The Disney Franchise Synergy Recipe

Disney Franchise vet Eva Steortz visited USC Marshall recently to drop major Disney marketing knowledge on us unworthy earthlings. For 20+ years, Eva lived and breathed entertainment franchise best practices. If you’re looking to cook up an ever-COOL, multi-billion dollar blockbuster or consumer product strategy, this could be a good place to start.




Cooking Preparation: TWDC Brand Promise

The Walt Disney Company promises one thing: Special entertainment with heart. Looking at Lion King, Zootopia, Inside Out and Force Awakens, it’s safe to say that they consistently deliver. CEO Bob Iger declared 3 priorities for the MouseHouse during his time as Chief:
1) International Expansion

2) Technological Innovation

3) Quality Content
BOOM. Now we’re cooking. Not sure if you have a franchise on your hands? Ask yourself this (Disney often does):
What do we have as a company that we can insist each company will make a priority? Is it a gang of ever-COOL pirates or an assembly of superheroes with real stories? Is it a timeless tale of people and droids struggling to establish their identities in a turbulent, inter-galactic setting (Just an example). Pick a franchise and set your budgets on Med-Low, because the right application of these principles could mean major ROI for you and your studio. Let’s begin!


Pirates, Avengers, Star Wars & Cars

Bake in the broad appeal; make it favorable for lil’ bro, mom, dad, older sister and grandpa by appealing to childhood themes
Chop up the stories to find elements that would fit a comic book:  interconnected stories, good vs. evil, equal parts Humor & Adventure, Romance and Action (1 cup each)

Photo courtesy of Vanity Fair


The Avengers Special

(Add these fire ingredients to assemble worldwide audiences)
– Proactive film release dating
– End credits surprises
– Partnerships with adult brands
– Immersive websites
Warning: Keep COOL by avoiding infant/toddler products

Photo courtesy of Agents of Geek

The Star Wars Sauce

(Substitute these ingredients for Imperial-style box office domination)
– 1 killer female lead
– Multiple iconic, lovable villains
– 1 endless universe
– 10+ inimitable environments (planets, galaxies)
– Weapons and war ships moms would buy
– Newsworthy product launches (i.e. The Force Unboxing)

And finally, as your master franchise bakes, boils, stews and sizzles: Take Eva’s advice and “Say your crazy out loud.” Scream your wildest marketing goal into the flames of the kitchen where no one can hear. You are the Top Chef, and you can make $2B of Cars toys and tees fly off the shelves if that’s what your little marketer heart desires.
Run, run with the synergy recipe!
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