Here's the site (smartphone version), though it's yet to be updated:
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I'm more and more excited about the Fluffy Duffy Bus. I hope they make merchandise for it. I hope that merchandise is reasonably attainable. And I hope at the end of the tour, the Bus parks somewhere around the Resort for at least a month. How cool if they had it parked at the
"Issho dato, iikoto arizou."
"When we're together, good things happen."
I how this sounds in Japanese! I how "arizou" just happens to sound like "arise" in English, although I think "happen" is much better at translating the quaint spirit. I the delicate assonance of "issho…iikoto…arizou." I how if you really wanted to shorthand it, you could just say "Issho iikoto!" in Japanese. In fact, I've decided that's Duffy's magical mantra of power.^^ I love how "we" is not only "with Duffy," but all of us, together. I love this campaign!
Let's examine the ways Duffy is being presented, who he's connecting with and how. I'll be using the 30-second version for analysis.
1) Infant (girl?)
2) Two teen girls in DisneySEA
3) Older man's birthday with family
4) Twentysomething woman receiving some kind of public recognition, presumably from colleagues(?)
6) Couple's wedding
7) Young girl on a bicycle, traveling alone, independent and optimistic
I wish there was more male representation. That's one thing I have to say I love about the US marketing — it's not so gendered. But it also seems to skew more consistently younger than Japan. I suppose all of this has to do with money and perception, but I can't help thinking that of the powers that be saw the potential that I see in Duffy, they could see money coming from everywhere. The key is to be focused on making Duffy appealing, making him well-known and loved. With that as the priority, the energy Duffy embodies is an easy draw for everyone whose heart is not irreparably calloused. Duffy's only limits are manufactured by the by marketing. Duffy conceptually has universal appeal, as long as the approach is varied and the intent sincere.
So, the infant could have clearly been a boy, and I'd have liked that better. There could also have been a boy, maybe even with his sister, playing with Duffy. Playing would be nice to see, cos kids do it. All these Duffys are basically props. Charming, wonderful moments; but the play element would be nice to see. The closest we get to play is the older gentleman at his birthday party.
He is clearly a major Duffy fan, as his (strange?) outfit matches his Duffy's and both appear to be custom made — Duffy's for sure.* I'm not sure what to make of this scene. It's clearly generations of a family, but the guy seems a little… flamboyant to me. Is he the father, the patriarch? It looks like the woman to his right on the porch is his wife, and to her right we see their single daughter. On the other side, it looks like the older daughter and her family. If the message is "old straight men love Duffy," that's great. But then why does he have to be so "fabulous?"
*Actually, Duffy's is probably a "pet" version, which are readily available.
I thought there was something familiar and meant to check before I posted. I think I learned about this back when I was teaching in public junior high school. The man is celebrating his sixtieth birthday, in the Japanese tradition of kanreki:
He and Duffy are wearing the chanchanko, which is the major symbol of the event, instantly recognizable to anyone raised in Japan. He's not "flamboyant;" he's elderly, festive, and as part of the meaning of kanreki, renewing his youth after retirement, beginning a new cycle in his life. This also suggests, sadly, that he does NOT have to be a fan of Duffy himself. Likely his family has simply given him the bear dressed in chanchanko as a kind of gag. It didn't even really have to be Duffy. I suppose that could be true for the young woman who receives the large Duffy, too, though it's especially disappointing for me that the only male shown with Duffy is most likely just being a good sport for his family, and is probably not intended to suggest that the man is actually a Duffy fan at all. Of course, it's not clear either way, but it's entirely possible (and I think many Japanese viewers would assume) that one of his daughters just thought it was cute, and to the man it's simply "a teddy bear in a costume."
My favorites, I think, are the girl on her bike and the woman receiving Duffy from her colleagues. Maybe it's graduation of some kind, but I don't think so. I also like the cat.^^
The high school girls are a little too easy. I'd have been much more impressed with a group of high school boys, which I have seen with Duffy. OLC is wonderful, but the overtly patriarchal, gender-based thinking that ostracizes and alienates young men by implication is frustrating, and Duffy is a powerful opportunity to turn it around.
I'd also have liked to see fat, less than perfectly attractive people loving Duffy and having fun with Duffy AND OTHER PEOPLE. And people with disabilities, who are generally underserved in Japan (though the progress the past ten years has been inspiring, and continues) and who are noticeably overrepresented in the parks relative to daily life — is this true in the US and other parks, too?
There are a lot of Duffy fans who connect with the "issho iikoto" message because of loneliness and "otherness." Duffy surely hits that note. Though I do not believe OLC is an evil company intentionally capitalizing on loneliness and though I do not believe the majority of Duffy fans are desperate loners, I do think Duffy (and Disney generally) is a haven for a lot of these folks and it would be nice to see if inclusion in this campaign could help melt hearts (theirs and those that judge them) to bring more compassion, unity, togetherness…and Love. Since, y'know, that's what Duffy does.^^