For many years, kids have been fascinated by the magic of Walt Disney through animated films, and more recently through product extensions including toys, books and clothes. Now that list includes frozen desserts and refrigerated yogurts.
In 2002, Disney Consumer Products Worldwide, Burbank, Calif., contacted Wells' Dairy Inc., Le Mars, Iowa, to produce a line of products described as "Disney products brought to you by Blue Bunny." They had an agreement signed by the fall and magically had product in retail markets by April.
"The Disney and Blue Bunny brands have consistently delivered quality products and value to generations of consumers," says Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products. "This agreement represents an exciting and unique way to bring Disney magic to children."
Mike Wells, executive v.p. of Wells' Dairy says, "Disney was interested in proliferating its brand in categories it was not currently in. We were contacted and found that the opportunity was a great fit with our own strategic goals, so we entered the relationship.
"We worked together very closely on the products," adds Mike Wells. "We wanted the 'magic of Disney' to carry through in the products even after they were opened, not just be reflected in the packaging."
Gary Wells, CEO of Wells' Dairy adds, "Kids love ice cream, but to capture the magic of Disney, we've included an abundance of extras in each product that will really delight with each bite. And the graphics on the packaging really pop out alongside the traditional ice cream and yogurt packaging in the grocery store display case."
The first flavorful spectrum of products for the retail freezer includes Triples[tm], which are 48-oz round tubs of ice cream and sherbet that are divided into three differently colored sections. With three of the five varieties, all of the ice cream in one tub is the same flavor, with each colored section containing different flavors of Disney character-shaped candy pieces or cookies. For example, Mickey & Friends vanilla ice cream is colored blue, red and purple. The red portion contains fudge candies in the shape of Mickey. The purple section is loaded with Goofy-shaped caramel pieces, while the blue section contains marshmallow Donalds. The other two are Cookies & Cream ice cream, which unites Pooh with Piglet and Tigger character shapes and Chocolate ice cream, which features the Lion King's Timon, Pumba and Simbaa. These three varieties also come in six-packs of 3-oz cups called Mini-Triples[tm].
Two other Triples contain three flavors of product in three colors with three different inclusions. Buzz Lightyear Rainbow Sherbet (blue raspberry, lemon lime and cherry flavors) crackles with galactic candy stars, while Ariel, Belle and Cinderella Rainbow Ice Cream (cotton candy, bubble gum and strawberry flavors) dazzles with royal hearts.
In novelties, Crazy Cones[tm] feature vanilla ice cream carrying mini Tigger chocolate cookies. These kid-sized cones are vanilla flavored and are topped with chocolate fudge and orange sprinkles. Buzz Lightyear S'wiches[tm] are mini ice cream sandwiches that transform mouths and tongues to green and blue with colored vanilla ice cream nestled between chocolate wafers. The wafers are emblazoned with Buzz, Toy Story aliens and Zurg images.
In the refrigerator, calcium-fortified Yo-Pals[tm] yogurt is made with whole milk and is targeted to the nutritional needs of preschoolers. Packages feature Winnie the Pooh and Friends, with every 4-oz cup including an illustrated short story under the lid.
For school-aged kids, there's Swirl'n Magic[tm] yogurt. Just like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, Swirl'n Magic yogurt inspires kids to create their own brand of Disney magic. Lids include a packet of Poppin' Flavor Crystals[tm], with some in the shape of moons and stars. When stirred into the yogurt, they produce a magical colorful "popping" rainbow swirl.