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A Rich Brand Experience—Disney’s Brave Creates a Unique Promotional Event

At LPK, we’re not only designers, marketers and branding experts—we’re people too. Outside of work, we are consumers of culture and of the products whose stories we help tell. We are friends, we are family and some of us are parents. Sometimes all the roles we fill in our daily lives collide so happily, I can barely stand it.

This past weekend, I happened upon a mention of a free promotion for the movie Brave in Cincinnati’s new Smale Riverfront Park. The next morning, as my family (husband, 5-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter) debated what to do for the day, I mentioned Brave and the reaction was immediately positive. As in, the door was open and my kids—with shoes miraculously on—were walking outside to get in the car.

I didn’t quite know what to expect but I knew the blurb had mentioned archery, meaning an activity-oriented event versus sitting through a preview. Which is nice for parents who try to keep the television viewing down to a minimum.

When we arrived at the park I was immediately blown away. Bales of hay formed 4 activity stations in the park, with each activity bearing signage and two representatives to guide the kids. The girls wore a Brave T-shirt and pants, while guys donned the ceremonial kilt.

We were handed a card by a super-friendly representative that read: “Do each of these activities, get the check mark for each completion and come back here for a prize.” We made our way around to each station, curious about the activity and the people manning it. Each person was well trained and poised to deal with little ones in a friendly and approachable manner on the hot day. Each of the activities—archery, caber toss, hammer throw and sheaf toss—were well marked with the appropriate signage that signaled the movie in a fun, informative but not overly sales-pitchy way.

At each station, my kids were encouraged and supported with high fives. There were quite a few friendly mentions of, “Wait until you see the movie, you’ll love it”, reminding us why we were there. They even added a personal touch with my son (with his red hair) saying, “You’ll love it, other kids have red hair in the movie too!”

At the end, the kids turned in their cards and sweaty workers traded shifts in the sun while we selected our prizes of posters to hang in the kids’ rooms. We made our way to the sprayground and talked about the fun we all had. A big impression was made—both on the kids and on the parents.

As parents, my husband and I aren’t that unusual. We work hard and try to make the days fun and memories lasting. We’re conscious of over commercialization and keeping our kids physical and active. We limit TV watching and try to manage the food we eat to be healthy and promote healthy lifestyles. Movies, in general, don’t always fit into this plan. I know Brave was on our radar, and we would probably see it eventually, but maybe on video or maybe not at all.

But Brave feels different to me. The encouragement and support of the team members representing Brave was positively delightful. They spoke to the kids on their level and were respectful of the parents. Even more amazingly, other patrons of the event weren’t just kids, but Pixar fans and passers by. From my perspective, the tone and balance of the messaging was just as successful with the range of audiences. The design of the event was just the right balance of creating a presence for the brand, yet not feeling like we were in a theme park. The engagement all around was just as rewarding, and I am hopeful the movie is the same way.

Why I loved it:

  • Great message of empowerment and activity brought to life through physical engagement.
  • Tasteful design that’s fun and has a presence, but doesn’t overwhelm into kitsch.
  • Team members that lived the brand through wardrobe, personality and support, and somehow interjected a strong call to action in a natural way: “You will love this movie—see it opening weekend!”
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