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Toon Tuesday: Will "Enchanted" 's health-conscious promotional campaign ultimately result in robust box office receipts for this new Walt Disney Pictures release?

Toon Tuesday: Will "Enchanted" 's health-conscious promotional campaign ultimately result in robust box office receipts for this new Walt Disney Pictures release?

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You want proof that this is a very different Walt Disney Company now that Bob Iger is in charge? Then take a look at the cross promotional campaign that Mickey's marketing staff has put together for the studio's big Holiday 2007 release, "Enchanted."


Copyright 2007 Walt Disney Pictures. All Rights Reserved

Gone are the days when the Mouse would use McDonald's Happy Meals to help get the word out about its newest animated feature. Starting the middle of next month, Walt Disney Pictures will be teaming with Nutrisodas®, a carbonated nutrient-enchanced beverage, to help raise awareness of this Kevin Lima film. These drinks -- which feature natural fruit flavors as well as a meaningful level of vitamins & minerals -- contain absolutely no sugar or caffeine.

Not only that, but Mickey has also gotten in bed with The Little Gym folks. You know? That international chain that uses gymnastics to help kids develop motor skills? Now through October 19th, any child who signs up for fall classes will automatically receive two free passes to "Enchanted." Plus anyone who takes part in a free trial class will then be entered in The Little Gym Family Getaway Enchanted Sweepstakes. Which features a grand prize where a family of four will be flown out to Hollywood to attend the world premiere of this new Walt Disney Pictures release.


 Copyright 2007 Walt Disney Pictures. All Rights Reserved

Why the sudden emphasis on health when it comes to promotion of the studio's motion pictures? According to company insiders, this new initiative can be traced directly back to Iger. As one Mouse House exec recently told me:

"You have to remember that Bob's got two young kids at home. Which is why he recognizes that something really has to be done about childhood obesity levels here in the U.S.

Think of this as a companion campaign for that no-smoking pledge that the studio made back in July. Iger thinks that it's really important that Disney sets an example here. That we show that it's possible for one of the major players in Hollywood to actually be proactive when it comes to matters that effect our kids' health."


 Copyright 2007 Walt Disney Pictures. All Rights Reserved

And from what I hear, the Mouse really is serious about including a health-conscious message whenever it can as part of "Enchanted" 's promotion. Take -- for example -- the role that ABC's hit series "Dancing with the Stars" will play in the marketing of this new motion picture.

With the hope that this particular promotional effort will help kids associate the obvious health benefits of physical activity with this live action / animated romantic comedy, Mickey's marketing staff plans on turning this ABC show into a real showcase for "Enchanted." With commercials for this film being prominently featured during every episode that airs now through Fall Sweeps. Not to mention (as we get closer to "Enchanted" 's November 21st release date) guest appearances by that film's stars: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden and Susan Sarandon.


Copyright 2007 Disney Interactive Studios. All Rights Reserved

Mind you, the Mouse House recognizes that not every would-be "Enchanted" fan is a health enthusiast. Which is why they asked Disney Interactive Studios to cook up an "Enchanted" video game. And given that this Nintendo DS game hits store shelves on November 13th (i.e. eight days before "Enchanted" officially opens) ... Well, it's hoped that "Enchanted: The Video" game will help make couch potatoes aware that this high profile project will soon be " ... coming to a theater near you."

But -- beyond that -- Mickey is hoping that "Enchanted" will be the very first feel-good movie that actually encourages people to start adopting more health-concious habits.

So what do you folks think? Should the Walt Disney Company be commended for trying to associate "Enchanted" 's release with healthier food choices & physical activity? Or is this just an empty gesture by a well-meaning executive that will ultimately have little or no real impact on the movie-going public?

Your thoughts?

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  • Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I just don't believe Disney is in this purely for the health of children. It's a marketing promotion, just like any other.

  • Obvioulsy it's a marketing promotion, however, if Disney were purely doing it for the marketing then they would be getting A LOT more exposure on the side of a Happy Meal box that a nutritional drink; so it's obvious they are at least putting the marketing in places that are healthier and also less effective in an attempt to do the right thing.

    I applaud the effort, combined with the no smoking campagn I think it's good that Disney is making the attempt to lead the way. Just so long as it doesn't go too far and suddenly you can't buy a coke in the park.

