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  1. #166

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    It's interesting that the topic in the TDL section about Duff Disney Bear being reintroduced to DCA and EPCOT is getting more of a following than the same topic in the DL-Anaheim or WDW sections.
    I don't wish Disney ill will.. but I hope this Duffy push explodes on their faces. I hope this will help make people realize for once and for all that Disney Co. is only there for the money they can squeeze out of all of us.. and not for the magic and happy memories they can create with spectacular park attractions and events.

  2. #167

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I don't wish Disney ill will.. but I hope this Duffy push explodes on their faces. I hope this will help make people realize for once and for all that Disney Co. is only there for the money they can squeeze out of all of us.. and not for the magic and happy memories they can create with spectacular park attractions and events.
    I agree with you completely on this. This push has been WAY over the top. And it's not just on Disney's site, but on all the major disney fan sites. And for what, A bear that was introduce in DL years ago, in a rainbow assortment of pastel colors, with a much cuter short story. And it flopped. It's quite obvious that the topics on several boards are being padded by disney fluff. American culture of cuteness is completely different than Japanese culture of cuteness.

    and now that it's been announce that they are offering duff in 3 sizes, with the middle size being the exact same size that they offered previously. Some previous posts say there is a difference between the previous issue, and the new one, but now we know it's being offered in the same size, in one of the same colors offered previous, and with the EXACT same markings as before.

    Quite frankly, Build a bear offers a much more complete experience than what Duffy offers. And Build a Bear offers a much wider variety of critters, and continually offers new ones. And they offer a huge selection of clothing as well, MUCH wider variety than what Disney will be offering for the duff.

    I don't get it, just where are their heads? Guest want merchandise that ties is to the specific park that they are visiting. They don't want the generic "Disney Parks" logo, on the crap disney sells. If I go to DL Anaheim, I want it to say Disneyland. If I go to WDW, I want it to say WDW. If I go to TDL, I want the merchandise to say TDL. And then I want something that is part of that park. And Duffy isnt' tied to any kind of attraction in DCA or EPCOT. Nor is Duffy a character that was part of a major Disney Animated Movie or Attraction. This is just crass commercialism at it's worst.

    DCA already has a great looking Grizzly Bear Cub Puppet, that you can put your hand in and move it's mouth. And DCA has had that since opening day. Obviously it's successful, since they've carried it since opening. But instead they ignore the obvious and try to force something that has already failed.

  3. #168

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    I think the only people who will make money off of Duffy are the ebay sellers. I'm sure some of the unfortunate Japanese Duffy Collectors who don't visit the US will be scrambling and willing to pay high prices for some of the cheaper made outfits & merchandise that are available in DCA and Epcot.

    I'm sure there may be an inital craze the first few days- but I doubt it will take off anywhere near what Duffy pulls in in TDS.

    I'd love it to do well in DCA and Epcot- but knowing Disney, if Duffy does take off like they hope he does- I'm sure they will get too greedy and kill the Duffy market quickly.

    A Vinylmation line could be cute & I'm sure that will sell better than the plush line of Duffy initially since there will be some followers from the current vinylmation collectors.

  4. #169

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    The upcoming line of duffy vinyls is bewildering, to say the least.

    Disney said it was all started by a mouse, not a bear that was designed in the 21st century. Mickey is the reason why the vinylmations became popular, that and a more reasonable price, than what most other vinyls had been selling for. A Duff vinly means squatt in the US. Perhaps it will work in Japan, but they are jumping the gun with that, in the US.

  5. #170

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    What's interesting to me, after watching clips of both the DCA and EPCOT launch speeches...it's not being treated very seriously. OK, Duffy isn't exactly a serious character, but what I mean is this. The Disney spokespeople leading these meetings were kind of doing this "wink, wink isn't this silly" spiel. They had groan-inducing "Bear" puns, and even had somebody count them. I think that was kind of acknowledging that this was not something to be treated very seriously. At TDS, they don't do presentations like this. I think we felt that the introduction of Shellie May was the most crass thing OLC did. They didn't have spokespeople trying to sell people on the concept in a smarmy Sarah Palin kind of way though.

    I don't know, maybe Disney isn't capable of doing something without trying to convince people of it's viability first. Obviously in Japan, Duffy stood on his own merit at first and the public created the demand, and OLC adapted the bear to suit those needs. Here, they're working it backwards. Maybe I'm just kind of tired of the whole "have a magical day" kind of Disney experience. I don't like being told to like something. I like Duffy (at least the Japanese version) because I like him, not because some marketing executive told me I should be excited. To me, Duffy is cute. I'll always love my TDS Duffy, but I wouldn't be surprised if I get burned out on the American Duffy because Disney wants to force it, like they always do.

  6. #171

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I am sure they did not make mention of Shelley Mae in those presentations... did they?
    Shelley Mae was NOT mentioned during the presentation.

    In a personal conversation that I had with the manager of Disney Parks global synergy for merchandise(whatever her long title was ) she did say they are very aware of Shelley Mae and that maybe there will be something done involving her in the future.

    I'm glad they didn't mention her at all. It already feels like Disney is "forcing" too much Duffy on the American park Guests all at once.

    At TDS, the craze grew and matured mainly on its own based on how the Japanese Guest's responded to the Duffy concept. It went from a product release, meet and greet, accessories release, incorporaton into existing entertainment offerings(i.e. Candelight Reflections) and finally his own show.

    Taking this matured Duffy formula, developed based on the Japanese Guest's attitude and response over the years, and plopping it into the US Parks sure doesn't sound like a sure fire winner to me. US Guests are not the same as Japanese Guests. Heck, DLR Guests aren't the same as WDW Guests!

    My best guess at this early stage of USA Duffy is that he will be mildly popular with kids and possibly will bring in enough sales to sustain him for a few years. I do not however, see Duffy's popularity coming close to what it is in Japan.

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    Oy!!!

    Oh well.. time will tell.

    In regards to the vinylmation stuff.. who the heck buys that crap? And why is being being pushed all over the place? Thank God OLC does not sell that garbage at the TDR parks..

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    yet.....


    Bringing the Love since January 10, 2011
    We were sent over there with the message that only we would defend Disney quality.. We learnt quickly that the Japanese culture speaks to a level of quality that is hard to comprehend. They were all unbelievably skilled and willing to do the right thing.
    Craig Russell -Walt Disney Imagineering

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    Quote Originally Posted by TravisMT81 View Post
    yet.....
    Shush your mouth!!

    BTW.. you should have seen the cute teddy bears they are selling at Shanghai's EXPO. Almost bought one.. but decided against it at the last moment.

  10. #175

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    Become a fan on FB Login | Facebook


    Bringing the Love since January 10, 2011
    We were sent over there with the message that only we would defend Disney quality.. We learnt quickly that the Japanese culture speaks to a level of quality that is hard to comprehend. They were all unbelievably skilled and willing to do the right thing.
    Craig Russell -Walt Disney Imagineering

  11. #176

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    So much catching up to do... If you dislike long posts, skip this one rather than complain about it.^^

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    "He's cute, but just seems like an average teddy bear without some context."

    Exactly! I think that's why he didn't take off the first time they introduced him. He really needs to be established as a "Disney character", and not a toy. If they just try to replicate the OLC model without creating a time and place for the character, then nobody is going to care.

    Although...if they actually bother, and create the costumes and accessories, THOSE might peak people's interests if they do interesting ones. Like attraction costumes (they did this for TDL's 25th, by the way)...
    Personally, I suspect that it was the hype of the 25th Anniversary that brought Duffy to the level he achieved in Tokyo. He was a popular item when I first started going to the parks in 2008, but he wasn't everywhere the way he is now. There was a fan base, for sure, but I think the one-a-month high-quality costumes are what pushed him into the realm of the mainstream, setting the stage for Shellie May and My Friend Duffy. All these costumes made with cheap materials...though they'll probly sell at half the price as Tokyo, they'll also probly sell half as many. It's a shame, because there is a way to do it well.

