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September 25, 2007

Enchanted's Health-Conscious Promotional Campaign

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

Jim Hill wonders: Can a feel-good movie actually be used to encourage healthier eating habits? For that seems to be a key component of the marketing plan that Disney has cooked up for its big Holiday 2007 release...

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."

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.

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."

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.

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?

-Jim Hill, Jim Hill Media.com


Posted by dschnee at September 25, 2007 10:45 PM