Of Mice and Marketing: A Story of Inclusion
By Dulce Gutierrez
2018-2019 I2F Cohort Member
Former Intern at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)
B.A. in Anthropology and Race and Culture Studies, Eastern Washington University ’15
Picture this: the year is 1983 and Disneyland has started dubbing some of its English commercials into Spanish in the hopes of reaching a wider audience. However, despite being surrounded by one of the largest Latino populations in the country, less than 15% of visitors were Latino. Nowadays, with the release of movies like Coco (2017) and Elena of Avalor (2016), it’s hard to picture Disney having this problem. But at the time, Disney couldn’t figure out why anyone wouldn’t be enthralled by the idea of visiting the happiest place on Earth.
So Disney did what they do best: they hired the experts to tell them what went wrong.
Enter Norma and Hector Orci of (at the time) La Agencia de Orci y Asociados advertisement agency. In 1984, Norma and Hector were hired by The Mouse to bring Latinos in. According to an interview with the couple, conducted by Kathleen Franz in 2016, Disney believed that the reason for the lack of attendance was due to the expense of taking the entire family into the park. When Norma and Hector began their research with the Latino community, they found a more surprising answer.
Click here to find out.
Dulce Gutierrez Vasquez is a graduate from Eastern Washington University, where she double majored in Anthropology and Race and Culture Studies. While at Eastern, her research focused on the effects of representation in media on the identity formation of historically marginalized groups. In her spare time, she works with organizations focusing on advocacy for immigrant and LGBTQ+ communities. While interning at the Museum Support Center through the Internship to Fellowship (I2F) Program, she worked under Carrie Beauchamp digitizing and rehousing collections. Her fellowship research focused on the representation of Latinos in advertisements and ephemera from the 1950s to present time and the implied larger socio political conversation surrounding Latinos each decade.
I2F Internships received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.