Disney Press Release Revisions

Posted: December 10, 2013 in Editing
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Highlights

The press release “The Walt Disney Company Sets New Standards for Food Advertising to Kids” (included below) is written for an audience of parents of young children. In my case, I’m neither of these. I am, however, a Disney fanatic who loves food. My identity as an audience member helped me pick out the bottom line message: new advertising standards with a nutrition focus help shape healthier lifestyles for families. After reading the press release, I analyzed it using Chip and Dan Heath’s SUCCESs model found in their book, Made to Stick. I revised the press release, and an analysis follows. The report concludes with a discussion of my rationale behind the revisions.

SUCCESs Model Analysis

Simplicity

The bottom line message is buried in the first and third paragraph, making the level of effort when reading the press release rate fairly high. The press release packs in a lot of information. One example of this is the long list of Disney media sources in the first paragraph.  Another example is the subsections discussing “The Mickey Check” Tool and Disney Magic of Healthy Living. They are short and succinct, but the data mentioned is overwhelming and unmemorable. This organization makes the press release difficult to navigate. This category could be much improved because it fails to focus on the bottom line message.

Unexpected

What is surprising is that Disney has stumbled on a formula for getting kids involved with making healthier choices. This is unlike the usual associations people have with Disney. There is potential for unexpectedness because Disney is revealing innovative methods. Instead of building up the surprise, there is just a list of changes in policy at the end of the press release. By failing to place emphasis on the new dining experience or the new advertising campaign, this press release does not follow the “sticky” formula for getting and holding attention.

Concrete

This press release fails to use sensory details, which means the Velcro Theory isn’t being applied. In the third paragraph, it states that “unique storytelling, beloved characters, and unparalleled reach” attribute to Disney’s success. These factors do not demonstrate how they make an impact. The idea is abstract and impossible to remember. Disney has many iconic logos (Cinderella’s castle, Mickey Mouse, and Tinkerbell) that could be used. In this instance, a new logo is introduced—the Mickey Check Tool. It features yellow Mickey Mouse ears with a green check in the middle. It is surrounded by a purple seal with the words “Good for you; fun too!” This detail isn’t mentioned, and I had to search on Google to find out what it looked like. The colors are not correlated with Disney and are an unappealing combination.

Credible

The three sources included serve two purposes. First, they support the idea that Disney has the capability to change kids’ health. Second, they are effective in demonstrating the validity of Disney’s new standards. Iger’s comment speaks to the vital impact Disney has on children and how the company can change children’s eating habits for the better. Obama’s question, “Is it good for our kids?” wasn’t relevant to me—I don’t have kids—but still forced me to question children’s eating habits. Hill’s comment brings attention to the power Disney has in terms of making dull material enjoyable for kids. However, the quotes are not integrated with the core message, and I ended up skimming through them. This category needs improvement to make the credible information stand out from the rest of the information presented.

Emotional

In this category, the writer maintained a neutral stance, and the emotion is implied rather than stated outright. Childhood obesity is a common problem in the United States, so concerned parents can be reassured by Disney’s new policies. Parents would also be comforted by the fact that Disney’s new polices align with federal standards and are supported by doctor recommendations. Iger points out the fact that young kids even have an “emotional connection” with Disney characters, and by default, an emotional connection is made with healthy food. Kids respond to the aesthetic of shapes and colors. Disney clearly needs to do more to with this branding to promote a specialized packaging instead of just placing logo.

Story

The story told in this press release follows two of the basic plots discussed in Made to Stick—creativity and challenge. Disney was faced with the challenge of making healthy food more appealing to young children. The task was a difficult one. After all, it took six years to finally devise an innovative solution that was approved by parents, nutrition experts, and federal regulators. The end result was one Disney could take pride in because it was the first time a media company had taken the right steps. This is where creativity comes in. Disney followed the formula of combining food and fun, which matches the bottom line message. This is one category where the writer exceeded expectations.

Discussion of Revisions

I had three reasons for making these edits. First, I wanted to focus the core meaning; second, to integrate the quotations to increase credibility, and third, to provide a more concrete picture of Disney’s new advertising rules.

Changing the title and including new headings gave me an outline to follow and simplified the concept being presented. The headlines also give the reader a guide when scanning the article. Positioning the headings in question format eliminated questions a reader might have and lowered the level of effort. The revised press release is notably shorter because the information is concise, making it more focused around the bottom line idea.

The first section “What is the Magic?” serves three purposes: it meets the story category, the emotional category, and the simple category. The paragraph gives a shocking statistic to grab the reader’s attention and provide the data that drove Disney to make such a monumental change in its policies. I specifically kept it short and to the point to state the bottom line message in a way that would get the reader invested in the story.

The second paragraph in the first section starts the story by explaining why the new advertising standards are so monumental for such a challenging situation and reveals the creative way of solving the problem of childhood obesity. It serves three purposes. First, it defines the audience as being parents and children. Second, it stresses the significance of this new idea. Third, it explains how everyone emotionally connected to the problem is satisfied.

The second section “How does the Magic work?” expands on what the standards mean for families in terms of the dining menu. This paragraph uses the credibility of two sources to reinforce that Disney Magic of Healthy Living is not a hokey gimmick, but an idea that sticks. Iger explains why the principles behind Disney Magic of Healthy Living work on kids. Hill defines the power of Disney as a positive influence to improve kids’ lives and their eating habits. All people who have watched a Disney movie or been to a Disney theme park have experienced the magic Hill mentions: it’s a gleeful, childlike, and exciting journey into the imagination. I chose to remove Michelle Obama’s endorsement of Disney’s nutrition program because it was a long quote and readers might not know she initiated Let’s Move!, a program for eating healthy and staying physically active.

The third section “Where is the Magic found?” is meant to leave the reader with a concrete image of “The Mickey Check Tool.” The icon is specific enough to provide a common understanding, and the slogan corresponds with the bottom line message. The description serves two purposes. First, it informs the reader what the icon looks like and where it can be found. Second, it changes the abstract idea of promoting healthy food through advertising into a concrete image that’s easy to remember.

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Comments
  1. […] For a formal rhetorical analysis using in the Made to Stick SUCCESs model visit: https://wordplay11.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/disney-press-release-revisions/. […]

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