BAB) when he was here for Earth Day back in April!
And my bears get a ton of attention when I take them to baseball games in the summer. We even got on TV once during a Rays game because one of the camera guys spotted my bears wearing Rays shirts and were holding cowbells. The teams 3rd base coach thought they were awesome and posed for a photo with them (the rest of the team seemed to "chicken" to hold a teddy bear for a photo though :lol: ).
So it seems here in the US, Duffy has a more positive impact OUTSIDE the Disney community, which is kind of odd, but I'll take my positives where I can get them!
I think the problem in the US is that Disney fans are largely cynical about the Company, and with many good reasons. They suspect Duffy to be nothing but a soulless money-making ploy out of the gate. And since the US Duffy merchandise quality, storybook creativity and product planning all seem to echo this, it's fairly difficult to challenge the presumption. Disney would have to invest heart and soul, sweat and tears, blood and capital in making Duffy mean more than that. I think Sue is absolutely right that "Duffy is what you make of him," but US Disney is trying to force-feed an image of Duffy as a kids-only-adolescence-disposable brand product. The Company is actively limiting what fans can feel comfortable making of Duffy, right from the start...and from the "source." People who already love Duffy resent this; and people who don't, well, this isn't really giving them incentive. Disney is
slowly but surelyvery quickly making it so that adult fans of Duffy will either face a stigma of public perception of Duffy as a "baby toy" or simply give up on the character. Disney's marketing has completely failed to be sensitive or bold enough to see and understand Duffy as a character rather than simply a product. This was, is and has always been the "pixie dust" that fundamentally transformed the Walt Disney Company's epic failure with the Disney Bear into the Oriental Land Company's colossal success with Duffy, not unlike Cinderella's magical transformation. Disney still thinks it's dealing with the former. Sadly, I don't see this changing anytime soon.
My one hope is that if they do ever bring Shellie May over, they might use her launch to jumpstart a soft re-launch of the Duffy brand. Perhaps they'll get more creative and take the brand in a different, less childish, more creative direction. I have my doubts here, too, though. Disney does not like to admit mistakes for one. But secondly, due to the terrible marketing, I think Duffy is probably already known to too many people as a "kid's thing" or "offensive heartless money ploy." Changing this in people's minds is very difficult at this point, so I think Disney will likely focus on the easier task of trying to expand the market for kids. I hope they don't bite. I hope parents say "no," and I hope kids say they prefer Build-A-Bear. As much as I want Duffy to succeed in the US and globally, I don't want ever more people around the world to think they are talking about Duffy when really they only know the Disney Bear with stolen names and false validity. I would rather people not know Duffy at all, and still have the chance to discover him, than think that Disney's vision is really what he's all about. What Disney is selling is NOT what people are buying in Japan...nor what the Oriental Land Company is selling, actually.
I think Shellie May is more likely to turn the Duffy brand into a teddy bear "Princess" franchise, but if the Walt Disney Company releases Shellie with creative, original story investment and a truly high-quality costume line; I think there's still the potential for change...but it's an uphill battle. They have to fight their own marketing (and apparently their own instincts^^), and that would mean stepping back from some of the childish and cheap "knock-off" tactics they've used so far. I don't think this is gonna happen, and I don't think a lot of the folks who really love Disney and want to take it a little seriously as an art house are gonna go for what they're doing with Duffy so far. Honestly, I can't say I blame them. But it is a shame. There is nothing but limitless potential with Duffy - there are plenty of people who would love to connect to authentic Duffy's love-bringing vibe. But as often happens, Disney has so far failed to believe in its own power to produce magic...and instead tried to parlay someone else's phenomenal talent into money in their hands. That's not (exactly) how this Company was built,* that's not what the Disney brand should mean, and that is definitely not what Duffy is about. Maybe they won't try to force Shellie May to sell herself as less than she's worth when and if she debuts; much as I doubt it, I'm still masochistically hopeful. There is an audience who wants this, and it's not only three people standing in the back. A lot of us are willing to line up and pay for seats in the front row; we'd be the core audience if only Disney would remember its legacy and choose to connect with us.
*There is a difference between "inspired by" and "hacked."^^
Sue, Aimster, I'm amazed at your Duffy experiences outside the Disney parks! I can't imagine anyone being like that outside of Florida, but I guess you never know. (Now I almost want to get a full-sized Duffy just to be treated like a rock star like you two! LOL)
How sad that anyone would actually comment on hating Duffy, though. When I see someone wearing a jersey for a team that, say, robbed my team of a Super Bowl, I don't say mean things. I may THINK them when I shouldn't :shy: but I don't say them.
I'll be visiting Disneyland very soon with tiny Duffy, so it will be interesting to see if I hear any of that "hate." I can see how people think a $30 bear is a shameless money grab and get mad (even if he's adorable). But I don't understand why anyone would think an $8 bear in homemade clothes isn't lovable. :blush: I guess we'll see!
It makes me sad that Disney fans are so closed off to new ideas. I can understand their cynicism. After all, I share it. However, I can look past things to see value if it's there. Some people, obviously can't. Disney shoots itself in the foot often in that regard, so it's hard not to be cynical about their merchandise.
I agree with DuffyD's assessment, and maybe I'm a "Duffy snob" in reverse too. Although, I do want everyone to be able to know and love the Duffy that rose out of Japan. It's an uphill battle to make sure that message doesn't get lost in Disney's cheapening of the bear here though. What they did for Duffy in Paris is a great start, and one I wish they would push further and create not just a "for kids" brand, but something everyone can love.