Marketing in the digital age

We took a brief vacation to Disneyland last week since the kids were off from school on Thursday and Friday. Upon arriving at the park, I checked into Disneyland on Foursquare, and since the Android app prompted me to alert Twitter and Facebook, I opted to route the checkin to those services as well.

Photo by Ginger

Later in the day, I checked Twitter and had a reply from @kloutperks. The tweet invited me to click through to a microsite about Tangled, the upcoming Disney animated film about Rapunzel. Intrigued, I signed up.

Yesterday, a box arrived – including a collection of Tangled Silly Bandz, a limited edition lithograph from the film, a Tangled t-shirt, and a stuffed animal (apparently the character is Pascal the chameleon). I believe we will also be able to attend a pre-screening of the film, but don’t have details on that yet.

I’m fascinated by this. As near as I can tell, Disney is monitoring Twitter for mentions of its brands, and reaching out to users who meet a certain audience threshold (I had just under 6,000 followers when they reached out). They are very up front requesting that you disclose the give-away, and further state that they are not expecting, requiring or otherwise requesting coverage. It’s up to the recipient to decide whether and how to chat about the film.

From what I can see, it’s working. This mom received a kit (apparently not a result of mentioning Disney, but because of her high rank according to Klout), and was excited because of their approach:

I’m not writing about this today to kiss Disney’s toosh and promote the movie. I’m writing it as a very impressed consumer and marketer…. I guarantee my four-year-old will be talking about this for a while. He’s worn the silly-bandz every day and shown his friends. He wants to bring the chameleon for share day at preschool. I told a friend, and I’m telling you. I know this is what they want, which is fine.

I’m curious to see the future of this…. it just so happens that I’m the perfect audience for this particular perk. …I love being a part of the evolution of marketing… I’m not going to buy your product because you tell me to. I’m going to buy it because a friend did, or you demonstrated WHY I should, which Disney did today.

And it’s not just Klout, Disney also announced a big partnership with Foursquare competitor Gowalla this morning. It’s fun to see innovation happening in social media, and companies like Disney thinking creatively about how to engage with their customers.

Disclosure: As noted above, I received a couple free items from Klout/Disney as a result of a tweet I made. As stated here, there was no requirement or expectation that I’d write about them. I haven’t seen the film yet (though, as a father of a five year-old daughter who just spent hundreds of dollars visiting Disneyland, I think it’s in my parental contract that I will) and if I get a chance, will write about it once I do.