I am proud to profess a certain ignorance when it comes to the characters and antics of the characters in the two (and soon to be three) High School Musical movies. I think there’s one called Troy, and another called Gabriella. There might be a sassy one called Maybelline who really wants to get in touch with nature, and almost certainly a sports jock called Chuck who is a big teddy bear at heart. While I take a few moments to dry-retch into a bucket, here’s Disney’s write up on the new High School cinematic extravanganza:
Disney’s “High School Musical” phenomenon leaps onto the big screen in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR, which finds high school seniors Troy (ZAC EFRON) and Gabriella (VANESSA HUDGENS) facing the prospect of being separated from one another as they head off in different directions to college. Joined by the rest of the Wildcats, they stage an elaborate spring musical reflecting their experiences, hopes and fears about the future…
Great! The thing is, no one in the Western world is going to be immune from the clutches of this movie and it’s throngs of fans all sporting High School Musical t-shirts, bags, coats, even underwear (yes, this is really disturbing!) While their rooms will be decked out with CDs, DVDs, posters, books and all sorts of money-spinning paraphernalia.
The key message of High School Musical is: Be Yourself.
Think about it. This is Disney, remember, founded by a man who insisted that his company would eventually become ubiquitous and the global reach of which is truly staggering: merchandising alone, in 2007, was worth $27 billion. According to Motley Fool:
Disney wants to focus on “branded quality product” to drive its growth. Customers have plenty of entertainment choices today, so it only makes sense to win them over by making the best content you possibly can. Suck the consumers into your system with a strong product like High School Musical or Pirates of the Caribbean, and that one movie ticket can turn into hundreds of dollars in branded retail goods, online advertising revenue, theme park curiosity, and all the rest.
Do this often enough with hit properties on parade, and you’re building a mighty strong company brand that translates into customer loyalty and near-automatic blockbuster hits.
Still think that High School Musical is about “being yourself”? Now, go to the website, click on “Partners”, and take a look at the other companies getting in on the act — if you are forced to watch the movie then watch out for the product placement; it’s bound to be there. Carefully selected to ensure minimum crossover while ensuring maximum lifestyle reach, we have: Sara Lee (I wonder what the characters eat), Honda (I wonder what they drive), BP (I wonder what they fill up their Honda’s with), Champion (I wonder what they wear), JCPenney (I wonder where they shop), and so on.
Get in on the act and your brand can benefit from the great High School Musical synergies too.
If you really want your kids to be themselves, then why not take them for a walk in the countryside, a swim in the river, a play on the beach, or just have a day talking with them. Whatever you choose to do, make it real.