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Brief Published: 15 May 2017

Disney & Waze: Characters in Transit

Disney on Waze

Crowdsourced navigation and traffic app Waze is promoting Disney's upcoming Pixar Studios film Cars 3 by making the film's characters part of the driving experience.

In the first promotion of this kind on Waze, drivers can change the app's visuals and voice interface to embody characters from the film – which happen to be anthropomorphic cars – as they travel from A to B.

Users can choose to be accompanied on their journey by the film franchise's lead character, Lightning McQueen, or use their transit time to get acquainted with new character Jackson Storm. As the mid-June release of the third instalment in the series approaches, Waze will also include branded pins and driving directions to cinemas.

At South by Southwest festival this year, Disney Consumer Products' senior vice-president and chief technology officer Mike White discussed the significance of translating Disney's characters across digital platforms. It's central to "making the brand work in those ubiquitous moments – three minutes on the subway when consumers just quickly want to dial up to that thing they love," he explained. This perspective is a key teaching for brands and marketers. In a fully distributed personal media landscape (and with UK research firm Forrester predicting the death of interruptive advertising), they need to create strong core narratives that can stretch across platforms in fragments.

For more on distributed messaging and how to tackle in-between moments of engagement, see Third Spaces: Targeting the Transitory (part of our Invisible Marketing Industry Trend) and SXSW 2017: Reimagining Advertising.

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