  • "Should the Walt Disney Company be commended for trying to associate "Enchanted" 's release with healthier food choices & physical activity? Or is this just an empty gesture by a well-meaning executive that will have little or no real impact on the movie-going public?"

    I think that they should be commended for trying to raise awareness of healthy living, but, at the same time, I don't think that it will have much of an impact on the movie-going public.  Only certain demographics will benefit from the children's gym, and I've never heard of the healthy soda before.  But, good for Disney to want kids and their families to lead healthier lives.

  • As a father of two elementary - aged kids, I am happy with anything that keeps the kids away from wanting the Happy Meal (because no matter how hard I try, they don't want the apples instead of fries).

    Iger can only get good PR for the company out of this, and it once again puts Disney in a leadership position when it comes to an important issues regarding children.

  • Even if this campaign does not generate extra numbers at the box office, I certainly applaud Iger's initiative to separate children from unhealthy products.  I'll spare other readers my opinions on the state of America's food industry, but I'd like to think that this is a step in the right direction; I would love to see other companies follow suit. Wonderful!

    PS. Jim, you may want to review your spell-check, as I noticed a few type-o's in the course of the text. ["suger", "oportional", etc]

  • "Or is this just an empty gesture by a well-meaning executive that will have little or no real impact on the movie-going public?"

    But good for him for trying.

  • I think they're just going out of their way to NOT market it as a kids' movie.

  • I think this is great--as StrongStyle said, they could get a lot more exposure with Happy Meals and other unhealthy options.  Shrek got a lot of negative PR for doing PSA's to promote exercise AND commercials for M&Ms, and they would be smart to avoid that. I hope if they do a Kellogs tie-in (like they've done for POTC in the past), they'll avoid the Pop Tarts and very sugary cereals.

    Over the years, I've noticed a lot of healthier snack options at the theme parks. It used to be that if you wanted fruit, you could have an apple, a banana, or an orange. Now there are all kinds of other choices.

  • It is commendable of Disney to try to encourage better eating habits and exercise, but it wont promote the movie very well.  I have never heard of the healthy soda and the kids gym thing.  Disney would be better off doing a promotion with baked chips and yogurt or something.  They should team up with Subway and promote their movies there.  Even Wendys has lots of healthy choices for kids.  Disney needs to be smarter to get more exposure for their movies.  The only promotion I have seen for the Meet the Robinsons DVD is at Great Clips.  Is that the best Disney could do?

  • I think it's a smart business choice in the long run that improves the company's reputation. I'm not sure it's as money-saving a venture as reducing emissions, but there is a monetary value to safe and healthy products in the long run.

    And really, part of licensing really amounts to another form of movie advertising through commercials and store shelves. You could argue the PSAs with Disney footage, often featuring upcoming and current DVD titles, are as well. They build good will and get exposure. Besides, a McD's promo in of itself won't promote a property. Sure didn't help WITCH, you know?

  • As a father of two, I think Disney's move away from Happy meals and junk food is great.  My wife and I did appreciate the all the fruit and veg snacks available inside the Disneyland park this year.  Big difference from our first family trip to Disneyland 3 years ago.  That being said...

    Is it just me or is there something of a double standard for Disney to use healthy food products and exercise based businesses to promote sitting in a movie theater for 90mins to 2 hours pounding popcorn, goobers and soda?  

  • I agree with modt of what's already been said above. I think it's commendable that Disney is promoting healthy eating habits but that's not gonna sell this movie. What will sell this movie is a great story. If it has a great story the movie should do well.

  • "Mind you, the Mouse House recognizes that not every would-be "Enchanted" fan is a health enthusiast. Which is why they asked Disney Interactive Studios to cook up an "Enchanted" video game."

    I think it's a bit stereotypical to insinuate that gamers as a whole are not "health enthusiasts". Plenty of us see the sun on a regular basis and know how to eat right as well.

    Anyways, I do applaud this move on Disney's part.  Not only is a good thing to do for the sake of children's health, but marketing wise it's a pretty smart move considering how health conscious the US is getting these days.

  • Here, here Tolkoto. I take my DS on my regular bike rides so I have something to do at the half-way point.

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