The Walt Disney Company is one that most people – even if they have never watched a film – will recognise when it comes on TV, in the cinema, throughout retail stores. The logo of a fairy flying over a castle is synonymous with the multi-national company worldwide and its marketing strategies are often bold and unique, using imaginative idea in order to get their point across. But why is Disney in itself so marketable, so eye-catching?
In many cases we will see an advert for a children’s TV programme or a new line of toys and easily block it out as it doesn’t appeal to us; we’re not the target demographic. However it is becoming increasingly common with the rise of social media, sharing links and sharing videos, to see Disney marketing campaigns in the twitter and Facebook feeds of the most unlikely candidates. So how is it done?
The Hearts of Children
The Walt Disney company is unique in that it has the power to bring you back to that childlike state when you first saw the classic films, or you played with the toys or you visited the parks. It pushes the meaning that childhood and imagination and joy and creation are eternal and not purely things to be enjoyed when you are a child. It pushes the idea that you don’t have to be ashamed because you like ‘children’s films’ and that is part of Walt Disney’s higher message.
Because these adverts speak both to children and the child at the heart of adults, they are widely successful marketing campaigns. They speak on several levels to different people. For a few seconds during an advert or a few minutes while watching a film, the Disney Company states that you can revert back to childish bliss and enjoy the magic for what it is, before you became wise to the ways of the world. After all, in the words of the late Walt Disney himself;
“Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional”
A New Perspective
In some types of advertisement, the product is obvious. Deodorant commercials for example, are easy as they advertise smelling nice, staying clean and fighting bacteria by using deodorant. However on some occasions you will see a company that is a little sneakier; for example the Old Spice advert markets the deodorant by saying how manly you will become and how using Old Spice will make you feel. On a similar vein, this is how Disney markets its products.
In some cases getting straight to the point is important in advertisements, as otherwise your audience will turn off and you will have lost out on potential revenue. However by telling a quirky story or a story that catches your eye, you have your audience’s attention. At its core Disney is a storytelling company.
In fact, their latest marketing campaign “DisneySide” didn’t seem to be advertising anything at all! It simple depicted a heart warming video of a mirror screen set up in a busy shopping centre, where passersby would walk past the screen, only to notice there was something quite different about their shadows. In some cases, an advertisement doesn’t always necessarily have to make you want to buy something, sometimes making you feel something is enough. It affects your subconscious in a way that lasts longer than an urge to buy sweets or to get your nails done, and that is how we end up playing into Disney’s hands; because we associate their company with that special feeling.
Leave them Wanting More
As with anything good, if you are teased with something, you’ll be wanting more of it. Disney advertisements and campaigns strive to give people a fuzzy feeling in their hearts that will urge them to recreate it – by buying their products or seeing their movies. The advertisements for Disneyland are always staged as if Mickey and his friends are welcoming you to join, with exciting snippets of the rides and the hotels just moments away on your screen. You want to keep living that experience, which is what prompts you to buy.
Or in some cases you want to recreate that feeling for someone else. You buy a Frozen gift for your niece and watch her face light up as she opens it, or you plan a Disney themed birthday party for your Nan, because you know how much she loves Baloo the bear from Jungle book. It is the simple idea of ‘pass it on’. If you get that feeling from watching something made by Disney, you will want to pass that feeling on and make somebody else’s day brighter, because of it.
Obviously when it comes to certain products this approach simply won’t work, but the very core concept is the aim to create a feeling within the hearts of your audience that urges them to go out and do something. Even if it is just to try a new perfume every once in a while. Many advertisement companies can learn a lot from the way Disney markets its brand and it’s movies, but it is also important to make sure that your brand message gets across, which is what marketing is all about.