The international marketing magazine for fresh produce buyers in Europe
Mike Knowles



Wednesday 16th December 2015, 15:26 London

Disney under fire for Star Wars tie-in

Despite aiming to boost the health of young consumers, the US film company has been accused of excessive marketing.

Disney under fire for Star Wars tie-in
  1. You may have noticed there's a new Star Wars film out. Or perhaps you've been living under a rock. Either way, the cinema franchise that is widely credited with having perfected, if not invented, the movie tie-in has come under fire over the past couple of days for licensing its brand to a number of fresh produce companies – presumably in return for an astronomical fee.
  2. Representative of the kind of criticism being targeted at Star Wars' rights owner Disney was a post published on the online bulletin board Reddit by user DieZauberer, who implied that the film-maker had gone too far in allowing BB-8, a character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to appear on packs of oranges.
  3. Disney needs to calm the fuck down.
    Disney needs to calm the fuck down.
  4. Elsewhere, Twitter users appeared to mock the Star Wars brand's appearance on products including apples and grapes.
  5. However, Disney Consumer Products (DCP), the company responsible for signing marketing deals with suppliers, is evidently intent on making the most of its connection with fresh produce. Its licensing agreement for the new film involves bagged apples from Sage Fruit in Washington state, as well as Californian citrus, carrots and grapes from Dayka Hackett, Kern Ridge and Four Star Fruit respectively.
  6. Interestingly, they are all touted by DCP as meeting "nutritional guidelines put in place by The Walt Disney Company". The fact that the company has invested in developing such guidelines in the first place implies it sees significant value in being closely associated with healthy products with a wholesome image. Indeed, it has also licensed two other hugely popular movie franchises – Frozen and Marvel Avengers – for use on fruit and vegetables in the US, not to mention several other animated film titles like Cars and The Incredibles around the world.
  7. John King, DCP vice-president of licensing and consumables, commented at the time of the Star Wars produce launch: "Supporting parents by offering healthy, nutritious options for their kids is of utmost importance to The Walt Disney Company and adding family-favourite Star Wars to our licensed fruit and veggies portfolio is a natural extension of our commitment in this space."
  8. Hmmm which type of apples should I get? Oh good they have the #StarWars ones.
    Hmmm which type of apples should I get? Oh good they have the #StarWars ones.
  9. The group says it has sold more than 4.3bn servings of Disney and Marvel-branded fruits and vegetables in North America since 2006.

    Each year, more than 2,000 tonnes of apples, bananas and grapes are eaten at parks run by The Walt Disney Company in the US.
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