Walt Disney to touch more Filipino hearts

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Donald, Daisy, Mickey, Minnie and Goofy—Disney’s most loved characters PHOTOS BY ABBY PALMONES

Donald, Daisy, Mickey, Minnie and Goofy—Disney’s most loved characters PHOTOS BY ABBY PALMONES

Asian arm of global Disney company officially partners with SM
Magical and memorable moments.

This is what The Walt Disney Company wishes to give Filipinos as it officially sealed a five-year partnership with SM this week through a grand and festive event at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

In attendance were key executives led by Paul Candland, president of The Walt Disney Company Asia, and Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings Inc. Joining them were Walt Disney Southeast Asia managing director Rob Gilby and SM Lifestyle and Entertainment Inc. (SMLEI) president Edgar Tejerero.

To further show just how important the milestone is, SM staged a wonderful performance featuring the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Mandaluyong Children’s Choir, and singers Rhap Salazar and Morissette Amon for beautiful renditions of classic and contemporary Disney hits. Adding excitement onstage was dance group Airdance Philippines in a Stars Wars inspired routine.


Children from Childhaus and Lola Grande Foundation were also invited to join the festivities to make for a more meaningful event. They were happiest of course when finally Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy, larger than life, took the spotlight.

Strong Filipino fans
At a separate press conference, Gilby and Tejerero faced members of the media to impart how the collaboration between the world famous Walt Disney Company and Philippine retail giant SM came about.

“At Disney, our goal is to create happiness through a series of magical and memorable moments. That’s the kind of mission we live by. And so when we think about the Philippines, we think of exciting, new ways to do that [here],” began Gilby.

For his part, Tejerero noted that SM had been working with Disney for a long time already via showing Disney films, selling their merchandise and holding themed-events. By entering a five-year collaboration, he is confident that Filipinos—not just children but entire families—will have something to enjoy from Disney and its Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars divisions.

“I believe that a partnership will simply create more brands for both companies that will enable fans to best enjoy Disney and find whatever they are looking for from the brand,” he explained. “One example is the SM Disney App. If you have this, you will find out what’s new about Disney, be it a movie, an event, or a toy inside SM.”

Already in the works, Tejerero revealed that the app will be ready by year end. Another digital platform is Blink, SMLEI’s video-on-demand service that now shows exclusive Marvel films.

Gilby was then asked to comment on the influx of Disney partnerships in the Philippines. To this he replied, “If you look at markets around the world, I’ve got to say I get very, very excited by the Philippines. . . I have to say the fans are the strongest here. We are passionate about that. That’s why the opportunity to find partnerships here is so easy.”

With all that said, is the Philippines ready for its very own Disneyland, asked The Manila Times?

“I knew that question will come. We have no plans for Disneyland but we have many other plans to make the magic alive in the Philippines. There are the movies, our own shows, the digital platform, books, and songs. That is also why we are working with SM to bring that magic here,” Gilby answered honestly.

Experience not exclusivity
Besides SMLEI, also synergized for the Disney partnership are SM Supermalls, SM Markets, The SM Store, and Toy Kingdom for a holistic experience by mallers. The “magic” begins from the moment they enter the SM malls to watch a movie, to the time they purchase their favorite merchandise.

But how exclusive will the partnership be? “The way we look at this, and this is why we had this conversation [of a collaboration]with SM [in the first place]is how do you create a seamless experience for the consumers,” Gilby replied.

He continued, “So you come to SM and you see Frozen. How do you find the Anna dress, the shoes, the books, the toys? The reason people look for merchandise is because they want to extend the experience. The girl looks for the Anna dress because she wants to be Anna even just for a moment.”

With that, Tejerero revealed activities that Disney fans must watch out for in SM Malls in the coming months. The most exciting one, he added, is the “Galactic Christmas.”

“We are very excited to implement the Galactic Christmas especially for the Star Wars fans. We will dress up our malls in Star Wars theme and provide opportunities for fans to experience [Stars Wars: The Force Awakens] prior to the movie [premiere],” the SMLEI head enticed, promising fervently that this is only the beginning.

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