Disney makes fake pharma, fragrance commercials for 'Tangled'

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Nov 29 2010

Disney's animated movies aren't just for kids. And to prove the point—and maybe to keep up with Pixar and parody-loving competitors—the studio has created a couple of mock commercials for its new animated feature, Tangled. Pretty convincingly produced in the styles of pharmaceutical and perfume ads, Disney aims for the clips to go viral (not sure how that's working out, but the spots are fun anyway). The fake ad for Rapunzhair, above, with a soothing-toned voiceover recognizable from a million drug commercials, aired recently during Saturday Night Live, obviously aimed at an audience that may or may not have kids to take to the 3-D reimagining of Rapunzel. (And it has spoilers!) See the fake fragrance spot after the jump. Tangled, which opened the day before Thanksgiving, had a good weekend at the box office, though it didn't catch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Grownups welcome.

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Ready to star in Disney's upcoming family-memories campaign?

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Sep 28 2010

Starring in an upcoming ad campaign for Disney theme parks? You and me! Well, maybe you, but probably not me, since I can't be dragged kicking and screaming to Disneyland even though I live less than 30 miles away. Happiest place on Earth? Not on Christmas Day! I still break out in a cold sweat thinking about that jam-packed peoplepalooza from a few years back. Never. Again. But back to the marketing. Under the tagline, "Let the memories begin," Disney will project images of your family, shot at the parks by Disney photographers or gathered via social media, onto the sides of iconic buildings like Cinderella's Castle and the It's a Small World ride. The campaign, kicking off in January, will also fan out to TV, print and online, says the Los Angeles Times. So, when torturing your friends with your vacation antics just isn't enough, there's this option. I predict a massive turnout because no one would want to see a larger-than-life snap of you than, well, you.

Ken doll offers some helpful dating tips in spots for 'Toy Story 3'

Posted on Thu Jun 10 2010


Girls, didn't you always think your Ken doll was a dork? Even when you were a wee kid, you probably read into that frozen smile, perfectly coiffed 'do and stiff-as-a-board posture and thought, "Gee, that guy's a tool." The latest series of ads for Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 3 are here to change that. They're called "Ken's Dating Tips," and one was expertly dropped into this week's airing of The Bachelorette on ABC. I swear, I was just channel surfing. Glad I was, though, because the spot's too good to miss. See three ads after the jump. Voiced by Michael Keaton, Ken tests out some of his rather shaky theories on the opposite sex (kind of like they do on The Bachelorette, but really, I don't watch, so I'm just guessing). If the movie's as good as its trailers—and sister pub The Hollywood Reporter suggests it is—then June 18 may be a big day at the box office.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

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Soap fans getting majorly melodramatic over demise of SoapNet

Posted on Fri May 28 2010


Erica Kane's airplane just took a nosedive on ABC's once-great, now-middling soap All My Children, but that's nothing compared to what's about to happen to the network's sister cable channel, SoapNet. It's going bye-bye. For good. And excuse the well-worn expression, but hell hath no fury like a soap fan scored. First, a bit of background: Parent company Disney just announced it will take over SoapNet's space on the TV dial with a 24-hour preschool channel. Instead of reruns of General Hospital and One Life to Live, viewers will be "treated" to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jungle Junction when the network transforms into Disney Junior in 2012. (Maybe it really is the apocalypse?) The bottom line for business, obviously, is that soaps are aging and dying (as are their fans—sorry!), and there's much more upside to a cable net dedicated to tots and their tchotchke-demanding ways. Inculcate them early, and they'll be Disnified for life, or so the thinking goes. Soaps, on the other hand, don't sell a lot of swag, even if you count the Erica Kane Barbie doll (yes, there is one). SoapNet, for its part, is trying to be upbeat about it all, with a chatty glass-half-full feature on its homepage. "You get 18 more months of SoapNet," it says, towing the company line. Fans, meanwhile, are having none of it. "I am totally disgusted and appalled by this decision," says one. "This bites," says another. Diehards are threatening to boycott Disney and/or start some viral campaign to keep the network. I hate to tell them they're probably swimming upstream, but go ahead and vent, fanatics. It might be more satisfying than counting the Lost rip-offs in All My Children.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

A 200-foot-long 'Tron: Legacy' monorail ad upset Disney purists

Posted on Fri Apr 23 2010


Ah, Disney theme-park purists. They're the folks who get their mouse ears in a twist whenever anything changes or updates. Imagine what they've had to say about a 200-foot-long ad for Tron: Legacy wrapped on the monorail at Disney World. "What's next, billboards on Cinderella's Castle?" asks a blogger. The offending monorail, with a painted-on motorcycle and a yellow trail of light extending the length of the train, is part of the marketing for the Disney holiday sci-fi action remake and has reminded some park visitors of a bus wrap. Just one question: Does nobody recall that Walt Disney developed theme parks for the primary purpose of promoting his movies? Such short memories. Meanwhile, Six Flags parks are putting their digital out-of-home ads on steroids, adding TV screens at rides and other spots and digital menu boards at the busiest restaurants. Along with the recently opened Jumbotron Network, that makes for 100 million annual impressions, says the company. That's a lot of Coke ads. So, don't go If you're expecting a getting-away-from-it-all experience. Apparently there's only so much fantasy you're allowed.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Disney/ABC executives cast as glorious new Marvel characters

