Pixar in Real Life

That’s the name of a documentary on Netflix. It chronicles the marketing efforts of Pixar. Here’s the trailer:

If you’ve seen the movies, what they do is take different movies Pixar has made such as:

  • Inside Out
  • Toy Story 2
  • Brave
  • Monsters Inc.
  • and more

then they create real-life “versions” or “skits” or “events” of them that people accidentally discover.

For Inside Out, they created a giant emotion keyboard like the movie has inside of people, and then as people walked by this huge panel in the park, they were curious and pressed the buttons, then actors playing park goers having a conversation in front of the panel changed the emotion of their conversations accordingly. People quickly discovered what was going on and tried out different emotions. It delighted them, it reminded them of the movie, and it was a big success in what they were trying to achieve.

Contrast this with Monsters Inc. version. In that movie, the monsters create energy from children’s screams. For this “skit” they set people up on the street selling new “laugh power technology” which is 10X more powerful then scream technology. This didn’t work as well because just like anyone trying to sell you something, they had to interrupt you. While the Inside Out “skit” let people stumble upon it, and delighted them, this one didn’t so much. The unknowingly thought they were actually being pitched a real product, and were reluctant to try it out.

This is actually a good study in thinking outside the box in marketing. One big key takeaway is that good marketing attracts people in with curiosity, delights them from interacting with it, and isn’t forceful. Bad marketing interrupts.