Disney should think twice about alliance with Gibson

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As Walt Disney Co.'s Buena Vista Pictures allies closely with Mel Gibson to market his movie "Apocalypto," 55% of voters feel it's making a mistake, given the star's tarnished image.

"Disney prides itself on the tone it sets, and intolerance (much less drunken ranting) shouldn't be the image it's putting forward," said Karen Hammer, a radio host. Matthew Anderson, VP-business development for Deutsch, agreed: "Considering Disney's wholesome family image, this seems to be a huge mistake."

For Michael Lynn, director of Integrated Media for Storandt Pann Margolis & Partners, Mr. Gibson isn't a safe bet for anyone. "He is a loose cannon that Disney (and any studio) should distance themselves from as quickly as possible."

But others said the star's recent bad press isn't a problem. "Not everyone will equate Gibson's personal rants with his work," said Luis Portiansky, marketing strategist for Margolin Winer & Evans. Steve Troxel, a self-employed communication consultant, said Mr. Gibson is better received by the public than by the media. "Disney is rightfully appealing to its target audience rather than to its peers."

"Creative types with personal problems are nothing new," said Bob Warterfield, a writer with T.D. Williamson. "If the industry withheld projects due to personality flaws or the off-color opinions of those involved, very little would ever reach the screen."

What you say: 55% More than half of Ad Age poll respondents believe Walt Disney Co.’s Buena Vista Pictures is making a mistake by aligning with Mel Gibson to market his forthcoming film "Apocalypto."
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