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Sunday, 10 September 2006 07:24

A Tale of Two Brands That Turn Fantasy Into Reality: Disney and Bush

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Consistency in brand identity – that is characterized by quality and credibility – is the most important point to remember in building a national and international identity.

Sometimes brands cooperate so as to synergistically increase their market presence and share.

On one side, it would make perfect sense, according to these basic brand precepts, that a company that sells fantasy – Disney – would cut a deal with a political party – Bush’s GOP --that uses fantasy to dominate the market electorally. Both Disney and Bush peddle fantasy to achieve their respective goals: financial profit on the one hand and world dominance on the other.

Reality is as unwelcome in the Magic Kingdom as it is in the White House.

So, it might have been an easy decision in some ways for whoever traded horses with the White House to have ABC air a fantasy tale of the events leading up to 9/11 in return for likely financial favors from the White House.

BuzzFlash has detailed the assumed scenario and facts behind the partisan "The Path to 9/11" in several commentaries, including: "The Path to Infamy for Disney and ABC: Here are the Facts
," "ABC’s ’The Path to 9/11’ Isn’t a Documentary. It’s Not a Docu-Drama. It’s a Swift-Boat Hit Job.," and "A License to Lie."

The bottom line is that two brands that depend on fantasy, from all appearances, collaborated on a project of presumed mutual benefit: Brand Bush would get a 5-hour pre-election commercial to support the fantasy about 9/11 that Brand Bush has been peddling despite factual findings to the contrary; and Brand Disney would likely get financial benefits for its company and stockholders after the mid-term election.

Today, the blog MyDD , offered the possible direct link between the White House and Disney, at least in the pre-showing crisis mode, but possibly throughout the project. Her name is Zenia Mucha, and she heads corporate communications for Disney. "She came into Disney's empire in 2001, recruited out of New York politics, where she had enormous power as advisor to a very detached Governor Pataki, who
nicknamed her the 'the Director of Revenge'. Before that, she was Communications Director for a very nasty and effective conservative Senator, Al D'Amato."

Every brand needs a point person to protect the brand’s image: Rove is that person for Brand Bush, and Mucha is that person for Brand Disney.

The power of television today is such that it can turn falsehoods into truth, fantasy into perceived reality. Without television, Karl Rove would be back in Texas kicking stones and giving women the willies as he muttered to himself in bars.

But television is what has made about half of Americans STILL believe that WMDs were found in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein had a direct connection to al-Qaeda, despite investigation after investigation that has concluded otherwise.

Accordingly, Rove looked to Disney to make the perfect 9/11 GOP mid-term ad that would place the idea in the minds of at least half of America – turning fiction into fact – that Bill Clinton, not George W. Bush, was responsible for 9/11. As we have long proposed, the worlds of entertainment, politics and news have morphed into a seamless world of fantasy that steam rolls over reality.

Rove has created a parallel world that is a virtual reality, but has little connection, if any, to the reality of facts and daily events.

The Republicans are also launching a $50 million attack campaign that will concentrate, as they always do, on the personal political attack. It worked like a charm against Vietnam War Veteran hero, Max Cleland. They had Cleland transformed into Osama bin Laden by the time that they were finished slandering him. That’s what Rove does best. He’s a stiletto guy when it comes to to character assassination.

This is who Disney got into bed with when it decided to marry Brand Disney with Brand Bush for the purposes of mutual brand enhancement.

When you lie down with mangy dogs, you get up with fleas, the old expression goes.

When you lie down with Rove, you get up with shit plastered all over your face.

Mickey Mouse, after all the libel litigation settles may belong to Clinton, Berger and Albright, in the end, particularly in Britain, as John Aravosis has pointed out, which has a much lower threshold of libel toward public figures than in the U.S.

A good brand manager never compromises the image of the brand identity.

But it’s much too late for that with Disney.

Goofy must have been in charge when they struck this deal with Rove, assuming that’s what happened.

Mickey’s going to spend the rest of his life trying to climb out of the slime.

And we’ll keep pushing him back in, for as long as we can.

Disney has sullied their brand identity – and very possibly compromised their corporate financial future – for the likely promise of goodies from the White House.

They will rue the day that they willingly allowed their brand of youthful fantasy to become the Alice in Wonderland version of the Swiftboaters.


 What do you plan to do to send a pro-democracy message to Disney/ABC?  How do you plan to respond to their blatant electioneering on behalf of the Bush-Republican ticket?  Add your comments below.