Disney is known as one of the leaders in brand management and their flagship store in Times Square puts their magic on full display. The escalator alone is masterful – full of color, 3-D accessories, music and, of course, images of their iconic characters.

If you know anything about Disney’s characters you know that they are strictly forbidden from being out of character. Once the costume is on, they become the character they are representing.

So, it must gall Disney that across the street from their store are numerous fake characters, trying to make a buck or two by posing with the tourists in pictures. In between camera moments, these counterfeits push their masks/heads up and allow their human face to be clearly visible – presumably to avoid unpaid photo ops – but they look like Minnie Mouse as a bank robber.

Most people would not think twice about the incongruence between the real Disney and these fakes, but it is a clear brand violation. It hurt me to see them!

Even if you are as powerful as Disney, there is only so much you can control when an imposter rears its ugly head. Be vigilant with the all details you can influence.

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