Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Too Late To Grab Its Audience, The 2013 Under The Sea The Little Mermaid Ornament Was A Successful Failure!

The Good: Decent sculpted details, Good balance, Cool sound clip
The Bad: Did not hold its value at all!
The Basics: The 2013 "Under The Sea" ornament from The Little Mermaid was a commercial failure only because it was released too late in the season!

Every year, Hallmark does two main releases of its holiday ornaments: there is the first big push in July during Ornament Preview Weekend and then an autumn push for Ornament Release Weekend. In 2013, it made sense that Hallmark released two different ornaments from The Little Mermaid, given that 2013 was the Blu-Ray debut of the film. The first ornament was the Ariel’s Big Dream and it was okay. In October, though, Hallmark released its second The Little Mermaid ornament and it was much better than the earlier release. The second ornament was Under The Sea and it was one of the best Disney ornaments in years . . . but few people bought it. The Under The Sea ornament reveals the flaw in Hallmark’s marketing strategy; the point of the two release times is to get customers coming back into Hallmark stores more than once a year, but if collectors do not go back or do not know to go back for the second wave, then some of the gems from later in the year may be missed. The Under The Sea ornament was a miss, which had nothing to do with the quality of the ornament itself!

For those unfamiliar with The Little Mermaid (reviewed here!), Sebastian was the crab advisor of the King who was sent to keep an eye on Ariel. Known for his song “Under The Sea,” Sebastian provided comic relief and him standing on a crab is the subject of the second The Little Mermaid ornament in 2013.

Patricia Andrews did an amazing sculpt for the ornament and with the addition of a sound chip, the ornament became a real steal at $17.95 . . . and is a super steal at clearance prices now!


The "Under The Sea" ornament recreates Sebastian as he appeared in The Little Mermaid, though not from a specific scene or iconic moment. The ornament, released in 2013, is a generally accurate sculpt of Sebastian the crab with about as fine detailing as the actual subject given the somewhat simplistic animation of The Little Mermaid.

Measuring four and a half inches tall from the bottom of the clam to the top of the raised claw, the "Under The Sea" ornament is a slightly larger than normal-sized Disney character ornament. As well, it is one of the more affordable ones at only $17.95 (which is pretty awesome for an ornament that has a sound chip).

The Hallmark "Under The Sea" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Sebastian, one claw down, one claw raised, standing atop a barely open clam or scallop. The ornament is sculpted accurately and gets the look of Sebastian perfectly right! Sebastian and the clam on the Under The Sea ornament are colored in monotones, which is accurate for the character. The ornament looks great and is on par – detailwise – for the rest of the Disney themed Hallmark ornaments.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Under The Sea" is wonderfully accented by a sound chip. Powered by a watch-style battery that the ornament comes with, a press of a button on the back of the clam activates the sound chip. The song “Under The Sea” plays out a speaker on the bottom of the clam and I was pleasantly surprised by the volume on the song. The sound clip is long enough to entertain and clearly embody the character of Sebastian.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Under The Sea" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Disney movie Christmas Tree, the "Under The Sea" ornament could be the essential The Little Mermaid ornament, if for no other reason than it might be the only one with a feature. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the back of Sebastian’s head. This is fairly obvious and necessary for the ornament. Fortunately, at that position, the Under The Sea ornament hangs perfectly level. The balance for this ornament is incredible, save when one pushes the button to activate the sound chip.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for that review!). Within a few years, every major franchise from Star Wars to A Nightmare Before Christmas to Indiana Jones started making Hallmark ornaments. "Under The Sea" is one of many The Little Mermaid ornaments the company has released and one of several Disney ornaments on the market for 2013. This ornament has by no means sold out. In fact, it appears to have been massively overproduced for an October release ornament. Every Hallmark in my area has plenty of the Under The Sea ornament available for cheap on clearance, even now! Sadly, then, despite the quality of the ornament, this is not likely to be a good investment ornament, at least not for a few years.


Fans of The Little Mermaid, Disney, Sebastian, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to love the Under The Sea ornament and will be thrilled to find it inexpensively now. It is one of the rare gems of the Disney Hallmark line and well worth hunting down now.

For other Disney-themed Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2013 The Nightmare Before Christmas Jack’s Sleigh O’Scares
2013 Tiana's Party Dress The Princess And The Frog ornament
2013 Beautiful Belle Beauty And The Beast
2013 Fierce With A Frying Pan Tangled ornament
2013 Ariel's Big Dream The Little Mermaid ornament
2013 Merida The Archer Brave ornament
2012 The Circle Of Life The Lion King ornament
2012 Jack Sneaks A Peek The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament
2012 Monsters, Inc. ornament
2012 Merida Brave ornament
2012 It's All About The Hair Tangled ornament
2011 Rapunzel Tangled ornament
2011 CLU’s Light Cycle from Tron: Legacy ornament
2011 Up ornament
2011 A Snowy Surprise The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament
2011 Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates Of The Caribbean ornament
2010 Tron: Legacy Light Cycle ornament
2009 Welcome To Christmastown The Nightmare Before Christmas ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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