Walt Disney – “Animation can explain whatever the mind can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised to quick mass appreciation.”
Disney. A name instilled into us from our earliest of years, and one that resonates with us well into our childhood, Disney is loved and cherished the world over. For our generation, watching Disney videos was a right of passage as a child, and in honour of #WaltDisneyDay, we wanted to delve a little into the mind of the man himself, and explore some of the fascinating marketing strategies that Disney has embarked on as a brand over the last 92 years.
Since Walt Disney first dreamed up Mickey Mouse in 1928, the company has grown into the world’s most powerful phenomenon of all time. But how has it achieved this?
Using nostalgia to establish and maintain customer loyalty.
Tugging on those emotional heartstrings, Disney has been making poignant and magical moments for decades, imprinting on lives and becoming an inherent movement in society. To harness these sentiments as a marketing technique, Disney has mastered the use of nostalgia by reviving classic favourites to suit new, younger audiences (the children and grandchildren of the original makes), for example, ‘The Jungle Book’ remake grossed 900 million dollars when it was released in 2016.
Another classic, the ‘Beauty and The Beast’ was marketed by featuring a new trailer which was based on the original; with the same story, characters and songs as the 1991 version. This established a strong sense of nostalgia among current parents, enticing them to take their own children to see the new movie, and building a foundation of success for further marketing endeavours and hyped up products. Chip shaped tea-cup, anyone?
Targeting ‘audience segments’ with multiple channels.
Another way in which Disney keeps its fans engaged is by creating clever content for different audience segments. For example, the revival of Disney ‘Star Wars’ drew in both the millennial and older generations by communicating with audiences through an Instagram account of 6.6 million followers.
On the other hand, the hit marvel ‘Frozen’ targeted a much younger audience through the production of must-have toys and consumer goods. The true magic of Disney, however, lies within the transcendence of time and audiences, where families can enjoy a movie no matter what their age or agenda.
Disney World and Disney Land Became Destination Brands.
A haven for the young and old alike, these sacred destinations are not only bucket-list must dos, but serve as an inspiration for theme parks world-wide. A unique experience where dreams are made, Disney recognises the need to be constantly changing and adaptable.
Masterful brand storytelling.
Disney understands that the story should always come before the product. Key to the Disney marketing strategy, Walt Disney always knew that an authentic relationship evokes customer emotions, and as such, the brand have always started with a story and then built a service. The aforementioned ‘Frozen’ was the highest grossing animated movie of all-time, and it all came from a genuine and heartfelt story line, memorable characters, and (dare we mention it) thatsong. Come on, let it go.
It’s not just the movies though. This promise of storytelling manifests itself throughout the entire Disney market – everything from the hotels to the rides and customer service provides magic and belief from the offset.4
Once upon a time, you’d have to journey afar to a theme park, or brave the masses of children drawn to one of the busy retail shops in order to purchase a piece of sought-after merchandise. Now, Disney brings its most iconic characters to a carefully curated selection of products, bringing its magic straight out of the screen and into your home.
From Cath Kidston to Beats by Dr.Dre, Disney brings out the child in all of us through a series of limited edition (and let’s face it, hard to resist) products that bring dreams to life and excite fans of all ages.
Established in 2011, fashion and lifestyle brand HYPE began as a self-funded project, designing printed clothing and accessories After winning a t-shirt printing competition, HYPE sold its first batch of stock within hours. Through clever marketing and social media networking, HYPE quickly rose into something that could no longer be tamed. Within months, the brand had evolved into one of the UK’s most recognisable brands, opening the HYPE flagship store in London during the summer of 2013, and Taiwan in 2016.
Transforming Disney movies into stylish clothing and accessories, urban brand Hype have brought out a collaboration which offers a range of backpacks, cases, hats, t-shirts and bombers. Featuring fun and creative designs, the products present Disney branding and characters in bold and engaging styles, whilst also honing in on that crucial sense of nostalgia which the company is so famed for.
We headed down to London for the Disney x Hype launch, which was inspired by Mickey and Minnie in the 90’s. With a collection that feels like a throw-back, the products reference 90s sports silhouettes, paired with a primary red, blue and yellow colour palette. Think fairytale on the streets.
Held in Shoreditch, there were 250 Limited Disney x HYPE goodie bags up for grabs, along with Mickey popcorn and candyfloss, a Disney photobooth, personalised T-shirt printing and celebrity guests. We were there with our Digital Events Bus, which was completely decked in Disney and fully stocked with Disney x HYPE merchandise.
Rebekah is Content Manager at One Agency. She is responsible for creating engaging content and managing the development of social strategy. She was previously on the editorial team, and PA to the chief editor at lifestyle publication VIVA Manchester.