Disney games were once among some of the highest quality titles on the market, thanks to the likes of The Lion King, Aladdin and Castle Of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse.
With Epic Mickey and Split Second on the way, Disney Interactive Studios is well on the way to restoring this reputation and The Princess and the Frog is a crucial step towards that goal.
Based on the upcoming movie, the game follows the classic tale of a prince turned into a frog seeking the kiss of a princess to restore him to his true form – mirroring the Hollywood Disney’s own efforts in returning to its traditional animated feature films.
“The Princess and the Frog is a new Disney classic that will stand the test of time,” says UK marketing manager Steve Woodward. “Like previous smash hit franchises such as The Lion King, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid – and their game tie-ins – we’re expecting the game to continue selling through strongly well beyond the theatrical and home entertainment release.
“Through the game, fans will love being able to relive their favourite moments from the movie, interact with the compelling characters and experience Tiana’s magical world together with their family and friends.”
Available for Wii and DS, The Princess and the Frog offers two different experiences for Nintendo’s broad audiences.
The Wii edition focuses on family fun in the form of mini-games, with players exploring the movie’s different locations to unlock new challenges.
All mini-games can be played with up to four players, with eight playable characters and more than 30 activities to choose from, including dancing, cooking and dressing up.
Meanwhile, the DS version is a more traditional platformer, with players guiding the princess through a series of 27 levels based on key scenes from the upcoming movie.
There are also a range of mini-games available, allowing players to perform a variety of music and cook traditional New Orleans cuisine.
In addition to boasting the traditional Disney charm in its animation, The Princess and the Frog also features characters that are set to become icons in the company’s portfolio.
In particular, the film’s protagonist Princess Tiana crosses over with the existing Disney Princess brand.
DISNEY’S FAMILY REUNION
Given the importance of this release for the entire Disney company, the marketing campaign has brought Disney Interactive Studios together with its sibling departments in other industries.
The entire Disney empire is currently working to ensure The Princess and the Frog achieves its full potential in all its forms (see Royal Plans).
“Tiana is the latest Disney princess and as such will be supported by the company heavily throughout multiple categories,” says Woodward.
“Disney Interactive Studios are working with other areas of the business, more closely than we’ve ever done before. As part of Disney, we’re really leveraging the huge array of opportunities that exist to us.
“For example, combined presence on theatrical advertising, presence on the Disney Channel, a combined franchise website, print advertising in our magazine and more, right through to cross category merchandising solutions at retail.
“As such, retailers can expect a truly integrated campaign which will bring huge additional exposure, beyond what we’d normally expect to achieve through a standalone game campaign.
“The Princess and the Frog will no doubt become an enduring franchise and consequently the game has the potential to be a truly evergreen title.”
With half-term already on the horizon, expect strong sales as popularity for the film picks up over the coming months.
Collaborating with other areas of the Disney business, Disney Interactive Studios has prepared a mammoth campaign to promote The Princess and the Frog in the run-up to its big screen counterpart’s debut.
– A joint media buy has been arranged with the film’s TV campaign, with promotion for the game appearing at the end of all theatrical advertising on a multitude of channels.
This includes Five, E4, More4, Film4, Sky 1, SkyMovies, Gold, Living, Dave, Discovery, Five US, Fiver, Trouble, Virgin 1, MTV, E!, Comedy Central, Nick, Nicktoons, Nick Jr, CITV, Boomerang and Cartoon Network, as well as video-on-demand services.
– A targeted print campaign will see ads appear in relevant young girl-focused magazines, such as Disney Princess and Disney Girl.
– The Princess and the Frog’s official website will have a dedicated games area. The game will also be promoted alongside the film online on Stardoll and Heart.
– Disney will be supporting retailers with plenty of cross category merchandise, including toys and home entertainment. Special ‘Princess Ball’ Disneyland Paris prize packages are also being offered to key retail partners.
– A five-month dedicated lifestyle PR campaign has seen news and reviews of the game across various children’s, family and women’s publications. Features have also been secured in national press such as the Star On Sunday, the Mirror and more.