    For me, at least, the key element that made Duffy a valid "Disney character" was not the original bear being owned by Mickey, but the fact that Duffy had his own, self-sourced and mysterious magic. Further, when Mickey talked about how Duffy appeared in his dream ("Unlock Your Dreams" being the theme of the 25th), all the friends of the Mice wanted their own Duffy bear, too! And even more "classic Disney," since Minnie couldn't keep up with demand on her own, the friends all worked together to help in Minnie's factory. And at the end of the story, Duffy mysteriously travels around on his own! All the charming and mysterious elements that make Duffy a bonafide magical Disney character (not just a prop for Mickey) seem to be neutered. When I was a kid, I would've thought, "If he's Mickey's bear and not mine, then why would I want him?" Unfortunately, I blame not only WDC, but also OLC for letting this happen. The peak of Duffy, I think, has already happened and now it's just gonna occupy little kids for a while until it stops bringing in the dollars and yen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger55 View Post
    ...Do any of you think that older teens and adults in the US would carry around their Duffy in the parks, accessorize him, photograph him, sit him down at the table to eat with them, and even save viewing locations for the parades and shows in the same manner that they do in Japan?
    No, I don't. I mean, I put an armature in my Duffy so I could custom pose him for photos (and now somebody's selling that idea on Yahoo! Auctions...darnit!^^), but I would not do the same thing in the US. It was a fun, quirky TOKYO Disney thing; it had more to do with my feeling of "getting" the Japanese approach to fandom than just taking pictures of the bear itself. It was special - a memory of living here, and something I could only do here. Ironically, the marketing direction of this push has made me feel totally uncomfortable now. Since the My Friend Duffy show started and they started using that ghastly cheap walkaround, it just feels like it's all for kids or the hardcore - the folks who seem literally obsessed with Disney. It doesn't feel "quirky" or "geek chic" to be carry Duffy around for photos now. It feels kinda embarrassing and lame. Kinda like Murakami Takashi.^^ I hope this turns around, though, because I still do love the character, and what it means to me. And I would still like to finish my photo project someday.

    As Gurgi said a few times, I think Duffy does have potential with kids. But not staying potential. Without the more imaginative aspects of his story, and with no sense of personal ownership and investment, kids will move on quickly, I think.

    As a long-term marketing strategy, Disney is just not understanding that the way they're shifting the character is less appealing to collectors who might have taken the character seriously as a real Disney character, were they not obviously in such a rush to cash in. That's what Duffy had that the original Disney Bear didn't, and all signs portend that WDC is bound and determined to strip it away...again.

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    ...Limiting it to one location at EPCOT and DCA should be a start. Figment is a good example, since he's only in one area. Keep it minimal, and somehow create a demand. Although, they did that initially with the Disney bear, since he was only available at "Once Upon a Toy" when he was introduced. After a while he found his way to other stores, and that was the end of that.

    Honestly though, his introduction was meant as a way to promote that one Downtown Disney store...so it was kind of obvious that it was a way to get people inside. If they want Duffy to sell, they MUST create a compelling story for him and a reason for his existence beyond the first story they came up with. People need to have some kind of attachment to him, not just as a marketing gimmick...
    Quote Originally Posted by Janell View Post
    Does anyone think there is a good chance that Disney will work with OLC? If they did, then I think they have a shot and making it in the state parks. If they offer well quality items and a good story line which they could do, it would sell great. the question is will they work with OLC?

    Why Epcot? Is it due to World Show Case?...

    I also wonder if he will have his own store or just placed with all the other plushes? If he had his own store, maybe those in the states would take notice. He wont just be another plush...
    Fortunately, the bears themselves look to be of similar quality to TDS ones. The costumes, though, not so much. The material looks cheap and all the same - as in a poncho and a baseball jersey are the same texture - OLC wouldn't do that...or at least, they didn't used to. I haven't been interested in any of the Cape Cod Seasons costumes since those first sailor uniforms. I was shockingly disappointed at not only the lack of creativity for Halloween (is there any better time to show off costumes?) this year, but also the fact that there was only one option. Last year there were three! And they had a new character to dress up... I don't get it... Maybe they aren't as interested in making money after all...?

    I think Duffy's characterization as a traveler is the reason for choosing World Showcase, and I actually think that was a smart choice. I think they should have taken it further and allowed him to step out of Mickey's spotlight and really made him independent. If they're gonna go for it with the merchandising, they should go for it with the marketing, too.

    EPCOT and DCA are both kind of TDS-style "alterna-parks" in that they're not the place with the castle. I think this is important for Duffy and I hope they stick to it. I also hope that they do give him his own shop, as Aunt Peg's becoming Duffy's "hometown" was an essential part of the experience. Of course, Cape Cod equally needed Duffy, needed to be someone's hometown. I'm just not sure there's the right chemistry stateside. The magic Duffy potion in Japan had a LOT of ingredients...without any one of them, it won't taste the same and won't cast the same spell. So far, it seems like lots missing. It could be done, but it doesn't seem like the people in charge of it really love Duffy, and I think that makes all the difference. Again, I wish I worked there. It makes me really sad, actually.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fukai View Post
    Duffy will fail in the States. He's a blank, like Hello Kitty. He exists only as an object for what people project onto him. In Japan that makes sense, in the US it's not what people want.
    Quote Originally Posted by MatterhornJ View Post
    The majority might not, but I'm one of the people who would want something like that in the US.
    There is absolutely an audience for Duffy, but the marketing I see not only does nothing to attract that audience - it actually may drive them away. It did me, and I still love Duffy. When something is clearly for toddlers, even the bravest 20-somethings are unlikely to touch it, even teens. No, it'll only be kids and "weirdos." Kids' tastes change fast and weirdos...well, they're not exactly a stable market.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    What Walt Disney Co needs to be copying from OLC is not just Duffy. WDC needs to emulate OLC in every respect of how to manage and operate their parks...
    Before My Friend Duffy and the "Duffelganger," I would have agreed with you. But I have a feeling OLC deserves its own share of the blame for letting things go down this road...

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    ...It's sad when even WDC has become the follower of one of it's licencees... Very laughable, in a very satisfying way.
    This is my favorite thing you have ever said.^^

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    To answer the head line.. NO. Americans are not as gullible for fads as the japanese are. Nor are they into "cute". So no, the Duffy fad will not be successful in the USA. I much rather the WDC tried to imitate OLC in how to operate their parks, as opposed to mimic fads that are solely a gimmick to make money, as opposed to spending it where it really matters: maintenance and quality.
    I know how you feel, and in the current case, I am inclined to agree with you. But Duffy did not have to be "solely a gimmick." There really is something there, even if you don't see it, and even if WDC is determined to kill it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malin View Post
    ...Now that Duffy is going global I wonder what will become of his Japan fanbase. Will he loose his spark now that he can be purchased outside of the Tokyo Disney Resort.
    For me, yes... But only because he's going global as a fundamentally less interesting character. It's like they're taking Duffy and making him as generic, as much of a tagalong afterthought, as the Disney Bear. I hate that the moment that so many people know who he is, what they know is really only a shadow. Because of the way his popularity organically grew and was visible in the resort, the magic of Duffy as a character is totally connected to the experience of what happened in the parks as people unexpectedly really got into this bear. There is a way to do something like that in the US, but I don't think it's happening. Even were it not being forced, it could not be exactly the same as Japan. It has to grow.

