Disney panned for running celebratory Super Bowl ad — after announcing 7,000 layoffs

Disney raised hackles with its Super Bowl ad to thank employees – just days after the Mouse House announced plans to cut thousands of jobs.

The 90-second commercial celebrating the company’s 100th anniversary featured a montage of scenes from various Disney movies and properties released over the last century, including “Star Wars” and “Avatar.”

The “Disney 100” campaign was intended as a “celebration of all of our fans and families, and our storytellers and creative visionaries,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a press release.

Buying the Super Bowl commercial, which cost as much as $7 million per spot, sparked criticism. The tech blog Gizmodo described it as an ill-timed “victory lap.”

“For as much touching footage as there is in the Super Bowl spot, it’s not wrong to call this a grimly timed flex,” the outlet said in a post.

Many Twitter users also voiced their displeasure with the commercial.

“Something about that disney celebratory ad bugs me … maybe it’s the recent announcement they’re laying off 7,000 employees and spending at least $7 mil on the ad,” tweeted Kristina Monllos, a senior marketing editor at Digiday.

“Exactly. The layoffs were pitched as cost cutting, spending on a SB ad is not essential,” another user replied.

“This Disney ad coming off the back of major layoffs is a big YIKES lmao,” one Twitter user wrote.

Disney Super Bowl commercial
The Disney commercial celebrated the company’s 100th anniversary.
The Walt Disney Company

“Disney firing 7,000 people before dropping a Super Bowl ad is very American lol,” another  user said.

“Disney lays off 7,000 employees Thursday, but spends $7 million on a #SuperBowl ad spot on Sunday. Clearly a company that has its priorities straight,” another person tweeted.

Disney Super Bowl commercial
Some critics felt the Disney ad was in poor taste.
The Walt Disney Company

A Disney spokesperson said the company used previous advertising credits to cover the commercial’s cost. The company declined further comment.

Iger shared the commercial alongside his own thoughts about the anniversary on his personal Twitter account.

Disney Super Bowl commercial
A Disney spokesperson said the commercial was covered by ad credits.
The Walt Disney Company

“Today I want to share this video, which celebrates the @WaltDisneyCo’s 100 year milestone. We are enormously grateful to our storytellers, our cast members and our fans. Thank you and enjoy. #Disney100” Iger tweeted.

Disney had faced activist pressure to cut down on its expenses following a dismal year for the company’s stock in 2022. Iger returned as CEO late last year with a mandate to right the ship at Disney.

Iger announced a Disney expects to save $5.5 billion in costs as part of its budget-tightening efforts.

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