Retailers Support At-Home Premiere of ‘Trolls World Tour’
Walmart adjusted its marketing plan to back the digital rental release of DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls World Tour” amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down most movie theaters.
Distributor Universal Pictures had planned to release the film theatrically on April 10 but in March indicated that, in a first-of-its-kind move, it would simultaneously make the film available for rental on digital platforms. With only a handful of drive-in theaters remaining open across the U.S., most other major films have instead delayed their release dates.
To support the “at home” premiere, DreamWorks offered a printable “party pack” activity kit and leveraged Twitter to organize a live #TrollsWorldTour watch party with participation from director Walt Dohrn plus the McElroy brothers, podcasters who voice characters in the film.
Walmart got on board, inviting consumers to rent the movie at reportedly the lowest price point available via Vudu – the streaming platform the retailer bought in 2010 for a reported $100 million but is now unloading to NBCUniversal’s Fandango division for an undisclosed amount. The retailer also invited consumers to join its own Twitter #WalmartWatchParty for exclusive footage and trivia as well as participation from Kenan Thompson, voice of the Tiny Diamond character, and Dohrn. Walmart’s event began with an official “red carpet preshow,” a half-hour before the “interactive at-home watch party.”
An April 9 email blast from the retailer invited consumers to the watch party, offering up a how-to guide, themed snack and recipe ideas, red carpet-ready outfits, DIY photo booth crafts, and makeup and hair video tutorials. On April 17, Walmart sent another Trolls-themed missive, this time promoting licensed “troll-tastic finds” while particularly spotlighting exclusive products including a girls pajama set and a vinyl soundtrack.
Both emails linked to a Trolls showcase within Walmart.com amassing licensed products by character as well as categories including toys from brands such as Hasbro and Lego Group’s flagship, home decor, party supplies, Walmart exclusives, snacks, books, costumes and electronics. The destination also dangled a $10 Walmart e-gift card with purchase of a “Trolls World Tour” toy and rental movie bundle.
Walmart additionally leveraged family influencers to promote and participate in the watch party, and paid to elevate supporting Twitter updates plus the watch party hashtag on the social platform. Other support included carousel and banner ads running on the walmart.com home page in the days leading up to the watch party, as well as a mobile push notification deployed on April 9.
In stores, Walmart stocked licensed merchandise on themed pallet trains that showed up in Action Alley in April. “Trolls World Tour” items from Lego were also spotted in the retailer’s toy department as early as February.
Elsewhere, Target also rolled out several exclusive SKUs tied to the film. Marketing support for the licensed items included a full-page feature in the mass merchant’s April 26 circular that plugged an exclusive Poppy’s Stylin’ Pod toy and an exclusive vinyl soundtrack for the musical. The feature also incentivized preorders of the film on Blu-ray or DVD by dangling exclusive wristbands.
A dedicated e-commerce shop within Target.com spotlighted additional exclusives including a “Dance Party Edition” DVD/Blu-ray combo, a Bluetooth karaoke set and a caterpillar bus set from Lego. The online store also grouped together apparel, toys and other licensed products from brands including Mondelez International’s Oreo, Procter & Gamble’s Pampers and Hallmark Cards’ Crayola. Sponsored Google search ads additionally linked to e-commerce pages for specific SKUs.
Streaming via Vudu as well as FandangoNow, Amazon Prime, Comcast, Apple TV, YouTube and DirectTV Now, the film set the record for most streams on a single day as well as across a release weekend, according to reports.