TheImpact of Disney Advertisement on the Children
Agreat deal of scholars have attempted to bring to the attention thesheer impact of various advertisements the Disney Corporation hasutilized with respect to promotion of its pieces of art (Krasniewicz& Disney 3).A number of these scholars have paid considerate focus on the effectthe adverts bear on the society as a whole. This has entailed theconsequence of Disney’s adverts on the socio-cultural, economicalas well as environmental aspects of the society. Nonetheless, whilesome writers have taken a global perspective in the effort toconceptualize this problem, the bulk of the analyses have centered onAmerican society (Schaffer 6). Disney is doing a wonderful job as faras representing American culture is concerned (Rojek 11). It makessignificant efforts to bring out the diverse opinions people holdabout the general society and its culture of the US. Therefore, thisarticle seeks to further explore the issue and generate more insightson the topic. In particular, this paper attempts to analyze bothpositive and negative impact Disney advertisement bear on children inthe American society.
Sinceits inception, Disney has become certainly the most spread andacknowledged as well as best trusted entertainment brand across theuniverse. The demise of its founder, Disney Walt on December 15,1966, saw the entertainment company record poor performance few yearslater (Krasniewicz& Disney 5).However, (Wasko 7) noted that its strategy to reinvent the idea ofthe animated movies particularly for the family, the firm definitelyfound a new lease of life. Disney’s popular pieces like “TheLittle Mermaid, “The Lion King” among other films have enabledthe company stretch its operations into new segments. For instance,it took over the Capital Cities (ABC) which saw it form one of thebiggest media giant in the world (Rojek 2). Consequently, the successhad made Disney one of the most influential entertainment firms notonly in the US but also in the entire world.
Generally,it is quite clear that the access and consumption of Disneyadvertisements on various products is wide spread in the family. Theproducts featured in the adverts encompass entertainment (movies,films, scripts, among others), toys for children, clothes, home andwork accessories, home and décor, collectibles, collections as wellas Disney Park. In particular, Disney has paid a lot of focus on thechildren market segment. A great deal of its products is intended tosuit the specific needs and desires of children, especially in the US(Costa& Damásio 3).For example, the establishment of Disneyland was a primary productfor children. Moreover, a series of Disney animations such as TheLion King, The Lady and the Tramp, The Prince of Egypt, Shrek,Chicken Run, among others were animated primarily for young children(Steinbergand Kincheloe 2).
However,the access and consumption of Disney’s adverts on these productshave had adverse effects on children. Lending on the insights fromvarious writings regarding Disney and the family in the US as well asthe significance of its advertisement brands establishing a profoundemotional ties with various young individuals, the author of thispaper has opted to direct his attention on how the historical andpresent trends at Disney advertisement impact different aspects ofchildren (Costa & Damásio 2). The media industry continues torespond to the ever changing consumer attitudes and behaviors withinthe industry (Kelleher 1). Furthermore, the purchase and brandloyalty have emerged as key areas the industry has sought to furthertheir exploitation in (Wasko 1). Therefore, the Disney adverts haveboth construction and adversaries on children in society.
Tobegin with, today, Disney movies have positive impact on children’spersonalities and development (emotional, cognitive as well associal) of young people (Liebert et al. 3). Generally, the questions,how much children do children consume Disney movies and scripts, howmuch do they play with Disney toys, and to what extent do theyidentify themselves with particular characters in the various moviesand advertisement, can help determine their exposure to the Disneyworld. A classical example entails the effect Disney princesses bearon young children. After extended exposure to certain films featuringcharacters with unique personalities, children have the tendency tobelieve in them in reference to what the characters stand for. Forinstance, children tend to emulate some desirable personalitiesdepicted in various Disney princesses such as confidence,responsibility, kindness, understanding, compassion, among others.For example, some of the popular animations like The Lion Kingpresent desirable personalities such as responsibility,understanding, and compassion as depicted in “Simba”.
Additionally,Disney advertisements also influence children’s belief systems.Children tend to create or enhance certain belief systems as a resultof their exposure to certain Disney characters. In particular, in theevent of absence of a prior established belief system, these advertshave tended to influence the mental impression children attach onvarious phenomena in their society. A number of adverts presented atDisney are relatively based on the elements of violence andaggression (Steinbergand Kincheloe 1).This can be attributed to the fact that children have a tendency tolose interest in tamer movies. Advertisements which feature someingredient of violence have more “hook” (Costa& Damásio 4).Therefore, adverts laced with some bits of violence and somesexuality tend to hold the children’s attention longer translatingto increased market sales on the side of the commercial firms (Costa& Damásio 3).This is in contrast to what these young ones are taught both at homeand school
Nonetheless,certain advertisements tend to promote the “Princess Syndrome”the misconception that beauty and fanciness correlate with love andfame relatively pretty girls with fancy clothes and shoes tend toenjoy easy access to love and fame (Steinbergand Kincheloe 3).For example, a typical princess is often perceived to be tall, thin,and with a pale skin and fairy long hair. This can be depicted inDisney character like Belle and Snow White. It has been argued thatthis perception has messed the minds of young girls. That is, if theydo not see themselves alike with the characters on the adverts, theydo not see themselves as beautiful. This impacts their levels ofself-confidence among these children. To some extreme circumstance, anumber of children who feel that their physical anatomy is notconsistent with those of Disney princesses resort to hatingthemselves (Gunter,Caroline, and Mark Blades 3).For example, while interacting with peers who may feature the“pretty” looks, such children may feel totally out of place.
