Maximum Mouse Magic: Disney’s 5-star Centenary
Disney100 - Lifetime
When it comes to distinctive assets, there has never been a company like Disney. When the entertainment behemoth brings the full might of its library of characters, movies and franchise brands to bear, the effect is overwhelming.
Case in point: this epic centenary commercial. Any one of the dozens of famous faces in this video could drive a 5-Star Disney ad on its own. In fact, several have. Put them together and you have an ad that justifies its outsize length. And remember that two-minute ads aren’t always popular with viewers – it’s rare for one to score 5-Stars, let alone the maximum 5.9-Star score. But there’s no fatigue where the Magic Kingdom is concerned – the ad hits a peak of happiness early on and just stays there.
To state the obvious, most marketers don’t have the distinctive asset library Disney has, or anything like it. So you might say, what can a marketer actually learn from an ad like this? And fortunately there are more general lessons to pull from Disney’s work here.
The first is to be alert to the potential of emerging stars as well as staying loyal to older ones. We’ve talked in other Ad Of The Week reports about how existing Fluent Devices sometimes need refreshing with new characters. Almost the first thing you see in this Disney ad is Groot, from the Guardians Of The Galaxy. Less than 10 years ago, nobody beyond a handful of diehard comic geeks knew who the talking tree was. Now he’s an icon. Disney spotted the way the character became a breakout success and have given Groot plenty of airtime alongside Dumbo, Mickey, Yoda and all the others.
The second is how good Disney is at portfolio integration. The tone of a Star Wars series, or a Marvel movie, or a classic Disney animation are often quite different, but with these ads Disney finds their common ground – in this case, a sense of wonder and making big dreams come true. The rapid 21st century acquisition of Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel could have created a jumble that diluted the meaning of the brand. This ad shows how a masterbrand can find the common ground between its different lines.
And finally, Disney does a brilliant job here of turning a collage of moments into a kind of narrative, by giving the ad a linking factor – words from an old interview with Walt Disney himself describing his goals for the company. His words – “We’re just getting started” – let the ad end on an emotional high even after such a varied and nostalgic journey.
High scores for Disney ads can become routine, and it’s easy just to point to the company’s huge library and move on. But that does a disservice to the skill and creativity with which ads like this use that rich and growing legacy of assets. The mouse magic still has marketing lessons.