Thursday, November 24, 2011

Disney's Muppets Movie Edgy Marketing Campaign

Disney (NYSE: DIS) is releasing its latest Muppet movie, aimed at a wide audience. Apart from kids, Disney also wants to wow parents who grew up loving the Muppets the first time around.

The Muppets phenomenon has been around for 35 years. The latest movie has just been released in 3,440 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. For promotion, the services of controversial comedians such as Sarah Silverman, Ricky Gervais and Wanda Sykes were enlisted.

Similar to their hominoid counterparts, Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog and Animal have hit the talk show circuit. They appeared on “Saturday Night Live" and “Chelsea Lately." When talking to E! talk show host Chelsea Handler, Miss Piggy was asked if there was any "penetration" involved with her relationship with Kermit. Miss Piggy’s love life was also discussed on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!", She responded that "there might be handcuffs involved, if you know what I mean." Move over Angelina Jolie! Miss Piggy’s love interest Kermit the Frog appeared on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

The movie trailers are also catering to the mature audience. These trailers spoof "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" (with a trailer titled "The Pig With the Froggy Tattoo"), "Paranormal Activity" ("Abnormal Activity") and "The Hangover II" ("The Fuzzy Pack").

Disney marketing executives refrain from going on the record. But Disney executives obviously realize that going for a broader appeal of a youth-targeted movie is highly profitable, as Sony's "The Smurfs" showed. That movie grossed a neat $560 million at the global box office.

Interesting enough, the strongest demographic for "The Muppets" consists of women older than 25. (Source: research firm NRG). 95 % of women over 25 were aware of the movie and 37 % stated that they have "definite interest" in seeing it.

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