As I was watching the new animated movie, Home, I was taken away with happy, childish delight. I absolutely loved the characters! It was fun with its emotional highs and lows and kept me smiling long after the final credits. During the movie, I noticed that Oh, one of the main characters, sounded just like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory and quickly googled it (of course). I was right! It was then that I also noticed Rihanna was the voice of the lead female character, Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci. Before I could even finish my search, there was a scene where two of her songs were playing as the characters on screen debated the choice of songs. Marketing in the middle of a children’s movie?!! Yes! And it worked too. Home launched at a high for DreamWorks, matching hit movies like Madagascar 3 and Kung Fu Panda (King, 2015). But how did DreamWorks pull it off?
Well, if you can remember from the last post, companies must understand the audience that they are addressing. This helped Boohoo to go from loss to profit in a year. It’s the same here; DreamWorks, the producer of Home and maker of children’s animated movies, understood their audience. In this case, the target audience was children, specifically pre-teen girls (Yes, I know that I have no excuse as I’m 24). Throughout the movie you could see Tip, the leading female star, change her clothes (even in the middle of an alien invasion) and her hairstyle.
This is exactly as prescribed by theory. According to Jobber (2010), the key to marketing your product is to identify your target audience and then tailor the product to suit them. This is exactly what DreamWorks did. Girls in the audience would be keen to relate to Tip’s fashion sense and attitude, creating an attachment from the movie to the audience.
Furthermore, according to Styles (2013), preteens now strive to be fashionable and emulate their celebrities. Following this DreamWorks was able to attract these children through the use stars like Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez.
The company didn’t just stop there. Remember that debate over songs that I referred to at the beginning? It wasn’t just part of the movie but marketing. The movie aimed to highlight the songs of the celebrities who voiced characters in the movie and in doing so, promote them. But there’s always a bunch of songs in a children’s movie. It doesn’t appear to achieve anything. However, it does. DreamWorks follows a theoretical model, called the decision making unit, which is built on the fact that in an organisation or a family unit, there are several people behind purchasing decisions (Jobber, 2010). In this case, whilst children have little to no real buying power, the company understands that they can and do influence decisions to purchase. By utilising their love of celebrities and highlighting how fashionable it is to listen to certain music in the movie, it ensures that the audience leaves with the idea to listen to more of the same music and ultimately purchase the songs.
DreamWorks even went further to meet a need that the market has demanded. There has been a “gender imbalance across children’s television programmes” according to Kimberley Bassford (2015). Home through its inclusion of a black, female character in a world which is demanding more and more diversity in leading positions in business and media, ensured that that it was differentiated from its competitors and attracted a wider audience. Home’s launch attracted large percentages of Caucasian, Asian, African American and Hispanic audiences (King, 2015). This again goes straight back to theory. DreamWorks utilised a marketing oriented approach, whereby the company met the needs of the market through their product offering and in doing so, allowed them to be competitive (Jobber, 2010).
Ingenious isn’t it? All of this from a children’s movie! It just shows how much background work goes into everyday things that we consider normal and how getting it right using theories results in their success.
Have you noticed any hidden marketing techniques this week?? Let me know! Feel free to comment and share.
Bye for now xx
Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education
King, D. 2015. DreamWorks Animation Hits A ‘Home’ Run. CartoonBrew, [online] 29 March, Available at: < http://www.cartoonbrew.com/box-office-report/dreamworks-animation-hits-a-home-run-110830.html> [Accessed on 1 June 2015].
Styles, R. 2013. Rise of the Stepford Teen: Experts warn pressure to conform will lead to a generation of clones obsessed with looks. DailyMail, [online] 28 July. Available at: < http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2380404/Experts-warn-pressure-conform-lead-generation-clones-obsessed-looks.html> [Accessed on 1 June 2015].
Bassford, K. 2015. Guest Post: Why We Desperately Need More Girls On Screen for Both Our Sons and Daughters. Women and Hollywood. [blog] 12 May, Available at: http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/guest-post-why-we-desperately-need-more-girls-on-screen-for-both-our-sons-and-daughters-20150512> [Accessed on 1 June 2015].