    Quote Originally Posted by ichigopara View Post
    Do both parks really need to acknowledge Cape Cod? I don't think the original story ever specifically mentions it. Mickey sets out on different adventures and Minnie Makes Duffy to keep him company. I don't think Duffy going global will affect the Japanese fanbase except that they will want to purchase the overseas goods.The only thing affecting us is that maybe this is the reason why we have the not cute Duffy doing character greetings here. I think that they just wanted to make the cheaper Duffy for their parks and convinced OLC to use it too.
    I don't think Cape Cod has to be mentioned, but I absolutely believe that it CANNOT be changed. That's his origin. The creative people and fans who created that deserve it, and that should never be taken away. Hardcore Duffy fans around the world should be coming to TDS to see "Duffy's hometown." I can't believe OLC would give away such an opportunity, and it sickens me if WDC really takes this away from them, and from the character.

    In Tokyo, especially because of what people actually do with the bear in the parks, Duffy is a character that stands firmly on his own two feet (in the case of my Duffy, literally^^). I just don't think they're really making him any more of a real character with the marketing I've seen. It looks like a nearly identical marketing concept as the Disney Bear, just with a name, half a stolen story and more merchandising. Duffy, and his fans - existing and to come - deserve better. Duffy is capable of it, and Disney should be, too. I kinda hope I'm wrong (and kinda not), but this feels like the end of the beginning of the end...

    When you first said it, I didn't get what you meant about Duffelganger, but now I totally see it, too, and I'm pretty sure you're right. I HATE him! Are you still gonna even do your annual Christmas photo this year?^^

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    ...I'm not sure they need to use the exact same story as Japan, but they could actually. There is no specific mention of Cape Cod in his storybook, only the artwork gives it away. They could just create new art for the US version, but keep the text the same. I do agree that there needs to be some kind of consistency, like you said...
    I have to strongly disagree with you here, Gurgi. If Minnie is now making Duffy in some other place, that is totally unfair to the designers, creators and fans who took the stinking gimmick of Disney Bear and nurtured it and gave it a home. NO. Duffy was made in that house, and given to Mickey at that pier, by that lighthouse...or it's all over. The US storyline should be about the further adventures of Duffy (or Duffy and Mickey) as they sail around the world. I hope they at least get that part right.

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    I was thinking of his placement in the parks, and if they actually reuse his Cape Cod roots, and themes, it might just work in both DCA and EPCOT. If they place him in Paradise Pier at DCA, the seaside theme he already has would be a perfect fit. Lighthouses, seagulls, beach chairs, anchors...it all fits...

    The Japanese fans might not care that he has a slightly different story. After all, look at the lengths they go to for the original Disney Bear version, and they don't seem to mind that the story is different. It's just that it looks like Duffy and can wear the same outfits.
    The Japanese fans might not care, but they should. And more importantly, Disney should. If the point really is that they love and believe in this character, and if being a Disney character still means being invested with "Disney magic," I think it has to matter that the original Duffy was first made in Cape Cod. If nothing else, it's an appropriately respectful nod to the fact that Tokyo saved this character from oblivion. Of course, I'm not sure any of those "ifs" really matter anymore, though. I mean something as classic and sacred as Rapunzel is now "Tangled"..."edgy." Disney just looks desperate, and the artists who work there and the fans who believe in them deserve better.

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    Yeah, the storybook doesn't mention Cape Cod specifically, but the artwork does. They would have to change that, but keep the basic story the same. And, if they did that, it could work at both DCA and EPCOT. I thought the exact same thing about the new Duffy mascot too! It would not surprise me if that is the exact reason they changed him, to have him consistent around the world, and to have OLC pay for the changes, while WDC rides the money train...
    A global classic Duffy phenomenon to rival Hello Kitty would have been awesome, but I cannot support cheap costumes and the Duffelganger, and I in NO WAY support Duffy changing artwork in ways that conveniently forgets where he came from. That's just wrong. Though the "Cape Cod is Duffy's Hometown" sign has been gone for a long time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    As for the Duff Bears, with selling different outfits, it's just a cheap take off of Build a bear, which is already in DTD at DL Anaheim. And the experience at Build a Bear is a much more complete bonding, with a LOT more selection. You pick out the specific type of animal you want, you help stuff it and fluff it, you put a heart in it, then there are all sorts of clothes and shoes and costumes to dress your bear in, right in the store. Then YOU name your bear, and get a birth certificate for your own unique critter, and get a carrying case that looks like a house, to carry your bear home. Duff Bear misses ALL that bonding. It ends up being just another stuffed animal, but at build a bear its an entire experience. Duff just isn't that special.
    I have never wanted to work at Disney more than I do right now. It breaks my heart that I can't help with this. You don't seem to like Duffy, Aladdin, and that makes us come from very different perspectives... But I could not agree with you more about this. When Duffy is just a bear at TDS, his limited availability makes him a valuable commodity. Going global, there has to be more. The Minnie's factory idea should have been expanded, and with it, Duffy's role as ambassador and friend-maker. Giving Duffy as a gift should be pushed, as should the idea that "Every Duffy is different and every Duffy is Duffy."

    I actually thought of that tagline and the stuffing plush a long time ago, thinking about how to create the "bonding" you mentioned. I know from experience that Duffy "skins" could be fluffed in machines just like Build-A-Bear. How cool would that have been at EPCOT?! They could have explained that as word spread about Duffy, people all over the world wanted one, so Minnie had to build new factories in new locations... The technological factory theme would have been a great fit for EPCOT, perhaps only having the factory and DIY bears there.

    I also had an idea for names. Duffy could be male or female and could have any name, as long as the beginning was "Duf/Duff/Dugh/Duph..." The computer to make the certificate would have these options preloaded and then "adopters" could add whatever they want to the rest of the name. Your Duffy would be unique, but your Duffy would be Duffy. But then there was Shellie May...where all this crassness began. (I still love her, but only because of my origin story. I'm gonna go read that again to cheer myself up.^^)

    I didn't think of it until just now, but having a red house-shaped box that looks like Aunt Peg's for Duffy bears all over the world would be genius, and a beautiful way to honor where Duffy really comes from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger55 View Post
    For many of the Japanese Duffy fans, showing off their Duffys and being noticed by others is a HUGE part of the appeal.

    I have seen Japanese Guests that had 10 or more Duffys strapped to their body as they walked the park. I have seen other Guets that have made their own elaborate custom costumes depicting TDR CM costimes.

    I think many of the Japanese Duffy fans really crave and enjoy the attention they try to bring upon themselves...

    I really don't see the Japanses type of Duffy mania happening in the US parks. Maybe IF they market him right, people will buy him as as souvenir and MAYBE buy an outfit or two. I just don't think that it will come close to the popularity level as in Japan because there won't be the maniacal fan base.

    If Disney thinks they can replicate the TDR Duffy craze and come close to the revenue being generated in Japan, and that is the reason they are bringing him back to the US, they have badly missed the mark.
    While I know the folks you're talking about here, every Duffy fan is not desperate for attention or "maniacal." I am an adult male, but I carried my Duffy in the parks and took photos because:

    • a) I thought it was an interesting experience
    • b) It made me feel like a kid, which was the point of TDR for me.
    • c) The story of reinvention of crass marketing into something more was inspiring, as were the Duffy costume designs 0f 2008-9
    • d) The fan-made costumes and culture are actually really creative and kind of "culture jam" the corporate branding by making it personal and meaningful
    • e) The TDS redemption of the Disney Bear transformed into Duffy seemed to go with everything else I feel about OLC's vision/version of Disney versus WDC's (Maybe this is why they want to destroy him?)


    I'm not sure it's fair to assume, as often happens, that the only people who respond to Duffy are part of some "craze." It almost sounded like "many Japanese are a special kind of desperate and crazy," which I hear foreigners (like myself) say a lot...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    Oh, Please freaking Disney Bear IS Duff Bear. I can't wait for this to fail miserably in the US, a 2nd time, on BOTH coasts...
    I can't believe all the different disney boards being flooded with all this marketing *** and that's all it is . . . Marketing *** forcing this failed bear on all the chat sites.
    Whoa...negative!! This is the thing, though. I can't imagine many adult fans in the US reacting to Duffy in any other way. Unless there's more care-full story info coming, I don't even see lots of parents wanting to buy it, as there isn't really a lot of growth from the Disney Bear concept that failed. This launch should be an expansion of the horizons for the Duffy character as conceived at TDS, not just a broad net to catch people's money. People see that coming a mile away. And though it's hard to believe, and I suspect some will disagree, that's not what Duffy was before February 2010...though that's what the Disney Bear has always been.

