Looking to build on annual global retail sales that totalled US$3.4 billion last year, Disney Consumer Products is taking a new tack with the Princess brand this fall. Instead of focusing its key retail theme on one character, as it did last year with Ariel from The Little Mermaid, the licensor is grouping all six princesses together under a gold-hued umbrella theme called Season of Enchantment.
According to VP of girls franchise management Kathy Franklin, DCP consumer research conducted last year found that US moms see the princess characters as well-mannered, perseverant, kind and compassionate role models for their daughters. And so the brand team set about trying to imbue product with those attributes. ‘We thought we could take the idea of princesses with hearts of gold and make it into real product,’ she explains.
So in addition to new DVD entertainment bowing in September – Disney Princess: Enchanted Tales, Follow Your Dreams features the first new Sleeping Beauty animation since the original film – retail shelves will start glittering with gold-and-pink products pulled from all Princess categories in August.
Leading the charge are four key items. Mattel has created a Magical Wand Sleeping Beauty doll (US$19.99) with a dress that physically rotates and can change from blue to pink to gold with the wave of a wand accessory. The toyco is also producing a large-scale pink-and-gold castle (US$99) that accommodates 11.5-inch fashion dolls.
Meanwhile role-play licensee CDI has created an enchanted throne and a magical talking vanity. Both contain secret compartments that can only be opened with a matching wand, and either Cinderella, Aurora or Belle will appear in the vanity’s mirror and talk to whoever’s seated before it.
As for retail presence, all the major mass outlets have signed on for Season of Enchantment, and each chain will carry a distinct product assortment, says Franklin. In August, Toys ‘R’ Us will host an outlet-wide feature shop showcasing the gold Princess product at the front of each store. At the same time, on the marketing front, DCP is relaunching Disneyprincess.com. Details haven’t been finalized, but Franklin says you can expect to see a much more immersive online environment for fans of all things Princess.