In 2020, when content consumption skyrocketed and the world collectively embraced all things digital, The Walt Disney Company was ready to deliver – firing on all cylinders from day one with its 2019-launched Disney+ streaming platform and a host of offerings aimed at kids and Disney lovers of all ages. With the Disney+ subscriber count surpassing 100 million, it’s likely that you (or someone you know) owns some type of “the Child” – affectionately known as “Baby Yoda” – licensed product inspired by breakout success “The Mandalorian,” but Disney’s vast portfolio of hit franchises equally captured the spotlight, giving rise to an array of activations and consumer products programs throughout the year and well into 2021.
“Powered by a global slate of iconic brands, franchises, characters and stories, our focus is always on how to connect with our fans and families through our products and experiences,” says Josh Silverman, executive vice president, third-party commercialization, Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing. “This past year was no exception, as we leaned into digital-first activations for licensed products, games and books from across our brands and franchises from an ever-evolving slate of new content that helped bring even more magic to millions around the world.”
Building upon Disney’s rich portfolio of tentpole film and series titles and its renowned direct-to-consumer services were a slate of fan-driven global franchise activations. Some of Disney’s biggest franchise activations in 2020, developed with top licensing and retail partners, included Frozen Fan Fest, Mando Mondays, Mickey & Friends: Stay True, Marvel Mania and Pixar Fest.
“Inspired by the internationally acclaimed films from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Frozen Fan Fest featured exclusive content, digital adventures and a cross-category collection of products across apparel, fashion accessories, bedding, toys, costumes and more from partners including Hasbro, Jakks Pacific, H&M, Hanna Andersson, Party City, Franco Manufacturing and the LEGO Group, among others,” says Silverman. “With many fans celebrating from home, this year’s Frozen Fan Fest also featured an innovative ‘Virtual Playdate’ event that included activities appealing to ‘Frozen’ fans of all ages, such as a sing-along, choreographed dance lesson, an American Sign Language tutorial of ‘Show Yourself,’ and the unique opportunity to learn how to draw Olaf with Trent Correy and Dan Abraham, the directors of the Disney+ original short film, ‘Once Upon a Snowman.’”