The “Mr and Mrs Incredible” Disneyland Paris Campaign – My Two Cents

In this holiday season, the year is almost over and most of us are running like crazy to wrap up our work in time and to buy some gifts for our siblings and friends. Last week, the buzzword that stuck to my head was “Groupon” which finally landed to Montreal. In the meantime, I ate a bad meal at a restaurant I went because of a Tuango ticket I bought two months ago on an impulsive buying move (damn marketers!). Therefore, I won’t discuss about Groupon since you should already be fed up with that news! Instead, I decided to give you my two cents, as Kent Brockman would say, about a marketing campaign that has landed in Europe earlier this year, that is to say, the “Mr and Mrs Incredible” Disneyland Paris campaign. So let’s jump feet first.

The situation

It is a well-documented fact that Disneyland Paris has had financial difficulties since its creation in 1992, due to unclear managerial objectives, strategies and goals, a questionable location and a ferocious nearby indirect competition. However, at the beginning of July 2010, Disneyland Paris decided to launch a marketing campaign that caught my attention, but unfortunately it caught my attention after I went to Paris in June 2010.

The campaign’s idea

As part of the Disneyland Paris 2010 campaign, multiple emails where sent to influential bloggers that may help to spread the word that Disneyland Paris is changing. Here is the message that was sent to some of my fellow bloggers in the United Kingdom (UK):

“Mr and Mrs Incredible will be landing in your Facebook Page to celebrate the New Generation Festival in Disneyland Paris. Even worse: they kiss at the end. In front of all your friends.

Go to, choose your favorite characters and make them land in your Facebook page, for the best and mostly for the worst. This is gonna be rough!”

The micro-website for the Disneyland Paris campaign
The micro-website for the Disneyland Paris campaign

The micro-website for this campaign offers you to make one of three groups of characters land to your Facebook account in an unconventional way, and in one of four languages (French, English, Italian and Spanish). However, I must admit that the selected URL for the campaign is not really a good choice, but it could have been worse for sure compared to some micro-website URLs I can observe at metro stations every morning. Furthermore, the creative usage of Facebook connect (see the video below) is hitting you right in the face whatever your nationality is. Furthermore, aside from the creative aspect of this campaign there are multiple points of discussion concerning the positioning of this campaign that could be taken in consideration to judge the effectiveness of this campaign.

Point 1 – The competition

When individuals/tourists are flying to Paris, it is generally not to visit an amusement park but more to visit museums, monuments, and/or to enjoy the shopping, the great food, the crazy metro and the French accent. Thus, putting Disneyland Paris on the consideration set of tourists and also Parisians is not an easy task, especially since amusement park are not as present in the European tradition as they are in the North American one. Thus, for the emotional appeal, I like this campaign.

Point 2 – The 3Ws of targeting

Moreover, the 3Ws of marketing could be analyzed, that is to say: (1) when to target? (2) who to target? and (3) where to target?

When to target?

In the case of amusement parks, at the beginning of the season and maybe some time in the middle should be the optimal moment to launch a marketing campaigns, but most budget should focus at the beginning of the season. This campaign was officially launched on July 2nd 2010 which is in the middle of the season.

Who to target?

The teens, the kids or the parents? That is the question. So who is going to amusement parks accompanied with parents? The answer, kids with age lower than 12, which imply that most of their parents are aged between 25 and 40. Thus, targeting these parents may be the solution! And what about the teens? They are coming without their parents anyway, but they may be mainly local consumers. All in all, most of these consumers have Facebook and are heavily present online, which suggests that that the use of Facebook connect is an appropriate tool in this case.

Where to target?

So where to find potential visitors? Where are these people physically coming from and how to find them? For the 25 to 40 years old young couple, they may be mostly in France, but also in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain. Don’t forget the United States since they are rollercoaster fanatics. Thus, the campaign could have included a version for the Americans (US) and the Germans. I don’t think it would have taken that much time. And what about Japanese which you find everywhere in Paris? The problem is that they are not necesarily on Facebook but mainly on Mixi, which could be labelled as the Japanese Facebook.

Point 3 – The main objectives

For this type of campaign, there are mainly two objectives which are: (1) to increase the number of tickets sold for the amusement park, and (2) to increase brand awareness. The first objective is a short-term one, which is to sell more tickets for the amusement park right away before a potential bankruptcy can occur, while the second one is more a long-term one, which is to increase the amount of individuals talking about the campaign and the amusement park to eventually get into the consideration set of these individuals when they will be heading to Paris.


So what do you think of this campaign? If you would have planned a trip to Paris this year, would it have an impact on your decision to go to Disneyland Paris with friends, kids or family?

Enjoy the ride!


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Demystifying Viral Marketing – 7 Myths of Viral Marketing Campaigns

“Viral marketing” – referred to as “online word-of-mouth marketing” – can be considered a buzzword in most organizations when it comes to e-marketing strategies, as many organizations want to launch a viral marketing campaign. However, few organizations are conducting state-of-the-art viral marketing campaigns and few of them are really aware of the myths surrounding this buzzword. In quest for some common myths around viral marketing campaigns, I recently read an article entitled: “The ten worst viral marketing campaigns”, which gave me an idea as to where some organizations fail to achieve their objectives. In this way, this post is an attempt to regroup 7 of the most common myths surrounding the viral marketing phenomenon.


