#6 Best Use of Consumer-Generated Content
DISNEY DREAM JOB
AGENCY: Disney Parks; CareerBuilder.com
One man spent time constructing a miniature facsimile of the jungle boat ride in his bathtub. A woman strolled through a New York City subway station dressed as Sleeping Beauty. Why? All for the chance to land one of five dream jobs being offered by Disney Parks.
In partnership with CareerBuilder.com, Disney developed a program to offer 25 people a chance to play fantasy roles at Disneyland. It selected five “dream jobs” that people could apply for on the Web site: Jungle Cruise Skipper, Pirate, Haunted Mansion Butler/Maid, Princess-in-Waiting and Parade Performer.
“We were looking for an opportunity to activate and engage consumers,” says Duncan Wardle, Disney vice president of global integration and public relations. “This also was a test for us to see if we were ready to give up some of our brand controls.”
The response to the January 2007 posting was nearly overwhelming: More than 10,000 people submitted some very outlandish videos in support of their desire to be a fantasy character, including one video from Iran.
“It literally became ‘American Idol’ meets YouTube,” Wardle recalls. “And just like ‘American Idol,’ there were some appalling ones and some hysterical ones.”
Through six weeks of the video submissions, Disney ultimately fielded 35% more applications at CareerBuilder.com than it had drawn for any previous job campaign.
People not only created their own costumes to portray pirates and princesses, but conducted local marketing campaigns to muster support for the applications. They also spawned a viral video campaign, sending copies of their submissions to friends and families to garner support for their individual dream job causes.
The program also inspired viral interaction between the finalists and grand-prize winners on social networking sites, Disney sites, YouTube and MySpace. Many of them subsequently recounted their dream job experiences online, and planned a vacation reunion for the winners at a Disney Park last December. A number of their efforts were rewarded with full-time jobs, well beyond the scope of the intended promotion.
The success of the promotion had its own unplanned impact on Disney: This year, Disney Parks conducted a search for a chief magic official, whose duties will include meeting the most valuable player at this season’s Super Bowl.
“It really has given us permission to do new things in the realm of online social media,” Wardle says.
And the dream jobs effect didn’t end there. Last December, Disney conducted a nationwide search for a Disney Mom’s Panel, which drew 10,000 applications and led to the creation of a group of mothers who field questions online about Disney Parks from other parents. Some of those not selected formed a Mickey Mom’s Club.
IDEA TO STEAL: BRAND CONTROL
Putting a measure of brand control in consumers’ hands can be a marketer’s dream come true.