Disney’s New Generation of Mouseketeers Debuts a Show for Social Audiences Only

Club Mickey Mouse is made by, and for, Gen Z

These eight new Mousketeers, ranging in age from 15 to 18, are updating this classic series for a new generation.
Disney

You won’t find the latest iteration of the Mickey Mouse Club on TV. In fact, it’s not even called the Mickey Mouse Club anymore.

Disney isn’t producing traditional full-length episodes of the new show. Instead, viewers, ideally from Gen Z, will be able to follow along with behind-the-scenes footage and in-process looks from the stars of the show. Just like following their favorite influencers on social media platforms, Club Mickey Mouse will let Gen Zers watch, participate and comment just as they do with their other favorite forms of media.

As it announced earlier this year at its NewFronts presentation, Disney is relaunching the beloved program as Club Mickey Mouse in partnership with Facebook’s Anthology platform, one of the social network’s creative solutions to the problem of video monetization. Anthology connects popular video publishers with ad partners to create shows that, using data, are guaranteed viewers.

The content on Facebook and Instagram will be tailored for the audience on each specific platform. About 70 pieces of content per week will be published over a seven-week period, from short memes to behind-the-scenes footage and the end result of what they filmed together.

“Our goal was to celebrate the heritage of this show from yesteryear with a very present-day execution,” said Andrew Sugerman, evp of publishing and digital media at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “What we’ve made is a 100 percent digital-first variety program.”

Between the release of content from individuals and from cast members on the official Club Mickey Mouse page, Disney is prepared to work with Facebook to ensure fans of the series don’t miss much thanks to algorithms and shifting timelines.

In addition to Facebook’s Anthology platform, Disney secured HP and its Sprocket photo printer as a launch partner for the series in order to drive home the message that this digitally native audience can create anything, anywhere.

Disney

“In the always-on climate we live in, especially among Gen Zs, digital photos are often lost as quickly as they’re snapped,” said Vikrant Batra, global head of print marketing for HP. “Instant mobile printing with Sprocket allows us to re-experience amazing moments as a memory to hold on to, and the Mouseketeers are helping bring awareness to this as well as how fun, creative and playful printing can be.”

The teens starring in the new Club Mickey Mouse were chosen based on how well they represent the kids of today.

“Teens today are creators,” said Sugerman. “The tools they use to express themselves are unparalleled in the last 100 years. We wanted to lean into the idea that they’re their own videographers or photographers who are capturing their stories in unique ways.”

Club Mickey Mouse will feature eight young influencers, selected based on their creative talents and personalities. Some are dancers and choreographers, some are singers, songwriters, rappers or musicians.

Since this is still a variety show, fans may expect to see performed skits or produced banter, but the behind-the-scenes, candid footage released on social platforms will take the place of that. Otherwise, expect to see choreographed routines set to original music written and created by the cast. Most of the content released will be “95 percent build-up, 5 percent result,” according to Sugerman. The kids will mostly show the process behind their creative journeys, but also what they produce.

“These kids are funny,” said Sugerman. “We felt that their interaction between each other and our own crew would be enough comedy so we could move away from produced skits.”

Throughout the series, the cast will get help from mentors across their industries, such as a visit from Todrick Hall, a role model of a digital creator and someone who understands building a career online.

Since the content will be distributed only on social platforms and created by young influencers, Disney’s revival of its classic program will be a bit more of an experiment. With seven weeks to convince members of Gen Z to follow along with this iconic brand, Sugerman is confident Disney will catch their attention.

“Kids today achieve so much because there’s no shortage of information and data available at their fingertips,” he said. “We’re bringing this series forward in a completely new, timely, relevant way.”

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