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Today is a big day. It marks the release of the last film of the Harry Potter Series, which has been making front-page news for the past several months. However, I will also be celebrating at Midnight for the big-screen premiere of one of my favorite age-old stories, Winnie the Pooh.
While some may be thinking, wow, Disney, way to shoot yourself in the foot there. But I think, what a clever juxtaposition. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II will be an epic event, there’s no doubting that. In lieu of letting the highly-anticipated action-packed franchise conquer Box Offices in the middle of the summer, Disney decided to give something to the audiences who are too young or light-hearted to rely on Harry and the gang for entertainment this summer.
As usual, let’s start with the trailer. Like most Disney trailers, it is cute, endearing, pleasant, and hopeful. I really like the use of the song “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane here; I thought the effect of balancing something new with something old was very effective, in this case, and they did it very tactfully.
These weren’t the only trailers that Disney released, however. In fact, speaking of Harry Potter, there were two 17-second trailers (called “The Final Battle” and “How Do You Spell Adventure?”) released just over a week ago that imitate the Warner Bros. franchise in a clever and lovable way. What I love about these mini-trailers is that they used the HP mania to their advantage — they borrowed something that millions of people are searching for online at any given time, and with the Search Engine Optimization that Disney has, they were guaranteed to get plenty of exposure. (FYI: The first trailer has almost 641,000 views on YouTube, whereas the second has only 195,000, which I can only attribute to the name of the first trailer and its relation to the HP Series.)
There is another component of the Winnie the Pooh marketing efforts that I found to be extraordinary — the website. It is very interactive, and obviously tailored to the 21st Century Child. In some ways, it resembles a book, with the corners flipping up when you hover over them and the simple one-scene animations that take up each virtual page.
There are many different sections of the website to play around with. You can explore the Hundred Acre Wood, learn “fun facts” about the series, watch scenes/promotional videos for the movie, and get to know each character.
However, there was one section that I was particularly entertained by: the 100 Acre Wood Personality Quiz. It was a very short quiz that included, surprisingly, questions that might only relate to an older demographic (when I say older, I mean older than 5). In fact, I believe this is specifically targeted to the 15-30 year olds who have grown up with both the infamous “What Kind of Best Friend Are You?” Cosmo quizzes/MySpace surveys AND the older Winnie the Pooh videos…which means, we obviously need to know which lovable character we are most like! I, for one, took the quiz and found out that I am none other than the fabulous Tigger! Once you get your result, you also see a video elaborating on the type of person you are based on the character you received. Here is the Tigger video:
And, finally, as with most things these days, there is an iPhone/iPad/iPod App to accompany all of this online promotion, called “What’s a Bear to do?” According to the site, this app is a book that includes interactive components, like puzzles, sound effects, and the ability to record your voice narrating the book (great for parents!). The App is $0.99, which I think is a reasonable price to pay, especially since it received the Editor’s Choice Award from the Children’s Technology Review!
In all, I am VERY excited to see this film. Not to rag on HP by any means (because there is nothing I could ever say about the series that could be negative), but it will be nice to have this light-hearted, fun movie in theatres to off-set the drama this summer. Also, what could be better than a Disney hand-animated film? The answer to that, my friends, is nothing.
Side note: Winnie the Pooh has done very well on RottenTomatoes so far, with 84%! Also, Roger Ebert wrote a really positive review about the film yesterday, which you can find here!