Disney continues to make crap like Hannah Montana and High School Musical that idiotic young girls love, but it’s been losing much of its male audience to Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and killing small animals. In order to get those young boys back in their icy grip, Disney has done what any large, soulless corporation would do: find the creepiest solution possible.
Kelly Peña, or “the kid whisperer,” as some Hollywood producers call her, was digging through a 12-year-old boy’s dresser drawer here on a recent afternoon. Her undercover mission: to unearth what makes him tick and use the findings to help the Walt Disney Company reassert itself as a cultural force among boys.
Ms. Peña, a Disney researcher with a background in the casino industry, zeroed in on a ratty rock ’n’ roll T-shirt. Black Sabbath? “ Wearing it makes me feel like I’m going to an R-rated movie,” said Dean, a shy redhead whose parents asked that he be identified only by first name.
Sweet Jesus. A consultant and a team of researchers actually spent 18 months garnering and interpreting data to find out what I could have told them in 5 seconds. Dinosaurs, ninjas, space. Take any two of those, add lasers, and you’ve got a hit show among boys. Because if anyone knows what young boys like, it’s me. Um. That may have come out wrong.