an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Disney Princess Bicycles: Rescue the Prince!

Posted by Rosepixie on May 9, 2010

This is a commercial for Disney Princess bicycles from Huffy.

I found this commercial to be really interesting because it reverses the usual narrative of the prince rescuing the princess, but does not acknowledge this reversal in any way.  Although the fact that the Disney princesses are pictured on the bikes is mentioned and they are shown in the ad, they are basically irrelevant.  The kinds of princess stories this commercial is suggesting these girls are telling for themselves, and even more than that, the kinds of princesses that it is suggesting the bikes will enable little girls to become, are nothing like the stories told in the Disney movies the princesses on their bikes come from.

Belle, Jasmine and Cinderella may all be appealing characters in their way, but none of them are daring “rescue the prince” type princesses (Jasmine perhaps comes the closest and she still falls rather short).  This is absolutely the reimagining of a concept for the purpose of selling a new product with it, since even though there are adventurer princesses in some of the classic fairy tales, none of those tales have been made into movies by Disney.

Still, I kind of like it.  Disney has built a marketing empire on those princesses in recent years and the idea that they might broaden the idea of what a princess is for little girls is appealing (not as appealing as them giving up the whole thing and instead encouraging girls to reach for more than being a princess, but it’s a start).  Besides, showing girls that they can go on daring adventures and still be girls is a great thing to do – it could encourage more girls to try things that are otherwise considered for boys when they otherwise would not have (things like math, programming, engineering, hard sciences, playing videogames, and more come to mind here).  And maybe this kind of broadening of the Disney Princess brand can help some girls bridge that gap.  Who knows?


One Response to “Disney Princess Bicycles: Rescue the Prince!”

  1. Eva said

    I would feel a lot more charitable towards this ad if they were actually playing with and rescuing a boy. As it is, it seems like kind of a token gesture to sell the bikes. Something is better than nothing, but I’m not feeling convinced that the princess franchise is being changed in a meaningful way.

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