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  1. #1

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

    Ok, according to Al Lutz, Duffy is on his way (again) to the US.

    "Editor's Note 8/9: The next big Disney marketing push is a new character named Duffy, supposedly Mickey's little teddy bear that travels the world with him. Way-too-cute Duffy makes his big debut in the American parks Oct. 14th at DCA and Epcot. Expect a major campaign, since he's already huge in Japan and has the potential for massive sales of the plush and all the accessories. Look for photo locations in DCA and Epcot as well as the obligatory viral marketing this fall, so get your credit cards ready. - Al Lutz"

    So...it looks like Disney is seeing how well Duffy is doing in Japan, and wants to capitalize on that too. Nevermind that it's a concept they started anyway. I'm very curious to see just how Disney markets him here. I have a sinking feeling it won't be as "cute" as the TDS version. More...Americanized? Also, what the heck will his story be now? There's no Cape Cod in any of the US parks.

    Hopefully it's not just "Disney Bear" with a name now, and the exact same story. Because...well, we see how well that went before.

    Also, I wanted to mention this before, because I thought it was interesting. Apparently Disney was toying with a "friend" for "Disney Bear" here too...only not a bear. Check this out...it's "Disney Cat". So, Shellie May could have been a cat too! I don't know how recent they were developing this, but I guess they were trying to diversify a while ago too.

    Disney Bear Pink Cat Prototype Furry Plush Duffy Sample - eBay (item 110563550391 end time Aug-01-10 19:01:47 PDT)

  2. #2

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

    interesting info

    here's another auction that person had too a Valentine Duffy
    Disney Bear Duffy White Valentine Heart Prototype Plush - eBay (item 370411577607 end time Aug-01-10 19:07:58 PDT)

  3. #3

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

    Hmm, is Aunt Peg opening up shop in Paradise Pier? The empty San Francisco building would also make a great location for the Duffster. I'm not sure how I feel about this news. I'm happy for the widespread availability of Duffy merchandise but mourn the loss of Duffy's exclusivity factor.

    last time i buy crystal ball from pic n save!

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

    I can't blame Disney for wanting to utilize something that popular in more places. If he's got lines longer than most rides just for a meet and greet, they'd be insane not to try and utilize him in other parks. too. I just hope they actually try to give him story and character, and don't just shove the character in parks with merchandise. He's cute, but just seems like an average teddy bear without some context.
    "A paradise for children--and for grownups, too. I don't know when I've had so much fun."-Richard Nixon on Disneyland

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

    I wonder where he will be in Epcot. Maybe they can build a new space in one of the Innoventions buildings. Maybe the Imagination! pavilion. Maybe one of those generic shops at the World Showcase entrance. But, I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the Japan pavilion.
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    a.k.a. h2mc, omnimover.mousetalgia, omnimover, wumbology, hogbackmtn, hhmcsharry, Hale M., h2m, h2mc

    (I've never visited Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Resort Paris, nor Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, so don't be fooled when I pretend to know what I'm talking about. [But I'm pretty good with the information, if I do say so myself. And you can hit me all you want with Walt Disney World.])



  6. #6

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

    "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). I could see if they did something like Vinylmation, where there is some "fan service", then, the American Duffy could take off. If they just do "Build-a-Bear Disney-Style", then, maybe it won't work.

    If they do it right, it will be kind of funny, because the Japanese fans will be buying all of the US costumes and bears for crazy money on Ebay. Somebody should set up a "Duffy exchange" to get each country's costumes...

  7. #7

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

    Quote Originally Posted by wumbology View Post
    I wonder where he will be in Epcot. Maybe they can build a new space in one of the Innoventions buildings. Maybe the Imagination! pavilion. Maybe one of those generic shops at the World Showcase entrance. But, I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the Japan pavilion.
    Yeah, I also wondered where. I guess it depends on how they are going to market him. The one thing that kind of worries me is that he's going to be at EPCOT and DCA, which makes it hard to pin him to one park or land. So, I'm going by Al's little "clue" that the story is he travels the world with Mickey. That could, of course, place him anywhere.

    The Japan pavilion is an interesting idea, and if they were smart, they would partner with OLC and sell the Japanese costume sets there...but I doubt that will happen.

    DCA will be interesting also...where could he really fit? I guess Paradise Pier, or San Francisco? Near Grizzly River Run could be fun, and appropriate too. I guess we'll have to wait and see just how Disney handles this relaunch.

  8. #8

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

    I really hope that he will be made with the same quality as the Japanese cousins. :/
    I also hope that he will only be sold in one shop, rather than 10.
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  9. #9

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

    Costumes and accessories did not work for "My Pal Mickey". If they couldn't build a merchadise line like this for Mickey, I don't think they can for Duffy.

