Friday, September 21, 2012

Content Marketing with Disney's 'Wreck-It Ralph'

There are plenty of reasons to have issues with Disney.  Maybe you don't like how they treated Pixar in their well-publicized dispute.  Maybe you aren't a fan of the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" that extended copyright terms and robbed of material that should rightfully belong in the public domain.  Whatever your thoughts, though, you have to admit that they are good at what they do.  You don't get as far as they have without making what people like and making sure every person in the world knows about it.  The marketing department of Disney is a force to be reckoned with.  That's no different for the upcoming computer-animated Wreck-It Ralph, and the slick bit of marketing Disney has out for it.

If you haven't heard of it, Wreck-It Ralph stars the titular Ralph, a character from a '80s Donkey Kong-esque arcade game, Fix-It Felix, Jr..  Fed up with being the villain, Ralph attempts to escape from his game to other video games.  Hijinks and action and whatnot ensue.  You might be thinking, "That seems like a great game for them to actually make."  Not a movie tie-in game - they're certainly making that - but Fix-It Felix, Jr. itself.  Turns out Disney is way ahead of you and has that old school goodness available for play online.

It's a really smart but simple piece of marketing that works well in getting people immersed in your product and helps spread the word about it.  It's been done before in similar situations, like having books written by Richard Castle from the TV show Castle, or My Chemical Romance releasing an EP by The Mad Gear and Missile Kid, a fictional band listened to by the Killjoy characters in MCR's own Danger Days.  They might be small touches, but any little bit to get fans more involved strengthens their connection to your product and helps not only with what you're making or selling now, but helps to forge a relationship for whatever you might do in the future.  Making your marketing actual content - a book, a CD, a game, whatever - adds even more value to your product and goes a long way toward making people with casual interest into long term fans.

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