Wright, Jon. "Leaders in Marketing."Journal of Marketing. Vol. 32, No. 1, (1968), pp. 62-63. 2 April 2008. <http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:5549/stable/view/1249199?seq=2>
As shorter workdays and lengthened vacations started to become the norm in the mid-1960s for middle and upper class families, leisure time became a subject worthy of study. Once businesses starting to realize the implications of this new leisure culture, the need for leisure and recreation marketing increased. E. Cardon Walker was the Vice President of marketing for Walt Disney, Inc. and was largely responsible for revolutionizing marketing in this era.
Walker rose through the ranks of Disney starting as a messenger after graduating from UCLA in 1938 and eventually moving to the advertising/publicity department in 1949. He was promoted to head of the department in 1950 and by 1960 became part of the three-man executive committee including Walt Disney himself that served as the top policy-making body. Walker was in charge of sales, advertising, publicity and promotion. In 1966 under his direction, Disney’s sales were $116.5 million and their profits reached over $12 million.
The marketing philosophy that Walker built for Disney in the 1960s has not changed much over the past half decade. Walker’s philosophy is grounded in sound marketing policies. Walker wanted to keep Disney limited to family entertainment and specifically film to maintain complete control of marketing from within the corporation. Approximately half of the corporation was devoted to films and the other half focused on ancillary products such as sound tracks, merchandise and toys, all of which reinforced the advertising of the films themselves. During this time, Disney was able to transition successfully from cartoon shorts to feature length animated films, to feature length live action films and eventually to television. These smooth transitions show Disney’s flexibility and ability to maintain control over its market. For example, when television emerged as a new means of entertainment, Disney embraced it instead of fighting this new technology and starting to produce television programs. Again, Disney’s conservative but modern approach is apparent. Disney did not expand its markets beyond the entertainment and film industry, and when it did, do so slowly and cautiously to avoid risk. In addition, its marketing techniques have not changed significantly over the years. At the same time, they were one of the first to jump on the television bandwagon and utilize marketing techniques to enhance their sales.