When retired Julia D & # 39; Silva heard that Disney figures would fill Christmas lights along Orchard Road this year, she was shocked.
Seeing lights personally last week didn't change his mind much. Ask 66 years: "What does Mickey Mouse have to do with Christmas?"
That may not be the question that arises among those under the age of 12, who love to be close to the Disney family, but buyers like Ms. D & # 39; Silva wondered if this year's Christmas decorations along the famous shopping belt are too commercial , with too little emphasis on Christmas.
This year is a light-up, organized by the Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA), more than 20 Disney and Disney-Pixar characters, such as Disney Snow White and Cinderella's daughters, and Toy Story Woody and Rex characters adorn the curves that reach the road, and Mickey Mouse icons glow in the trees on both sides.
The Disney theme is part of a three-year collaboration between The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia (Disney) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) that aims to provide a unique theme with themes around Disney brands and characters.
I see Mickey Mouse everywhere – I don't know this is a Christmas decoration. I think they will celebrate a birthday for Mickey Mouse.
MR MICHAEL LEE, 63, BUSKER
It feels like Disneyland because it's full of characters like Little Mermaid and Mickey Mouse. This decoration must maintain the nuances of Christmas, for example, having icons like Santa Claus and deer.
MR TIMOTHY LIM, 69, RETIREE
A new photo about Christmas
This year's decorations have combined Christmas and Disney ideas well. It's no use just having a Christmas tree and lights every year. We need a new concept.
MR ANDY ZHENG, 44, CHINESE TOURISM
I like Disney, especially the character of the snowman, Olaf from Frozen because he is cute and awkward. I feel there is a Christmas atmosphere because the decoration is very blue and has a cold feeling.
RAYAN AZIMI, 10, PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPIL
I don't think there is too much Disney, because the characters are small. I think the Disney theme is good for kids. And for old mummies, it's fine too.
MADAM JERLINE FOO, 48, BUSINESSWOMAN
Asked whether Disney had paid for his character to be displayed in light, Orba declined to comment, citing confidential obligations. Disney did not respond to questions with press time.
Eight sets of pieces in various locations let buyers pose to take pictures with famous characters.
This is the biggest Christmas road in Disney in Southeast Asia. Two malls – Orchard Central and Wheelock Place – are also decorated with Disney-themed decorations.
Ms D 'Silva said she had nothing against Disney, but added: "I think there are other opportunities, such as the Great Singapore Sale – which has a larger commercial element – when such branding might be more suitable."
He felt it would be more appropriate if the decorations used motifs associated with cheering Yuletide, such as Santa, deer, colors like red, green, gold, or beautifully wrapped gifts.
"The decoration of our Fasting, Deepavali and Chinese New Year holidays is usually very beautiful," he said. "I hope we can also make Christmas decorations that are better suited to the Christmas season and the spirit of love and giving."
Mr Rodney Tan, 73, shared his views. Singaporeans, who work in the IT industry, said: "All I see is cartoon characters. I can't see anything related to Christmas."
He added: "Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. I think this message should not be lost in decoration, which seems to be what happened this year."
Even though big brands expect mileage from the events they sponsor, this can boom for public expectations. For example, the big logo of Yves Saint Laurent's high fashion brand on 1997 Christmas lights on Regent Street in London invited criticism because of its size and commercialism. A year later, when the lights were paid for by Tango soft drinks, they understood the message "This is the season for Tango" and was greeted with public scorn.
Asking for a reception for this year's Christmas decorations, Orba said it had positive feedback from people of all ages – especially families with young children.
Its executive director Steven Goh said: "As with annual light in previous years, many hope to enjoy bright lights and unique offerings, such as The Great Christmas Village and Christmas pop-up shops along Orchard Road."
Experts interviewed said the Orba partnership with Disney was well thought out and would be very attractive for tourists visiting Singapore during the festive season.
While Dr. Seshan Ramaswami, professor of marketing education at Singapore Management University, warned that the commercialization of Christmas openly gave some damage to its underlying religious meaning, he also noted: "Over the years and throughout the world, Christmas has become an opportunity for celebration across religious and sectarian boundaries – which are characterized by parties, shopping, giving gifts and traveling.
"In this context, perhaps light must only be seen and enjoyed, rather than criticized."
Associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon, from the National University of Singapore Business School marketing department, said: "Is that excessive? I don't think so. I think children can see or hear Disney stories don't end. Disney has a large and diverse portfolio characters that are quite difficult to equate-Disney unless all retailers have exactly the same concepts and characters. "
However, in the case of this year's decoration, he noted that Disney's relevance to Christmas can be made more stringent by associating each Disney character with the Christmas icon, for example, a Disney princess with Rudolph red-nosed deer or Mickey Mouse. bring a Christmas present.
"By integrating icons, decoration can look more like collaboration than Disney's form of self-promotion," he said.
Adjunct Associate Professor Lynda Wee from the Nanyang Business School hopes the partnership can be taken one step further. "There is a parade at Disneyland, so let the parade roll along Orchard Road too.
"Orchard Road is about shopping, dining and recreation. It is cosmopolitan and therefore suitable for collaboration with modern and global brands."
Of course, not every shopper is a detractor.
Philippine tourist Angel Nazal Rodolfo, 20, said: "Disney is a big part of my childhood and I like it. I have been to Hong Kong Disneyland before and it feels like that, which is very good."
Full-time national technician Muhammad Shukri, 20, said: "Many episodes of Mickey Mouse TV feature Christmas themes such as family ties and caring for others. So there is a connection between Disney and Christmas and, for me, this year's decoration is one of the best "