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    I need to see the storybook. I wish that seller had taken pictures of the inside of that...

    The thing they're going to have to realize about Duffy though is that to make it in the US, he needs more "Disney". He's generic enough right now that people will wonder why he's Disney other than his Mickey marks. That's the only reason Vinylmation took off, is because of the Disney branding and the unique "artwork" on each one. If they start releasing special Disney character costumes, or cast member costumes for Duffy, I think that will help greatly to get fans to buy him. I mean, come on, if you can buy a Haunted Mansion costume for Duffy (they already did one at TDL for the 25th), then I'm sure a bunch of people would buy it just for that.

    I have to admit, the generic sailor getup we all love, just won't cut it by itself with American fans.
    The sailor isn't my favorite, actually. I don't really like it when his costumes are overbranded, even with Mickey marks but especially with his own name. It just feels less sophisticated than I originally understood the brand and the character to be. Of course, I also didn't think he was a toddler. I thought he was an adventurer who sailed through dreams. I'm still right.^^

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    Thanks for the scan of the AP info on Duffy, Poohstraveler! From what I read, it does sound like they are using the exact same story from TDS. Cape Cod theme be damned, but it still works anyway. Also...it sounds like Duffy will not have one store like TDS...well, he used to over there, LOL! They said "at select merchandise locations" which can mean anywhere park-wide. Oh well. The "meet 'n greet" will be in Paradise Pier, which sounds fine. And...we get to see the costume on him...it's...cute, sort of...
    The Duffelganger is horrible!!! Cheap bordering on scary. For everyone who didn't know Duffy before, this is Duffy. Everyone doesn't go online and look at the past. The new Duffy is as different from the other mascot characters as their own 1983 versions are from the contemporary ones. YUCK!!!

    The themes of mystery and adventure seem toned down to me, but I'm hopeful there's a longer version of the new story. Although I really think the way to go was to expand adventure in DCA and Minnie's factory at EPCOT. Paradise Pier makes a natural port of call and EPCOT a natural place for a factory. Of course, that would have taken more design/backstory effort. They should've asked me; I'd've done it for free.

    Quote Originally Posted by MatterhornJ View Post
    If you can't read the scan above, I typed it out.

    Beginning October 14, when you visit Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure Park, you may notice things looking a little “bear.” That’s because Mickey’s friend Duffy the Disney Bear, after traveling all around the globe, has found his way to the Disneyland Resort. As the story goes: “One day, Mickey was getting ready to set sail on a long sea voyage. Minnie made Mickey a special teddy bear to take with him so he would never be lonely. Mickey loved the bear and named him Duffy. Mickey and Duffy sailed around the world. They visited all sorts of exciting places and made a lot of friends along the way. Mickey and Duffy took pictures with their new pals and made memories that would last a lifetime. At the end of the voyage Mickey and Duffy sailed back home to share all their magical memories with Minnie.” And now, Duffy is ready to make more new friends at his Meet ‘N’ Greet location in Disney California Adventure Park. While you’re there, you can even purchase your very own Duffy- a Disney Parks exclusive- at select merchandise locations and take him with you on your next adventure!'

    doesn't seem like they changed the story much!
    Thanks for this. They didn't change it much, but leaving out that he came to life on his own, traveled in dreams, sails on his own, and Minnie's factory are all BIG holes, in my opinion. Hopefully they won't discontinue the storybooks at Aunt Peg's... Though, like I said, Cape Cod is already apparently no longer Duffy's hometown...

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    ...This whole attempt by WDC is to see how far american guests can get into this bear thing. Personally.... and I hope to be wrong.. it will be huge FLOP. And further makes TDS' Duffy exclusivity feel all the more less-special.
    Over in HKDL.. since they say Duffy will arrive there in december.. I hope it does wonders for that park ... I mean, Cape Cod was a dead corner at TDS, and now? Busy busy with bear lovers. I would hope for the same to occur at HKDL.
    My knee-jerk reaction is that it does make Duffy less special. BUT...if it was being done properly, my reaction could easily be celebratory. There's just nothing here that doesn't smell like $hellie Ma¥'s old dirty bloomers...

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    Thank you, Roger, for reporting, and taking lots of pictures of what you were allowed to.

    I agree, the costumes don't look up to the quality of the TDS versions. However, it's hard to really tell by pictures, and those are also prototypes. The one thing I'm not sure about are the Pixar ones...Build-a-Bear already sells both a Woody and Buzz costume that look incredibly similar. None of the costumes have the same "cute" factor that the TDS ones do. Also, the holiday costumes will be already dressed 12 inch bears? So, the 17 inch versions won't have those...oh well.

    I still don't know how successful this launch will be. Certainly, there's more effort than the "Disney Bear" launch, and I'm sure there will be people who buy a bear and a couple costumes. Nobody is going to wait in lines for any of this though. I think it might be a modest success, but nothing close to what TDS sees.

    I may buy a few of the costumes, but certainly not all of them...they're just not that cute...
    Thank you SO MUCH, Roger!! These are really helpful. If I didn't already have the Buzz and Woody from Build-A-Bear, I'd be tempted, just because the ears will fit. Like so much Duffy merchandising since February, these releases almost punish fans who'd already been trying to support Duffy by outfitting him in Disney's BAB offerings. There just doesn't seem to be anyone with love or respect for the fanbase, the characters, or the magic of storytelling at the helm of this. I will say that I really like the pirate from the drawing, but I doubt I'd be impressed with the quality of the material on the finished product. I'd pay eight bucks for that poncho for Lost River Delta photos, though. At least with this one, the kilt, and the Parisian beret, they've given Duffy back the gayness $hellie seemed to threaten! What am I saying...? Bavarian Alps is plenty gay, too^^

    That said, the rice snacks look delicious and that popcorn bucket is cute. I think "world explorer" was the right theme, but it's too kid-ified. Kids are gonna like a teddy bear even with some depth. But characters without depth and quality don't stand the test of time. Here's hoping they figure this out. Maybe they already have and we're all gonna be pleasantly surprised next week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    It's interesting that the topic in the TDL section about Duff Disney Bear being reintroduced to DCA and EPCOT is getting more of a following than the same topic in the DL-Anaheim or WDW sections.
    Well, it's not that surprising, since Duffy has been a topic of much discussion here for a long time, but it is indeed interesting...

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I don't wish Disney ill will.. but I hope this Duffy push explodes on their faces. I hope this will help make people realize for once and for all that Disney Co. is only there for the money they can squeeze out of all of us.. and not for the magic and happy memories they can CREATE with spectacular park attractions and events.
    If that's really all that's going on here, I agree with you completely, TDLFAN. I just still hope it's more than that. But, honestly, I see what's coming. I added bold in some quotes throughout. Here I added bold and caps because, seriously, they took back a bad idea that another team made into a beautiful idea...only to make it back into crap?!? Why don't they just ask someone who actually loves characters and storytelling to make decisions? The money people should just sit in the back with their calculators and shut up.

    It suddenly occurs to me that once Japanese people know that Duffy isn't just "theirs" anymore, like their unique phone networks/designs or their unique payment systems, etc...it really might kill the whole Duffy fad here. The Japanese do often like to be "special." And now I get where Roger was coming from...whew...^^

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    ...This push has been WAY over the top. And it's not just on Disney's site, but on all the major disney fan sites. And for what, A bear that was introduce in DL years ago, in a rainbow assortment of pastel colors, with a much cuter short story. And it flopped...and with the EXACT same markings as before...

