In 2003, Disney released their latest feature film: Finding Nemo. The star of the film, Nemo, was a Clownfish. The fish, with their distinct orange and white stripes, immediately became the primary choice for children’s aquariums. Around the world there was a run on Clownfish.

The Clownfish

The Clownfish

Scientists have concluded that Disney’s affect on the Clownfish population was catastrophic. In unprotected waters, Clownfish populations dropped by 25-times. Waters previously teaming with the species were completely void of the funny fish.

But this isn’t the first time Disney’s increased the demand for a pet. In fact, in 1961, when 101 Dalmatians debuted there was a run on the dogs featured in the film. The massive increase in demand for the dogs led to a troubling over-population problem and a huge increase in abandoned Dalmatian dogs.

What if Disney embraced the effect they have on the pet industry and worked with pet-store owners to develop a deeper understanding of the market impact their films and the resulting merchandise has on the market? What if, Disney actually solicited the World Pet Association to raise financing for their creature-friendly flicks by working with the World Pet Association.

If Disney had chosen a more tank-friendly fish as the star of their film and aquarium store owners had ramped up the  inventory (in an environmentally friendly way,) wouldn’t everyone have been more successful?

Great content drives sales, no matter what the content is, or who it’s targeted towards. Maybe you should identify who else your content could affect and join forces with them to increase your audience, build a deeper revenue stream and even save the environment. This is what I call Participation Creation.

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4 Responses to How Finding Nemo Destroyed the Clownfish

  1. How Finding Nemo Destroyed the Clownfish by @TPLDrew, the idea of participation creation

  2. Steven Pro says:

    Do you have a reference handy for the dramatic decline in clownfish population following Finding Nemo? This is an area of interest for me and I have found anecdotal evidence (pet store A says clownfish sales increased), but no scholarly articles.

    • tpldrew says:

      Yes I do actually have a reference that might help. I wrote a chapter about this in my book. Here’s one of the sources that helped:
      Osterhoudt, Sarah. “Buying Nemo.” E: the Environmental Magazine 15.4 (2004): 10. General Science Full Text. H. W. Wilson. Eckerd College Library, Saint Petersburg, FL. 10 Mar. 2009
      - Andrew

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