Client: Walt Disney
Team: Consolidated Communications
Timescale: March to September 1996
PR budget: pounds 100,000
101 Dalmatians was the last of the Disney classics to be released on
video this September, some 35 years after its original cinema release.
The timing was intended as a precursor to the forthcoming release of
Disney’s live action version of the story in December. The film’s
traditional audience was housewives with kids, but Disney research
showed that the film, with its flamboyant anti-heroine Cruella de Vil,
was potentially of interest to young single adults as a vintage classic.
To create something of a ‘ Dalmatian craze’ in order to generate
awareness of the video release and to stimulate wide spread media
coverage off the video review pages, while focusing on the non-
traditional audience of young adults.
The campaign revolved around a ‘Fashion Without Cruelty’ event inspired
by the anti-fur theme of the film. Playing on the theme of Cruella de
Vil’s love of furs made out of Dalmatian puppies - and picking on the
integrated marketing theme of black and white spots, found on poster
sites and barking Adshels throughout the country - Consolidated
commissioned students at Central St Martin’s School of Fashion to design
a collection of black and white designer outfits utilising products that
had not been tested on, or involved cruelty to animals.
Consolidated also linked up with model agency Models One to run a
nationwide search to find the ‘The Face of the Future’. The collection
was modelled by the five finalists at the Wella Studio on the video
The launch event was hosted by Clothes Show presenter Jeff Banks, and a
panel of celebrity judges from fashion world including Zandra Rhodes,
Karen Millen and The 1996 World Young Designer Pearce Fionda. The winner
was offered a contract with Models One.
As a means of creating pre-publicity for the event, Pearce Fionda also
created an exclusive Cruella de Vil vamp outfit, which Zoe Ball modelled
in a photo-call in company with some refugee Dalmatians from animal
sanctuary, the Kushti Dalmatian Club
A high level of response from fashion pages in most national papers and
young women’s magazines including the fashion news pages of Marie
Claire. The show was also filmed by London Today/Tonight, and several
satellite channels. The Five Faces event was widely announced by London
and national radio stations, and in the Evening Standard’s Londoner’s
Diary. Hello! has yet to publish a photostory shot at Disneyland Paris.
The 101 Dalmatians video has become the best-selling consumer product so
far during 1996 - with one million videos sold in the first week of the
limited-period offer. Itwas also voted best selling video of the year at
the British Video Awards after just six weeks on the shelf.
‘We wanted to get coverage off the video review pages and on to the main
news and feature pages,’ says Nina Kapur, account director at
‘We knew that we would get lead reviews anyway, so we wanted to take it
a stage further and create a Dalmatian craze.’ In its bid to woo its
young streetwise audience, the agency succeeded in contemporising a
product which was 35-years- old by tapping into current trends in the
fashion world and the strong anti-fur lobby. It also created
considerable advance publicity for the live action movie in advance of
its December launch.