Ohio & Michigan's Oldest and Largest Latino / Hispanic Newspaper

Since 1989




    media kit    ad specs    classified ad rates    about us    contact us


Social media raises concern about Disney trademark for “Día de los Muertos”

By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, May 9, 2013 (AP): When Lalo Alcaraz learned this week that Disney was seeking to trademark ``Dia de los Muertos,'' the name of the traditional ``Day of the Dead'' celebrated by millions in Mexico, other countries in Latin America, and the U.S., the cartoonist had an idea.

The trademark was for an animated movie by Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Inc. that is inspired by the holiday.

The Los Angeles-based humorist created a movie poster that quickly went viral of a skeletal Godzilla-sized Mickey Mouse, with the words: ``It's coming to trademark your cultura (culture).''

Anger and ridicule expressed on social media, largely by Latinos, began circulating. On Tuesday, Disney said it was no longer seeking a ``Dia de los Muertos'' trademark request because the film's name will change before its release.

``Disney's trademark filing was intended to protect any potential title for our film and related activities,'' a company statement said. ``It has since been determined that the title of the film will change.''

Disney has not said that social media responses were responsible for the withdrawn trademark request. The company did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press.

Whatever the reason, the episode showed how quickly reactions to even the smallest corporate move can spread online and lead to calls for boycotts.

The Disney request momentarily replaced immigration as the hottest topic among Latinos on Twitter, said Elainne Ramos, vice chair of LATISM, a nonprofit group Latino social media group.

``It was not social media that start this. It was Disney that started this,'' said Tom Garrity, head of the Garrity Group, a public relations firm that advises companies on social media practices. ``Social media only highlight the deficiencies in Disney's planning and what people saw as cultural insensitivity.''

The Day of the Dead honors departed souls of loved ones who are welcomed back for a few intimate hours. At burial sites or intricately built altars, photos of loved ones are centered on skeleton figurines, bright decorations, candles, candy and other offerings such as the favorite foods of the departed. Pre-Columbian in origin, many of the themes and rituals are mixtures of indigenous practices and Roman Catholicism.

In the last decade or so, this traditional Latin American holiday has spread throughout the U.S. along with migration from Mexico and other Latin American countries where it is observed.

Not only are U.S.-born Latinos adopting it, but various underground and artistic non-Latino groups have begun to mark the Nov. 1-2 holidays through colorful celebrations, parades, exhibits and even mixed martial arts fights.

Lois Zamora, a University of Houston English professor who has studied the Day of the Dead, said Disney's interest shows how much this once obscure holiday has grown in the U.S. But she said the trademark attempt was odd.

``Disney doesn't quite get it,'' Zamora said. ``It would be like copyrighting `Christmas or `Easter' or, for that matter, `Halloween.'''

On the Internet:  http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/05/muerte_mouse.php


Copyright © 1989 to 2013 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/14/13 06:07:27 -0700.




Web laprensa





«Tinta con sabor»     Ink with flavor!



Spanglish Weekly/Semanal

Your reliable source for current Latino news and Hispanic events with English and Spanish articles.
Contact us at [email protected] or call (419) 870-6565



Culturas Publication, Inc. d.b.a. La Prensa Newspaper

© Copyrighted by  Culturas Publication, Inc. 2012