    I don't get it, just where are their heads? Guest want merchandise that ties is to the specific park that they are visiting. They don't want the generic "Disney Parks" logo, on the crap disney sells. If I go to DL Anaheim, I want it to say Disneyland. If I go to WDW, I want it to say WDW. If I go to TDL, I want the merchandise to say TDL. And then I want something that is part of that park. And Duffy isnt' tied to any kind of attraction in DCA or EPCOT. Nor is Duffy a character that was part of a major Disney Animated Movie or Attraction. This is just crass commercialism at it's worst.

    ...But instead they ignore the obvious and try to force something that has already failed.
    I understand now more clearly why you can't stand Duffy, Aladdin. Really, I do. But I promise you this - as much as it sucks to not want the character around at all because you don't understand its value; it's even more terrible to love the character and see it marketed in such a way that no one else seems to really understand its value. Even a lot of the "maniacal" Duffy fans at TDS are just buying into the Disney machine; I know that. But there is something to this character. He could be something that matters. I don't think it's happening, but Duffy does indeed have so much potential to be magical.

    For me, rather than being tied to any one attraction or film, Duffy has always been a symbol of the park experience itself, and that could be global. The thing is, that would require loads of people being interested in carrying the bears around in the park and I'm not sure that's gonna happen in the US. Part of what makes Duffy so special, too, is his quality. Without that, it's just another teddy bear.

    Classic Duffy was a teddy bear of exceptional quality, available only at Aunt Peg's (in his hometown of Cape Cod) and at the exclusive McDuck's Department Store. When I first saw McDuck's, I nearly jumped with joy. I mean, how could you get a better theme for a shop than McDuck's? Every element of Duffy made sense. Now that he's being sold in Galleria Disney and...Mermaid Lagoon???... It just feels like they're trying to sell as many as they can before everybody wakes up to how much money is being wasted. I had that cold wake up call a few months ago. Ouch. I still love him, but maybe Roger is actually right. There is a bit of "mass hysteria" about it at this point that I think is not being sustained by further growth and development of the actual character at the eye of this storm.

    Quote Originally Posted by gurgi View Post
    What's interesting to me, after watching clips of both the DCA and EPCOT launch speeches...it's not being treated very seriously. OK, Duffy isn't exactly a serious character, but what I mean is this. The Disney spokespeople leading these meetings were kind of doing this "wink, wink isn't this silly" spiel. They had groan-inducing "Bear" puns, and even had somebody count them. I think that was kind of acknowledging that this was not something to be treated very seriously. At TDS, they don't do presentations like this. I think we felt that the introduction of Shellie May was the most crass thing OLC did. They didn't have spokespeople trying to sell people on the concept in a smarmy Sarah Palin kind of way though.

    I don't know, maybe Disney isn't capable of doing something without trying to convince people of it's viability first. Obviously in Japan, Duffy stood on his own merit at first and the public created the demand, and OLC adapted the bear to suit those needs. Here, they're working it backwards. Maybe I'm just kind of tired of the whole "have a magical day" kind of Disney experience. I don't like being told to like something. I like Duffy (at least the Japanese version) because I like him, not because some marketing executive told me I should be excited. To me, Duffy is cute. I'll always love my TDS Duffy, but I wouldn't be surprised if I get burned out on the American Duffy because Disney wants to force it, like they always do.
    I really miss our talks, Gurgi. I'll just say that all of this is how I feel, too, and it makes me sad because I know what this character could be. I wish I had some power to help steer this ship out of these very dangerous waters. I am very happy that more people are finally gonna know and love Duffy, but I wish they were getting the real thing.

    Afterthought: Why is the "Asia" costume China and not Japan? That just seems wrong to me...
    Last edited by DuffyDaisuki; 10-04-2010 at 06:05 AM. Reason: Added afterthought.

  12. #177

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    Very nice post, Duffydad.
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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    Glad you stopped by to visit DuffyDad. I'm very happy of all your insights an thoughts on Duffy.

    I'll actually be flying down to WDW on 10/14- just by coincidence & will be checking out the new shop & walk around Duffy.

    I don't know if I really have the room for another Duffy- but I guess I'll need the WDW/DL version now so I'll have the progression of the Disney Bear to TDL Duffy to the possessed HKDL current version to the newer Disney Parks version.

    I'll pick up my first Shellie May next month.

    I collect waay too much stuff at home & hope I have the room for all of this.

    I hope Duffy does well in the states, but I sincerely doubt he will ever have the true following that he has in Japan. I've said it before, but I'm sure Disney will try to exploit him too much and too quickly and try to force feed him to the US public- unlike the very carefully crafted approach Tokyo Disney Sea has taken.

    Seeing the few photos from the passholder event, doesn't really need much to be desired, but I hope they don't cheapen the Duffy brand- they really need to do quality merchandise like they do in Tokyo, but, unfortunately they only want to see dollar signs in the US.

    The line of vinylmation or duffymation, whatever it will be called, has the possibility to be cute- but I'm sure it will be overkill.

    Time will tell & I'm sure Duffy will prosper much more in TDS than he ever will in DL or WDW.

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    Oh, I'm really happy to see you posting! It's been a long time and I've been thinking about you lately and hoping you were doing well. And...you've given me a lot to respond to, LOL! I miss the long discussions we used to get into about Duffy, and Disney...even if other people rolled their eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    Personally, I suspect that it was the hype of the 25th Anniversary that brought Duffy to the level he achieved in Tokyo. He was a popular item when I first started going to the parks in 2008, but he wasn't everywhere the way he is now. There was a fan base, for sure, but I think the one-a-month high-quality costumes are what pushed him into the realm of the mainstream, setting the stage for Shellie May and My Friend Duffy. All these costumes made with cheap materials...though they'll probly sell at half the price as Tokyo, they'll also probably sell half as many. It's a shame, because there is a way to do it well.
    Well, I know they are setting the prices at half of what TDS charges...and you're right, they look to be about half the quality as well, LOL! I think you're right about when Duffy really took off at TDS. The 25th incorporated him very well. Not pushing him in with the other characters, but letting him celebrate in his own way, and with CM costumes each month that were both cute, and accurate. Those are the kinds of things I think even US fans would buy without question. The sense of nostalgia is different between Japan, and the US, but both groups love their parks. Anything celebrating their history is easy money for Disney...and don't they know it! I just don't think they're linking that history with Duffy at this point...

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    For me, at least, the key element that made Duffy a valid "Disney character" was not the original bear being owned by Mickey, but the fact that Duffy had his own, self-sourced and mysterious magic. Further, when Mickey talked about how Duffy appeared in his dream ("Unlock Your Dreams" being the theme of the 25th), all the friends of the Mice wanted their own Duffy bear, too! And even more "classic Disney," since Minnie couldn't keep up with demand on her own, the friends all worked together to help in Minnie's factory. And at the end of the story, Duffy mysteriously travels around on his own! All the charming and mysterious elements that make Duffy a bonafide magical Disney character (not just a prop for Mickey) seem to be neutered. When I was a kid, I would've thought, "If he's Mickey's bear and not mine, then why would I want him?" Unfortunately, I blame not only WDC, but also OLC for letting this happen. The peak of Duffy, I think, has already happened and now it's just gonna occupy little kids for a while until it stops bringing in the dollars and yen.
    I agree, and think that Disney in the States is incapable of treating Duffy the way you and I would like them to. It's just a bunch of marketing people figuring out how to sell a teddy bear. I'm kind of shocked that they even bothered using the artwork and backstory (although slightly neutered) from TDS. On one hand, it's lazy...they didn't have to do the work. On the other hand, they could have just re-launched it with it's old story, only with a name now. I do think the peak has happened already to. I have no faith that he will succeed here...I would love to be wrong, but I'm pessimistic about Disney these days.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    No, I don't. I mean, I put an armature in my Duffy so I could custom pose him for photos (and now somebody's selling that idea on Yahoo! Auctions...darnit!^^), but I would not do the same thing in the US. It was a fun, quirky TOKYO Disney thing; it had more to do with my feeling of "getting" the Japanese approach to fandom than just taking pictures of the bear itself. It was special - a memory of living here, and something I could only do here. Ironically, the marketing direction of this push has made me feel totally uncomfortable now. Since the My Friend Duffy show started and they started using that ghastly cheap walkaround, it just feels like it's all for kids or the hardcore - the folks who seem literally obsessed with Disney. It doesn't feel "quirky" or "geek chic" to be carry Duffy around for photos now. It feels kinda embarrassing and lame. Kinda like Murakami Takashi.^^ I hope this turns around, though, because I still do love the character, and what it means to me. And I would still like to finish my photo project someday.
    They certainly dumbed the character down, and I agree with you that it's not really the same anymore. Especially with "My Friend Duffy" and making him almost a drooling toddler. How, exactly, does a toddler sail a boat, or go on adventures without "supervision". And...running a cafe...aren't there child labor laws, LOL?

