Hi, it’s me, one of your diehard animation superfans. I’ve been enamored with your films since even before I was old enough to talk. And now that I can talk, I talk about them all the time…to everyone I know, all day, every day. I simply love Disney films.
Anytime I hear that you are releasing another animated film, I jump for joy. Even if the movie is in early pre-production and won’t be released for another half decade, that’s ok. I still get giddy because I know it will be great.
When it comes closer to the film’s release, I get pumped up all over again. Excitement over seeing character designs for the first time, the first movie posters, the first animation in a trailer. Heck, I even squeal when you release a film’s official logo, for heaven’s sake. I don’t care what it is, I just like to see it.
And that brings me to why I’m writing you this letter. You have this little movie called Frozen. Remember that? Because you’re not really acting like it exists. Yes, you’ve given exclusive snippets and sneak peaks here and there to people at Destination D or CinemaCon, but those are few and far between. And the public never gets to see those. It’s a bit of a bummer.
The public doesn’t know about this film. I’ve asked around adults, teenagers, and families with kids. They all say the same thing, “I’ve never heard of that movie” or “Disney’s coming out with a new princess movie?” Disney and animation fans know about it, but they are a smaller niche compared to the bigger audience you want for this film. And the problem is, they have no idea about its existence.
One of my favorite things growing up was seeing the unfinished, sneak peak trailers of Disney’s upcoming animated films. I specifically remember the VHS trailers for Mulan and Hercules that consistent of half complete, colored animation and half pencil tests. It was incredible! I loved rewinding the tape to look back at every detail and to learn more about the animation process. Back in the 90s, you had no shame in releasing a trailer that basically said, “Hey, we’re not finished yet, but we want to show you how awesome it’s looking so far. Enjoy!”
You probably already know, but today a video for Frozen leaked and it was very similar to those old-school sneak peak trailers. The montage was hosted by Frozen‘s director Chris Buck, as he introduced the audience to “Disney Animation Studios’ 2013 animated comedy adventure Frozen.” It featured a lot of concept art, pencil tests, very rough animation and a few completed scenes. And you know what happened? The crowd went wild.
Frozen doubters, who earlier this year had been turned off by Elsa and Anna’s leaked character designs were ecstatic. “Elsa looks incredible!” one said. “OH MY GOSH IT’S BEAUTIFUL!” said another. This incomplete, unrendered, unfinished, watermarked footage caused people to like, retweet, share and let people know that Frozen was absolutely mind blowing. It was just like the good old days of those old-school sneak peak trailers. It wasn’t perfect, but it was enough. People love what they are seeing about Frozen from this video; the problem is, it’s not coming from you.
This isn’t the first time Frozen property has been leaked. Earlier this year, Anna and Elsa’s designs were leaked in fake movie posters. Last week, an unconfirmed track list from the soundtrack bubbled up to the surface. Some were excited to finally get another glimpse at this hotly anticipated movie, while a few were disappointed. Me? Well, I was disappointed it wasn’t from you.
I’m a marketer who is currently pursuing an MBA. Marketing is my passion. I’m not here to criticize how you do your marketing. But when I see how fantastic of a job Pixar is doing with Monsters University, it makes me wonder. What are you afraid of?
Frozen comes out in less than seven months and the only official, public bit of marketing we have so far is a logo and one piece of concept art (By the way, thank you for those. They are incredible). Normally, we get teaser trailers and posters about 12 to 18 months before the release. So why the hold up? Are you worried that production isn’t far enough along to release a fully renedered trailer? Are there changes to the story, making it hard to release a trailer yet? Is the film not on schedule and might be pushed back?
Whatever the reason, that’s ok and you don’t have to explain it to us. We understand. But we do want to help market the film for you–even if it the date may get pushed back or it’s far from being complete and perfect. The problem is that we can’t help you with your promotion and word-of-mouth efforts unless you throw us a snowflake. Just something small here and there on a somewhat regular basis. A trailer. A poster. A photo.
I am sure that the Frozen marketing blizzard is coming soon. I can feel it. But I begin to wonder, is it too late? Would a few official snowflakes from you guys have helped to gain momentum instead of blasting us in the face with Frozen promotion six months before the release? I don’t know. I don’t claim to be the expert. You guys are and, hopefully, you have a plan. I just hope it works because, with all my heart, I want to see Frozen succeed.
Disney, we love you. We forgive you. But you better start marketing you own films soon, before others start to leak and market them for you.