Disney focuses on the long term for brand partnerships

Disney’s brand partnership division, Disneymedia+, is looking to build long-term relationships with brands, rather than working on tactical deals around a particular movie or TV show.

Disney is hoping to extend its partnership with BA following a tie-up for Planes

Launched in the UK in 2011, Disneymedia+ is the integrated ad sales, promotions and marketing solutions operation of Disney in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It has previously tied up with Audi to sponsor Iron Man 3 and Iceland to support the launch of animated movie Frozen.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Disneymedia+ commercial director Bobi Carley, says its work to date has focused on finding a brand to work with on specific events. However, she says they have recently restructured the team so that they are instead getting to know brands and find out where Disney can fit in with their needs in terms of raising profile, creating sponsorship opportunities or creating content.

“This is less about using the Disney IP and more about offering brands the emotional connection to Disney content,” she adds.

This includes creating bespoke content for brands and working with them to help solve issues. For example, Disney is in talks with grocers to improve the experience when mums take kids shopping.

This could include opening up Disney stores in supermarkets or creating content for grocery apps to keep kids entertained.

“We want to make the shopping experience better in order to improve sales. Before we might have just signed a deal to sell our products. We’ve moving that relationship on from just being transactional,” she says.

Disney is also in talks with tech brands on working with them around content. Companies such as Samsung and Apple are increasingly reliant on services and content to lure customers in the competitive tech space.

Carley admits there are still challenges in signing on brands, particularly as Disney is best known for family entertainment. Acquisitions of IP such as Marvel, as well as Star Wars and Indiana Jones, are part of plans to expand the appeal of Disney to a wider audience.

That includes making sure that any partners adhere to Disney’s standards, particularly in terms of nutrition. Carley says that while people still associate Disney with McDonald’s Happy Meals, it hasn’t actually done any marketing deals with the fast food chain “in years”.

Meanwhile, Subway brought out a whole new menu so that it met Disney’s guidelines and could work with the firm.

“We have to market responsibly to kids. We cannot push the boundaries,” she says.

Next year Disney has a number of opportunities, including a new addition to the Muppets franchise, new Marvel movie Captain America and Maleficent, which tells the story of the villain from Sleeping Beauty, with Angelina Jolie taking the lead role.

“Tactical deals will always happen. Now it’s about making them smarter and looking at how once we’ve built a relationship and it’s been successful, how we keep that going,” she says.