Posted on Mon Mar 15 2010


Taking a wild stab here, but I'd say nary a day goes by in Hollywood that some executive doesn't think of himself as a superhero, saving the entertainment world by casting Taylor Lautner in every single movie and then releasing them all in 3-D. But thanks to Fast Company and artist Kirk Manley, some honchos will actually make the move into spandex. The magazine has done some clever illustrations that put Disney/ABC executives in classic Marvel comics. (The former company bought the latter in 2009, and there have already been suggestions about mashups of the two titans' characters. This is the first I've seen of the suits getting in on the game.) Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, the masterminds behind the cult-favorite series Lost, appear as Thor and Hawkeye; Captain Iger, the cartoon version of president/CEO Bob Iger, shows us how he'll "unlock video content forever" (with a shield and multiple distribution platforms, of course); and new film-studio chief Rich Ross leads with his optimism (and adamantium claws) in X-Factor. Pixar's Brenda Chapman has to be pleased with her va-voom makeover as the Invisible Woman, and Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney makes a fetching Spidey. See all the pictures here.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

An angry Hitler is always a sign that you've done something right

Posted on Fri Sep 11 2009

Perhaps the most unlikely star of online videos these days is Adolph Hitler, or at least an actor playing him. The joke is simple: Get a clip of from the 2004 movie Downfall, in which Bruno Ganz as Hitler throws a tantrum in German, and superimpose subtitles about the news of the day. There are a ton of variations on the "Hitler is pissed" genre. The most popular at the moment is a clip showing Hitler ranting about Disney buying Marvel. "The time is at hand," he rails. "Soon, Marvel will dominate the entire entertainment industry." Then, after his underlings tell him about the Disney deal, Hitler really lets loose. "First the Muppets and now the entire entertainment universe! Soon we'll see Zac Efron as Captain America!" Nothing calms the madman, not even the thought, expressed by an underling, that "Donald Duck as Hulk would be pretty awesome!" In the YouTube age, if Hitler is pissed at you, you know you've made an impact.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Disney set to give fans a peek behind the curtain at the D23 Expo

Posted on Wed Sep 9 2009

Just last week, Mickey Mouse got butched up. Now, he's geeking out with the first Disney fan convention, which the entertainment giant hopes will turn out to be a small-scale Comic-Con (without the Wookiees). D23 Expo, launching Thursday at the Anaheim Convention Center, next to Disneyland, is billed as an unprecedented peek into Disney's films, TV shows, classic archives and licensed goodies. Stars are on the docket, like Robin Williams, Courteney Cox, Nicolas Cage and Donny Osmond, along with animators and Disney family members. They might be upstaged by the casts of Disney Channel's Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place. (Expect shrieking meltdowns from the tweens.) Attendees, who'll pay $37 a day, will be able to see clips of upcoming flicks like the Tim Burton-directed Alice in Wonderland, videogame-based Prince of Persia, and 3-D versions of Toy Story. Best oldie screening: Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Disney is probably the only studio in Hollywood with enough brand clout to pull off such a marketing-bonanza-as-fan-fest, and the company is conservatively expecting 10,000 people over four days. As Comic-Con has proven, fans crave this kind of direct contact with entertainment and the insider feel of a convention made just for them. (You can serve them up anything from James Cameron's Avatar to an obscure graphic novelist, and they go completely insane). The only wonder is what took Disney so long.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Disney/Marvel deal gives birth to some truly amazing creatures

Posted on Wed Sep 2 2009


Finally, someone found a way to make Mickey Mouse look butch. All it took was family entertainment behemoth Disney's decision to buy comic powerhouse Marvel for a cool $4 billion. As that news filtered through the fan universe, the creative wheels started turning, and the mash-ups began. (There's no indication yet of how the vast stables of characters will co-mingle, but people can dream, can't they?) Flickr is awash with examples of Goofy-meets-Galactus, Disney princess Belle dancing with a strapping, primary-colored Beast, and various cuddly characters sprouting adamantium claws, à la Wolverine. (Watch out for Carl from Up. That old guy will rip your face off!) As for Mickey, he's sharing body parts with the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and lots of other iconic Marvel superheroes, which is doing wonders for his manhood. Wonder when he'll dump Minnie and take up with Storm?

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

You know people miss the '90s when MC Hammer is everywhere

Posted on Thu Jul 30 2009

Is '90s nostalgia already here? First, Arsenio Hall is back on the tube with The World's Funniest Moments. And now, the world seems to be once again in the thrall of MC Hammer. Hammer, who first performed his hit song "U Can't Touch This" on Arsenio's show in 1989 (though it wasn't a hit until the following year), is back in the limelight with his reality show Hammertime on A&E. Meanwhile, "U Can't Touch This" has become something of a hit again as a punch line for various viral videos. A&E did a mob-dance spot using the song (and the Hammer pants). And now we have Darth Vader (well, a guy in a Vader suit) dancing to the song to promote Disney World's Star Wars weekends. The video has garnered more than 400,000 views on YouTube since July 5. If the '90s momentum continues, expect to see Darth and Co. grooving to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" any day now.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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