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Why the words "Walt" & "Pictures" have been clipped off of that new "Disney" logo

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Why the words "Walt" & "Pictures" have been clipped off of that new "Disney" logo

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Dave dropped me a note last night which reads:


We saw "The Muppets" over the weekend (fun film, by the way), and noticed that the familiar castle logo at the beginning of the film now just says "Disney," instead of "Walt Disney Pictures." We also noticed this for the trailers for "Beauty and the Beast 3-D" and "Brave" that preceded the movie.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Was this a sudden change? Why are they dropping Walt's name from the studios he helped to create? I for one am not happy to see Walt's name removed from (the) studio logo. Something tells me that others may feel the same way. Any insight as to why they felt the need to do this? Thanks!


Actually, that singular "Disney" is something that the Company has been slowly rolling out over the past year or so. You may have noticed that - when Parks & Resorts debuted DCA's new logo in late 2010 - that this theme park suddenly went from being "Disney's California Adventure Park" to the much-more-minimalist "Disney California Adventure."

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

As for dropping the "Walt" & "Pictures" portions of the "Walt Disney Pictures" logo ... Look, I know that there are Disney conspiracy theorists out there who will suggest that Mouse House managers are doing this deliberately because they're eager to erase any & all traces of Walt's legacy.

But if that were really what was going on here, then why would the Company be spending $150 million to turn DCA's Sunshine Plaza section into Buena Vista Street ...

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... which is this romanticized & idealized version of the Los Angeles that Walt Disney supposedly encountered when he first arrived in Southern California in August of 1923?

From the names of the stores that Guests will encounter as they stroll through this part of the theme park (EX: Elias and Company Department Store, Kingswell Camera Shop et al) to that statue of young Walt & Mickey which will be prominently displayed in DCA's equivalent of Main Street, U.S.A. ...

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... this section of Disney California Adventure is going to be a veritable valentine to the Company's founder. And if The Walt Disney Company is willing to spend $150 million to do something like that ... Well, why then would Mouse House managers be going out of their way to eliminate all traces of Walt on the "Walt Disney Pictures" side of the operation?

No, the real reason that the Company has clipped "Walt" and "Pictures" off of the "Walt Disney Pictures" logo has to do with all of those Droids and/or iPhones that many of us now use to watch our media on.

I mean, think about it, Dave. On that teeny tiny screen, the single word "Disney" is a lot easier to read / make out than "Walt Disney Pictures" is ...

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... isn't it?

This is why the logo in front of "The Muppets" & the "Beauty & the Beast 3D" and "Brave" trailers has been changed in the way that it has. This honestly wasn't an effort to eliminate Walt. But - rather - just Disney's way of acknowledging that the ways in which many of us now use & view our media is changing. And since Bob Iger likes to be out ahead of change, rather than reacting to things after the fact ... Well, that's why the "Walt Disney Pictures" logo that the Studio uses recently had to be changed.

Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

I mean, you only have to look at the deal which Disney cut with YouTube earlier this week to realize that the Company is serious about making many of its movies available for viewing on handheld devices. Not just on those giant screens that you'll find at your local multiplex.

Does this explanation make any sense to you, Dave? It initially didn't to me when someone at the Studio explained this concept earlier this year. But later that same day, when they showed me the "Brave" teaser trailer on their iPhone, I immediately saw what this individual was saying about how the just-plain "Disney" logo was far easier to read / make out on that teeny tiny screen.

Your thoughts?



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  • Seems like a rather odd explanation to be honest. Personally, I think the castle intro looks naked now with just "Disney" out in front.

    And... is the Mouse happy with The Muppets opening box-office? I didn't like the film, but was entertained by all the appearances they made while promoting.

  • Since many of us read your blog on our cell phones or tablets, shouldn't YOU then change Jim Hill Media to simply Hill? It would certainly make it easier for us to read your posts that way.

  • The California Adventure example has NOTHING to do with mobile media viewing. Clearly, the company is trying to get away with just branding everything "Disney" to create a singular, unified one word brand. Look at most consumer products, for example, which hold just a "Disney" logo on their tags. Additionally, most of the new Disney Stores just have the single "Disney" on the front door even doing away with the "Store". Personally, I've been wondering when they'll strip it all down to just the "D" for sometime now. ;-P

  • That is the stupidest reasoning I have ever heard.