    I just don't see "My Friend Duffy" having the popularity in the US parks even close to what it is in TDR. Non-movie, non-television or non-attraction characters rarely become popular in the US Disney Parks.

    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?

  10. #10

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger55 View Post
    Costumes and accessories did not work for "My Pal Mickey". If they couldn't build a merchadise line like this for Mickey, I don't think they can for Duffy.

    I just don't see "My Friend Duffy" having the popularity in the US parks even close to what it is in TDR. Non-movie, non-television or non-attraction characters rarely become popular in the US Disney Parks.

    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?
    See, I think the same thing. I just don't see the US fans buying into anything just because it's cute. Sure, there will be some, and those are the ones who bought the original "Disney Bear" when it was introduced. However, like you point out, Roger, the US fans tend to not warm up to a character unless they are established in some other way. I mean look at Figment. He had his own attraction, and a walkaround Dreamfinder too...and he wasn't exactly a smashing success. Ok, yes, now he's got his cult following, and Disney even brought him back by popular demand, but even that had limits.

    I don't think for a minute that Disney fans in the US will treat Duffy the same way the Japanese fans do. That just will never happen. However, I do think that the photo spots will be used by little kids who have a bear. Also, if they can cater to adult fans with character or attraction themed costumes, they might just have a minor hit. I doubt people would carry Duffy around, but I'm sure fans might buy one bear and some of the costumes for display.

    The Pal Mickey analogy is good, but I think that product failed for multiple reasons. Stuffed Mickeys have been a staple at Disney parks since opening, so that's not a reason. I think it was the technology, the cost, and the novelty that did him in. The costumes were just there as an afterthought. They were also marketed heavily at kids. We'll see where they go with Duffy.

    Disney has to really think this one through if they truly want it to finally succeed. They can't just mimic what OLC did with Duffy at TDS, and they can't just rehash what they did with Disney Bear when it launched. There has to be something new, and they have to think of the ways that guests at the US parks buy, and what they might do with a Duffy bear.

    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.

    The skeptic in me thinks Disney just sees dollar signs from Duffy's success in Japan and wants to recreate that with little thought or investment. However, there is a small part of me that is hopeful that maybe they can get it right this time...

  11. #11

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

    I too hope what ever they do is the same quality as in Japan. The current state side Disney bears aren't as soft and nice as Duffy from Tokyo.

    I also don't think Duffy or a friend will take off as well in the states as he did in Tokyo due to Adults wont carry around a plush. If Disney could make it cool that an adult carry a plush, it may work. But Im not sure.

    It will be interesting to see how this all comes about. If the quality is as good as Tokyo items, then I hope it does well.

  12. #12

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Janell View Post
    I too hope what ever they do is the same quality as in Japan. The current state side Disney bears aren't as soft and nice as Duffy from Tokyo.

    I also don't think Duffy or a friend will take off as well in the states as he did in Tokyo due to Adults wont carry around a plush. If Disney could make it cool that an adult carry a plush, it may work. But Im not sure.

    It will be interesting to see how this all comes about. If the quality is as good as Tokyo items, then I hope it does well.
    I'll make it cool, then! But I'm a girl, a dork, and people still think I'm in high school even though I'm almost 30. (I guess I shouldn't complain.)

  13. #13

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    Is America ready for DUFFY?

    Editor's Note 8/9: The next big Disney marketing push is a new character named Duffy, supposedly Mickey's little teddy bear that travels the world with him. Way-too-cute Duffy makes his big debut in the American parks Oct. 14th at DCA and Epcot. Expect a major campaign, [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XotxKZxUFUA"]since he's already huge in Japan[/ame] and has the potential for massive sales of the plush and all the accessories. Look for photo locations in DCA and Epcot as well as the obligatory viral marketing this fall, so get your credit cards ready. - Al Lutz

    So what do you all think, I personally think if done correctly americans will adapt to Duffy. I dont think they will ever wait an hour plus in line for him. But I think merchandising wise he has the ability to catch on like stitch did. Perhaps Some meet and greets, merchandising is the first step. But regulars and newcomers of the tokyo disney thread what do you all think


  14. #14

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    Re: Is America ready for DUFFY?

    I think that there is already a thread for this.

    last time i buy crystal ball from pic n save!

  15. #15

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

    If Disney were smart about this, they would partner with OLC and basically use the same manufacturing plants where they make Duffy for TDS. That way, the quality is the same, and they can share costs for production. The only difference would be the tags.

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