Zootopia wins big by Getting Weird in Marketing


With yet another day, another new release is breaking records left, right and center. But this time, it’s an animated film, Disney’s Zootopia. The animated film that has debuted to a whopping number of $73.7 million its opening weekend, good enough to be one of the biggest opening ever for Walt Disney featured animated film and the ninth-biggest animated debut of all time, and, adding more to its impressive opening is, that the third-biggest opening weekend for a movie based on the original script.
We take a look at Zootopia and have made some excellent points, but we would be wrong if we didn’t give enough credit to the marketing team and its unique campaign. Disney’s animation hasn’t quite exactly suffered in the last decade; its films have always done well and Frozen was said to be a cultural behemoth that has legitimately changed the way we had looked at Disney’s animation. But the reality is that the “Disney” brand didn’t carry with it the inherent cool factor like the name “Pixar” did. Marketing campaign of Zootopia was aimed to change that, and employed a quite conventional and different approach with a self-referring campaign that showcased far greater awareness of current pop culture trends that are otherwise expected from the House of Walt. The campaign depended heavily on parody and mash-ups that was done throughout the campaign, having released a series of parody posters that mimicked blockbuster movies, including Jurassic World and Mad Max. Later, the campaign released its wave of parody in the film posters to target all of the awards contenders for the recent Oscar event. But the parody didn’t quite stop there. The campaign also had series of mash-up video promos of various millennial-targeted, female-skewed television series such as Shadowhunters, Pretty Little Liars, and Baby Daddy, airing them at the Disney’s Freeform channel, previously known as the ABC Family. They were charming and indeed cleverly done, and showed the audience that there was more to Zootopia then being much of movie for kids. While the approach it took with marketing to millennials was different and creative, the desire to market to that demographic was a no-brainer by the team; it’s the demographic virtually every brand targets. For those, who are unaware of a particular subculture, we would say, it’s more of a fandom that’s obsessed with animal characters from fiction world, often dressing as them and roleplaying their parts at conventions.