A while back, I made a post on the Disney Princesses’ new look. I want to revisit that topic and delve into why Disney is recreating the figures that have always been a timeless part of many of our childhood.
For a period of time, it seemed that Disney took a break from its franchise of princesses. The world was stuck associating six princesses with the whole line of Disney products; namely: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle and Jasmine. And then it seemed that Disney decided to reawaken every little girl’s dreams of being a princess by adding sequels to the original movies, as well as introducing new ones such as Tianna, Rapunzel, and our latest princess, Merida. They also opened up the criteria for who they considered a princess, allowing Mulan and Pocahontas to join their ranks.
With the latest change, it was not only an introduction of new characters, but also a rework of their old princesses. They seemed to have opted to shower the new princesses with tons of sparkles. So why the rework? Why did they go through all this effort to change the classic images of the princesses dedicated fans have come to love? Marketing.
Disney Princesses sell. That is a known fact. The target market has always been little girls, but sadly, these girls grow up. A lot of us still retain our fondness towards the iconic characters, but of course, Disney recognizes that who is currently in their market is constantly changing. The late 20th to 21st Century also brought with it the attractiveness of teen pop sensations and celebrities. The old princesses’ hair styles and comparatively dull dresses seemed lacklustre compared to Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez plastered on magazines. Disney needed to change.
By improving aspects of the princesses, what Disney did was re-brand their franchise. Their marketing mix remains essentially the same, still producing the same range of merchandise, at the regular price, promoting them as they always did. However, stamping the new princesses onto their items help appeal to the modern little girl’s interest in fantasy and fairytales, and helps them to remain relevant in the market. They also integrated their princesses into new shows, such as Sophia the First, in order to reintroduce these princesses to the current rotation of girls in their market.
Although I was uncomfortable at first with the changes, I still stand by what I said in my last post in that I like the way the new princesses look (maybe because Cinderella’s original hairstyle has always bothered me), and I am interested to see where Disney will take their princesses in the future!