Disney branded products have been a tradition almost as long as the company has been in business. Walt understood the importance of marketing his characters outside of the theater to increase the public’s awareness of the films, but also to fund the ever-expanding vision Walt had for the company.
Hallmark has been making ornaments since the early 1970’s with their first line glass bulbs and yarn figures in their Keepsake line. That tradition has expanded to over 100 ornament series, with Disney naturally being one of the most popular.
This year is no exception to the introduction of more and more Disney-themed ornaments. From the limited quantity Donald Duck ornament to the re-interpretation of a Mickey’s Christmas Carol figures, Hallmark has delivered some great new ornaments that are sure to be a hit.
In fact, I have heard that the Donald ornament is a hot-seller and has already sold out at the stores I have visited around me. Thankfully though, I was able to score the last ornament in the final store I checked out the other day.
There are many similarities to the founders of both companies. JC Hall and Walt Disney were both self-made men with a clear vision for their businesses. Taking their youthful experiences and turning that passion into companies that still exist today. Disney has positioned itself very well for the long-haul with the move away from the paralysis of the late seventies that almost cost the company its existence.
After Walt passed the company spent many years floundering until a strong management team came in to revive its business and establish a long-range growth plan that continues today with Bob Iger and his team of executives. There is a clear plan for the company that includes traditional products like these ornaments as well as occupying a large space online with their various web properties.
Hallmark on the other hand has some tough years ahead for itself due to the reliance on a product many no longer use. The opportunity for their products to make a transition into the 21st century social media networks. While I worked there the company’s leaders virtually ignored the then developing web-space, when had they entered the market at that time, they could have been a major player. They have now gotten back into the concept, once abandoned for good reason, to charge for sending e-cards which in my estimation is far too little way too late. If they are to remain relevant to their core personal expression market(s), Hallmark will to build upon successful lines and partnerships that extend their brand the way these ornaments extend Disney’s.
Disney’s interest in this line of products continues to be a great choice. Hallmark makes great ornaments and allows Disney’s characters to reach new audiences throughout the Hallmark Gold Crown Store network without the production costs associated with this type of product.
Wrapping it up
Having worked for both companies, I understand the mutual benefit each company derives from this long-standing relationship. Disney provides an enormous wealth of creative storytelling that Hallmark can capitalize on in their product lines. They are able to work within the confines of the stricture set forth by Disney and deliver some exceptionally crafted pieces that many might keep out all year long, rather than box away for the bulk of the year.