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    As Gurgi said a few times, I think Duffy does have potential with kids. But not staying potential. Without the more imaginative aspects of his story, and with no sense of personal ownership and investment, kids will move on quickly, I think.
    Seriously, kids are fickle! With nothing really to "do" with Duffy, they will quickly get bored. At least the older kids will. At this point, anybody over 10 would probably just roll their eyes and move on. Adults are different, as we are all here talking about Duffy. There are a lot of us who still care. Kids are different...they don't quite have that sentimentality yet. They just want something fun to play with.

    When I was little, I definitely had my stable of stuffed toys and there was a hierarchy. I'm sure we all did this. You know, there were your absolute favorites that you loved to death, and then you had some generic plush that really didn't matter. They were always the "stand ins", "stunt doubles", or "bit players". The main cast was the ones you really loved...everything else was expendable. Duffy shouldn't be the expendable one...

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    As a long-term marketing strategy, Disney is just not understanding that the way they're shifting the character is less appealing to collectors who might have taken the character seriously as a real Disney character, were they not obviously in such a rush to cash in. That's what Duffy had that the original Disney Bear didn't, and all signs portend that WDC is bound and determined to strip it away...again.
    That's a problem I think WDC hasn't figured out yet. Americans are super cynical about everything. You can see this by looking at any topic about Disney. There is this "battered spouse" syndrome, I think. Fans feel abused, but can't leave...they feel like there might be something better around the corner. Still, they are wary of trusting Disney wholeheartedly. I think any time Disney tries to launch something, there is a sense of being parted from their money, or that Disney doesn't care about their legacy. I'm kind of in this boat myself. I keep being pushed further and further away from liking Disney, by the company's own doing. I just don't know if they are actually capable of really caring about a product. You know, creating something just for the fun of it, or to bring people joy. No, it's all about the bottom line these days, and I think that's because Disney is now several generations removed from it's founder and legacy. It's "any brand" corporation now. Duffy is no different to them. They see how much OLC makes on it, and they see dollar signs. They couldn't care less about love or happiness. They just wanted their marketing team to not do what they did the first time around, and also not totally piss off the fans...which they're not doing a very good job of, judging from any other "Duffy" topics online...

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    Fortunately, the bears themselves look to be of similar quality to TDS ones. The costumes, though, not so much. The material looks cheap and all the same - as in a poncho and a baseball jersey are the same texture - OLC wouldn't do that...or at least, they didn't used to. I haven't been interested in any of the Cape Cod Seasons costumes since those first sailor uniforms. I was shockingly disappointed at not only the lack of creativity for Halloween (is there any better time to show off costumes?) this year, but also the fact that there was only one option. Last year there were three! And they had a new character to dress up... I don't get it... Maybe they aren't as interested in making money after all...?
    Yeah, so far, the US costumes are lacking that special something. Sure, they've got the Mickey marks, but there doesn't seem to be as much thought put into them as some of the early TDS costumes. I'll agree with you about the recent TDS stuff though. Not as much creativity either, but at least the quality is still there. Halloween was supremely disappointing for me, because not only was there just one option for Duffy, but it's basically the same as last year's. Ok, Shellie May got a matching one, but...that's it? I guess I can be happy that my wallet is not as empty this year...there is that.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    I think Duffy's characterization as a traveler is the reason for choosing World Showcase, and I actually think that was a smart choice. I think they should have taken it further and allowed him to step out of Mickey's spotlight and really made him independent. If they're gonna go for it with the merchandising, they should go for it with the marketing, too.
    EPCOT was the best choice for him, especially considering they're even mentioning Tokyo DisneySea in his story. I'm at least glad they didn't cram him into them Magic Kingdom or something like that. DCA is...an OK fit (better than Disneyland), but it's not as compelling as EPCOT. I agree though, that Disney could have gone further.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    EPCOT and DCA are both kind of TDS-style "alterna-parks" in that they're not the place with the castle. I think this is important for Duffy and I hope they stick to it. I also hope that they do give him his own shop, as Aunt Peg's becoming Duffy's "hometown" was an essential part of the experience. Of course, Cape Cod equally needed Duffy, needed to be someone's hometown. I'm just not sure there's the right chemistry stateside. The magic Duffy potion in Japan had a LOT of ingredients...without any one of them, it won't taste the same and won't cast the same spell. So far, it seems like lots missing. It could be done, but it doesn't seem like the people in charge of it really love Duffy, and I think that makes all the difference. Again, I wish I worked there. It makes me really sad, actually.
    I don't think they love him either. Maybe OLC doesn't really either. At first though (before Shellie May and "My Friend Duffy"), you might be convinced that OLC did care. There was just enough Duffy, and they didn't over expose him. There was a carefully crafted backstory and sense of place. Now...not nearly as much. I wish you worked there too, if only to smack some people upside the head, and also to use your version of Shellie May's story.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    There is absolutely an audience for Duffy, but the marketing I see not only does nothing to attract that audience - it actually may drive them away. It did me, and I still love Duffy. When something is clearly for toddlers, even the bravest 20-somethings are unlikely to touch it, even teens. No, it'll only be kids and "weirdos." Kids' tastes change fast and weirdos...well, they're not exactly a stable market.
    Yes, especially American teens & 20-somethings. I just don't think Disney knows how to market a teddy bear to adults. It's like they're stuck on kiddie marketing. Everything they do seems to be filtered through that. There isn't that goal of entertaining the whole family. It's all about kids. Shows, parades, new attractions, movies. It's all been kind of dumbed down. Even if "Tangled" is a great movie (which, by all accounts, it seems to be), marketing didn't have enough faith that little boys would like a girly princess movie, so they changed it's name.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    Before My Friend Duffy and the "Duffelganger," I would have agreed with you. But I have a feeling OLC deserves its own share of the blame for letting things go down this road...
    I didn't know what you meant by "Duffleganger" until reading further into your post, but yeah, I do agree that OLC let Disney have way to much influence here.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    For me, yes... But only because he's going global as a fundamentally less interesting character. It's like they're taking Duffy and making him as generic, as much of a tagalong afterthought, as the Disney Bear. I hate that the moment that so many people know who he is, what they know is really only a shadow. Because of the way his popularity organically grew and was visible in the resort, the magic of Duffy as a character is totally connected to the experience of what happened in the parks as people unexpectedly really got into this bear. There is a way to do something like that in the US, but I don't think it's happening. Even were it not being forced, it could not be exactly the same as Japan. It has to grow.
    That's, unfortunately a problem with Disney marketing. They have to push everything quickly. They want growth instantly. They don't want to invest in something that will have such a slow, limited start. Everything has to burst out of the starting gate running. I don't know quite how OLC was able to hold back so long with Duffy, while his popularity grew. Disney hasn't really had anything like that in the States recently, that I can recall. I'm sure if they don't see results with Duffy, they'll drop him like a hot rock.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    I don't think Cape Cod has to be mentioned, but I absolutely believe that it CANNOT be changed. That's his origin. The creative people and fans who created that deserve it, and that should never be taken away. Hardcore Duffy fans around the world should be coming to TDS to see "Duffy's hometown." I can't believe OLC would give away such an opportunity, and it sickens me if WDC really takes this away from them, and from the character.
    I agree with you in theory, but I know that the WDC is loath to really give that much attention to other parks not run by them. Frankly, it's a shock they're even mentioning TDS in his new story at all. I would love for them to keep his Cape Cod roots, but I think they would also have to explain that there is a land in this "other" awesome theme park in Japan where Duffy really came from. Or...they could just pretend it's the real Cape Cod...but then that would be...weird.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    In Tokyo, especially because of what people actually do with the bear in the parks, Duffy is a character that stands firmly on his own two feet (in the case of my Duffy, literally^^). I just don't think they're really making him any more of a real character with the marketing I've seen. It looks like a nearly identical marketing concept as the Disney Bear, just with a name, half a stolen story and more merchandising. Duffy, and his fans - existing and to come - deserve better. Duffy is capable of it, and Disney should be, too. I kinda hope I'm wrong (and kinda not), but this feels like the end of the beginning of the end...
    I'm curious about what these animated "cartoons" they talked about will look like. If there were anything that could develop Duffy's character, it would be those. We've talked about Duffy being a "blank slate" before that anybody could project what they wanted on him. However, I think to get Americans interested, he needs a bit more. He does need more adventures, more interactions. Maybe those cartoons will do it...or maybe Disney will disappoint me again...there's that pessimist in me!

