What's With All the Unicorns?

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic recently began its eighth season, making the unfortunate decision to focus more on the plot of the sub-par movie than the epic new characters that were introduced in the season finale. Even though this colorful series about winged unicorn princesses has been losing some traction over the past few years, the incorporation of unicorns into everyday life has not. Within the past month, I have seen promotions for a unicorn cereal, unicorn ice cream, and even unicorn nail art. There have also been many unicorn-themed makeup kits that popping up over the past few years. Who can forget all the fuss last year over Starbuck's limited edition Unicorn Frappuccino? When it comes to unicorns, you either get it or you don't. There is no in between. If you're wondering why does this generation seem to leap at the chance to add some sparkly pastel-colored magic to their everyday lives, please read on.


For many, it simply comes down to feeling like a princess. Unicorns are associated with princesses, innocent maidens, and fairy tales. Partaking in unicorn-related activities and merchandise brings a little bit of magic into an otherwise mundane reality. The creators of the 1995 animated series Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders were well aware of this. Early prototypes of the show feature Fallon, one of the three leading Magical Girls, riding a purple lion in contrast to Princess Gwenevere's unicorn (which later became an alicorn), but research for the series showed that girls overwhelmingly prefer unicorns, so Fallon's beloved unicorn princess friend Moondance was born. By the second season, all three Jewel Riders had unicorn friends to assist them in traveling through the wild magic. The first time I saw a clip from the show, it was the unicorns that really sold it for me. Unicorn imagery builds upon the world of imagination and makes the impossible possible.

For the Millennial generation, the unicorn obsession probably began with the artwork of Lisa Frank. Lisa's rainbow-colored artwork was on everyone's school supplies in the '90s. Though she tried to place more of a focus on real animals in eye-popping colors that were brighter than life, she eventually added a unicorn into the mix. It became an instant hit. The fact that unicorn artwork would appeal to Lisa Frank fans in particular, who is known for her psychedelic rainbow colors, is no mere coincidence. Unicorn-themed products such as makeup, ice cream, cereal, and frappuccinos can often only be identified as unicorn-themed from their pastel princess-like colors such as pink, lavender, sky blue, and sea green. Unicorn manes can contain every color of the rainbow, creating a world that appears more cheerful and welcoming than the more subtle earth tones of world we actually live in.


This sort of brightly colored fantasy setting allows us to see the world through rose-colored glasses and picture ourselves as princesses or princes in a life that is happier and more carefree than the one that we are actually living. Unicorn art, along with faeries, are often associated with written expressions about believing in magic, meaning that they encourage our imaginations to run wild with daydreams and stories. The most famous unicorn story is The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, who wrote the novel and screenplay for the 1982 animated film. The Last Unicorn is about a unicorn who seeks the help of a sorcerer to find the rest of her kind after learning that they were lured away by the unicorn predator, the Red Bull. Some unexpected twists in her journey allow her to experience life as a human woman and learn what it is to love. The imaginative simplicity of the story makes it the quintessential unicorn tale for people who want to believe in magic and love fairy tales.

So, if you're wondering what the deal is with the unicorn craze that is popping up everywhere, maybe you should take a moment to indulge in the beautiful pastel fantasy of castles, princesses, and enchanting horses that play in the clouds with glowing horns. Unicorns allow us to indulge in a simpler time when the most important thing in life was daydreaming and telling stories. We're probably not going to get our live-action Last Unicorn remake any time soon, so we'll take whatever unicorn-themed products we can get. Considering how difficult it is for Millennials to make a living for themselves, it is very important that they have options such as these to experience a fleeting moment of innocence, happiness, and imagination.

Comments

It's so funny! I didn't even see this recent post when I posted about the cereal lol

We even had similar posts when I was talking about all the unicorn marketing of late, and about MLP S8 :)

#greatminds

-Ronnie

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