    If that is the case, why show anything at all if the "pesky" details are too small to see? In fact, why put eyes, mouths, noses or fingers on characters for that matter? Clearly they are too small to see... right?

    Corporate idiots.

  • Hmmm.  Good explanation.  Very ratiolnal.  Would make perfect sense for a new company trying to establish an identity...but for what is arguably the most identifiable logo in the world? (Sorry Coke)

  • Wayne: I think you nailed it with Coca-Cola. They almost always uses the script, and if they only say Coke, they are using it with the bottle icon. (This isn't to say they went through a poor branding period in the 80s, but shouldn't we all learn from mistakes?)

    Jim: even though I believe your explanation is rational and true, it's also short-sighted. The problem with this argument is that these tiny screens have increasingly amazing clarity, and even lower-end phones will only get better as time goes on. So while technology will keep moving, The Muppets will simply say Disney forever (or until a restoration).

    Likewise, I noticed a few years ago that all of the DVD/Blu-ray advertising art for Walt Disney company-released films substituted the fonts on the packaging with some chunky version of Arial or Helvetica. Flip through Netflix, or a Best Buy, Target or Walmart circular, and the images of Disney-released DVDs looked as if some kid tried to recreate it and couldn't find the right font. It looked terrible when compared to all the art right next to it from other studios. And I'm sure it was the same rational, "well, on your phone when it's small, you can read it more easily this way" argument. Yeah, I can read it, but I'm no longer compelled to buy it because it looks, well, weird and cheap.

    Oh, well--it's yet another "we're smarter than our audience decision" from "Disney."

  • Scott --

    I cited the singular use of "Disney" in the new logo for California Adventure as a way to show that this logo concept wasn't really anything new. That it had been bubbling up in other parts of the Company. Which is why it was only a matter of time before Walt Disney Pictures finally adopted that singular "Disney" logo for its use as well.

    But putting aside Disney's efforts to create a unified brand for the Corporation, I was flat-out told in August by senior people at the Studio that the Company has made it one of its main goals for 2012 & 2013 that Disney will be among the very first major media companies to make the bulk of its film & TV library available for viewing on handheld devices. And since Iger believes that this is the way that many people will be viewing Disney-created content in the near future ... Well, then adjustments had to be made. And I'm talking everything from the size of the Disney logo right down to the menus that one uses to access things like Bonus Features.

    Given your flip "Why don't you change Jim Hill Media to simply Hill" comment, it's clear that you don't believe that's really what's going on here. Which is fine by me. By that I mean: I know my sources on this story. They've worked for the Studios for years. And they've never, ever steered me wrong before. More to the point, I have this week's Disney / YouTube deal to prove that the Company is genuinely getting serious about making its content available for viewing on handheld devices like iPhones & Droids. Which means that -- to insure customer satisfaction / brand identification in this still-developing situation -- some adjustments are obviously going to have to be made. Hence Walt Disney Pictures' recent adoption of the singular "Disney" logo.

    Sometimes you need to see the forest for the trees, folks. Understand that there are specific reasons that certain changes are made at particular times. This is why Walt Disney Pictures opted to change to the singular "Disney" logo at this particular moment in time. Because Bob Iger wants Disney to be an easily identified leader when it comes to the Company's movies and TV shows being screened on handheld devices like iPhones and Droids.

    Speaking of which ... Given that Bob will be stepping down as CEO of Disney in March of 2015 and then exit the Company entirely by June of 2016 ... Well, one wonders if that will be enough time for Iger to push through his other dream for Disney Studios. Which is -- on the day that a new film is released -- it's then available for viewing on all possible platforms and in every possible format. Meaning that if you want to go to your local IMAX theater and watch "Pirates of the Caribbean 6" on a giant screen in 3D, you can do so. If -- on the other hand -- you want sit at home and stream "Pirates 6" on your flat screen and/or your iPhone, you could do that as well.

    "And why would Iger want to do something like that?," you ask. To be blunt, because by making a new Disney movie available to consumers in that many formats right from the get-go, that then limits the number of ways in which pirates can profit from the Company's intellectual property.

    Mind you, the exhibitors have raised a stink whenever Iger has brought up this issue before. They're determined to do everything that they can to prevent the theatrical release window for new films from being shrunk any further. Which then gives the pirates plenty of time to make, market and sell their illegal copies of movies like "The Muppets."