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    When you first said it, I didn't get what you meant about Duffelganger, but now I totally see it, too, and I'm pretty sure you're right. I HATE him! Are you still gonna even do your annual Christmas photo this year?^^
    Of all the things they did, WHY did they change his costume? It just made no sense to me. He got uglier, in my opinion. What was wrong with his first design? That one looked more like the plush bears than this new one does. If it was done just for the new show to be more fluid on stage, they still could have at least attempted to make it look like a giant version of the plush...they failed to do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    I have to strongly disagree with you here, Gurgi. If Minnie is now making Duffy in some other place, that is totally unfair to the designers, creators and fans who took the stinking gimmick of Disney Bear and nurtured it and gave it a home. NO. Duffy was made in that house, and given to Mickey at that pier, by that lighthouse...or it's all over. The US storyline should be about the further adventures of Duffy (or Duffy and Mickey) as they sail around the world. I hope they at least get that part right.
    Well, I was thinking in a way that Disney marketing might. Not a great idea though, since they don't seem to cultivate stories. Ultimately, I agree with you that his story should start where it did, in those places. I just don't exactly have faith that WDC cares enough, so I was giving them praise for half an effort, I guess. It's gotten to the point where I'll see the glass half full with them, because they made some attempt to match the story. If I had my way though, I would agree with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    The Japanese fans might not care, but they should. And more importantly, Disney should. If the point really is that they love and believe in this character, and if being a Disney character still means being invested with "Disney magic," I think it has to matter that the original Duffy was first made in Cape Cod. If nothing else, it's an appropriately respectful nod to the fact that Tokyo saved this character from oblivion. Of course, I'm not sure any of those "ifs" really matter anymore, though. I mean something as classic and sacred as Rapunzel is now "Tangled"..."edgy." Disney just looks desperate, and the artists who work there and the fans who believe in them deserve better.
    Hence the Disney fan's cynicism. People do know Disney could do better, and many vocalize that on these forums and other fan sites. Disney doesn't seem to care though. They'll toss around "magic" and all that, but I feel like they've lost all sense of meaning. Those words they use for every marketing gimmick have become stale. "magical", "dreams", "wishes"...it's not special anymore. It's a testament to the original creators of many of the Disney characters that they still have staying power, because the WDC today, I don't think cares too much about that legacy. Oh, sure there are people within the company that do, but the bean counters and executives far outnumber them, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    A global classic Duffy phenomenon to rival Hello Kitty would have been awesome, but I cannot support cheap costumes and the Duffelganger, and I in NO WAY support Duffy changing artwork in ways that conveniently forgets where he came from. That's just wrong. Though the "Cape Cod is Duffy's Hometown" sign has been gone for a long time...
    The sign is gone?? When did that happen? It's sad, I liked how that sign let people know that Cape Cod was special. Not that it wasn't before Duffy, mind you, but it's just a cute touch that ties Duffy to the port. I guess maybe now that he's being sold in other areas of the park, they don't feel like it's his home anymore? That's silly though, because he still needs to come from somewhere, why not acknowledge that?

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    I have never wanted to work at Disney more than I do right now. It breaks my heart that I can't help with this. You don't seem to like Duffy, Aladdin, and that makes us come from very different perspectives... But I could not agree with you more about this. When Duffy is just a bear at TDS, his limited availability makes him a valuable commodity. Going global, there has to be more. The Minnie's factory idea should have been expanded, and with it, Duffy's role as ambassador and friend-maker. Giving Duffy as a gift should be pushed, as should the idea that "Every Duffy is different and every Duffy is Duffy."

    I actually thought of that tagline and the stuffing plush a long time ago, thinking about how to create the "bonding" you mentioned. I know from experience that Duffy "skins" could be fluffed in machines just like Build-A-Bear. How cool would that have been at EPCOT?! They could have explained that as word spread about Duffy, people all over the world wanted one, so Minnie had to build new factories in new locations... The technological factory theme would have been a great fit for EPCOT, perhaps only having the factory and DIY bears there.
    And why not? The "bear factory" would have been direct competition to Build-a-Bear, but with some of the Duffy costumes coming out, they're already treading on BAB's toes. Why not just do a Disney version of that with Duffy? Oh well, it's not like they listen to what we say anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    I also had an idea for names. Duffy could be male or female and could have any name, as long as the beginning was "Duf/Duff/Dugh/Duph..." The computer to make the certificate would have these options preloaded and then "adopters" could add whatever they want to the rest of the name. Your Duffy would be unique, but your Duffy would be Duffy. But then there was Shellie May...where all this crassness began. (I still love her, but only because of my origin story. I'm gonna go read that again to cheer myself up.^^)

    I didn't think of it until just now, but having a red house-shaped box that looks like Aunt Peg's for Duffy bears all over the world would be genius, and a beautiful way to honor where Duffy really comes from.
    I loved your Shellie May story, and wish you could somehow get that to be the official one. It's still apparent that even OLC hasn't bothered with a longer story for her. The minimal stupid one on her tag is all we've got so far.

    A red "Aunt Peg's" box for Duffy would be a very cute idea! They kind of do something similar at Christmas in TDS don't they? I've seen little plush Duffys in cardboard houses with snow on them. Adorable...

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    While I know the folks you're talking about here, every Duffy fan is not desperate for attention or "maniacal." I am an adult male, but I carried my Duffy in the parks and took photos because:

    • a) I thought it was an interesting experience
    • b) It made me feel like a kid, which was the point of TDR for me.
    • c) The story of reinvention of crass marketing into something more was inspiring, as were the Duffy costume designs 0f 2008-9
    • d) The fan-made costumes and culture are actually really creative and kind of "culture jam" the corporate branding by making it personal and meaningful
    • e) The TDS redemption of the Disney Bear transformed into Duffy seemed to go with everything else I feel about OLC's vision/version of Disney versus WDC's (Maybe this is why they want to destroy him?)