Furthermore,promotes racism among children. Many scholars, social activists,Non-governmental organizations, among other human rights’stakeholders have advanced complaints that Disney advertisements tendto promote racial segregation (Rojek 2). The American society isgenerally composed of diverse ethnic groups. However, a good numberof scholars have argued that the biggest percentages of thecharacters that are always featured in Disney productions are white.Moreover, although a number of the advertisements may have beenproduced from a different geographical context, they always featuresingle or even multiple elements of the western culture.
Agood number of Disney displays can support the argument that thecompany promotes ethnics or racial discrimination among children(Steinbergand Kincheloe 1).For example, in The Little Mermaid, one particular character,Sebastian, is clearly portrayed as a Jamaican. This is depicted fromhis words, “It is better under the sea because you do not have toget a job.” In addition, the ‘Aladdin’, another Disneyproduction depicts instances of racism. For instance, in theintroduction of the son, the “Arabian Nights”. The first versionof this piece which was released on DVD. It contained the lyrics,(Where they cut off your ear, if they do not like your face, it isbarbaric, but hey, it is home.” The lyrics were later altered toread, “Where it is flat and immense and the heat is intense.”
Fromanother instance, another Disney production, The Jungle Book,illustrates the claim that the firm feature racial lines in itspieces of production. Among the monkeys in the movie, a number ofthem are supposedly sounding like African American while some of themsound British. The division is even made clearer when some of themonkey sing in demand of being recognized as human beings. This isapparent that they symbolize African American in efforts to liberatethemselves from slavery and to be recognized as everyone else (Costa& Damásio 2).Together with other productions, Disney is perceived as promotingracial division among children. Consequently, the effects of thisscenario become apparent when children try to apply some of thesevices to their peers while in social settings such as school andrecreational environment.
Also,it has been refuted that Disney advertisements enhances childhoodabuse (Gunter,Caroline, and Mark 2).First, the Disney princess posters have been argued to promote sexualabuse among young individuals. Some the adverts may have been createdout of good intentions. For example, the recent Saint Hoax series ofDisney Princess was aimed at encouraging young sexual assaultsurvivors to report their injustices to various agencies concernedwith the vice. Furthermore, some have been created to enhanceincreased on other social vices such as domestic violence, and otherevents that result in sexual, emotional as well as physical abuse.However, the immediate impact such adverts subject children is neverdesirable. In most cases they tend to be obscene and ageinappropriate. This damages some of the good social values that mighthave been imparted in these young ones- childhood abuse.
Second,Disney adverts tend to feature social unacceptable vices particularlysmoking and alcoholism. More often than not advertisements ofcigarettes always run prior to some movies or programs. Moreover, thefindings of a research conducted in 2002 in the US revealed that thetotal average amount of smoking in movies was greater in youth-ratedmovies than in adult-rated movies. In addition, (Liebert et al. 2)argued that many advertising firms exploit smoking as a keycharacteristic that have a significant appeal to children. Manychildren tend to be attracted to films featuring characters whosmoke. This is one of the promotional strategies Disney among otherentertainment media firms employ in their marketing activities.
Furthermore,children also tend to be more responsive to adverts which featureinstances of alcohol consumption or even alcohol addicts (Gunter,Caroline, and Mark Blades 3).A classical example of the Disney Production which features smokingand alcoholism is the animated cartoon “Camel”. In this scenario,smoking and drinking liquor is presented as something ‘cool’. Thefun-loving cartoon was shown riding motorbikes, drinking with hisfriends at a bar, performing in a rock band, lounging on a beach, andgiving date advices, with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Suchadverts bear serious adverse impacts on children. They appeal to thechildren and, a matter of fact, the young ones begin emulating theirnegative behavior (Liebert et al. 3).
Inaddition, Disney advertisements are criticized for enhancing genderstereotyping among children. In particular, a good number of theadverts are argued to be sexists. For instance, they feature femalecharacters consistent with ‘feminine’ attributes such as weak,emotional, conservative, and submissive among others (Gunter,Caroline, and Mark 3).They also portray a woman as always responsive for domestic chores(like cooking, laundry, child-rearing, among other housework) and inneed of men to save their life.
Agood example of a Disney’s production in which gender stereotypingcan be referenced is in the ‘Sleeping Beauty”. The ‘beauty’pricks her tender finger against the spinning then gently put tosleep. From this scenario, when the prince kisses her, demonstratesthe act of saving her. Consequently, young girls learn from such anevent that they lack the capacity to accomplish anything on their ownrather by the help of a man.
Moreover,from the movie ‘The Beauty and the Beast, children may develop themisconception that Belle is an abusive relationship with the beast,and there is literally no way she can reverse the situation (Liebertet al. 4). Furthermore, once she is set free to nurse her father, sheleave the place very quickly, just like what majority of abusevictims do. Finally, children may also grow with a sexist belief whenthey watch an advert about Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”. Fromthe movie, Ariel alters her physical appearance in a simple attemptof pleasing and securing a chance to be with the she loves. Moreover,the act of trading her voice and entering into the Ursula agreementdemonstrates sexism in Disney’s films. She represents women’strade of their voice and opinion for their men’s joy in theirlives.
Inconclusion, it is worth to note that that Disney Corporation has madeadvanced progress in the promotion of its products to become one ofthe most influential media company in the world. Inevitably, theimpact of its advertisement strategies bears significant adverseconsequences on young children within the US as well as across theworld. Therefore, the management should further their attempts toproduce more age-appropriate advertisements. Additionally, parentsand guardians should also limit their children from accessingadult-rated programs that bear adverse impact on their young ones.
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