Disney Post | Official Blog of the Walt Disney Company
October 12, 2012

Inside Look at Minnie's Dream Sequence for Disney/Barneys New York 'Electric Holiday'

By Nidia Caceros, Disney Consumer Products

UPDATE (October 23, 2012): We released a new image from the video's final scene today. We think it shows that the 3-minute video actually reinforces a healthy body image. In the final scene, we see the Minnie Mouse we all know and love. She looks into the mirror and realizes how happy (and fashionable) she is in her designer Lanvin dress. We hope this provides additional clarification.

(October 12, 2012) In August, we announced “Electric Holiday,” a project with Barneys New York. The one-time holiday promotion includes a moving art video that was designed to be a playful interpretation of the fashion world where Minnie Mouse briefly imagines what it would be like if she and her friends were a part of that high fashion world. The images shown during the brief dream sequence in the moving art video are highly stylized interpretations of these artistic characters. In the end, the video concludes with Minnie returning back to her classic self happily wearing a Lanvin designer dress.

We know many of our fans were intrigued with this news, and we wanted to give the behind-the-scenes story firsthand and provide insight into how we developed the creative concepts. I sat down with Luis Fernandez, senior vice president of global creative at Disney Consumer Products, to give us the scoop.

Nidia: Luis, we know that fans all over the world have an emotional connection to Disney characters. What can you tell Disney fans about how these stylized looks for “Electric Holiday” came to be?

Luis: “Electric Holiday” is a fun and colorful campaign that gave our character artists the creative liberty to do something artistic and completely unique. The elongated poses of Disney characters, including Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Goofy and Cruella de Vil, are dramatically stylized. They’re creative interpretations from a fashion lens, and only appear for a few seconds in this video. Their true form remains as classic as ever in every aspect of the company. A project like “Electric Holiday” is the kind of creative challenge which forces one to stretch the imagination while proceeding with caution. We know we have to be respectful of who these characters are and what they mean to us and to millions of people.

N: There is a scene in the moving art video when Minnie Mouse is transported into a fantasy world where literally anything is possible. Can you elaborate on that?

L: As we see Minnie gazing at a Paris travel poster, a dream sequence takes us into her mind – a fantasy world where she imagines herself as a fashion model on a Paris runway show, and we see her getting styled by the best in the fashion industry. Although Minnie is in her classic form for most of the piece, she does go through a dream portal at one point where she takes on this stylized fashion model form for just a few seconds. In the end, we see her happily back to her classic form still wearing her designer dress, designed by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin.

One of our more difficult challenges was bringing the two separate worlds of Disney and couture fashion together in a believable manner. Our solution was to have the characters pass through a magical portal as they step out onto the runway.

N: Sounds like a labor of love – a lot of passion, imagination and creative integrity went into the development process. What else is in store that fans can look forward to?

L: “Electric Holiday” will also feature a range of exclusive, limited-edition Disney holiday gifts that is just as magical as the creative itself and includes Vinylmation figures designed by Paul Smith and Diane von Furstenberg, Mickey Mouse ears designed by Rag & Bone and L'Wren Scott, and smaller items such as holiday ornaments, edible sweets, and much more. We also created original and exclusive artwork that will be featured on special Barneys shopping bags available with all in-store and Barneys.com purchases during the holiday season. 

Stay tuned as we release more details on Barneys/Disney “Electric Holiday,” which will be unveiled on November 14.

Still from "Electric Holiday" moving art video.
10/23/12 - New still from "Electric Holiday" moving art video's final scene.

18 Comments

Lizz Hahn October 16, 2012 at 12:47 AM

Sounds wonderful wish I still lived in NY but
FL living has its Disney perks 2 wuz wondering
When the new holiday items would avil at
WDW ? Also any discounts 4 pass holder other
Than usual ones ? Thanx

Josh Cates October 16, 2012 at 5:22 PM
My beautiful 15-yr old daughter who isn't a single bit overweight told her mother and me, "I don't like pictures that show my whole body" when we discussed which school pictures to order. My nieces started showing signs of dissatisfaction with their bodies as early as age 7. Girls already worry about which part isn't big enough, which is too big, which is shaped wrong, etc. We don't need Disney character fantasizing about, just for a few seconds, becoming these hideous creatures that are anything but natural, and far from beautiful. You need to pull out of this campaign. Whomever calls it off first, whether it's Disney or Barney's, is going to make the other look like a really classless organization. And if you both go through with it, it's going to cost you customers. More importantly, though, it will cost you respect and admiration.
Eileen Michaels October 19, 2012 at 10:41 PM

