Over the decades, Disney characters have promoted all sorts of causes – war bonds, national wildlife week, a campaign for cleaner oceans. But when Admiral Robert Papp, U.S. special envoy to the Arctic, approached Disney execs recently asking to use the characters from Disney hit Frozen to do a PSA about climate change and its impact on the Arctic, he says he got a "perplexed" reaction.
Papp told attendees at a conference in Norway that he was told by Disney that the company wanted its image to be associated with positive things and optimism – climate change, it seems, is too dreary a subject for the Frozen princesses to be associated with.
According to the Hill, Papp told the conference:
“I said, 'You've taught an entire generation about the Arctic, ” Papp recalled telling the Disney official, speaking this week at a conference in Norway. “Unfortunately, the Arctic that you’ve taught them about is a fantasy kingdom in Norway, where everything is nice,” Papp said.
“And I said what we really need to do is educate the American youth about the plight of the polar bear, about the thawing tundra, about Alaskan villages that run the risk of falling into the sea because of the lack of sea ice protecting their shores,” Papp said.
Too heavy for Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa. At least until Papp and co. can come up with something that has a happier ending than a puddle of Olaf.
Apparently the discussion with Disney is not over – Papp is trying to revive his pitch and wants to revisit with Disney execs. In the meantime, ThinkProgress.org has an pretty lengthy examination of the history of Disney characters and public service announcements and propaganda, which you can read here.