Lack of ‘Frozen’ Merch Means Chilly PR for Disney

princess elsa 150x150 Lack of ‘Frozen’ Merch Means Chilly PR for Disney

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Disney. (Pictured: Princess Elsa from Frozen.)

Call it a “good news, bad news” scenario. Disney is currently enjoying the success of its movie Frozen becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time. They can’t gloat for too long, though; the news has shifted from accolades to tears of frustration and temper tantrums, both from children and adults. The problem? A shortage of Frozen merchandise.

Social media hath no fury like mommies frustrated by not being able to buy their children what they want. Specifically, the Princess Elsa dress – a sparkly blue gown like the one worn by Frozen’s heroine. The movie was already a hit, the DVD is now out and reaching an even larger audience, and worldwide demand for the dress far exceeds supply. The costume, usually around $50 in the US, is apparently going for over $1000 on ebay. If you can find one.

When has Disney ever underestimated the popularity of one of its movies? It’s possible that this film became bigger than even the Mouse House foresaw. But with frustrations raging online and in the media from mothers who can’t get what their kids want, Disney had better grant some wishes soon.

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Disney. The low grade is not for running out of merchandise, but because running out implies underestimating their own success, and being unable to rectify the situation.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Spin! Spin like a princess at the ball, and then be a fairy godmother, granting your consumers’ wishes. First thing should be a statement saying how fantastic it is that your widgets were so popular that demand for them exceeded supply. Second is getting more widgets out quickly, in this case before a sweet animated movie invokes episodes more like The Hunger Games. This is a problem every company dreams of, but action keeps it from turning into a PR nightmare.

What Did Donatella Say At The Oxford Union?

donatella What Did Donatella Say At The Oxford Union?

The PR Verdict: “A” for Donatella.

How do you make someone into an icon? How about asking Donatella Versace?  Despite her sometimes derisory press she seems to know a thing or two about PR and out-lasting most.  The 57-year-old designer and sister of deceased designer Gianni, addressed 330 students at Oxford University this week.  Billed as a ‘conversation’ about style, she was joined by acting chum Rupert Everett and others at the Oxford Union.

Addressing the students, she referred to her old Alma mater the University of Florence  and her surprise at now, many years later, speaking at Oxford University.  “My class mates from back then would be very amused to see me at Oxford today.  And I’m sure there will be others who will be astonished to find me addressing the Union.  But maybe I can surprise a few people?”

Turning up at the Union with her characteristic ice blond hair, copper tan and bumble bee lips, she was dressed in a black, leather studded dress, giving the crowd what they came to see.  She didn’t disappoint.  Mentioning that she would like to dress the Queen one day (in black) she unintentionally highlighted the irony that both women share more than they realize.  Neither of their public personas have changed in twenty years.

The PR Verdict: “A” for Donatella.  She knows how not  to disappoint.  Consistency is what creates a brand and a following.

PR Takeaway: Consistency means you don’t surprise and disappoint your followers.  Donatella’s branding and PR is so successful because it so rarely surprises.  Saying little of any substance but giving the public what it wants is the reason she continues to be invited and feted.   Pass the spray tan.

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