    And given that Iger has repeatedly met with resistance when it comes to the exhibitors ... Well, this is why Bob's now chosen to focus Disney's efforts on monetizing the other end of the spectrum. Hence this week's YouTube deal.

    But face it, Scott. The ways that we use and view media is changing. And Disney wants to be at the forefront of this change. Hence the recent little changes like tweaking the logo that Walt Disney Pictures uses as well as the really big deals like making 100 titles from the Disney Pixar film library available for viewing on YouTube.

    But whether you really want to believe that's what's going on here is entirely up to you.

  • Oh we believe you Jim it's just so...well, simple. It seems like there should be a better reason behind re-branding a logo, but since that's the one given it just isn't doesn't seem justified. Again it sounds too simple to believe.

    I still prefer the white castle/blue background Walt Disney Pictures logo. For many, hearing that whistling theme, is just as nostalgic as it gets. You'd think that with the prominence of D23 they'd use that logo or even an older one for Boomers, rather than the boringly detailed, homogenized evening castle they have now.

    Thanks for the clarity.

  • figured to keep up with the changing media and the way people are viewing their entertainment with new devices. Disney would want to be part of the thing even if it means shorting walt Disney to Disney.

  • This seems like a very bizarre explanation. Who could possibly be concerned with being able to read the name used in the studio logo easily on smalls screens? I don't think people even read the words in the studio logo when they're on a huge movie screen. And what about all the other text used during a movie, such as the credits?

  • John --

    I think the mistake that you're making here is that you're trying to equate logic with the way large media corporations actually operate on a day-to-day basis. We're talking apples and oranges here.

    And as for credits ... You have watched a theatrically-released film on television in the past 10 years or so, right? So you've undoubtedly seen an end-of-the-movie credits sequence which has then been squashed down to fit into the bottom 4th of your TV screen, while the upper 3/4rds of that screen teases some story which is about to air on your local 11 o'clock news.

    This is also why you'll see a post-movie credit sequence roll up the side of your TV screen at 1500 MPH. While the TV stations that air these movies are contractually obligated to show these credit sequences, there's nothing in these contracts that then limits the speed at which these credit sequences can scroll by and/or the size of the screen that they must be shown on.

    Whereas -- from the Mouse's point of view -- having a logo that's easy for the person who's actually watching a Disney movie on their iPhone and/or Droid to read and/or recognize is hugely important. At least from a corporate branding point of view.

    I know, I know. From the individual consumer point-of-view, this decision make not make much sense. But in a boardroom-type situation, where -- these days, anyway -- it's all about branding and brand recognition, the fact that someone watching a movie on their iPhone can immediately identify the "Disney" castle & logo on their teeny tiny screen is huge.

  • "branding everything "Disney" to create a singular, unified one word brand" - yes, that´s what I think as well - but, as Roy E. Disney put it: "branding is for cattle"... Disney is a company that is all about illusion and nostalgia - so why *brand* everything so obtrusively... A few years ago, I saw an interview with Bruce Willis, in which he kept refering to the movie he was promoting as "Disney´s The Kid", which soon sounded so ridiculous  that the host said, jokingly:  "you seem to be particularly fond of the fact that it´s *Disney´s* The Kid..." (or sth like that), to which a clearly embarassed Wills could only mutter "it´s contractual, you know..." Sometimes more is less... (sooner or later, somebody will come up with sth like "Disney Disneyland" (for the park that is now known as "Disneyland Park at the Disneyland Resort"...)

  • This has been a question of mine before this article. One of Walt's biographies states that he was advised to license his name back to the company. Does the company still pay his estate/heirs for the right to use "Walt Disney" instead of just "Disney"? I think of this every time I see "Disney Enterprises".

  • There was an article this year highlighting Disney's market push to roll out "One Disney". My company went through this same solidarity marketing push.  It is a popular marketing theme these days...to avoid splintering the image.  So that's why we will see more "Disney" company logos for better or worse.

  • To BW, RETLAW was the company that owned, among other things, the rights to the Walt Disney name. In 1982, RETLAW sold the naming rights and rail-based attractions to the Walt Disney company for 818,461 shares of Disney stock.

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