New spot promotes 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse watch
November 6, 2018

New spot promotes 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse watch

DALLAS — Design and motion graphics studio Already Been Chewed ( recently completed a :20 CG spot that celebrates the 90th anniversary of the famous Mickey Mouse watch - all without actually showing Mickey Mouse. Nixon — a California-based premium watch company that is part of the 90th anniversary celebration and is releasing a series of watches around Mickey Mouse — called on Already Been Chewed to create the commercial.

“The challenge was that the licensing arrangement that Disney made with Nixon doesn’t allow Mickey’s image to be in the spot,” explains ABC’s Barton Damer. “Our challenge was to come up with a campaign that promotes the watch and has some sort of call to action that inspires people to want this watch. But, at the same time, what were we going to do for :20 if we couldn’t show Mickey?”

After much consideration, Damer and his team developed a concept to determine if they could push the limits on this restriction. 

“What we ended up doing was to come up with a treatment for the video that would be completely point of view and the POV would do a variety of things for us that were working in our favor.”

The team came up with the idea to show Mickey’s hands and feet without actually seeing Mickey. In another instance, a silhouette of Mickey is seen in the shadows on a wall that would allow the viewer to understand that the spot is an official Disney and Mickey Mouse release and not just something that was inspired by Mickey Mouse. 

Targeting the appropriate consumer demographic segment was another key issue.

“Mickey Mouse has been a longtime and one of the most iconic brands in the history of branding, so we wanted to make sure that it also appealed to the Nixon target audience and not just a Disney consumer; so that could go a variety of ways,” says Damer. “When you think of Disney, you could brand Mickey for children or you could brand it for adults who still love Mickey Mouse. So, we needed to find a style and vibe that would speak to the Nixon target audience.”

With 16 to 30-year-olds the desired demographic and, since Disney is a West Coast brand, surfing and skateboarding became dominant themes.

“We wanted to make sure we were creating Mickey in a kind of 3D tangible way, more of a feature film, 3D feel to it, because we felt that it should have a little bit more of a modern approach. But at the same time, we wanted to mesh it with a touch of the old-school vibe like 1950s cartoons.”

In that spirit the team wanted the action to start from Mickey walking from his car and culminating at the famous Venice Beach basketball courts and skate park.

“The challenge, of course, is how does he do all this and do it in :15 so that we can show the logos at the front and back, and a hero image of the watch. And that’s where it was fun thinking it through and coming up with the flow of the spot and seamless transitions with no camera cuts or anything like that. It was a lot to pull off in so short of time, but I think we really succeeded.”