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Mickey Mouse’s German 90th birthday magazine, Micky, demonstrates the power of print

The publication of a once-off Micky lifestyle magazine in Germany with a cover mount Mickey Mouse shaped bottle opener to celebrate the iconic Walt Disney cartoon character’s 90th birthday is a classic example of a successful publication that can only truly work in print, says editor Christian Kallenberg of magazine consulting group, We Like Mags.


Micky magazine ()


The mascot of The Walt Disney Company, Mickey Mouse, turned 90 in November. To celebrate the popular little mouse’s birthday milestone Egmont Ehapa Verlag, publisher of German-language comics such as Asterix, Lucky Luke, Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh and SpongeBob SquarePants, asked magazine consulting group We Like Mags to produce a once-off lifestyle magazine themed around the popular comic strip character.

Founder of We Like Mags, Christian Kallenberg, says he jumped at the opportunity because he realised it would present him with the chance to once again demonstrate how certain printed products can achieve so much more than digital. Kallenberg is a firm believer that paper and print should continue to play a key role in publishers’ multi platform strategy. In, 2012, as one example, Kallenberg revived one of Germany’s leading 1980s magazines, YPS, which used to be distributed with cover-mounted gifts. The opportunity to produce Micky magazine with a similar gift is something he could not pass.  


Christian Kallenberg ()

Christian Kallenberg


“The Mickey Mouse bottle opener on a keychain is a collector’s item. It cannot be found on sale anywhere apart from on the magazine. This really emphasises one of the strengths of a printed magazine in a digital world. Like the magazine, the cover mount is a collector’s item. It is desirable.”  

The magazine, with a print run of 75,000 copies, went on sale on 2 November with a cover price of €6.90 (US$7.90). “Everyone I have come across really loves the magazine. Of course, we are not only celebrating Mickey’s birthday but Minnie Mouse’s birthday as well. For that reason the magazine came with a Minnie Mouse flip cover.”


Minnie Mag ()


To assume that people are buying the magazine because of some form of nostalgia, is completely incorrect, argues Kallenberg. “This is a modern magazine in which only a few pages look back at the history of Mickey Mouse. The bulk of the magazine is a present day, modern day, lifestyle magazine celebrating Mickey’s career and future. This is about a celebrity with 90 years of experience in the world and what the future holds for him throughout the world.”

To demonstrate this, Kallenberg references some of the features in the 92-page magazine (the closest pagination a printing press can achieve to celebrate a 90th birthday). One of these is a feature with one of Germany’s most influential fashion designers, Michael Michalsky, who analyses and interprets some of the 175 outfits Mickey Mouse has worn over the last 90 years. It allowed the creative team to integrate some of the iconic cartoon images to interact with photographs of Michalsky.


Micky mag 2 ()


In another feature, German author and expert in profiling serial killers, Stephan Harbort, gives Mickey advice on how to outmaster his archenemy Kater Karlo (Kat Karly, also known as Peg-leg Pete in English).

Mickey Mouse’s popularity made it very easy for Kallenberg to get celebrities to collaborate with the magazine. “People love Mickey and everyone was eager to get involved. Even more inspiring is that everyone are so happy with the end product. It goes to show how magazines such as these can prove the value of touch and feel in a world of swipe and scroll.”

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