Lessons from Woody and Buzz

Posted on February 25, 2011


A recent Mashable article details the social media campaign Disney/Pixar employed to build buzz amongst 20 and 30-somethings for the release of Toy Story 3.  They did some very interesting things that might be easily stolen, er I mean borrowed, by radio station or host looking for new ways to reach the audience.

They started with a series of special cliffhanger screenings at colleges around the country. Using Facebook, anyone with a valid college ID could sign-up to see these specially edited 65 minute versions of the movie. I don’t know that radio needs to create cliffhangers but what about a secret new-music listening party that your Facebook friends can sign up to attend.

For the 30-somethings they created a video called “Groovin with Ken,” a look at one of the movies characters in a very “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” style.

Obviously this tongue-in-cheek piece could easily be adapted for any morning show that uses character voices. But that shouldn’t dissuade other talent from using the concept. Get a flip video camera and give the listeners a look inside the rest of your life. Have some fun. Be goofy. Let the listeners see a side of you that isn’t readily apparent on the air.

Aside from appealing to 20 and 30-somethings with their marketing Disney also set their sights on industry recognition. Likely a lock for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars the studio set out to compete with humans by getting a nomination for Best Picture; an award no animated film has ever won.

They engaged the industry with a series of  posters that used images from the movie to compare Toy Story 3 to previous winners in the category. I’ve included a few of the posters below. To see the complete gallery of posters and some other cool content about the movie click here.

These posters can serve as a reminder that you no longer need a giant budget to market your show. A little bit of creative design work combined with the viral power of social media can spread the word at little or no cost. Your challenge is to think creatively about what will move the needle with your audience.