Disney Channel refocuses marketing strategy

The Disney Channel is revamping its marketing to offer a more “modern face” and capitalise on a new generation of digitally aware young audiences.

Hannah Montana

The company is looking to ensure that its programming matches audience lifestyles and passions, through hit shows such as Hannah Montana.

Nicoletta Gelli, vice-president of brand marketing for Disney Channels EMEA, says: “We want to create the modern face of Disney, keeping the traditional ‘good versus evil’ themes, and then expanding it to broaden their appeal. Hannah Montana has been a huge ratings hit for us, and has smashed records through its brand extensions. We now need to take this expertise and adopt it across our brands.”

Core elements of the new approach will include more localisation and interactive marketing, such as Hannah Superfan – an in-house produced game show that aims to find Britain’s number one Hannah Montana fan. The search began online and received over 7,000 entries.

Gelli says: “The interactive elements we want to continue to develop will help us really resonate with our audiences and engage with them.”

Earlier this month, Walt Disney said research into digitally aware children, known as Generation XD, would help influence its marketing strategy.


How the Hannah Montana brand has helped to bring a “modern face” to Disney:

Some of the key Hannah Montana stats across EMEA for 2009 include:

  • Over 1 million Hannah Montana CDs and album downloads shipped across EMEA in 2009
  • BAFTA winning TV series reaches over 70 million individuals on Disney Channel each quarter in EMEA
  • Over 3.6 million copies of the Hannah Montana magazine snapped up across EMEA
  • Over 48 million Hannah Montana books and nearly 6 million sticker packets sold worldwide to date
  • $53 million box office total for theatrical release Hannah Montana: The Movie in EMEA
  • Production on Season 4 of Disney’s global sensation begins in Hollywood this wee

Examples of how Disney channel have marketed Hannah Montana beyond the TV series include a partnership with The Disney Store across Europe to promote Hannah Montana series 3. The activity saw 82 Disney Stores across Europe host special Hannah Montana Rocking Preview events for fans throughout March prior to the channel premiere in each country. Others are:

  • Approximately 6,000 fans in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal had the chance to attend the exclusive events. Each store screened a special message from Miley Cyrus and a sneak peek of the first episode from season 3 as well as offering guests themed in-store entertainment. Disney Channel in Germany hosted a similar preview at Madame Tussauds and a wax figure of Miley Cyrus was unveiled as part of the event
  • The initiative was promoted on local Disney Channels with competitions for viewers to win tickets via local channel’s websites
  • Localised content helps kids around the world connect with our programming and really make it their own. Dinsey has devised shows in the UK for example, which have been inspired by Hannah Montana, including:

Hannah Superfan(Premiered on Disney Channel UK in May 2008)

  • An in-house produced game show aimed at finding Britain’s #1 Hannah Montana fan. Kids up and down the country were invited to tune into episodes of Hannah Montanaon Disney Channel and answer questions about the pop sensation onine. The website received over 7000 entries. Top scoring contestants battled it out to prove their knowledge of the global tween sensation to win the Hannah Superfan title in a studio-based game show hosted by children’s presenter Simon Grant

Hannah-oke (Premiered on Disney Channel UK in May 2009)

  • Disney Channel launched a brand new karaoke-style game show inspired by the smash-hit series Hannah Montana. Families from across the country were invited to put their vocal chords and Hannah Montana trivia knowledge to the test. Contestants competed in front of a panel of judges and a studio audience, in a series of entertaining challenges to secure the title of Hannah-oke Champion 2009



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