It’s the wonderful world of Disney branding.


So I just got back from a week-long Disney cruise to Alaska. Before I went, I wasn’t sure if I was the cruise type and I really wasn’t sure if I was the Disney cruise type. But I have to admit, I had a really good time. Disney doesn’t do anything halfway, so everything from the food to the entertainment to the ship itself was first rate. But the one other thing Disney never does halfway is branding. And man, this cruise was a CLINIC on how to brand yourself.

There was the expected stuff – in the kids’ areas you saw plenty of Disney characters and the movie theaters showed first-run 3D Disney movies like the new Pirates of the Caribbean. The adult areas didn’t really have much in-your-face Disney at all, which was great. But it was the common areas where not a single space was overlooked when it came to branding.

The wall sconces and lampshades all had the trademark Mickey ears subtly inserted. The curtains had embroidered ears, too. The shampoo was no mere partnership with Kiehl’s or Eveda – it was Disney created, Disney branded product. Same with the lounge chairs on deck and all the way down to Disney logos on the “Watch Your Step” tape at every door. There were Mickey waffles and pasta, Disney carpet and pictures of Walt himself in every room. Every last sign, menu and poster were in the Disney font.

It was so perfectly done that you never felt overwhelmed by Disney but you also were never allowed for a second to think you were on a Carnival or Holland America cruise. Other marketers considering doing a large-scale branding effort – be it a new store or even packaging – should take a Disney cruise and take notes. And if you have young kids, I can personally attest that it’s a pretty good way to take a family vacation.

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