Whistle While You Work: Branding, Critical Reception and Pixar’s Production Culture



The sheer quantity of media articles that have been written about Pixar demonstrate a commonly recurring desire on the part of journalists and film critics to explain the studio’s track record of critical and commercial successes. Writers have variously justified their coverage in terms of going in search of the company’s ‘secret’, ‘how they do it’, or ‘what makes [them] so special’.1 Particularly interesting is the frequency with which the writers look beyond the studio’s films, and even the key creative staff that make them, and instead focus on Pixar’s headquarters in Emeryville, Northern California.2 As William Taylor and Polly LaBarre of The New York Times succinctly put it in 2006, ‘The secret to the success of Pixar Animation Studios is its utterly distinctive approach to the workplace.’3 Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson also hint at this idea in their introduction to Innovate the Pixar Way, describing the organisation as ‘a childlike storytelling ‘playground’ … a place that enables storytellers to create tales of friends and foes who share great adventures in enchanting lands’.4 Note the choice of language here: Pixar is not merely a studio, company, or group of people, but a place.


York Time Critical Reception Childish Adult Production Culture Place Brand 
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© Richard McCulloch 2015

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