Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Disneyland doesn't have an 'R' in it.



After a 46 year history without it, in 2001 the marketing geniuses that gave us DCA decreed that any use of the word ‘Disneyland’ in any media from that point on would have to carry the ‘R’ registered trademark symbol.

Gone were the days when Disneyland was indeed a special and unique magical little park that stood alone. Now it’s just another brand name – not that it wasn’t before – but now it is proclaimed as such to all, and the little ‘R’ follows its name just like the Disneyland Resort and the California Adventure Park. It serves to remind us that it is just another part of the holdings of a giant corporation, just in case we forget.

Guess what folks, it doesn’t need it and never did. Lose the ‘R’ and get a little piece of the magic back.


19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate the 'Disneyland Park' moniker even more. When was the last time I went to the store shop, or the hairdresser barber or drove down the street road? The horror of it all.

Epcot82 said...

The madness is really, really easy to stop. At the end of all descriptions of the parks, be they "the Walt Disney World(r) Resort," "Disneyland(r)," "Disney's California Adventure(r)" or whatnot, the marketers just insert a very tiny little line of type that says, "'Disneyland' is a registered trademark of The Walt Disney Company."

I don't think any intellectual property judge would ever believe that Disney could be in a position of possibly losing what makes its theme park names unique. Why Disney is so scared of this is interesting in the first place (since the company spent 40 years NOT being too concerned), but even more so is why they feel the need to OVER protect its trademarked names.

It's the business side of Disney rearing its ugly head, and is indicative of how MBAs and lawyers came to rule the company in the 1990s. Apparently not a single "creative" or marketing person ever stood up in a meeting and said, "What happens if we DON'T put that goofy (r) after every use of the name?"

On a daily basis, I manage one of the world's biggest brands, and our guiding philosophy is simple: If the media wouldn't use the "(r)" (which they wouldn't) or even refer to it as "the brand name (such and such)," as they do with pharmaceuticals, then we don't need to use it in material for every day consumption.

Of course, you'd use the trademark symbol on packaging, billboards, advertising (to a degree), etc. But the incessant use of (tm) and (r) is simply the sign that the people who are applying these marks everywhere they can don't really understand what they mean ... or the power of leaving them off if not absolutely necessary.

"A Undergrad Engineer at Uni of Bath" ® (Speile design Inc) said...

SIMPLY GENIUS... I love that idea, Im going to put an ® after my name. Yeah you heard me im now a registered trade mark YEAH... erm no...
Back to the point. You mention the ® after Disneyland, but IMO this isnt the only thing that needs changing.

First off. im sorry, but many people see "disneyland" especialy in europe, as DLRP, and again, when i was in asia a few years back, "disneyland" was TDL...

This is where marketing screwed up, Creating Multiple disneyland's and calling them all disneyland. Now this is what led to Disneyland®, So what would I do? Simple, Change all the "disneyland's" outside of anaheim into "The Magic Kingdom" at Disney's Resort; tokyo/hongkong/paris. IMO this would then allow Disneyland® to officialy become Disneyland Again, and would also raise awareness of the anaheim park.

Anonymous said...

Just further evidence of Disney lawyEERS squeezing the creativity out of Disney. Or should that be Disney®? Do I have to pay somebody everytime I type that?

Murray Delph® said...

> Anonymous said...

I hate the 'Disneyland Park' moniker even more. When was the last time I went to the store shop, or the hairdresser barber or drove down the street road? The horror of it all. <

On the other hand, there are such things as "Pizza Pie" and "The La Brea Tar Pits"

Anonymous said...

How about the ATM Machine, or the PC Computer or PIN Number. I love it when people insist on being redundant.

Even worse is using the word "at". You see that a lot in Orange County. I'm surprised that DCA wasn't named "The California Park at Disney", or something boring, pretentious and unimaginative as that. Or should that be "The California Park at Disney®".

YECHHHHHHH!!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

>all those spanish spiels, bright exit signs, etc. take away from the magic too

I agree. I come to be immersed in Disney. I always cringe when I am traveling through the dark caves of pirates illuminated by a lone exit sign. There must be a better way. What if they only turned on with power failure / emergency? Certainly such a system could be devised and approved by the state.

pariartspaul said...

I don't mind spiels in different languages. As a matter of fact I remember riding Small World as a child back when it opened and hearing all the boarding instructions in different languages and thinking how exciting it was to imagine that people from all over the world actually were coming to see it!

Don said...

