Disney uses iPad app to drive awareness of films – Mobile Marketer – Content

Disney uses iPad app to drive awareness of films

By Peter Finocchiaro

August 2, 2010

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The Disney Movies application for the iPad

Walt Disney Studios is driving awareness of its theater and home video offerings with an application for the Apple iPad.

The Disney Movies application includes multimedia content for all of its recent releases, including text blurbs, videos and Twitter feeds. The application also includes Google Maps functionality and drives users to Web sites where they can buy Disney DVDs.

“It’s about brand engagement, but also about knowing what is available – what movies are on DVD, what movies are in theaters,” said Jason Brush, executive vice president of user experience design at Schemtaic, Los Angeles. “So, for families looking for different options, it’s a way for them to discover and learn about all the choices that Disney is giving them.

“When you talk about film and TV and to a certain extent music, marketing is about sampling,” he said. “You look at a trailer and stills, and that gives entertainment value in and of itself.

“When you look at the evolution of marketing, going from raising awareness and messaging to, today, actually providing utility, this was an example of providing utility,” he said.

Ad agency Schematic designed the Disney Movies iPad application.

Disney did not comment by press time.

How it works
The Disney Movies application is available for free in Apple’s App Store.

When users launch the application, they access a screen with clickable icons for all of Disney’s recent films, which they can scroll through, up or down and side to side.

Here is a screen grab of the Disney Movies home page:

The top of the screen has a search feature that generates results in real-time as film buffs type in their queries.

In addition, a drop-down menu lets users filter their movie searches depending on whether they are looking for offerings in theaters or in stores.

The default setting pools both of those categories together – and for a reason, according to Mr. Brush.

“The idea is that, in this new world, people are more interested in finding out about the content they’re interested in watching, and less interested in category of distribution it fits into,” Mr. Brush said. “We see that [distinction] being broken down.” 

When users click a movie’s icon on the main page, they launch an individual page for the film that overlays on top of the home screen.

Here is a screen grab of the movie page for “Toy Story 3”:

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These pages include more information about the film’s plot and video links that users can click on to view clips at the top of the page.

A “Movie Rewards” button brings users to a Web site for the Disney Movie Rewards loyalty program.

The application has a social component, available to users 13 and over, that streams tweets about a film on the bottom of its page.

Movie pages also include tools for consumers looking to actually watch the offerings.

For those Disney films still in theaters, the application launches a Google Maps plug-in that finds nearby theaters playing the selections.

And, the application drives potential customers to Web sites where they can purchase films already available on DVD.

The application does not yet have a purchase feature built directly into the application experience, although Mr. Brush believes that could and should change.

“We see the future of mobile marketing being something in which purchases take place in the marketing and not necessarily out in some other path,” Mr. Brush said. “One of the things digital marketing is able to do, which traditional marketing cannot, is actually create a branded experience all the way through from awareness through to purchase.

“Too often, when people get shuttled into the purchase funnel, they see this marketing and messaging, and they just get this form,” he said. “We believe a better way to approach it is to have a more engaged branded experience throughout.

“Marketing doesn’t stop at the moment when you begin to enter into a purchase experience – it should flow all the way through.”

Moving pictures, mobile phones
Studios are developing mobile promotions with increasing frequency as of late.

Fox promoted its “Avatar” DVD launch (see story) with a mobile bar code campaign, while Summit Entertainment used free and premium mobile games to generate buzz for the release of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” (see story).

Disney is no stranger to mobile promotions either, using a variety of smartphone-targeted tactics to get the word out about its upcoming films (see story).

More often, brands using mobile to reach consumers are doing so by creating experiences that function as more than just a one-way communications channel by designing interactive elements.

Mr. Brush says the next step is helping people connect with the world around them using their mobile phones.

“We believe that people are really overloaded today,” Mr. Brush said. “They’re distracted by the volume of content and by all sorts of devices and applications and everything else demanding attention.

“We find the best way to cut through the clutter is to create something which is innovative and helps people actually relate to other people,” he said.

“The mobile experience does not have to just be about being distracted from the real world, but can actually be about engaging with the world in a more meaningful way.”

Final Take
Jason Brush, executive vice president of user experience design at Schematic, Los Angeles

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