1. Viral Marketing is Easy

Unfortunately for managers and fortunately for e-marketing consultants and agencies, viral marketing is anything but easy. As discussed by social networks guru Duncan Watts, for each successful viral marketing campaign, there are many that fail. However, to increase the chances that it actually works, the viral marketing strategy should be under the direction of e-marketing experts (unlike in the illustration at the top) and part of a well-defined online marketing plan. Frameworks such as the SOSTAC© framework, developed by consultant and best-selling author PR Smith, could be used. This framework consists of the following six components:
1. (S) Situation analysis: Where are we now?
2. (O) Objectives: Where do we want to be?
3. (S) Strategies: How do we get there?
4. (T) Tools: Which tactical tools do we use to implement strategy?
5. (A) Actions: Which action plans are required to implement strategy?
6. (C) Control: How do we manage the strategy process?

2. Viral Marketing Campaigns are Short-Term Strategies

Viral Marketing Campaigns should be short – generally a maximum of 3 months – sometimes 15 days are enough to spread the message. However, the duration of the campaign should not impact the horizon of the strategy. As one of the fundamental objectives of viral marketing campaigns is to gain a larger database, viral marketing campaigns should be considered as long-term strategies that should be used to attract new users and propagate awareness, to thereafter through other e-marketing strategies turn them into loyal users (consumers).

3. To start a Viral Marketing Campaign it Takes a High Number of Users

Many managers think that you need lots of users (reachable via their e-mail) as a baseline to spread the word. As in many aspects of life, quality is better than quantity. In this way, the first important question to ask is how many emails of users your organization has in its current database, and in relation to this, to what degree are those users involved. An organization is better off with a small number of users that will at least read the email sent to them, than with a high number of users where most of them won’t even open the email you sent. The second, less intuitive question to ask is to whom these people are connected. I agree the answer may be “I don’t know”. However, one of the worst kinds of database a company could have would be one where everyone in the database is connected to one another and has huge overlap in the people present in their social network. This kind of database is generally a sure failure for viral marketing. What is most needed is a small number of the “right” users, not necessarily the influencers, but more precisely the ones that are connected to these influencers and that are willing to positively propagate the information, a group that Seth Godin labelled the “hive”.

4. Viral Marketing Campaigns are only for Large Companies

It is equally possible to go viral for small companies than for international ones. Once again, the database is an important starting point. One other important component to take in consideration is the potential number of users the company could reach via this strategy. In this way, an organization of any size operating in a B2B perspective doesn’t really have a clear advantage of launching this type of campaign. Thus, the size of the organization doesn`t really matter, especially considering that small organizations with lower market shares have more to gain than the ones with high market share.

5. If the Product is Trendy Users Will Propagate

Even though it is proven that some products can be considered as trendier than others and more willing to propagate, if your online marketing plan is sloppy, and if the viral marketing campaign is not as trendy as the product, your chances of growth are quite diminished. In this way, propagation is not directly influenced by the product, it is influenced by the content of the campaign, which I agree can be influenced by the type of product. However, for the campaign to get viral it should either generate reactions such as “ah”, “oh”, “hahaha”, “wow” or “wack”, and/or imply strong incentives. Important questions that may arise may include: (1) is it worth my time to send it to a friend? (2) Will my friends think I am spamming them by sending them this message? (3) How would I react if my friend had sent me that message?

6. Viral Marketing Campaigns are Costless

Some organizations might think that viral marketing is costless and that all you need is: (1) a database, (2) good content and (3) a message (sometimes incorporating the content) that will be sent to many potential viewers. However, even though it is true that you can start a viral marketing campaign with these components, there can be big money involved there, since all in all, a viral marketing campaign is like an architectural project, costs are higher than predicted and are related to the quality.

As organizations may know, the sentence “build it and they will come” from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams doesn’t prove to be true in e-marketing. Thus, the propagation of a viral marketing campaign starts when users are becoming aware of the existence of the campaign. In this way, for users to become aware of the viral marketing campaign, what is first needed is to contact them. A problem that may arise as stated in the third point is a lack of quality of the database. This problem can be solved by buying a list of e-mails, for which the price of each thousand e-mails may vary between $100 and $250 depending on the agency and the specificity of the list. Furthermore, another way to spread the word is through advertising, but once again not at any cost. The procedure of using both viral and advertising for a campaign is labelled as seeding. And concerning the costs, what about the personalization of e-mails, and with which software? And most importantly, what is the content of the campaign? What are the incentives?

7. The Outcomes of Viral Marketing Campaigns are Hard to Measure

Overall the outcomes of a viral marketing campaign should not be hard to measure. Although it is trickier to measure the impact of a viral campaign when it propagates on other websites, something sure is that it is not hard to measure what is going on our organization website. As stated earlier, one of the objectives of a viral marketing campaign is to increase the number of users in our database, this would be a first metric. Other metrics can be used:

1. Number of unique visitors on the website dedicated to the campaign (awareness);
2. Number of purchases related to the campaign;
3. Computation of multichannel KPIs;
4. Positioning of the brand on the web through online marketing reputation engines.

In conclusion, these 7 myths are only some common examples of myths surrounding viral marketing campaigns. Many other myths could be added, any ideas?

Jean-Francois Belisle

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