    I'm not sure it's fair to assume, as often happens, that the only people who respond to Duffy are part of some "craze." It almost sounded like "many Japanese are a special kind of desperate and crazy," which I hear foreigners (like myself) say a lot...
    I would also not consider myself "maniacal". I happen to love Duffy, but I'm surprisingly discriminating when it comes to collecting anything else Disney. I'm one of the cynical fans, and I don't just buy everything Disney throws at me. I take what I like and don't buy what I don't. I know there are people in Japan and around the world that just buy anything Disney because...well, it's on the shelves. I'm not one of those people. The reasons you posted for taking Duffy into the park were (and are) valid ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    Whoa...negative!! This is the thing, though. I can't imagine many adult fans in the US reacting to Duffy in any other way. Unless there's more care-full story info coming, I don't even see lots of parents wanting to buy it, as there isn't really a lot of growth from the Disney Bear concept that failed. This launch should be an expansion of the horizons for the Duffy character as conceived at TDS, not just a broad net to catch people's money. People see that coming a mile away. And though it's hard to believe, and I suspect some will disagree, that's not what Duffy was before February 2010...though that's what the Disney Bear has always been.
    I think you're right. Reading a lot of the posts on other forums and Disney sites after the Duffy presentation; most were extremely negative. There is almost a backlash from fans. I know there are people that did enjoy the concept, and bought Duffy plush, but there was a lot of hand-wringing online. People seem to be mostly offended that there is not really a presence, and attachment to Disney's past. It's being seen as a "buy me" marketing push. I'm not sure Duffy can withstand that without more thought being put in going forward. If Disney want this bear to make money, they'd better have some Disney fanservice tied in with Duffy...

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    The sailor isn't my favorite, actually. I don't really like it when his costumes are overbranded, even with Mickey marks but especially with his own name. It just feels less sophisticated than I originally understood the brand and the character to be. Of course, I also didn't think he was a toddler. I thought he was an adventurer who sailed through dreams. I'm still right.^^
    I like the sailor better than any of the other costumes they showed. It's not as sophisticated as the TDS, ones, and I agree with you about the name. Although, I felt that way about the "tourist" costume from TDS too. That one had Duffy wearing a t-shirt with his face and name on it. Talk about self-serving, LOL! This American sailor costume is like going to school with your name on your jacket so you won't lose it. Either that, or it's a giant "kick me" sign for bullies...

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    The Duffelganger is horrible!!! Cheap bordering on scary. For everyone who didn't know Duffy before, this is Duffy. Everyone doesn't go online and look at the past. The new Duffy is as different from the other mascot characters as their own 1983 versions are from the contemporary ones. YUCK!!!
    Yeah, the new Duffy walkaround is a huge step backwards, in my opinion. Went from cute to creepy...not good.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    The themes of mystery and adventure seem toned down to me, but I'm hopeful there's a longer version of the new story. Although I really think the way to go was to expand adventure in DCA and Minnie's factory at EPCOT. Paradise Pier makes a natural port of call and EPCOT a natural place for a factory. Of course, that would have taken more design/backstory effort. They should've asked me; I'd've done it for free.
    I sure wish you were able to. They seem to halfway get it, but there's just something they don't understand about it...

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    Thanks for this. They didn't change it much, but leaving out that he came to life on his own, traveled in dreams, sails on his own, and Minnie's factory are all BIG holes, in my opinion. Hopefully they won't discontinue the storybooks at Aunt Peg's... Though, like I said, Cape Cod is already apparently no longer Duffy's hometown...

    My knee-jerk reaction is that it does make Duffy less special. BUT...if it was being done properly, my reaction could easily be celebratory. There's just nothing here that doesn't smell like $hellie Ma¥'s old dirty bloomers...
    Yeah, but then this is the "hang tag" version, and even the TDS leaves out quite a lot. Who knows if they'll release a storybook at EPCOT and DCA like the one he has at TDS, but I think the stories they put on the tags are the "Cliff notes" versions anyway. Oh, and somebody PLEASE wash Shellie's bloomers...

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    Thank you SO MUCH, Roger!! These are really helpful. If I didn't already have the Buzz and Woody from Build-A-Bear, I'd be tempted, just because the ears will fit. Like so much Duffy merchandising since February, these releases almost punish fans who'd already been trying to support Duffy by outfitting him in Disney's BAB offerings. There just doesn't seem to be anyone with love or respect for the fanbase, the characters, or the magic of storytelling at the helm of this. I will say that I really like the pirate from the drawing, but I doubt I'd be impressed with the quality of the material on the finished product. I'd pay eight bucks for that poncho for Lost River Delta photos, though. At least with this one, the kilt, and the Parisian beret, they've given Duffy back the gayness $hellie seemed to threaten! What am I saying...? Bavarian Alps is plenty gay, too^^

    That said, the rice snacks look delicious and that popcorn bucket is cute. I think "world explorer" was the right theme, but it's too kid-ified. Kids are gonna like a teddy bear even with some depth. But characters without depth and quality don't stand the test of time. Here's hoping they figure this out. Maybe they already have and we're all gonna be pleasantly surprised next week.
    LOL, yeah, the lederhosen are pretty gay, in a good way. The poncho is...kinda cute, but also looks kinda cheap. I'm going to need to see these in person, I guess. At half the price of TDS costumes though, I don't expect the same quality, unfortunately. The Disney character costumes seem like an afterthought, especially since BAB already has Buzz & Woody costumes.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    If that's really all that's going on here, I agree with you completely, TDLFAN. I just still hope it's more than that. But, honestly, I see what's coming. I added bold in some quotes throughout. Here I added bold and caps because, seriously, they took back a bad idea that another team made into a beautiful idea...only to make it back into crap?!? Why don't they just ask someone who actually loves characters and storytelling to make decisions? The money people should just sit in the back with their calculators and shut up.

    It suddenly occurs to me that once Japanese people know that Duffy isn't just "theirs" anymore, like their unique phone networks/designs or their unique payment systems, etc...it really might kill the whole Duffy fad here. The Japanese do often like to be "special." And now I get where Roger was coming from...whew...^^
    That's the problem these days. The guys with the calculators never shut up. It's all about profit and growth or else. There is no concept of cultivation anymore. Everything MUST be a huge success or else. This is the reason Disney has decided that selling park music on CD in the States isn't going to happen for a while. Unless something moves millions of units, it's not worth it to Disney. World of Color isn't getting a CD release because of this. They don't think they can move enough units. I guess somebody felt like Duffy possibly could, but I guess time will tell with that, won't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    I understand now more clearly why you can't stand Duffy, Aladdin. Really, I do. But I promise you this - as much as it sucks to not want the character around at all because you don't understand its value; it's even more terrible to love the character and see it marketed in such a way that no one else seems to really understand its value. Even a lot of the "maniacal" Duffy fans at TDS are just buying into the Disney machine; I know that. But there is something to this character. He could be something that matters. I don't think it's happening, but Duffy does indeed have so much potential to be magical.
    He does have potential, and truly, I hope Disney can make it happen. I'm not feeling optimistic, but deep down, I do want Duffy to succeed and truly become a bonafied Disney character with depth.

    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    I really miss our talks, Gurgi. I'll just say that all of this is how I feel, too, and it makes me sad because I know what this character could be. I wish I had some power to help steer this ship out of these very dangerous waters. I am very happy that more people are finally gonna know and love Duffy, but I wish they were getting the real thing.

    Afterthought: Why is the "Asia" costume China and not Japan? That just seems wrong to me...
    I miss our talks too, and I would love to pick up again. Since you've been here, quite a lot more people have "found" Duffy. I have no idea who did independently, or who did because of what was said in the TDR forums, but regardless, I know he's got a lot more fans around the world. We'll see if Disney can truly rise to the occasion here and do what's right with him.

    Oh, and that Asia costume. I would guess that because there's also a China pavilion in World Showcase, that they're going for that "Asian" instead of Japanese. I wouldn't mind both, actually, and a costume from every single country around the lagoon.

  15. #180

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    Re: It was only a matter of time before Duffy made Disney take notice...(Merged)

    I'm just astounded that the longest thread in the Tokyo Disney Resort category seems to be about Duffy!

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