Don't blame Disney, blame the US courts. Too many courts have "given away" companies' registered trademarks, or failed to protect them, because the trademarks weren't clearly and consistently identified as such. It was a big part of Xerox' legal battles over their name being used as a generic word. Disney's just following what's become an unfortunately common and legally-required practice in order to protect themselves in an increasingly litigous society. You want to complain to someone, complain to your Congressmen and tell 'em to fix up the courts by passing some sensible laws against ridiculous suits.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a "re-Imagineering" blog. What's Disney's use of the registered trademark symbol got to do with it? Or is this just a "let's complain about everything Disney does" blog? The former seems a lot more constructive; the latter is just... well, silly. I mean, it's your blog, so go ahead and whine, but jeez.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

I don't mind the registered trademark symbol, but I do mind the incessant use of the word, "Park", because there is absolutely no danger that the "Disneyland" trademark will ever fall into generic usage.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

Disneyland is a kingdom, a world, a realm.... not just a park.

®occo said...

Waddaya think... Should I go with a simple:

®occo

or:

®o©©o

Can't be too careful these days.

Allison said...

First...this site is amazing and I really have enjoyed and agreed with many of the things I've seen written. As for this topic...Don has it right. Like most big companies, Disney is protecting their properties agressively because of the litigeous society we live in. Top that with the fact that there are many many people out there sitting and waiting for Disney to make a mistake so they can make some money off of them. Not everyone feels as warm and fuzzy about the Disney brand as we do.

Secondly, I wanted to point out that there is difference between copyrights (C) and trademarks TM's and (R)'s. The latter is for services and products and the copyrights are for artistic works, images, photos, etc. The (C)'s have time limits on them (which vary). As you probably know, the copyright for Mickey is going to up in a couple of decades and I wonder how happy everyone will be when that happens. I can just see the websites and t-shirts that will be coming out with Mickey in some not so favorable positions.

The Trademarks do not have an expiration and you're darn right if you think that Disney should protect those properties with everything they can. If you really feel that these marks and uses are a turn off and make you feel less connected to the Brand, I really think you should reconsider. Be happy that your company is serious about protecting it's assets so that generations in the future will not think that the neighborhood park down the street is a "Disneyworld" of fun. What then would make the Disney Parks so special.

And also, TM law requires that all TM's are used as adjectives...which is why they are followed with "park" and "resort" and such. I do agree that we should come up with some better nouns to describe it but these are the easiest to market.

Rocco said...

Allison: You mention that the copyright on Mickey will be due to expire in a couple of decades. I don't remember the details, but wasn't copyright law changed in the US due to lobbying to protect the mouse from going into public domain?

Also, I believe that Disney was the first to put copyright notices on their works that didn't have a year. The rules concerning that may have changed as well, but the way I remember it, that would not be considered a legal copyright notice.

If that's true, do you think that major corporations like Disney, with all the influence that they wield, will ever really have to worry about protecting their rights?

I actually agree with everything you say because I'm a cartoonist and a creator of intellectual property. But I think the smaller creators have to be much more dilligent when it comes to protecting themselves because they don't have the resources of a multinational corporation.

If I'm mistaken PLEASE correct me, because I don't want to be guilty of spreading misinformation.

Thanks.

Allison said...

Rocco, first, I'm thrilled that as an artist you are even aware of your rights. Please make sure you have a good attorney to protect them.
Secondly, you very well may be right. I do work with Disney Intellectual Property attorneys and even though we are a big company that can more than adequately protect our property, there are other things that are non-Legal that we have to worry about that smaller companies don't. Our attorney's also worry about the PR mess that even the smallest issue can cause. It's BECAUSE Disney is so big that they are so concerned about this. Look at it this way, a small business goes into court with Disney over an intellectual property issue. Nine times out of ten the attitude is Disney has plenty of money, this party/business doesn't...Disney should pay this party whatever they want. And if they don't the Press just loves to hear about how the Big Bad Disney treats the little man.

Also, I know that Sonny Bono before he died did something to extend the copyright laws (and I think Disney was a main advocate of that law), but I think it just got extended by 20-30 years. Or maybe it was extended to be instead of the life of the author to the life of the work. Honestly, I'm not sure. If anyone knows for sure I'd find it interesting to know.

But my point is that it's not just Legal issues that Disney worries about.

Dragonrider1227 said...

Of all the things the company does, this isn't really the worst. It's dumb, the R is ugly, and not needed, but it's not THAT big a deal.

DisneyCam said...

Just came across your site for the first time and love it! I have to agree with your comment that the "R" is just wrong. It looks silly and gives that whole "corporate" feeling to the word. Such a pitty.