There are enough unrealistic, unattainable and UNHEALTHY images thrown at our children, I cant control the fashion magazines, or the celebrities on TV and Movies, the lack of average bodies, the fact that anyone with meat on their bones cant hold a lead or romantic role....But I darn well CAN CONTROL which CARTOONS my children see, and IF this one keeps the emaciated and anorexic characters, My children wont be watching...This is a horrible standard youre setting Disney, and I would hope you would know better...

Chris Haney October 22, 2012 at 3:57 PM

The Electric Holiday dream sequence is all kinds of wrong. We don't want the models for our youngest, and most impressionable, children fantasizing about being toothpick thin dreaming of an image they are not. Children should give no thought to their looks beyond being clean. Please honor Walt's vision of Disney's influence on children, without whom Disney would be a distant memory.

Stephanie Campanaro October 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM

It is an absolute shame that the Disney Company has allowed Barney's to turn Minnie and Daisy into sticks. Over 130,000 people have signed the petition at change.org to stop this nonsense - we all truly hope you decide not to go through with this HORRIBLE idea.

shauna stokes October 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM

I am disgusted by the drawings of "skinny Minnie" and the other characters. I cannot believe that Disney is this irresponsible to allow beloved CHILDRENS characters to be drawn this way. It doesn't matter that it is a dream or for a short moving art. It is wrong! If their bodies have to be this distorted in order to fit into couture then it is not a product that Disney should be supporting. Disney is about families, happiest place on earth. Those images are completely contrary to that position. If I lived in NY I would be outside protesting Barneys and their cruel malignment of a cultural treasure and the horrible message it sends about fashion and bodies.

shelly brun October 22, 2012 at 10:14 PM

disney you will do a fantastic job at glamorising food disorders and diseaving the minds of thousands young children..WHAT HAPPPENDED TO BEING CONFIDENT AND BEAUTIFUL IN YOUR OWN SKIN????
PLEASE PROMOTE SOMTHING THAT WILL ENCOURAGE YOUNG CHILDREN NOT LOWER THERE SELF ESTEEM!!

Barbara Powell October 23, 2012 at 9:21 AM

I was shocked to find out that Disney was allowing Barney's to do this to its characters. I have always considered Disney to be a healthy and educational influence for my children. Apparently, I was wrong. This is definitely not a Disney image that I want my 10-year-old daughter to see.

Wanting to be different that what you are is okay. It inspires people to do things with their lives, make changes, improve themselves. Wanting to be something that you can never be is a recipe for heartache and disappointment. For young women, that equates to feelings of inadequacy, body image issues, self esteem problems, and eating disorders.

Shame on you Disney, for allowing your greed to overrule your common sense. You should pull out of this campaign before it tarnishes the Disney image.

Sara Gates October 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Even if the images of Minnie are short and in a dream, its the fact that she dreams of being taller and thinner in itself that is the problem with this ad campaign. Minnie Mouse has been a wonderful cartoon roll model for ages. To show children that even she is unhappy with her appearance and needs to drastically alter herself for a piece of clothing is heart breaking. Its not something I ever expected to see from the Walt Disney company and I hope that you listen to your thousands, possibly millions, of fans that are upset with this ad. Please do not go forward with it, if you do you have lost the respect of our family and we will avoid your stores, cartoons, and parks in the future.

valerie franco October 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM

the electric holiday is sending the wrong message to children. it may be temporary but what was wrong with having minnie mouse being her self even in the dream sequence, by making her super skinny its just sending the impression that you have to be super super skinny to be a runway model in paris. and activist are not doing this to get media attention they are mad at the fact that your sending the wrong messages to young children especially since minnie mouse is a child icon just like all of the other disney characters.

