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Disney's Greatest Fake-Out

Disney's Greatest Fake-Out

January 17, 2016

"Enter a magical kingdom where you can sail with pirates, explore exotic jungles, meet fairy-tale princesses, dive under the ocean and rocket through the stars—all in the same day!"- Disneyland's official website.

Disneyland is a place where people's childhood dreams are fulfilled. Magic turns into a reality. So it really came as no surprise when a handsome young man unexpectedly proposed to his teary-eyed girlfriend with an impromptu song and dance ensemble in Disneyland.

These things just happen at Disneyland, right?

Not so fast...

For those of you who aren't up on all of the YouTube proposals out there, let me share one with you that will change the way you view your marketing.

This video went viral. It got millions of views when it was first posted in 2009. (The original was taken off of YouTube at some point and it was reposted about a year ago.) This was before surprise wedding proposals with full-out casts were the rage. It was new, cute, and slightly cheesy.

So you're thinking, "that was a nice story about a viral video, so what?"

Here's why this matters.

See, there's one thing about this video that most people don't know: it was staged by Disney. The whole thing was a fake. The "couple" was hired, cameras were set in place, and the "onlookers" were planned. This was all just a clever marketing campaign.

Instead of creating an overtly self-promoting marketing video, they staged a sweet, entertaining proposal that just happened to take place in Disneyland. Because the video wasn't obviously Disney's, it generated far more online traffic because it was seemingly just a self-made viral video.

People only figured out it was staged after YouTube fanatics watched the video slide by slide and noticed inconsistencies in the onlookers' clothing and other small details.

Disney thought outside the box and it paid off. Not only did people watch their "commercial" (which was practically free publicity minus the negligible production costs), but they shared it with their friends.

Everyone got the subtle message: Disneyland is a place where dreams come true!

Here's the secret to why things go viral and get shared.

Viral content actually entertains or informs the customer. It provide real value to the customer instead of just brand promotion.

No, to go viral you don't have to and shouldn't be deceptive, like Disney. But,  you must put your audience's wants above all else in your marketing.

Have you ever posted the standard car commercial on your Facebook page? You know, the one where it's driving down multiple terrains with the light shining on its glossy frame while a smooth, male voice describes the car's horsepower and luxurious interior. No? Why not? Because it doesn't do anything for you. It's purely a self-promoting commercial with no real value for the viewer.

Here's a harsh but true fact: People don't care about your company, they care about themselves. Unless you're improving their lives in some way, they won't take the time to listen to what you have to say.

This is the new marketing. Gone is the old "spray and pray" methodology where you blast your brand everywhere and hope for the best. Consumers tune that out.

It's now more important than ever to make your marketing "customer-centric" and enjoyable.*

But here's the catch. It's still marketing.

You can create a funny, entertaining video which will be shared thousands of times. But the real question is: is it improving your sales?

Clever promotions aren't enough. They have to make the customer want to then do something in order to be worth your investment.

*To get a FREE 15 minute quick-start session and learn the 4 most effective ways to get a customer to take the next step, CLICK HERE*

Ask yourself:

  • Does my promotion have a point?
  • Is there a message I'm getting across above just entertaining my customer?
  • What action or feeling do I want my customer to have or do after seeing my promotion?
  • Would I share this?
  • Why would a customer share this? What would it give them? Would it make them look good?

Take a look at this example.

"Old Spice video commercials," says BJ Fogg, Ph.D., Director of Persuasive Technology at Stanford University and one of Fortune's '10 New Gurus You Should Know'. "The videos are very funny and they've certainly gone viral but there's no indication that they've increased sales."

True, they've definitely increase brand awareness, which is a worthwhile cause, but impacting behavior is a far more powerful goal.

"Even if you reach a hundred people with the video, if that's your target audience and you change their behavior, then you've succeeded better than if you reach a million people and you don't change anybody's behavior with the video," Fogg remarked in a recent interview.

*To learn more about making your marketing impactful, CLICK HERE.*

Here are 3 practical take-aways that can improve your marketing and sales:

1.  Get creative and get fun. Your promotions don't have to be slick to get attention. They have to be worth your customer's time and engage their shrinking attention span.

2. Harness the power of social media: make it sharable. Sharable content make's that "sharer" look good. Always ask yourself: would I share this?

3. Make your message "actionable." Is there a next step after watching your video? Seeing your ad? Hearing your promotion? Getting your giveaway? Don't just make your marketing entertaining, make it impactful.

*To get a FREE 15 minute quick-start session and learn the 4 most effective ways to get a customer to take the next step, CLICK HERE*

Taking you from where you are to where you want to be,

Jon Goldman

*It's important to note that there's no magic formula to going viral. Some campaigns seem to have all of the right elements to go viral and for some reason just don't. However, there's definitely much to be gained from learning best practices and techniques to make your campaign as effective as possible.