December Goes Out Like a Lion
Topic Market Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning
Key Words Target market, aspirational groups, differentiated marketing
InfoTrac Reference A138281610
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News Story 

As Americans packed in 2005 like so many plastic Santas, menorahs and nativity scenes, Hollywood execs were holding their collective breath in hopes that Disney's "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" would continue working its "deep magic" for the movie industry.

Reeling from abysmal box office sales and facing stiff competition from the home entertainment center, Hollywood closed out the year by premiering C.S. Lewis' faith-inspired classic "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"--a savvy move some saw as straight out of Mel Gibson's playbook.

The first of seven in Lewis' much-beloved "Chronicles of Narnia" series, "Wardrobe" tells the story of four children who find a magical wardrobe through which they travel to the wintry world of Narnia, an enchanting land populated with talking beavers, dwarfs, and other fanciful creatures. The charming story, adored by adults and children alike, famously doubles as a religious allegory, complete with a benevolent lion whose death and return to life spoils the power of the evil White Witch.

As an emerging blockbuster hit, "Wardrobe" may be important to the survival of Disney's movie unit, which lost an estimated $300 million during the summer. Disney has applied the same marketing muscle to "Wardrobe" that it leveraged for its 1994 film "The Lion King," which turned into a $1 billion business with consumer products, DVDs and a hit Broadway show.

Though movie critics have noted similarities between the marketing of Disney's "Wardrobe" and that of Mel Gibson's "Passion," such comparisons have limits: "Passion" appealed primarily to overtly religious groups, but "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" has courted a diverse audience comprised of fantasy-buffs, video game players, faith groups, and Disney's core audience of families and kids.


According to the article, what did Disney marketers do to promote "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" in a way that courted every possible constituency?


Do you think Disney can succeed by selling "Wardrobe" on two tracks, as a sort of cross between The Lord of the Rings and The Passion of the Christ? Why or why not?

Source Ronald Grover, "The Lion, The Witch, And The Franchise; Disney is counting on Narnia to reel in an audience of kids, gamers, and Christians," Business Week, Nov 7, 2005 i3958 p62.
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