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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“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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