Kim B October 23, 2012 at 2:08 PM

My 6yr old daughter and I had just saw the story for this campaign. If she hadn't reacted to the way she did, it would probably be one of those things, where you look at the beautiful artwork, and not go any deeper into it than that. However, she exclaimed "she's a Skinny Minnie!" where she proceeded then to tell me what had happened in her gymnastics class, comparing herself to other students who could not show their ribs as well as she could. (She's on the petite/slender side.) I asked her if it would matter if the 'regular' Minnie could be used, whereas, she answered "noooo. I like the tall skinny one, because the clothes look better on her, and it just wouldn't be the same". Which was really interesting to hear, because you tend to think that kids at that age, don't take that into consideration yet. Maybe the campaign is more adult-oriented and geared at the child in us, rather than projected towards children. But being that they are exposed to that, it tends to be one of those little things that kids keep in the back of their sub-conscious minds growing up. Seeing images of glamour, based on someone who is tall and thin, tends to start giving the wrong signals to children at an early age, who then start to develop what to them, is the perfect body image. And, as growing up, if they don't fit that mold, end up having issues later on.

Nidia Caceros October 23, 2012 at 4:53 PM
Thanks for your comments. We released a new image from the video's final scene today. Please take a look at the new image at the top of this post. We think it shows that the 3-minute video actually reinforces a healthy body image. In the final scene, we see the Minnie Mouse we all know and love. She looks into the mirror and realizes how happy (and fashionable) she is in her designer Lanvin dress. We hope this provides additional clarification.
Me Nunya October 24, 2012 at 11:23 AM

No that actually clarifies nothing!

As the family memeber of a 23yo beautiful woman who was finally healthy for a few years, yet died from the damage that had been done when she was younger battling her eating disorder, I think it's insulting that you think "the ending" will resolve this... As the last poster said its the fact that Minnie and Daisy "dream" about being so unrealistically (and frankly sickeningly skiny) that is the whole point! Girls are so bombarded with unrealistic body image expectation in so many differen areas! But to see it coming from Disney now... that's just sad!

If this campaign goes forward I know my family's 10+ years season passes will be canceled, and I know many others from our one group who will start reconsider how they support Disney.
There are so many family's like our own who have suffered losses over the years! And I hope whomever at Disney approved something like this can live with themselves if/when a healthy little girl sees this add and starts down a path of sickness for years to come because like Minnie she "dreams" of being glamorous and skinny.

Maybe some Disney marketing people and execs should take a trip to a few group meetings for people with eating disorders... screen your clip (last couple min included) and see if they feel it give them any clarity?!?

LewThe Zulu October 25, 2012 at 9:17 AM

I think we have a way bigger problem with Obesity than Anorexia in this country. Not to mention the only people that will see this are going to be people shopping the upper west side....this is not stroller lane. The whole concept is pretty lame. Atleast its better than last years Laddy GAGA Holiday theme. Thats what you should have been upset about! Showcasing uncultured lowest common denomenater popmusic...I was scared this year was going to be Bieber. That is the kind of nonesense that will taint our youth!

Crystal Sparlin November 3, 2012 at 3:46 PM

I find it even more offensive, she ends up having to 'accept' the way she really looks only after dreaming about what she wanted to look like. I thought the whole purposeof the skinny minnie was because you couldnt make her look Good in the dress as the classic mi nnie, well she looks a whole lot better in as classic minnie than the nasty anorexic thing you show the rest of the campagne. I have four kids Who love disney at this point im not so much in love as i once was..

Nick Moreno November 4, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Doesn't change the fact that this was plain and simple a bad idea. Children shouldn't have to interact with the shallowness of the fashion world in any way, let alone having fun and loving characters, such as Disney's, be reinterpreted as anorexic models, dressed in overpriced clothing, selling an empty dream of success through looks and appearance. For the sake of everything these characters meant and were to all of us, learn to respect your audience and your own legacy. Attempting to modernize the Mickey Mouse franchise in this manner just makes Disney look like a complete joke.

D. Messineo November 15, 2012 at 7:34 AM

So happy Minnie and gang look normal. Thanks for not changing her image !
10 Mickey stars four you

Aaron D November 19, 2012 at 11:52 PM

How about we talk about the dress she wore to the event! It looked nothing like the sketch at all! It was awful! I can't believe the designer let that happen....