CAMPAIGNS: FILM LAUNCH; Techno toys’ UK take-off

PR team: Buena Vista International UK Ltd press office and Foresight New Media Campaign: Launch of Toy Story. Timescale: Mid-October 1995 - mid-March 1996. Budget: Over pounds 1 million, including production of CD-ROMs

PR team: Buena Vista International UK Ltd press office and Foresight New

Media

Campaign: Launch of Toy Story.

Timescale: Mid-October 1995 - mid-March 1996.

Budget: Over pounds 1 million, including production of CD-ROMs



The success of Toy Story, the first fully computer-generated animated

feature, shows the possible future of film-making and film publicity. To

prepare for the film’s UK launch, Buena Vista mounted a hi-tech PR

campaign.



Objectives



To generate publicity for the film launch in a way that would underline

the technology involved in making the film and to widen its appeal

beyond the standard Disney audience.



Tactics



As well as traditional press packs, Buena Vista’s executive marketing

director Robert Mitchell, asked Foresight to make up 100 CD-ROMs to

distribute to national and regional press and broadcast media.



The CD-ROMs contained a synopsis, production information, biographies of

the cast and film-makers, soundtrack details, film stills that could be

downloaded to produce first generation images and video clips of voice-

over stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen.



A special presentation of the CD-ROM was made at Cinema Days - four

days of film previews and interviews for regional journalists- in

January, with CDs handed out on request. A quarter of a million CD-ROMs

were also cover mounted on computer publications such as CD-ROM

Magazine, and distributed through an offer in the Funday Times. A

further quarter of a million are being translated into German, French

and Italian for publication abroad.



‘CD-ROMs are generally used by students, journalists and adults aged 16

to 24, which are the hardest group to persuade to go and see a Disney

movie, although they are among the most frequent cinema goers’ says

Mitchell ‘This was a way of attracting their attention, promoting its

use of technology and also getting across the humour of the film.’



On 1 March, Buena Vista also launched an Internet site with an event

that gave journalists access to the site through five available

workstations.



Results



The reviews were overwhelmingly positive although only around 30 or 40

of the receivers of CD-ROMs were able to use them - mainly computer

magazines.



Youthful coverage included Big, Smash Hits, TV Hits, Just 17, More and

national newspapers including the Funday Times and Young Telegraph. More

adult spots appeared in Sky, Select, Loaded, GQ, Esquire and Maxim and

in film magazines Empire, Premiere and Sight & Sound. Time Out carried a

Toy Story picture on its cover with the line ‘too good to waste on

kids.’



Verdict



Using CD-ROM enabled Buena Vista to hand out an increased quantity of

information with images that could be transplanted straight into

publications but Buena Vista may have been trying to run before the

media could walk.



Mitchell was delighted by the public take-up on the CDs but admits: ‘The

100 CDs we sent out to the press were not so successful. A number of

them were unable to use it because the picture definition was too high

or they were too big.’



‘It was a good gimmick, part of the fun of Toy Story,’ says Ian Nathan

of Empire. ‘But I didn’t really use it in a practical way. We are very

set in our ways when it comes to press kits. At the moment, if we wanted

a story and were just handed this little disc we’d probably panic.’



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