Disney throws birthday party for Mickey Mouse; Snapdeal, Future Group join in

MUMBAI: The countdown to Mickey Mouse’s birthday on November 18 was laden with daily celebrations across Disney’s network. The 18-days long extravaganza that started on 1 November culminate on Mickey’s Birthday saw a series of new creative initiatives from the network’s end.

“This month is special to all our consumers, be it young or old, as everyone has experienced Mickey Mouse’s magic at some point in their lives,” says Walt Disney  India, Content and Communication, VP,  Vijay Subramaniam. “Mickey Mouse is Disney's biggest revenue making intellectual property," he adds.

To further strengthen the Mickey Mouse franchise in the country, the network has rolled out series of varied and engaging content throughout the 18 days, while at the same time making optimum use of its network, both digitally and electronically, to promote and propagate the event.

Not only did the network run content extensively throughout its Disney branded channels, it also allowed several other broadcasters to use the content for their own Disney special programs, albeit giving content credit to Disney’s in house team.

“We made some of this Mickey Mouse birthday specials available to other news channels and other content partners on a limited marketing and sharing basis ,” Subramaniam explains, adding that few of the channels have already aired this specials.

Part of the celebrations were the 90 sec long videos that saw several well-known Bollywood celebrities wishing Mickey Mouse ‘Happy Birthday’ in their own creative way. The who’s who of Bollywood from Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Abhishek Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Farah Khan are few of the celebs who feature in the video titled ‘Stars wish the Superstar a Happy Birthday.

“We compiled the videos throughout the year from the various shows Mickey had with the celebrities. It was great to see them come together for Mickey. With them on board we were able to reach a wider section of viewers,” Subramaniam points out.

Further elaborating on the fresh content that the channel had devised for the occasion, Subramaniam said, “In the last couple of years we have witnessed a huge craze for the Mickey shorts we rolled out globally. So for Mickey’s birthday celebration we decided we’d premiere one new short each day,” shares Subramaniam.

Continuing with its concept of ‘short and sweet,’ the network also released a number of video listicles that aired throughout the network at regular intervals during these last 18 days. “We created fun content around everything that Mickey stands for in a listicle format,” Subramaniam states, citing ‘18 really funny Mickey moments’ as an example.

Mickey’s birthday celebration wasn’t limited to content alone. Brands didn’t miss the chance in making optimum use of their Mickey Mouse merchandise on the occasion.

On 18 November, Future Group's private label  Tasty Treat kick started its  Mickey Mouse birthday celebration across 500 Future Group stores including at Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar, Nilgiris etc. by maintaining a birthday party ambiance with danglers and confetti, photo ops with Mickey cut outs, and even releasing a special Mickey Mouse birthday TVC. The campaign is to continue till 30 November.

Snapdeal too has added its share to the merchandise promotion by giving discounts on Mickey Mouse products. The online major was also running a Mickey birthday contest on their website and gratifying 20 winners with Disney hampers.

While Mickey Mouse’s presence in the country is strong, one may argue that the anticipation for his birthday doesn’t compare to the fervour the character enjoys internationally. Subramaniam however finds it unfair to compare the two markets.

“The fact is that US is the birthplace of Mickey Mouse, with over 80 years of legacy on its side, whereas in India, Disney as a company is only 11 years old. If you think of the numbers, it is amazing how well the company has grown here. The kind of traction that we have enjoyed for last couple of years is beyond impressive. What’s evident is that Mickey as a character is universally loved, and more so when you add a local touch to him, and that’s exactly what we have done this year,” Subramaniam.

The local flavour that Subramaniam speaks of is a ‘birthday anthem’ compiled by the network that which went on air on 18 November. What makes it even more special is that it has inputs by viewers in from across the country in 18 different regional languages.

Amongst all their endeavours to connect the local audience with Mickey, the most effective is perhaps the Magic Mix that sees the network do a special rendering of popular Bollywood numbers with animation from their popular series.

‘Happy Birthday Mickey Magic Mix’ has taken the popular song Happy Birthday from the Disney produced dance extravaganza ABCD 2 and turned into and entertaining mash up for everyone to enjoy.

All the content for Mickey Mouse birthday specials, has been heavily promoted and aired extensively across the networks channels. Apart from that, the content is also available on all their digital platforms including their official website, YouTube channel (over 1.3 million subscribers), twitter and Facebook (over 3 lakh likes) pages.

Adding the cherry to its social media cake is the new application on Facebook that takes digital interaction to the next level.

“We have done something special on Facebook. Mickey lovers can add Mickey ears on their Facebook page with just a click of a button, by going to the ‘Happy Birthday Mickey’ app that you can access through our Facebook’ page,” Subramaniam adds in parting.

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