The happiest clients on Earth.

My role
Associate Creative Director
Creative Direction, Art Direction, Strategy, Rich Media.
You might think Disneyland needs no introduction. It's the second most popular theme park in the world, beaten only by its sister park Walt Disney World. However, every client has a challenge they're trying to overcome, and when working with the Disneyland team, they really wanted people to know that Disneyland not just a single theme park, but is actually a resort made up of 2 theme parks and 3 hotels.

When Disney spent $1.1 billion dollars to expand the California Adventure park at Disneyland Resort to add an entirely new Land, they came to us to help make an online splash with one of their biggest partners. Disneyland’s newest Land was being built around Cars, Pixar’s most successful franchise, and they were teaming up with online travel agent Expedia to do something big.

Project Highlights

UX strategy & fully responsive design
Programmatic awareness campaign
Co-branded multimedia website takeovers
Disney California Adventure logo

The Problem Statement

Disney had just completed the biggest park expansion in their history-to-date and needless to say, this was important to get right. This was also a huge moment for Disney's much-touted vertical integration strategy. Pixar had been fairly recently acquired at the time, and this represented the largest presence of an acquired property in any of their parks. This opening also represented a shift in strategy to position the resort as a multi-day destination for families, not just a day-trip for local residents. Raising the profile of their second park, California Adventure, was key.

In thinking through what would most excite an Expedia user and catch their attention, we looked first at what they would be there to do; the booking widget front and center on Expedia’s homepage has far and away the most eyeballs on it. (I saw heatmaps and everything!) So of course, that’s the first thing I wanted to mess with. Turns out Expedia doesn’t like messing with their booking widget.

The Strategy

In my role as Art Director for the west coast office of the agency, I worked closely with the Expedia marketing team to negotiate access to their homepage and their UI as part of the planned site takehover. I also talked to Pixar's creative to ensure my teams use of their heavily-protected characters was up to their standards of animation. Together, we pulled off some heavy brand synergy showcasing Lightning McQueen zooming across Expedia’s homepage and sideswiping the booking widget with a flourish that satisfied all brands involved and proved to be eye-catching and engaging for Disney fans. After the campaign, Disneyland Resort ticket sales increased by over 20% and revenue increased 39%. The ad unit was voted to be a finalist for an Omma Award.

Key Takeaways

The success of Carsland would eventually lead to far more vertical integration for Disney's other properties, like Star Wars and Marvel's Avengers.

After the campaign, Disneyland Resort ticket sales increased by over 20% and revenue increased 39%. The Expedia ad unit was voted to be a finalist for an Omma Award, and after some early success indicators, the campaign was quickly expanded to Orbitz as well.