Walt Disney: Mobile Video Gold: Disney’s Interactive Mobile Video for Pirates of the Caribbean

Campaign Summary

To create buzz for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Disney developed a mobile campaign, which used a new type of mobile HD video.


Objective and Context:

Going into Memorial Day weekend 2017, Disney created a campaign for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales that would build buzz among fans by immersing them in the world of the movie. Disney partnered with the agencies OMDe and AdColony to become the first brand to use AdColony’s Aurora HD Video. This new mobile video format enabled interactivity with video content in a way that wasn’t possible before.

As the first brand to use this new technology, Disney had the opportunity to be first to market and present consumers with an elevated interactive mobile video experience. It had to develop creative suited to this new format, including a custom video for the film specifically for the mobile campaign. The new ad format would drive true interactivity with the video. Disney measured effectiveness by looking at how frequently consumers engaged with it.

Target Audience:

The target audience was segmented into four distinct demographics: kids, multicultural people between the ages of 18 and 34, teens between the ages of 13 and 17, and parents.

Creative Strategy:

Leveraging the new capabilities of AdColony’s Aurora HD Video technology, Disney created a virtual treasure hunt that encouraged consumers to pay attention to the trailer and look for specific items.

Consumers were instructed to find three specific items during the film, and when the item came on screen during the video, the user could tap their phone to “collect the treasure.” For each piece of treasure found, the consumer was awarded with an exclusive piece of video content available to view when the trailer was finished playing. The custom trailer was built around the three treasures. Each was on the screen long enough that consumers would be able to react and collect them but not so long that they were guaranteed to automatically get all three (and if they didn’t get all three, they were incentivized to play again).

The creative tapped into the new graphical capabilities of Aurora HD Video, including custom particle water graphics that splashed over the screen at a specific moment in the video. The unit also leveraged haptic effects, so when viewers successfully collected treasure, their phones vibrated to highlight that the treasure was found.


Overall Campaign Execution:

To test the effectiveness of the new Aurora HD Video technology, Disney ran an A/B creative test in which the campaign was compared against the same video but without the interactive elements. The Aurora HD Video campaigns for AdColony had more engagement than the standard video campaign, demonstrating that interactive elements truly moved the needle.

Mobile Execution:

Aurora HD Video allowed for an entirely new video ad experience that consumers had never seen before. The creative incentivized consumers to watch the entire trailer so they wouldn’t miss any treasure. By rewarding viewers with additional content from the film, Disney was able to get viewers excited about the opportunity to engage even further.

If all treasures were not collected, users could “Play Again” to experience the interactive video treasure hunt once more, driving even further engagement with the video content.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth film in the series. Disney did not necessarily have to introduce the franchise and instead could focus on bringing something new to the table that would allow people to engage with the familiar franchise in a new way. The launch of the HD video was an opportunity for Disney to create excitement among fans with original content. Goals for this campaign were exceeded. Metrics included:

  • Engagement: 46 times higher than competitors’ benchmarks
  • Viewable Completion Rate: Three times higher than Moat industry benchmarks
  • Viewability: Two times higher than industry average
  • Press: Adweek, Mobile Marketer, Marketing Land, VentureBeat, The Drum
  • Film earnings: $62.9 million during opening weekend, and $139 million in the U.S. and $603.6 million globally

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Mobile Video | Awards: Finalist