Friday, March 10, 2006

Disney Channel High School Musical -- Part 4

You may recall how giddy I was over the Disney Channel Original Movie, High School Musical back on January 21, the morning after its premiere. I've talked about this movie several times since then because I'm so impressed with the Disney marketing machine.

A few stats-
  • The premiere drew 7.7 million viewers in 5 million households.
  • The soundtrack has gone GOLD! Gold, people!
  • The soundtrack was number 1 on the top 200 chart last week.
  • Zach Efron's name (Zach is the male lead) was the second most searched name on Google's Zeitgeist by late January.
  • With each showing, Disney has used a new marketing twist--downloadable lyrics, itunes downloads, a sing a long. Tonight--a dance party! (You can print out dance moves here.)

There was a nice story in our morning paper about this movie. I found it online. It's a must-read for children's writers.

Why? Director Kenny Ortega talks about reaching the tween market. (Yes, a lot of marketing to tweens stuff in this article!) One of my favorite lines:

"I knew from all the research we do and talking we do with kids that they feel good about being kids," he said. "There is definitely tension and angst and issues, but at the end of the day, they have an optimistic viewpoint."

And, related to marketing to tweens, "Tweens and teens spend their lives online," said Elllis [President of youth marketing company, 12 to 20], who counts Diseny among his clients. "The first thing they do when they get home is sign on to the computer and chat with their friends. If someone says, 'Have you seeen this?' all of a sudden everyone is talking about it."

Read the article! And, if you haven't seen what all the hype is about, tune into Disney Channel tonight at 7 central.

**Edited to add--It just occurred to me that a perfect reading selection for middle graders obsessed with basketball is Airball: My Life in Briefs, by LD Harkrader from Kansas! High School Musical is not just a movie about the school musical. It's a movie about basketball and self-discovery. A great parallel to experiences of Kirby, the main character in Airball: My Life in Briefs.

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