Disney the man gets leading role

While Walt Disney's legacy remains an integral part of Americana, the focus is often on the brand, not the man.

Disney the man gets leading role
Company: The Walt Disney Family Museum
Museum opening
PR team: Resnicow Schroeder Associates
Launch: October 1  
Budget: Undisclosed

Objective: While Walt Disney's legacy remains an integral part of Americana, the focus is often on the brand, not the man. The Walt Disney Family Foundation, a nonprofit, sought to bring attention back to the man who started it all by opening a museum in his honor in San Francisco.

“A lot of people in the younger generation don't realize that Walt Disney was a man,” said Elaine Mellis, director of communications at The Walt Disney Family Museum.

The team is taking a strategic PR approach that explores several angles for coverage, including his artistry, animation, innovations, and business acumen.
Idea: Richard Benefield, founding executive director of the museum, acknowledged that it will likely attract an older generation – 45- to 65-year-olds – who might have the best memories of seeing Disney on TV. Yet, he hopes the campaign demonstrates how the museum can “appeal to a broad age spectrum” because of the variety of exhibits.

Media targets include top-tier outlets such as The New York Times' arts section, which ran a story on the museum last month. The Disney family lives in the Bay Area, which offers an angle to regional press. Also targeted are travel editors, arts editors, and animation and hospitality trades.

Tools: A social marketing expert was hired to engage with fans on Facebook and Twitter and to reach out to blogs that cover “anything Disney-related.” Prior to the October 1 ribbon cutting, the team also planned to host events for hospitality workers and trades. A media event was set for September 23 in San Francisco. The team also held press events in New York, LA, and Chicago – Disney's hometown.

Measurement: National, international, travel, and local coverage will be monitored, as well as Web site traffic and Facebook and Twitter engagement. But ultimately, it will “measure how this impacts the number of museum visitors and members,” Mellis said.

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