The Design Rangers Camp Blog is our journal of marketing & design tips, outdoor adventures, and creative inspiration.

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Disney shows its wild side

When you think of the Disney empire, creative is a word you already associate with the brand. Typically, the mention of Uncle Walt conjures up images of the all-mighty mouse or one of the many animated splendors that come out of the magic castle.

It’s doubtful however that many would envision a talking wine bottle looking for a date with food (a campaign for Epcot’s International Food and Wine festival). Or an ad showing Yoda, using the force at luggage claim (in a campaign for Star Wars Weekends). Yet these are exactly the kind of fun (and funny) ideas and campaigns coming out of Disney’s “Yellow Shoes” in-house creative department.


Or take the example of the campaign for the Disney Princess half-marathon. It would have been easy to take a group-shot of Disney’s many animated princesses and call it a day.  But by combining a classic icon with the unexpected, you get a much more powerful and targeted message. The theme worked so well, that Disney created real glass-slipper running shoes for display alongside other athletic shoes at Foot Locker, the key sponsor.

disney pricness half-marathon

The Rangers had the exciting opportunity to attend Will Gay’s presentation to the Pikes Peak Advertising Federation that provided rare insight to the creative engine that drives the creative look for Disney’s resort brands. Will, the creative director for Yellow Shoes, showed us that even under the seemingly restrictive brand that is Disney, big ideas and creativity still rule the roost.

Besides being a fun and entertaining presentation, the talk sparked dialog at the Ranger Camp about the importance of creative play and the ideas it can create.  The big take-away for us is that you should always be pushing for innovative and smart creative, even if what you have is already working for you. Disney has a proven formula that’s worked through the ages, so why step outside the box? Because it works, and it keeps the Disney brand from becoming stale. As Will put it, “If you entertain people, they forget that they are being advertised to.” What ads or brands stand out in your mind as innovative, creative, entertaining or willing to push the envelope? We look forward to hearing your favorites.

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