The Mickey Mouse (Rehab) Club

Miley Cyrus. Demi Lovato. Lindsay Lohan. What do these names have in common? They were all, at some point or another, cream of the tween crop for the Disney Corporation. But with Cyrus pole-dancing at concerts, Lovato going to rehab, and Lohan jumping between rehab and jail on a regular basis, the images of these celebrities hardly seem synonymous with a pair of Mickey Mouse ears.

One of the key factors of IMC is the communication of one clear message to consumers through a variety of media channels. So, when Disney is trying to convince parents that they’re providing worthy role models for their daughters, but the tabloids are constantly covering the personal drama of the Disney stars, who do parents believe? At an initial glance, some might suggest that Disney should distance itself from the constant media mishaps of these tweens and move on to the “next big thing”. But when your company owns the rights to a teen star worth over $48 million (Cyrus’s estimated annual earnings according to the 2010 Forbes’ Celebrity 100), do you really want to let go of all that merchandising power?

In the world of entertainment, making sure that one clear message is presented can be a tricky issue because the selling power often rests on the shoulders of a human being with free will instead of the reputation of a product. Especially with a company like Disney, who deals with celebrities that are often in the midst of teenage turmoil, controlling the talent is no easy task. But, as long as there are parents buying their little girls Hannah Montana wigs and Camp Rock backpacks, Disney’s marketing advantage seems to be doing just fine.

Anna Kate Babnik, Tiffany Evans, Carissa Niederkorn, Deji Adeleke, & Katie Eagle