Camp Rock – Marketing Brilliance, Once Again

24 06 2008

If you have kids (especially girls) between the age of 4 and 14, you probably know what Camp Rock is. For those of you living on an island somewhere without any sense of connection to the media world, it’s the latest marketing success by Disney Channel. Following the hugely successful (twice) High School Musical phenomenon, Disney, once again, hit it big with Camp Rock.

I was completely blown away when I became aware of the first High School Musical a few years ago. I happened to be in the presence of about 35 girls from kindergarteners to seniors in high school when a HSM song came on the radio. EVERY SINGLE GIRL IN THE PLACE started singing this song – so I had to know what it was.

When they told me that it was from the soundtrack of the High School Musical Disney movie and that the movie was a REAL musical, it first took me back to thoughts of Grease! But, I soon realized that this was no Grease. Disney had created a marketing juggernaut with HSM, and then HSM2 (and soon to be released HSM3)! Here’s what was included with the first movie…and I’m probably missing some of the elements:

  • The movie itself – debuted on Disney Channel (and then aired many, many, many times after; and on ABC Family, too)
  • The soundtrack – which just so happened to go on to become the BEST SELLING album of the year
  • The DVD – which includes 2 versions of the movie…one with the lyrics to every song displayed keroke-style and one without
  • The merchandise – WOW, the merchandise…sold everywhere!
  • The solo music careers of several of the movie’s stars (most of which were first timers to this)
  • The interactive web site
  • And so much more…

Then, they did it all over again with HSM2 last year. My then-turning-9-year-old daughter scheduled her August birthday party around the movie and invited several friends over to watch the premier. My wife had burned copies of the soundtrack – which was conveniently made available about 2-3 days prior to the premier – to hand out to all the girls after the party. And, we weren’t the only ones having a party. Just about everyone we know with kids in that age category were either having a party or attending one that night to watch!

SO, that brings me to Camp Rock. The premier was this past Friday night. And, again, people’s schedules were planned around the show. My neices were coming to visit their grandparents, but had to be back home in time for the movie. My own kids were showered and ready to go (without complaining) by the 8:00 start time. Our neighbors were going to a friend’s house to watch. And, do you know what else? My daughter and her friend watched it again the next day (we DVR-ed it of course)!

You can think of Disney whatever you want. But, what you can’t argue with is their extreme sense of marketing success. The best part about it, in my opinion – well there’s actually two things…1) the movies are not bad – meaning they are decent to watch as an adult (I can’t tell you how many times I sat and watched HSM1 with my kids…sadly, I probably know all the words, too!); and 2) the kids enjoy it and are sucked in to the marketing trap that we so boldly create for our own clients on a daily basis. And, I mean “trap” in the nicest way possible. Disney (and The Impact Group) effectively grabs the attention of its audience and creates a response in them. Impressive!

Now, I have to get home to watch Camp Rock again!

Matt White