Every brand and organization out there these days is trying to do something clever with 140 characters.
Leave it to Disney to launch a promotion by gathering 140 of its movie characters, lining them all up in the shape of a hashtag, and tweeting the photo.
The tweet and accompanying videos trumpeted a bicoastal “all-night extravaganza” on Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the family travel season, Disney Parks’ Social Media Director Thomas Smith wrote in a blog post.
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) February 28, 2014
While the stunt was accompanied by a press release, the success underscores the power of social and digital platforms to score retweets, shares, and mainstream media impressions from mere images and video.
BuzzFeed, Fox News and others
BuzzFeed ran a picture of the image under the headline “Presenting the greatest hashtag to ever exist: thank you Disney!” Fox 8 WGHP ran a piece that itself scarcely differed from a press release, blaring that “Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and 135 of their friends came together to trumpet the countdown to ‘Rock Your Disney Side: 24-Hours’ this Memorial Day Weekend.”
Disney pushed the story Feb 28 with a 31-second YouTube video that had been shared 620,000 times as of this writing. Despite the trend toward shorter videos, a second, nearly two-minute video is doing even better, with about 674,000 shares.
It’s titled “140 Characters Tweet — Behind the Scenes,” but don’t let that fool you. It offers a scripted view of Mickey Mouse helping round up the characters, who are distracted shooting “selfies” as they line up.
Amid all the tweeting and sharing, much of the media appears to have buried the lede (or omitted it altogether). People attending the Memorial Day event are invited to “show their Disney Side” by dressing in costumes of Magic Kingdom heroes and villains, something that one observer says usually isn’t allowed.
“The event goes against the usual Disney rule that states adults may not enter the Parks in costume,” according to the blog Theme Park Investigator. “The event will likely be popular, with the promise of Disney Villains a dream come true for many Disney fans.”
Good vs. evil
That seemed to impress CBSMiami, which reported, “The celebration on both coasts will feature a multitude of events showcasing the good-vs.-evil of classic Disney stories including character meet-and-greets, special entertainment, event merchandise and special food and beverage offerings.”
As for Disney fans, naturally, they went nuts, too, with things like a Darth Mickey Mouse photo on Instagram and this tweet:
— Steven Miller (@samhowzit) February 28, 2014
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