Part 1:

Objectives: There are many vivid and representative characters created by Disney that provide rich analytical materials. This assignment asks you to pick one Disney character and write a short profile of that character in connection to the discussions and concepts from our class. In doing so, you will gain an in-depth understanding of and critical evaluation on the strategies used in Disney’s movie production, corporate development, franchise expansion and visual representation.

Guideline:

1. Pick a Disney character that you would like to research. I picked “The Little Mermaid”

2 Explore and learn about the character. Consider the following questions as you develop your knowledge and research on the character:

  • Why do you decide to choose this character? Do you still remember your first encountering with this character? What are some of the personal memories and experiences that are associated with this character?
  • What do you know about the character’s story in Disney? When did it first appear on what movie? What was the character like in terms of their characteristics? What was the original storyline around this character and how has, if any, the narrative around this character evolved throughout the years?
  • What about the visual representation of the character? What are some of the distinctive features in in terms of the visual image(s) of the character? How has the visual representation evolved (or not) throughout the years?
  • How has the character been promoted by Disney? Can you find any commercial artifacts, such as posters, advertisements, consumer merchandises, souvenirs, etc., related to this character?

Part 2:

Write your 2-page character profile which includes two parts (one per page):  

1.Profile Page:

  • Basic information such as the full name, profile picture, demographic background (if desired to be included);
  • Summary of the storyline and/or narrative around the character;
  • Brief chronicle of the character’s history in relation to its Disney appearance and evolution;
  • Social relation: a list of the character’s close family members, friends and/or foes;
  • Key characteristics and/or skills of the character: descriptions of the character’s intellectual, mental, personality and professional attributes and attitudes;
  • Emotional and psychological analysis: descriptions of the character’s hopes, dreams, fears, likes, and dislikes, etc. and how this psychological profile influences the way they act throughout the story.
  • Your evaluation: how do you like this character? What are the main strengths and weaknesses, if any, in your opinion, of the character? Does the character perpetuate or challenge any prior/existing stereotypes? If there is anything you’d like to say this character, what would it be?

Tips for writing this part: think about this profile page as if you are writing a “resume” and/or creating a social media profile for the character. You can also organize this page in a creative way as you like.

2: Analysis Page:

On the second page, you will provide two artifact (include an image of each artifact) that showcase the commercial promotion of the character. For each artifact, provide analysis in 1-2 paragraphs that address the following questions:

  • Describe the background of the artifact. Where does this artifact come from? If it is an advertisement, where did it appear? If it is an object, where was it made? What is your personal experience/ encountering with the artifact like?
  • Use at least two of the concepts from our lectures on Disney’s expansions strategies to explain how this artifact helped with promoting the Disney brand and in what ways. The concepts that can be used for this analysis may include:
    • Mass media conglomerate
    • Horizontal integration
    • Vertical integration
    • Diversification
    • Internationalization
    • Synergy
    • Franchise
    • Licensing
    • Copyright/ trademark
    • Cross-platform promotion/ cross-referencing
    • Tie-in partnership/ joint promotion
    • Repetitive exposure

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