Disney-Pixar’s ‘Brave’ Debuts, But Many Fans Are Already Familiar With The Story

Disney-Pixar's transmedia approach to marketing reveals the story of "Brave" before the film hits theaters, intensifying audience buzz.

Disney-Pixar's 'Brave'Disney-Pixar’s “Brave” hit the box office this weekend, raking in $66.7 million, making it the fifth-highest opening ever for a Pixar film. The first two action-packed trailers were big buzz builders (and positioned the film as boy-friendly even though it stars a female heroine), but Disney’s marketing machine has been full swing for months, building interest through other media properties well before the film’s release.

In fact, kids could know a significant portion of the story before the film’s release thanks to a few book apps Disney rolled out the week before the film hit theaters. In a conversation with Lyle Underkoffler, VP of Digital Media at Disney Publishing Worldwide at Book Expo, we asked him about the early release of the apps and if it was a concern to reveal too much too soon. He noted that it all depends on context and timeline with each property, but “there are still surprises in the theater” for audiences that see “Brave.” Meanwhile, the brand has been building buzz around the characters and story with prequel pieces, carrying it through the release with “inbetween-quels,” and adding to the story with small sequels that tell stories that come after the film — with all of these extra stories taking shape outside the theater experience.

Movies don’t exist alone anymore, with product extensions and deeper character development coming as afterthoughts as films become successes. Young viewers want to interact with characters and stories in a variety of formats — a true transmedia experience. That desire has grown as they’ve developed a connection with films via social media, tweeting about what they’re watching, following film stars, and sharing trailers on Facebook. It gives film properties a life outside of the theater, one that Millennials wish to extend, both…

 
 

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“There are alleys with street art that I've walked out of my way to take pictures of to share on Snapchat/Facebook.”
—Female, 32, IL

Mattel’s new toy franchise Enchantimals is inspired by Instagram and Snapchat filters. The new line of 14 dolls are all half-animal—think the bunny and deer filters—and each “shares a ritual trait with her animal friend.” Their origin and the YouTube series starring the girls are no doubt a part of Mattel’s “five-pillar strategic plan” to be a more digital brand. Appealing to Millennial parents and their kids has been a tough sell for Mattel, but they’re making moves like changing up Barbie’s body type and asking kids to pick the next big toy on TV to keep up with the next generation. (Kidscreen)

Harry Potter fans, raise your butterbeers up, because this franchise and its fandom will never die. Two more books from the Harry Potter universe are hitting shelves this fall—though they aren’t actually written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are instead both written by the British Library, to coincide with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the first book. The two new works will include “exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive,” to delight serious fans of the series. (USA Today, New York Times)

Restaurants are being designed with Instagrammability in mind. From unicorn foods to neon signs and tile floors with hidden messages, restaurateurs aren’t just tolerating Instagrammers, they’re intentionally acting as “Instagram bait” to earn some free press. And it doesn’t end at Instagrammable design touches. Many restaurants stress having perfect lighting, and one even provides “Instagram packs” at customer request, consisting of “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick.” (The Verge, Grub Street)

Some student loan debt is getting “wiped away” in court because of missing paperwork. Students defaulting on their private loans are getting taken to court by aggressive creditors, but as it turns out, many don’t have the required documents to make them pay up. National Collegiate is at the center of many of these trials—one lawyer in Iowa represented 30 cases brought on by them, and 27 were dismissed because of “critical omissions or flaws” in the paperwork. Some Millennials prioritizing paying back debt might just catch a lucky break. (New York Times)

Millennials want older generations to know why they stand by political correctness. While some may despair the overly PC state of the world, many young consumers see political correctness as protection from prejudice, and a show of respect. What some may view as an over-sensitivity epidemic, many Millennials see as “being morally minded.” Ypulse’s PC Police trend tackled this topic, and found half of 13-33-year-olds would describe political correctness as treating others with respect, and 66% agree that political correctness is one way to make culture kinder and more inclusive. (Business Insider)

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