Sunday, March 28, 2010

The TRON: Legacy Marketing Campaign Strikes Again!

Whoever is running this campaign is amazing. Simply amazing. All the stops have been pulled out for one single movie which is still almost nine months away from arriving in theaters.

I've blogged before about some of the things already done to promote TRON: Legacy, but in this post I really went into depth on the subject. I apologize in advance for those of you who will be bored by this post, and I will hopefully have something else up in the next few days.

At the 2008 Comic Con in San Diego, CA, a clip was shown of a possible upcoming sequel to the popular movie TRON. This clip, showing basically an updated lightcycle scene from the original film, was used to judge the popularity of that sequel, then called TR2N. The reaction was apparently enough to gain funding for this project, which went into high gear for an ASAP release. Little news on the project came out until a year later when, in that same theater, that same clip was shown and released on YouTube, but now called TRON: Legacy. Meanwhile, a shopfront near the Convention had been rented out and turned into a replica of Flynn's, the arcade owned by the main character Kevin Flynn. An organization known as Flynn Lives became public and helped people from the convention unscramble clues and find the arcade. Besides being able to play real games from the movie (Space Paranoids and TRON come to mind), a replica of the new lightcycle was displayed in a backroom. Those that were lucky enough to go went home and posted all over the Internet about the fun times they had.

Things died down after that point, and it seemed like the arcade would be an isolated incident until the beginning of this year. New posts were suddenly put on the Flynn Lives website in late February asking for help. This help was in the form of Zero Hour. For this, contacts were sent to major cities across the world to meet up with the members of the Flynn Lives base that got the message. The contacts gave out a cell phone to the first person to show up, and the Flynn Lives headquarters then called them, directing them to a package where they would find three cards with codes, among other souvenirs. Once all the codes were entered in a special area of the Flynn Lives website (see above), a link to was opened. This site listed times and places of a special meet up of fans, but only to those who got tickets. The Event turned out to be a screening of the new TRON: Legacy 3D trailer about to be released before Alice in Wonderland. Some events were limited to the trailer, while others got a Q&A session and free t-shirts or posters.

However, this time things sped up instead of slowing down. A new "glitch" supposedly created by Kevin Flynn himself allowed members to find their way to an online version of the non-3D version of the trailer, as well as an escape route directly to it. The Flynn Lives site also opened up "discussion boards", an area where fabricated members could post regarding Kevin Flynn. Several links can be found there, including a video showing the making of several "bits" that select members received in the mail. (For those of you not familiar with the original movie, these would not make sense or be of interest to you.)

One of the links led to a challenge game for those familiar with the local arcade that showed symbolic pictures of video games old and new. The picture would represent the game in some way (such as a guitar with a cape for Guitar Hero). Those who could name all fifty-five games, with or without help from online sources, were treated to their prize, the opportunity to create their own ENCOM ID badge (ENCOM is a made-up company in TRON that makes video games and is on the leading edge of technology today). The badges were explained as being for future infiltration, and as long as you gave up your address and a picture of yourself, you would be mailed a badge for free. I received one, and I have pictures at the end of the post.

Once you received you badge, you were given an employee number which could be used to log on to the ENCOM intranet, where you would find more fabricated articles and several emails from company employees, reminding you to turn in paperwork, or informing you of who received Employee of the Month, etc. There was also information regarding a Press Conference to be held ion San Francisco on April 2nd, 2010. This was also mentioned in an interview IGN did with Alan Bradley, head of ENCOM. He will be the speaker at the April 2 Press Conference, and few seem top know what exactly will be announced there. I'm assuming the badges will be required to get in to the Conference, but I don't know for sure.

Like I mentioned before, I got my own ENCOM employee badge recently. They came in a rather nondescript padded envelope, with a return address of Flynn Lives, followed by a P.O. Box number in San Diego. (My personal information had been edited out of the pictures below)

Opening the Package, out tumbled my badge. It was very professional looking, on a company lanyard and everything.

The front of the badge featured the picture you submitted, your name, and your employee ID number, which was used to gain access to the Intranet. The Security features were a nice touch as well, making it seem authentic.

