Prince Beckham of Disneyland

Friday, 26th January 2007 at 23:28

If there's one thing Disney have always excelled at as far back as Steamboat Willie, it's marketing and promotion. The Year of a Million Dreams "celebration" in the US seems to be entirely built around the concept - letting guests stay the night in Cinderella Castle is guaranteed press coverage. What about a world-famous footballer then, David Beckham no less, mounting a trusty steed to advertise Disney Parks?,

This is the latest press frenzy whipped up to try and get the “Year of a Million Dreams” campaign off the ground, but it would appear to benefit Disneyland Resort Paris too. A series of three images showing world famous celebrities “living their dreams” have been created by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz as part of what seems to be an ongoing attempt to move the Disney Parks further upmarket and a true step above the competition.

Whilst released to support the “Year of a Million Dreams” dream giveaway promotion at the US Disney resorts, the images are all generically branded “Disney Parks”, with the main logo showing DisneyParks.com, where the Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong resorts are also featured. Fittingly, the David Beckham image – featuring the footballer in a scene reminiscent of Prince Phillip’s battle with dragon Maleficent – features our very own European Disney castle, Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant, albeit mirrored for better placement on the photo.


David Beckham as Prince Phillip slaying the dragon, Maleficent / Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella

They must have been jumping for joy at Disney PR when he jumped back into the spotlight a couple of weeks ago, announcing a move from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy in the US itself. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve got Beyoncé Knowles playing Alice in Wonderland, whose latest film “Dreamgirls” received eight Academy Award nominations on tuesday, alongside Oliver Platt as the Mad Hatter and Lyle Lovett as the March Hare.


Beyoncé Knowles as Alice, Lyle Lovett as the March Hare and Oliver Platt as the Mad Hatter / Annie Leibovitz

Finally, Scarlett Johansson, acclaimed actress and associated with L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton and more gives a 21st Century Hollywood touch to Cinderella. Disney are certainly not forgetting to add that she “wears a stunning, one-of-a-kind Harry Winston tiara … a dazzling piece in platinum with more than 62 carats of sparkling diamonds and valued at $325,000. The dress worn by Johansson is a custom-made, Cinderella-inspired gown designed by Nicoletta Santoro” there.


‘Dreamgirl’ Spins For Disney Parks / Beckham Bends It For Disney Parks

The images are expected to be part of a larger series, with more celebrities signed up to be featured shortly. The campaign will premiere as a special insert in the March issues of Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, W, The New Yorker, Conde Nast Traveler and Cookie. However, there’s still a chance they could head across the Atlantic too, particularly to the UK or other countries where Walt Disney World and the general “Disney Parks” brand is strongly advertised.


Beckham Bends It For Disney Parks / Stars Come Out For Disney Parks And Leibovitz

With these well-chosen celebrities, though, they’ve already raised interest simply through the press, giving valuable promotion to all Disney parks… and it didn’t cost DLRP a cent!

Whether it’ll be the much-needed kick to get Jay Rasulo’s 50th-follow-up Dreams campaign well and truly started remains to be seen, but David Beckham alone is usually enough to get people talking – imagine the effect of the star on a horse, with fire… in front of a Disney Castle! Swooning women are surely about to fall to the ground the world over.

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The press release in full:

Stars Play Out Disney Park Fantasies In New Images Unveiled by Annie Leibovitz

Photography Featuring Scarlett Johansson, Beyoncé and David Beckham Kicks Off Disney’s ‘Year of a Million Dreams’

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2007) ‘” To launch Disney Parks “Year of a Million Dreams” celebration, spectacular new images were unveiled today featuring the work of acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz, and starring Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella, Beyoncé taking a spin in a giant teacup and David Beckham slaying a dragon.

Leibovitz’s images also fulfill one of Beckham’s “dreams,” as the Disney Parks project is his first endorsement since signing a contract to play professional soccer in the United States.

In addition to the three debut images, Disney Parks has commissioned more images by Leibovitz that will feature other celebrities in classic, Disney fairy tale settings.

“I’m really delighted to be part of the ‘Where Dreams Come True’ campaign,” said Leibovitz. “We live in difficult times and I feel, especially as a parent, that keeping dreams alive is one of the most important things we can do.”

Each image features a scene with the featured celebrities transformed into the role of a fabled Disney character, expressing their own dreams and imagination.

* As Cinderella, Scarlett Johansson is seen running down a flight of stairs as the clock strikes midnight with her glass slipper unknowingly left behind. The tagline reads, “Where every Cinderella story comes true.”

Befitting a true princess, Johansson wears a stunning, one-of-a-kind Harry Winston tiara … a dazzling piece in platinum with more than 62 carats of sparkling diamonds and valued at $325,000. The dress worn by Johansson is a custom-made, Cinderella-inspired gown designed by Nicoletta Santoro.

* David Beckham plays the part of the gallant Prince Phillip from “Sleeping Beauty,” atop his trusted steed fighting the evil dragon. The tagline reads, “Where imagination saves the day.”

“There were many Disney characters I liked as a kid,” said Beckham. “Now my sons love the Disney characters and it’s a big part of their lives, a big part of many children’s lives around the world. So to be part of that is an honor and very exciting.

“I love going to Disney, I’m like a big kid,” he added.

* Beyoncé appears as “Alice in Wonderland,” twirling in a teacup, accompanied by Oliver Platt as the Mad Hatter and Lyle Lovett as the March Hare. The tagline reads, “Where Wonderland is your destiny.”

“It’s two great imaginations coming together … Disney and Annie Leibovitz,” said Lovett. “To be along for the ride really is quite something, just knowing that you’re going to be part of a great Disney character. And then when you step into the imagination of Annie Leibovitz, you know you’re in another world.”

“The ‘Where Dreams Come True’ campaign is about the imaginations and dreams that are inside us all,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “By capturing these transformational experiences, these emotional images communicate a powerful concept. Working with Annie Leibovitz was a natural fit … Disney is known for immersive storytelling and Annie is a masterful artist whose photos speak volumes.”

The campaign premieres as a special insert in the March issues of Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, W, The New Yorker, Conde Nast Traveler and Cookie.

As part of the “Where Dreams Come True” initiative, Disney Parks introduced “The Year of a Million Dreams” (Oct. 1, 2006-Dec. 31, 2007). During this 15-month, first-of-its-kind celebration, more than one million very special dreams are being granted to guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. The celebration also is highlighted by the debut of innovative Disney attractions and entertainment spectaculars at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts.

For more information about Disney Parks, “The Year of a Million Dreams” and “Where Dreams Come True,” guests may visit www.mydisneyparks.com.

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