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Year of the Mouse: How Mickey and Minnie Are Celebrating the Lunar New Year Around the World

Disney has taken its Lunar New Year celebration worldwide with global activations and product launches featuring two of its most beloved characters.

To celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rat, Disney has launched a slate of activations and new products featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

The Year of the Mouse campaign is being touted as an authentic cultural celebration that honors the holiday globally. Disney's campaign runs the gamut, offering products and experiences available in-store, online and at parks worldwide. Kicking off last year in the Asia-Pacific region, the campaign will continue throughout the new year in the U.S., Mexico and EMEA.

"Our China team worked tremendously hard to ensure the cultural authenticity of our global Year of the Mouse campaign," says Mahesh Samat, executive vice president, consumer products commercialization, APAC, The Walt Disney Company. "Through the creative infusion of Chinese elements into product style guides for local markets, the team helped bring thousands of authentic products to fans around the world who are joyously celebrating Lunar New Year." 

Lunar New Year Mickey Funko Pop!_Funko Pop! Licensee (1).pngIn 2020, the Lunar New Year was observed on the first day of the new lunar calendar year, Jan. 25. The celebration welcomed in the Year of the Rat in the traditional Chinese Zodiac. The Year of the Rat translates to "shǔ nián" in standard Chinese with the word "shǔ" having no differentiation between the words "rat" and "mouse." Disney worked with its regional teams to also confirm the translation existed across other countries in APAC. The translation made the beloved Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse an obvious choice for the campaign. 

Disney's campaign includes product lines in verticals such as apparel, consumables, homewares, stationery, jewelry and accessories, collectibles, plush and food. The lineup is highlighted by specialty collaborations from brands including Gap China, Pandora, SK-II, Gucci, Funko and Adidas Neo. Year of the Mouse products are now available internationally at Disney stores, ShopDisney.com, Disney Parks and select retailers.

Disney x Gucci hooded sweater (1).pngOn the events side, the campaign also saw Disney partnering with Chinese designer Guo Pei on Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse's Lunar New Year costumes that will be featured across APAC and at the Disney California Adventure theme park. Disney has established a presence at stores across the globe as well, including at NTUC in Singapore, Innisfree in Korea, Hypermart in Indonesia, Palacio de Hierro in Mexico and pop-ups across Japan, among other activations.

Ensuring authenticity was an essential aspect of Disney's global campaign. The team at the House of Mouse focused on providing consumers an honest representation of the culture and heritage central to the Lunar New Year. 

"At The Walt Disney Company, we embrace opportunities to celebrate cultures and traditions from around the world, and what better way to highlight two of our most iconic characters – Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse – than through one of the most important holidays of the year," says Ken Potrock, president, consumer products commercialization, The Walt Disney Company.

SK-II PITERA Essence Limited Edition_SK-II Licensee.pngThe global initiative worked closely with Disney's APAC franchise and marketing teams to bring the celebration beyond the local level. Style guides were developed by the China Disney creative team and then vetted for local market usage to ensure an authentic representation.

Disney’s team also worked with cultural consultants from the IW Group to ensure the proper reverence was provided via the campaign. Closer to the U.S. market, Disney also partnered with dedicated employee resources to connect with Asian-American communities.

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