In billboards in town and on its digital marketing ads, Disney has decided to leave the word “Christmas” off its promotions for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This has raised the eyebrows of more than a few.
If the official name of the event is still “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party,” and it is, why would you market it as something else? There’s no excuse not to use the world Christmas to advertise a Christmas party. It’s not like people are going to buy a ticket for Mickey’s Very Merry Party after seeing Mickey on a giant ornament on a sleigh and then show up and be surprised that Christmas decorations have taken over the Magic Kingdom.
Maybe it is a great idea to have a non-denominational holiday party. Hold a ‘Winter Fest” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom where the changing of the seasons is celebrated. Add Disney characters dressed in internationally flavored winter attire and spread them throughout EPCOT for a Holidays around the World event. I’m sure there’s a thick folder full of ideas somewhere in the stuffy back halls of Team Disney Orlando.
I’m 100% in favor of Disney being more inclusive in their hiring, marketing, contracting, and especially their storytelling (Aside: Big Hero 6 is a very diverse movie, Disney’s most.). But the keyword there is more, not less. You don’t cut the word Christmas out of your marketing and suddenly become more inclusive. You do it by actually being more inclusive, celebrating additional holidays, recognizing there are other cultures out there as valid and (often) more ancient than your own.
The only legitimate excuse I can possibly think of is that someone in Disney marketing read some study somewhere that says shorter messages are more powerful and any words that can be cut from your promotional copy should be. If the “feel” of Christmas is communicated from the billboard, leaving the word off the copy will do no harm. Same idea for mobile ads, I guess.
If you ask me, I’ll tell you I’m the exact opposite of religious, but even I like to celebrate Christmas. It has lost most of its religious meaning (both its pagan origins and Christian adoption) giving way to a holiday spirit focused on family and giving. I’m okay with that. Plus who doesn’t like pretty trees and buildings with sparkly lights, warm cocoa, and presents. Come on.
What are your thoughts? Am I over-reacting or is Disney?