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MouseStation 412 - Will the "Let The Memories Begin" Campaign Work?

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On today's show, MouseStation returns to the air as Brad Baker talks about the Let The Memories Begin campaign and Mike and Mark discuss their thoughts on the campaign.

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Feature: Will the "Let the Memories Begin" Campaign Work?

Recently, Mark talked with Brad Baker, Manager of Marketing for Disney Parks, about the "Let The Memories Begin" campaign.

Brad has worked on such campaigns as "What Will You Celebrate?," "Free on Your Birthday" and "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day." This year's campaign is called "Let the Memories Begin."

Let the Memories Begin takes a different approach, based on the guest and the very powerful, emotional memories they make in the parks. Over the years, guests have created memories that they can only create at Disney parks, and Disney wanted to create a campaign that showcased the memories made every day.

There are three main components to the campaign: a "memories hub", a series of television commercials and a "nighttime spectacular" in the parks. Guests are being encouraged to share their memories at the memories hub (link) by uploading their photos, videos and stories, and then sharing them via social media. There has been a great deal of positive response to this so far. The memories hub will be leveraged for the other two parts of the campaign.

Disney will take the images and stories shared at the memories hub and use them in both a series of television commercials and in the in-park nighttime show. The commercials take memorable moments (such as surprising children with a trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World) and show the actual home video footage to bring those moments to life for those who may be considering a trip to a Disney Park.

Some images will also be used in the Let the Memories Begin show that will be projected on the facades of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and "it's a small world" at Disneyland Park before each park's fireworks show. In all, over 500 images from both the memories hub and in-park photos shot that day by PhotoPass photographers will be used each night for the show, which will feature the new song "Let the Memories Begin." Permission will be sought for the use of any and all photos for the show, so nobody's image will appear on the castle without their approval. Not all of the details of how the show will work have been worked out yet, but everything should be in place by the time the show starts in early January.

The Steve Davison-produced show will be all projection, with no inflatables or anything else physical on the castle or small world facades. Brad thinks that people who don't like the idea of the show will change their mind after they see it. Mark and Mike are both in the "show me" camp.

The campaign is built around the idea that nothing more powerful and motivating to make you come to Disney Parks than to see real guests making memories in the parks. The memories begin when the decision is made to go, and continue forever after you return home and reminisce about the trip.

According to Brad, the campaign will honor the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World next October, and there will be no other specific celebration. We'll wait and see whether Disney sticks to that, whether they do another one-day celebration as they did with Epcot's 25th anniversary 3 years ago, or whether a full-fledged celebration is created.


The full-length "Let the Memories Begin" spot.

Mike and Mark discussed their thoughts about the campaign, and both were pretty positive on the TV commercials for engendering positive feelings toward the Disney Parks, but neither thought that either the TV spots or the new nighttime projection show would be sufficient to draw sufficient additional people to travel to the parks during the promotion. We felt that regular visitors would not be lured into making additional trips during the year and those considering a trip in the future would probably not find cause to move their trip forward into the next year by the campaign.

The projection show is only 7-10 minutes at night in the Magic Kingdom. Unless it's a blow-you-away spectacle on the scale of World of Color, it's not likely going to be much of a draw for people. Mark was of the opinion that more people would probably decide to travel because of a free dining promotion than the Let the Memories Begin promotion. Mike thinks that the campaign will set the stage for the next huge 18-month celebration blowout, which is bound to be a success by comparison.

Mark talked a bit about the one thing that is scheduled to celebrate Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary: The Florida Project, next summer's collectibles/trading expo, which will take place at Epcot's World Showplace September 9-11. Mark wrote a little about it in last week's Update.

In the meantime, Mike and Mark offered some ideas on how the promotion could be enhanced. Mike and Mark both had the idea of providing video recording opportunities, either as part of an online "mosaic" of videos or as a PhotoPass enhancement to include families relating the stories of their vacation memories while they are still on vacation. Mike came up with an idea for scavenger hunts or other interactive activities to help families make more memories on their vacation. Mike also had a thought of team of "Memory Makers" creating special memories for guests. Mark gave consideration to putting more "free-roaming" characters out in the parks for spontaneous meet-and-greet opportunities.

Mark and Mike both hoped that they were wrong in their assessment of the campaign as we currently understand it, but we'll have to wait and see. Perhaps we can get Brad back on the show some time next year and see whether the campaign is driving travel plans the way that they had planned.

In the meantime, what do you think?

Our thanks to Brad Baker for taking the time to sit with Mark, and to Laura Spencer for setting the interview up.

We're back!

Yes, we're finally back. We hope that it's for good, but we'll see how it goes. Steven Ng can no longer serve as audio engineer and sound editor, so Mike has taken on that task, with Mark serving as technical producer. With our current work schedules and family commitments, it looks like we'll be coming at you every two weeks at this point. We're hoping that this production schedule will enable us to continue to bring you the MouseStation on an ongoing basis.

Thanks for your support while we've been gone, and we're hoping that you'll continue to send us your feedback, as well as letting your friends know about the show. We'll get to the feedback that we received during our hiatus on a future show, but for now we're trying to keep the shows short to enable us to turn things around in a timely fashion.

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).