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Disney Star’s ‘Let’s Get Healthy’ project, which promotes healthy living across its Disney channels, is centred on developing interesting narratives and programming to entertain consumers while also reinforcing the idea of living a healthy lifestyle. The channel has created programmes with brands such as Disney Delicious, Delicious Minis and Let’s Get Healthy With Gary. 

In order to promote healthy foods and beverages for children, as well as responsible marketing of food to adults, Healthy Living has established nutritional guidelines. Disney’s nutrition standards will apply to all food and beverages advertised, sponsored or promoted in India on Disney Channel, Hungama and Disney Junior. Super Hungama and Disney International HD, as well as Disney owned online destinations that cater to families and children.

In a conversation with exchange4media, Gaurav Banerjee, Head- Content, Disney+ Hotstar & HSM Entertainment Network, shed more light on the initiative and the entertainment network’s endeavours to promote healthy living.

What does healthy lifestyle mean for Disney Stars?

In India, we launched this initiative under the umbrella of ‘Let’s Get Healthy’ in 2020, and through our kids-targeted destinations, we have been consistently working towards building this initiative across multiple touchpoints, hoping to inspire kids and families to embrace a healthy lifestyle. We are proud to play a role in promoting healthy eating and physical activity for kids. Our platforms have been updated with initiatives that show easy, fun ways to integrate healthy living into everyday life.

In addition to engaging initiatives that convey the message of Healthy Living, we have also taken the commitment further by only associating our kids’ brands and characters with a more nutritionally balanced range of foods through advertisements and sponsorships.

Why would a entertainment organization enter the health sector? 

As a brand, which engages its young fans by telling stories and creating characters, we have the power to influence their thinking and their world. It’s an immense responsibility and we take it very seriously. It was an excellent opportunity for us to play a part in empowering families and kids to make better choices. We hope to foster a new generation that makes better decisions based on their health.  

We have identified – nutrition, hygiene and physical activity – as focal points that we want to emphasize. Over the past few years, we have advocated these through various iterations of Let’s Get Healthy in India – our successful on-ground initiative called Stay Fit with Mickey and Minnie, animated shorts with Jojo, cooking based shows like Delicious, Delicious Minis, Let’s Get Healthy with Gary and bit-sized quick paced formats like Healthy Hacks across our television and digital platforms.

 What is your most successful Healthy Living initiative and why?

In India, we have been curating a wide array of initiatives to promote this initiative and take great pride in presenting the communication through a fun, narrative setting that doesn’t interfere with the viewer experience but effectively delivers the message. This journey began with Mickey & Minnie. We launched this initiative through Star Fit with Mickey & Minnie. It has become one of the most successful campaigns for us, reaching 3 million children in schools, and generating over 100 Mn views on social media. We observed that fans embraced Disney Delicious, which has received about 10,000,000 views on social media.

What are some of the ways you communicate Healthy Living?

Storytelling has always been at the heart of what we do, and we ensure that we weave in wholesome, entertaining and enriching messages within a fun, engaging narrative – whether it’s through on-ground or content initiatives spanning long-form or short-form content.

For India specifically, we believed the most effective approach for dissemination was through our strong network of kids’ channels – which today holds a leading position with a 30% network share* along with our social media platforms which have a reach extending to a fan base of 10 Mn+. 

Since October 2021 the new nutritional guidelines are being implemented, what is the impact and the sentiment of the industry? 

These efforts have been praised and recognized by parents, nutritionists, federal regulators and advertising professionals around the world. Industry sentiments are extremely positive in India, too. An increasing number of brands have introduced healthier alternatives and joined us in our mission to promote healthy living. We have worked with brands who share our vision and were eager to collaborate with us on this journey.  

What impact has this had on your advertising? 

Our advertising platforms provide a boost to a range of healthy brands, allowing them to gain recognition and a boost in sales. As the most popular network, we attract brands from other categories than food and beverages. They view us as a brand that is preferred to collaborate with to reach out to families and children. Consumer durables, FMCG, Health and Wellness and E-commerce have been consistent categories along with fashion and lifestyle, consumer electronics and FMCG.

Brands understand that the kids’ genre presents an opportunity not only to reach kids but also parents due to significant co-viewing. Moreover, they understand that kids nowadays exert an increasing influence on family decisions and are more discerning and knowledgeable in their choices – hence the advertising overall, hasn’t been as impacted.

After the implementation of these guidelines, did some brands cease advertising with Disney Star?

It’s interesting to note that while we couldn’t continue our association with certain brands’ there have been a lot of brands who have been in dialogue with us to see how they can modify their product composition to work with our guidelines.  

What are your plans for enhancing the initiative? 

Let’s Get Healthy will remain a significant initiative, and this is only the beginning for us. During special occasions like National Nutrition Week, our endeavour is to combine the fun found in Disney’s stories and characters with the enriching message of adopting better and healthier lifestyle choices. 


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