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Disney characters coming to an inbox near you thanks to Punchbowl partnership

The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, and a whole universe of Disney magic is coming to an inbox near you: Framingham-based Punchbowl has inked a partnership for exclusive digital invitations featuring beloved characters from the Magic Kingdom.

“Getting a deal with Disney is not something that happens easily,” said Punchbowl founder Matt Douglas. “I’ve been working on this deal for years.”

But he thinks the efforts are well worth it because, while there are many imitators, there is only one Disney (which just happens to now come with little names like Pixar, Marvel, and and Lucas Films).

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”Everywhere I go, there’s a car with a Disney character on it,” he said. “The reality is that in the world we live, for people who have children, this is the #1 iconic brand.”

And so now parents can please picky kids without having to work through the hassle of pen-and-paper invitations, and all the postage, address hassles, and delay the traditional birthday invite entails.

Even better, the invitations are free, with Punchbowl focusing on upsells for revenue: Why not order Planes plates and balloons as long as you’re there?

Douglas said his team worked closely with Disney artists to do the vibrant universes justices: The cards animate and unfurl, and are being rolled out with Punchbowl’s new, responsive designs that work as well on mobile devices as they do on desktops.

“It’s seamless between the devices,” said Douglas. “There is no one else on the planet who has a fully responsive user experience for the capabilities that a host needs, such as potluck management, polling, maps, and the rich features that we offer.”

“We think it will really change the way people think and act around invitations,” he said.

Punchbowl has grown to 25 employees and Douglas said 35 million people now use the site. Scott Kirsner previously reported on how the company had struggled, along with many other businesses, against Google’s blacklist, but for now, Douglas is focused on entering a whole new world — and a new market.

“There’s an entire ecosystem of Disney fans that are going to learn you’re going to be able to send these invites for free,” he said.

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