The back featured a warning telling people to stop the person wearing this badge if the picture on the front and the person wearing it did not match. It also had a line of writing near the bottom that read "ENCOM is serious about security." I thought it was a nice touch.

Sorry about the poor picture quality, but that gives you an idea of how the badges look if you didn't receive one yourself.

I keep thinking about the cost of this marketing scheme, apparently still in early stages, and the cost is mind-blowing. I can't think of anything that Disney has done on this large of a scale for a movie or attraction or anything. If it costs one dollar to ship each of those badges in the US, and even more abroad, the cost is staggering. I thank Disney for the opportunity to participate in this enthralling campaign and I await further developments with bated breath.

Oh, and if you want to see the new trailer released with Alice in Wonderland, check out this link.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Since it's Spring Break for me here, I thought I would try to post a few times during the week. I still will be busy with homework (yes, school never rests) but I will try to create a few small posts in the upcoming week.

Today, I thought I would start out with something cool I stumbled upon last night. The Sorcerer's Apprentice apparently has a trailer out for its July 16 release. This surprised me, since Toy Story 3 comes out in June and I had no idea that this film was even close to being finished. From the look of it, it obviously has little or nothing to do with the Fantasia clip of the same name, but it seems to be an exciting story of its own. I want to see this, since it looks like a good film and because Nicholas Cage is a good actor.

Here's to hoping this film is as great as the trailer is...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fantasyland Forest Expansion

Okay, so the original point of this post was for me to share some recent information I had come across regarding the Fantasyland Forest Expansion at Walt Disney World. Then I decided to add other things to the post to talk about, including World of Color updates and regarding marketing for TRON Legacy. Then the post became too long and I never had time to finish it, and then my sister was complaining because I've in the past started posts which I never finished, so I decided to just break it down into small posts that will be spread over time.

So, without further ado, the original post about the Fantasyland Forest Expansion:

I recently found two articles from WDW News Today regarding this new expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. If I had more time, I would talk about them myself, and then link, but I'm going to just link to the first one here, and talk a little about the second here, but you can follow that link to find out more. Just FYI, the first link contains pictures of the actual model of the expansion while the second is an excerpt from an article in D23 about the expansion.

Rather than remodeling Fantasyland, much like what happened at Disneyland in 1983, this refurbishment is an expansion that will be set away from the rest of Fantasyland, now called "Fantasyland Proper" behind some sort of wall or separation. In following with the forest theme, expect an abundance of landscaping here with water, trees, and themed shops and attractions. A large part of the new area will be the new Little Mermaid area, where the new attraction from California Adventure will also be built in Florida. In addition, the new area will receive a Belle area (complete with recreated town, restaurant, and storytelling), as well as Pixie Hollow (also from the Disneyland Resort). I hear that the Pixie Hollow will be much different than the one found here in California, utilizing the Living Character technology modeled at the D23 Expo last Fall.

While much of this is new to guests, one of the most innovative parts of the expansion is the new Dumbo area. No longer will parents wait in hour-long lines for a quick spin on this anti-climactic ride. The new ride system will feature a ticketing wait system (much like that found at a local deli, I'm presuming) for a ride on one of two identical rides. In addition to doubling capacity, the ticket system will be utilized to give guests the chance to try their hand at a selection of carnival games while waiting their turn. No more queues, no more mess, I guess? We'll have to see how this turns out, but it does look interesting.

Again, for more, go ahead and venture over to the two links above, where a more detailed explanation and pictures await.

I really suggest you check out the links, because this project is going to be just about as amazing as the DCA expansion currently going on. It will nearly double the size of Fantasyland and make it the largest land in the Magic Kingdom. This project will take over the area currently occupied by Mickey's Toontown Fair, but about the only good thing there was the meet-and-greets, which will certainly be moved somewhere else to accommodate guests.

In other news, my sister will once again leave for the summer to work at Walt Disney World, so be sure to start following her blog, Disney World Girl, once again in late May. I also hope to get her to send pictures, videos, and other tidbits to share here with you.

That's all for now. So long, folks!