Saturday, September 25, 2010

Disney launches its user-generated (UGC) marketing campaign

Disney (DIS) is leveraging user-generated content for its marketing. The new Disney Parks’ campaign will use visitors’ own home videos and snap shots. Disney dubbed its new marketing campaign "Let the Memories Begin".

It works as follows. Consumers can post their content (photos, videos) on the website or via the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Facebook pages.

This content is used (with permission of its creators) for a TV spot dubbed "Hugs" that premiered on the Today Show and will air on several networks, including CBS, ABC and Animal Planet. It consists of a video collage of happy children at Disney parks, with the tagline "Where Dreams Come True."

The print ads will appear in the November/December 2010 issues of People, Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple and Parents, among others.

Disney will also collect memories from consumers during a tour in major cities. A Disney vehicle will make appearances to conduct interviews with consumers.

The “Let the Memories Begin” campaign embraces all aspects of social media: messages are shared on the website, including photos, videos and texts that are categorized by theme, emotion and location. Participants can register on the new site and then a user is offered the ability to opt-in for future Disney e-mails that include “Let the Memories Begin” updates and other information on the parks. The functionality will also be a part of the Disney park pages on Facebook, YouTube and MySpace.

The next piece of the campaign will be when photos taken daily in the parks become projections at night on the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort or “it's a small world” at Disneyland resort. Disney photographers will capture guests and will display about 500 photos per location per day.

Disney states that it got the idea for the campaign from its customers – according to Leslie Ferraro, Executive VP of global marketing, Disney Destinations: “the inspiration for this effort came from our guests. Each and every day people are making memories at our parks, posting them online and sharing them with friends and family."

Will it work? According to Forrester Research, consumer-generated content is still a fairly niche market.

But Disney is killing two birds with one stone. Firstly, Disney expects that its consumers will relate better to real people with real experiences, than to professional ads with professional actors. With the popularity of social media, a UGC marketing campaign is the way to go. Secondly, using (free) UGC saves a lot of marketing budget.

All in all, lots to gain with not much to lose....will this be the future of B2C marketing?

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