The 27th March 2015, saw the UK release of Disney’s star-spangled, live-action ‘Cinderella’. And if that wasn’t enough to whip up a fairytale frenzy of excitement – there’s also the aptly named ‘Frozen Fever’ 7-minute short which precedes the main event. Very cleverly bringing in a ready-made audience of princess film aficionados with it.
If you haven’t succumbed to the ‘Frozen’ craze, you’re no doubt wondering what all the fuss was about the first time. And why the fuss has lasted for so long. Well, maybe it’s one of those annoying quirks of human nature that means sometimes things just don’t move on as quickly as many of us in marketing might want to believe. Or perhaps that was the plan all along.
I didn’t set out to find ‘Frozen’. Like many others, it found me. I’m not a parent (not that I think you need to have children to appreciate the film, rather that there are no demands upon me to hurry along to the cinema) so I hadn’t been exposed to the initial wave of sensation.
It happened much later after seeing children wafting around in Elsa and Anna dresses. Seeing Alice bands with long, white nylon braids in the shops. Hearing THAT song on adverts. Tales of ‘Frozen’-themed birthday parties, complete with ice palace cakes (upside-down ice cream cornets are great for creating spires apparently), toys and games.
I’d been talking to a friend I’d bumped into in town who was clutching the singalong version on DVD. She’d taken her daughter along to a ‘Frozen’ party the day before and was the only person in the room not to have seen it. She was planning to watch it that same afternoon.
Yet it wasn’t until around a week later that I had my epiphany. It had been a gloomy few days – dank, dark and tipping down with rain – and I was feeling rubbish. Not ill, not depressed – there was just a general sense of ‘blah’ and wanting for something. And I knew what would – or rather, what I was hoping would – fill that void right there and then. I flicked through the films on Apple TV and downloaded ‘Frozen’.
That was a whole hour and a half of pure, unadulterated escapism and bliss. For a while, the world stopped and I was drawn into another place. Not just into the story, with all its catchy songs and made-to-measure appealing characters (such huge eyes, like wide open windows into the soul!) but into a place where you come out with a sense of lightness and a feeling that everything is just a bit better. It was exactly the same feeling I used to have watching Disney films as a child.
So where did the magic happen? In many ways I was immune to the slow filtration of ‘Frozen’ into my consciousness. Instead, it was a chance meeting with a friend and her smiley text afterwards that won me round. Simple word-of-mouth from a brand advocate and a classic example of brand humanisation.
It’s not enough to spend a fortune on marketing – you have to nurture brand ambassadors too. With ‘Frozen’, it was the first audience who created the crescendo of desire, curiosity, and fear of missing out. A trend was born. Yes, for all things ‘Frozen’ but for even more fantasy. With so many crappy things happening in the world, why should it come as a surprise when we welcome something that makes us feel good?
With the up-coming ‘Cinderella’ and the future ‘Beauty and the Beast’ both taking place as live-action films (directed by and starring the names we know so well), it looks as though a simple human wish for fairytales to come true might be about to happen.