For people who have never been to WDW, it is easy to confuse WDW, as a group of theme parks, with your average amusement park. Communication from WDW themselves has frequently not helped, with the release of vague, restrictive or just weird advertisements.
This one is one of my favourites. I get the idea - travelling to another time dimension - to another world. But really, I wonder if they were high on drugs when they made it - or assumed you'd be high when you watched it?
Good luck trying to work out what's actually at the park. It looks like you'll get terrorised by giant plastic characters and Peter Pan doing a cheshire cat impersonation.
Then Disney changed the drugs they were taking. Suddenly we were on the guilt train, next stop negligent parenting town.
Ummm ... WOW. At least you are now kind of seeing the resort. But geez .... I am surprised everyone can stand up straight with all the emotional contortions going on in that ad.
More recent ads are still following the same script. They still play on the "world's worst parents" theme, and rarely show what you actually get, they have higher production values, and hey - I got to meet Mickey!
From recent releases this one bears examination. This one shows just how low the advertising can go
OK - so yeah we've got a smiling happy family and we are finally inside a park checking out the attractions. There may be an argument that says they purchased a song rather than prepared an original soundtrack. But let me give you one major clue as to the lack of care: whilst advertising WDW in Orlando, the ad was filmed in Disneyland Resort, Anaheim. Yep - they didn't even film the thing they are advertising.
And my big bugbear? I am not a white family of 4, with 2 kids aged between 6 - 12. So yeah, Disney has a target demographic? But don't they realise that they are making Leave it to Beaver commercials for a Modern Family world?
I was inspired to write this post when this new video started being shared around the internets last week. Take a look:
We've still got a bunch of primary school aged kids - but they come in different colours! There are more ages. We see each of the parks - and get glimpses of the resorts. We see other activity too like golfing, and the adult thrill rides like the water slide plunge, Rock and Roll Coaster and Tower of Terror - yes it was filmed at WDW! (what an innovation!). There are older people, there's a wedding, a fancy V&A dinner. There is alcohol! Cirque du Soleil. The guilt theme is left behind for straight up celebration and glory - finishing with the heart tugging family watching the fireworks with wonder.
At last a film that conveys an experience in more broader and wider spectrum.
oh - I just had to get that off my chest ...... (breathe...)
Finally, I really want to share one of my favourite all time Disney advertisements. I love the music, the tiltshift look, the careful timing and again - a beautiful, clean, simple celebration of the park.
Enjoy: A Day at Epcot:
Here is your homework assignment: what does the history of WDW advertising suggest is important for how Zonta can raise it's own brand awareness in the world?
2014 Zonta International Convention Orlando