Adding a Local Accent

What has secured the success of all successful film and television franchises? There is one thing that Sex in the City, Harry Potter, FRIENDS, Neighbours, Seinfeld, Happy Days and Modern Family all have in common. And Disney has picked up on it for their recent Planes!


The ability to relate forms the cornerstone to every style of entertainment. Adele has topped the charts because the emotions from her songs are relatable to a wide audience and enhance her product with extra meaning to each consumer. FRIENDS achieved so much success because the audience could see themselves in at least one of the characters (if not all of them). And Wicked is breaking box office revenues all over the world because audiences strongly resonate with the themes of being different and controlling your own destiny.

Now Disney is using this power of relation to create a meaningful relationship with audiences . . . with planes?

Believe it or not, the first film in the Planes franchise is the setting for this clever relationship building. Unfortunately they haven’t added a QANTAS plane to the Australian release (although the character does not feature the hopping kangaroo), they have decided to add a local accent.

Originally voiced by Seinfeld’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rochelle was chosen by Disney to be redubbed by Jessica Marais (Packed to the Rafters, Love Child, Carlotta) so that the film’s Australian release could feature an Aussie accent with which audience members could relate. But Australia isn’t the only location getting this special localised treatment. Actors from Germany, France, Brazil, Russia and Italy have been called in to provide their own accents to the popular feature film for release in their own countries.

What a clever way to engage local audiences! Adding the local accent to the film (and not an American-ised Australian accent) provides another opportunity for the children in the audience to relate with the characters in the film. And this relationship will make them invested consumers who must see the follow up Planes 2 which is released in 2014.

But it also adds another level of value. Disney and Pixar are animated film geniuses because they are able to provide value for the kids and the parents simultaneously. Adding in a local celebrity, especially one such as Jessica Marais who is loved by Australian parent audiences from her roles in Packed to the Rafters and Love Child, provides an incentive for parents to choose this kid’s movie over another one and the inclusion of her voice also develops the relationship between the feature film and the parents making them just as keen to return to the cinema for the next movie.

Plus the extra publicity doesn’t hurt!