Disney Wants Mouse to Roar Once More

As Disney icon Mickey Mouse gets set to celebrate his 75th birthday, Disney is rolling out a merchandising campaign centered on getting that unmistakable set of ears on sales racks, postage stamps, video shelves and comic racks worldwide.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, former Nike exec. Andy Mooney was brought on as chairman of Disney’s consumer products unit a few years ago to rescue Disney’s merchandising division and immediately set his sights on returning Mickey to the spotlight.

Now Mickey is popping up everywhere, and not just in places where kids hang out. A recent episode of HBO’s adult comedy Sex and the City had star Sarah Jessica Parker sporting a tight Mickey Mouse T-shirt. He has since been making a splash on the fashion scene, showing up in trendy boutiques on everything from $250 silk pants to handbags an belt buckles.

The celebrated rodent also invaded the gaming world in Kingdom Hearts from Squaresoft and Disney Interactive. The fantasy role playing game teams Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and pals with characters from Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy and other Disney franchises like The Little Mermaid and Tarzan.

Last year’s Academy Awards telecast marked the first appearance of a 3D Mickey Mouse. A digital version will also star two upcoming direct-to-video movies, including Twice Upon a Christmas, set for release next year. The makeover may be a sign of the times, but it doesn’t sit well with a lot of fans who prefer the hand-drawn Mickey that first appeared in the 1928 short Steamboat Willie.