Today Disney shelled out $4 billion in cash and stocks to purchase Marvel Entertainment. While the ink on this deal has yet to dry completely, fans of both companies are already voicing their concerns over what this will mean for the future of these brands.
Yes, my initial reaction to this news was to joke about the new watered-down comics that would emerge with Marvel under the Disney umbrella. At the same time, exactly that speculation is what makes this acquisition so interesting to so many people. The Disney brand has such a long-standing history of being kid-friendly family entertainment that it is hard to see where Marvel will fall into place.
To be honest, I agree with the majority of early Tweeters who feel this spells doom. As I’ve said before, the Disney brand is built on kid-friendly family entertainment. This has begun to slowly change—when I first saw the initial Pirates of the Caribbean film I noticed that it just felt different. It was not the Disney I grew up with, but one that seemed to be trying to grow in order to keep me as part of its clientele for as long as possible.
This appears to be just another step toward what I noticed was happening with Pirates of the Caribbean: Disney’s goal to achieve universal popularity. In branding, finding the right message—or mix of messages—that adds up to something that appeals to toddlers, pre-teen girls, teenage boys, and adults from every demographic is not only unattainable, it lacks any true meaning. Existing clients from both brands will yearn for the company’s origins, while new customers will see right through the new and half-baked “magic of Disney,” or cookie-cutter “Marvel Universe.”
Mickey now owns Dr. Doom: what do you think?