PR | Disney on Ice Promotion | Case Study

Feld Entertainment (Feld) is the global leader in live family entertainment with more than 50 years of experience wowing families across the world with shows like: Disney on Ice, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Marvel Universe. As Feld’s various shows travel the world, the organization hires local PR firms to build and implement PR campaigns. Feld hires PR firms to drive earned media coverage promoting its events in the markets that host them.

ComGroup’s public relations team conducted secondary research in the form of an audience analysis to gain understanding of Feld’s target audiences for Disney on Ice Presents Reach for the Stars. The team then conducted a market analysis of entertainment-focused journalists, publications and broadcast shows. The result was a database of information the team could use to target earned media opportunities.

Pulling data from the audience and market analysis, the PR team created a campaign focused on family-facing publications and media outlets that promoted family-friendly entertainment events.

With 14 weeks before opening night, the PR team created a 14-week plan, which outlined the PR goals for earned media coverage for the campaign. The goal for this show was to earn ten media feature stories for Disney on Ice. The 14-week plan included the media outlets pitched, the angle pitched to each outlet and a list of special events planned for the campaign. Since this was not the first Disney on Ice show to come to Little Rock, the PR team was challenged to find new ways to promote the performances.

The team’s planning continued throughout implementation, including the addition of a three-week plan to give the client a final look on earned media coverage to date and the plans to make a final push before opening night.

The PR team planned to prioritize media targeting based on strong female readership and viewing habits. In this market, that audience consumes family magazines, lifestyle television shows and radio programs with female hosts. The PR team used relationships with local and statewide media to earn interviews on radio and TV programs that covered every county in the client’s geographic target market.

The PR team planned to use on-ice talent from the production for all media interviews and developed talking points for each interview. The call-to-action in every interview was for families to purchase tickets to the show and take their children to see the performances at Verizon Arena.

ComGroup’s work with Disney on Ice Presents Reach for the Stars began in February 2018 and ended two months later in May. The Communications Group immediately began implementing the campaign according to the 14-week plan. The first tactic was to write a news release to support media pitching for the team. The news release was distributed to the target list of 73 radio, TV, print and digital media. Immediately following distribution, the PR team began conducting customized media pitches to journalists, on-air talent and show producers. The PR pitch focused on earned media clips based on the news release and highlighted the opportunity to interview on-ice characters once the production arrived in Little Rock. Of course, the team called on the popularity of the featured Disney princesses and the appeal to have these characters interviewed when pitching media for coverage. The team built media kits with Beauty and the Beast themed items and delivered to local television stations. The media kits were used to prime broadcast coverage before outreach for live standup requests. The kits included cookies, crowns, wands and roses.

As the event drew closer, the team built a three-week plan that included media clips and an interview schedule. Once the production was on the ground in Little Rock, interviews began. ComGroup’s team worked with the show promoter to transport performers to and from media opportunities leading up to opening day.

Once opening day arrived, all PR transitioned to on-site live and look-live interviews at the performance venue. ComGroup’s PR team pitched local media and coordinated with the production crew and arena to organize early morning PR (EMPR) on the arena floor, which included production numbers and live interviews. The PR team developed talking points for each media interview, and the characters received media coaching before engaging with journalists.

Along with earned media coverage, the PR team worked with Arkansas Children’s Hospital to coordinate a surprise visit with patients one morning. The coordination of this event included working with the production unit to transport costumes, pick up performers and coordinate a private room in a discreet area of the hospital for the performer. The event included a show-and-tell portion, room visits and a meet-and-greet in the outpatient waiting room. Media were not invited to attend this event based on patient privacy concerns.

An obstacle the PR team had to overcome was the number of other events happening in Little Rock, including Disney’s The Lion King. As a result, information in talking points provided to local media detailed why the show was perfect for children of all ages and reminded the audience of the family-friendly cost of ticket prices. The day after opening night, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette named the show the number one event in Arkansas that weekend.

ComGroup relied solely on public relations and purchased zero paid media for the shows. Throughout the campaign, the PR team secured 16 TV segments, one Facebook Live ticket giveaway, three radio interviews, one feature article in a bi-weekly newspaper, two blog posts, one magazine promotion, four newspaper mentions and one event at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The total count for earned media clips tallied to 28 stories for a potential reach of 591,376. One of the performances quickly sold out, with others close to capacity.