Five Marketing Lessons from a Day in Disneyland – #3: My Ad, Your Ad

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Gregg Blanchard - February 5, 2014


Disney is more like a destination ski resort than I thought.

As such, a day in the park a few weeks ago taught me some very interesting lessons about why they are so successful as a business.

Here’s one of those lessons.

The Tradeoff
Imagine you are in charge of Facebook’s sign up page. One day someone approaches you and says, “that sign up form probably gets a lot of visibility, eh? I’ll pay you $XXX,XXX.XX a day to put an ad to my service in it’s place.”

While it sounds absurd at first, it might actually be a good financial move if you’re getting more per visitor than you would by featuring your own services.

But Disneyland has done the math and if there’s one thing you won’t see in the park, it’s ads for other companies. Ads for upsells from day-passes to season passes? Yes. Ads for pictures with the princesses? Yes. Ads for Captain Kidd’s Buffet across the street from the park? No.

Doesn’t Add Up
I don’t fully understand the value resorts glean from partnerships, but I find myself intrigued by how ads for cars and energy drinks almost always outnumber ads for 4-pack upsells or tonight’s lodging deals.

Where I find myself is a question: if the adspace carries enough value to sell, could that value be better served by featuring the resort’s products?

If Cadillac (whose products don’t apply to every skier) gets enough value out of that ad to consider it a valuable part of a sponsorship or ad package, could the resort (whose products are relevant to every skier) get more value out of some of those spaces by serving more of their own offers and promotions?

Potential
Again, ads for other companies on a resort trail map is something I’ve just accepted. But it never clicked until now that there may be a better way to use that space.

In fact, a couple years ago I went to a local resort one morning to take photos for a post about how resorts promote their services through in-resort advertising. When I didn’t see any, I wrote about something else instead.

Again, maybe the math adds up in favor of advertisers, but then again, maybe not.

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