Filters, memes, emoticons and more have made their way from social media to a feature-length film in Disney Channel’s Friday night premiere of Descendants 2: Emojified.
The first-of-its-kind project was led by Vincent Aricco, vice president, multiplatform content development, The Walt Disney Company, who went beyond creating micro content for the Disney LOL app to give fans a new way to obsess over the sequel, which debuted in July.
“A huge part of our job is to be up on popular trends,” Aricco said in an email. “We’ve been creating tons of micro content over the past two years that utilizes gifs, memes, emojis and hashtags, so this really was a natural progression for us to take it from the micro content space and apply it to long form.”
Aricco said he and his team are always challenging themselves to come up with fun ways to create unique encore airings of the company’s original shows and movies. Usually it involves doing something special in the breaks around content, but this time they decided to make the content itself new and create a different kind of experience for fans.
“Emojis, gifs, memes, and hashtags are an entirely new visual language that’s popular with the Disney Channel audience, and harnessing this visual language and adding it to our content is relatable, authentic and contemporary,” Aricco said. “This is how kids are communicating and we want to speak directly to them.”
Producers, editors and graphic designers turned the project around in less than six weeks.
“I give credit to Disney Channel executives for having an open mind to let us embark on a project like this,” Arrico said. “It’s not every day that you completely overlay graphics and sound effects to one of the network’s biggest movies. The fact that they are willing to go there shows that we are trying to listen to the audience and willing to take creative risks.”
And he believes it’s worth it.
“We absolutely hope that “emojifying” content continues as part of our programming strategy and would love to see this technique applied to other titles,” Arrico said.
Descendants 2: Emojified premieres October 13 at 9 p.m.