Orenstein.What’s Wrong With Cinderella

Standing in line in the arena i was surrounded by

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Unformatted text preview: d y ielded few merchandising opportunities — what child wants to snuggle up with an ant? I t was about a month after Mooney ’s arriv al that the magic struck. T hat’s when he flew to Phoenix to check out his first “Disney on I ce” show. “Standing in line in the arena, I was surrounded by little girls dressed head to toe as princesses,” he told me last summer in his palatial office, then located in Burbank, and speaking in a rolling Scottish burr. “T hey weren’t ev en Disney products. T hey were generic princess products they ’d appended to a Halloween costume. And the light bulb went off. Clearly there was latent demand here. So the nex t morning I said to my team, ‘O.K., let’s establish standards and a color palette and talk to licensees and get as much product out there as we possibly can that allows these girls to do what they ’re doing any way : projecting themselv es into the characters from the classic mov ies.’ ” Mooney picked a mix of old and new heroines to wear the Pantone pink No. 241 corona: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty , Snow White, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan and Pocahontas. I t was the first time Disney marketed characters separately from a film’s release, let alone lumped together those from different stories. T o ensure the sanctity of what Mooney called their indiv idual “my thologies,” the princesses nev er make ey e contact when they ’re grouped: each stares off in a slightly different direction as if unaware of the others’ presence. I t is also worth noting that not all of the ladies are of roy al ex traction. Part of the genius of “Princess” is that its meaning is so broadly constructed that it actually has no meaning. Ev en T inker Bell was originally a Princess, though her reign didn’t last. “We’d alway s debate ov er whether she was really a part of the Princess my thology ,” Mooney recalled. “She really wasn’t.” Likewise, Mulan and Pocahontas, arguably the most resourceful of the bunch, are rare...
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