Ready to star in Disney's upcoming family-memories campaign?

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Sep 28 2010

Starring in an upcoming ad campaign for Disney theme parks? You and me! Well, maybe you, but probably not me, since I can't be dragged kicking and screaming to Disneyland even though I live less than 30 miles away. Happiest place on Earth? Not on Christmas Day! I still break out in a cold sweat thinking about that jam-packed peoplepalooza from a few years back. Never. Again. But back to the marketing. Under the tagline, "Let the memories begin," Disney will project images of your family, shot at the parks by Disney photographers or gathered via social media, onto the sides of iconic buildings like Cinderella's Castle and the It's a Small World ride. The campaign, kicking off in January, will also fan out to TV, print and online, says the Los Angeles Times. So, when torturing your friends with your vacation antics just isn't enough, there's this option. I predict a massive turnout because no one would want to see a larger-than-life snap of you than, well, you.

Ads disguised as editorial no longer shocking in the 'L.A. Times'

Posted on Fri Jul 2 2010

Lat-universal

There's been a rampage through Universal Studios Hollywood—King Kong is the prime (unnamed) suspect—but the theme park is staying open despite the devastation. So reads LATEXTRA, the weird, sad section of the Los Angeles Times that's become a catchall for any news that breaks past mid-afternoon. But this LATEXTRA is a fake, even though it looks just like the regular section I thumb through every day. This time, I only do a minor double take as I realize it's a four-page ad for the revamped tram ride at Universal Studios, which features "King Kong 360 3-D created by Peter Jackson." The Times has made it a habit over the past year or so to collaborate with advertisers and dress up their media buys to look like legitimate news stories. Significant criticism, along with staff revolts and high-profile firings, have ensued. But I've become accustomed to this after seeing the now-canceled NBC drama Southland, HBO's hit True Blood, the Paramount three-hankie flick The Soloist and other entertainment offerings get the same treatment. The practice has lost its ability to stop me in my tracks. That's not to say the paper won't still take some heat for its continual, deliberate blurring of the news/advertising line. But honestly, it's become old hat. So, the question would be: Is it worth it, for either the paper or the marketer? Something tells me there will be a new, more church-and-state-obliterating version any day now. For the time being, I'm reading all about the gorilla-caused devastation at Dodger Stadium and the "colossal footprints found on the beach." Not impressed. But I hear the ride's awesome.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

AirTran's Harry Potter plane, the next best thing to a broomstick

Posted on Thu Jun 17 2010

Potter-Plane

You don't need to be a Harry Potter fan to wish you could take a ride in a cushy compartment on the Hogwarts Express rather than, say, a commuter train or the family Chevrolet. So, perhaps the folks at AirTran are hoping a little magic will rub off and you won't notice you're stuck in coach. The discount carrier has just unveiled a Boeing 717 that it's christened the Harry Potter 1. The twin-engine aircraft features a magic wand emblazoned across the lower flank of the fuselage, pointing to the highly recognizable lightning lettering from the Potter films—only this time there's marketing alchemy at work. The plane touts the June 18 opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is the latest tract of scream- and profit-generating acreage at Orlando's Universal theme park complex. No doubt Potterites in full withdrawal (the final book in the series exited J.K. Rowling's computer back in 2007) will be waving their own magic wands—or at least their credit cards—to get into the new park. But will they be clamoring for a ride on the Harry Potter 1? Well, maybe if they serve butterbeer.

—Posted by Robert Klara

A 200-foot-long 'Tron: Legacy' monorail ad upset Disney purists

Posted on Fri Apr 23 2010

Tron

Ah, Disney theme-park purists. They're the folks who get their mouse ears in a twist whenever anything changes or updates. Imagine what they've had to say about a 200-foot-long ad for Tron: Legacy wrapped on the monorail at Disney World. "What's next, billboards on Cinderella's Castle?" asks a blogger. The offending monorail, with a painted-on motorcycle and a yellow trail of light extending the length of the train, is part of the marketing for the Disney holiday sci-fi action remake and has reminded some park visitors of a bus wrap. Just one question: Does nobody recall that Walt Disney developed theme parks for the primary purpose of promoting his movies? Such short memories. Meanwhile, Six Flags parks are putting their digital out-of-home ads on steroids, adding TV screens at rides and other spots and digital menu boards at the busiest restaurants. Along with the recently opened Jumbotron Network, that makes for 100 million annual impressions, says the company. That's a lot of Coke ads. So, don't go If you're expecting a getting-away-from-it-all experience. Apparently there's only so much fantasy you're allowed.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley


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