Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

WALL-E, the marketing v. the product

In DINU, Ideas on June 30, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Seth Godin wrote about the new Disney/Pixar movie WALL-E this morning and I had a similar experience regarding the marketing of the film, as well as my reaction to the movie itself.

What little I did see of the main character, WALL-E, prior to the film turned me off. He was dribbling a basketball in commercials during the NBA playoffs (which were on ABC and ESPN, which is owned by Disney), or he was playing with a soccer ball in commercials during the UEFA Euro 2008 soccer tournament, which, you guessed it, aired on ESPN and ABC. Those commercials broke a key marketing rule for me: It’s hard to create a Deeply Immersive Narrative Universe (DINU) if you take the characters out of their element. It just doesn’t make sense to have WALL-E playing with a basketball, it’s not part of the movie, or more accurately, the movie’s universe.

So, going in I didn’t have high hopes for the film. But, like Seth, I came away impressed that they had made a really nice film that didn’t stick to the animated movie formula: talking animals, celebrity voice actors, etc.

Talking with Rich Gallagher from Liquid Architecture he wondered how ultimately this film will be received, not by critics or consumers, but by the brass at Disney. Yes, WALL-E is visually one of the best animated films we’ve seen and overall it is a terrific movie, but what will the sales of the soundtrack look like? Will it move Halloween costumes, children’s fast food meals and pajamas?

Hopefully winning awards, which this film should do, will be enough.

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