As consumers’ views change over time, the entertainment marketing industry must change along with it.
That’s according to Jennifer Rogers Doyle, SVP of brand development and integrated marketing for Disney Channels Worldwide, who took the stage during the 2019 Promax Conference to discuss the company’s newly revised, integrated plan.
With a batch of viewers who were born in the 21st century, the network knew it was time to re-evaluate its target audience. They started by understanding the cultural shifts caused by Generation Z before translating them into new marketing tactics.
“Reflecting an authentic world is a not a nice-to-have….it’s just what has to be,” she said.
In addition to social media, video platforms such as YouTube and Vevo have made it easy for kids to access content. Therefore, Disney knew that its old content formula—releasing one new episode a week—wasn’t enough.
“We had to change our own culture and behavior…the consumer is no longer coming to Disney Channel, so we needed to go them,” Doyle said.
That newfound mentality led the kids’ network to develop its 360, cross-platform launch of Descendants 3.
The third installation of the franchise, which follows the children of Disney’s most evil villains, is set to premiere in August. Although the network had an already-established audience from the past installations, they re-evaluated their target audience and positioning before launching a series of campaign pillars: music, short-form film and retail.
Before, integrating music meant selling CDs and soundtracks in-store. Now, it involves lyrics, carpool karaoke and behind-the-scenes videos that debut across major platforms such as YouTube, social media and television.
Descendants 3 “Good to be Bad” Music Video
“Ways to be Wicked” CARscendants Official Video
With the ability to launch an unlimited amount of content, Disney Channel uses its Disney Descendants YouTube channel to launch ancillary content around each movie’s release. A big part of that is the films’ “in-world” content, which “extends the movie’s story in a unique way,” Doyle says.
The network also releases character-driven content to get fans discussing the content early on. The below videos were released to stir curiosity around the franchise’s next villain.
Is It Cecilia?
Is It Uma?
Retail—another key element in Disney’s integrated plan—has helped Descendants become popular outside of television. It’s now widely known in kids’ pop culture, while serving as marketing and business opportunities “for the 18 months in between content,” Doyle says.
It’s this integrated marketing that not only amplifies the movie’s success, but will also help propel Disney Channel’s content from here on out. The Descendants 3 model will be used for other Disney Channel properties to expand the network’s reach, engagement and awareness, Doyle says.
“For Disney Channel, we think the future is bright.”