Through schools being closed and shelter-in-place measures in many states, a number of young people this year have been left with more time for digital leisure. Kids in the US have started using TikTok as an outlet to pass the time, communicate with friends and create content. In the US, our data shows that TikTok ranks as the 4th most used platform with 10-18 year olds (31%, indicative of 11.3m) – increasing by 22% since February (pre-coronavirus).
With the interconnectivity that TikTok allows, creators from all over the world have joined together to create a musical based on Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille. At the time of writing, the Ratatouille hashtag on the platform has grown to over 750 million views since the project began in August. Despite the movie’s initial release being in 2007, Google Trends data shows that web searches for Ratatouille reached their highest peak in five years in November 2020, showing how the viral trend has extended engagement with the movie.
Thousands of TikTok creators alongside some musical theatre professionals have come together to create all the elements that are required in a stage musical; including original songs depicting the Ratatouille story, choreography, set and costume design alongside marketing collateral and a playbill. This co-creation is unlike anything seen prior on the platform. With little to no organising, users organically found this content and began making their own to join in the hype, with the only creative limit of being restricted by the platforms one-minute video timeframe.
The story has also recently been picked up by The New York Times, extending the awareness of the story and the fan base it has created/acquired. Could this become the first social media created musical?
Brands could also benefit from this as it gains more traction and media attention by getting involved and creating engaging content that can sit comfortably within the Ratatouille hashtag on TikTok. For example, McDonald’s, the top favorite restaurant among kids in the US, could create a French themed TikTok showcasing a food dish alongside a user created original song. This will increase affinity with tweens and teens on the TikTok platform as they have seen their favorite eatery joining in with content they are enjoying.
Furthermore, this could be a unique opportunity for Disney themselves to work through the popular content on the hashtag to pick out the best songs and other elements of the musical to turn it into a reality. Our data shows that Avid fans of Disney over-index by 24% in liking the brand because it makes them happy, showing that fans are welcoming to the fun and creative ideas that Disney are known for and showcase in all their content. Mixing the plethora of resources that Disney has, with the top creators, could further enhance the co-creation potential and take it from the online world into the offline world.
Additionally, our data indicates the experience economy is set to boom post-coronavirus. Comparing January 2020 to September, the number of teens buying event tickets in relation to movies has increased by 127%, demonstrating intent to get out and attend events post-Covid restrictions. Brands offering an experience in the offline space are likely to be in high demand.
The increase in engagement with the movie also creates the opportunity for Disney+ to contribute towards the growth of the VOD platform. Currently Disney+ is the third most used VOD platform (37% indicative of 13.8 million kids) increasing 43% since February. Featuring Ratatouille on the VOD homepage will further raise awareness towards the IP and capitalise on the growth potential.
Alongside the original content receiving a boost, this newfound hype towards the 2007 movie provides Disney the opportunity to push licenced Ratatouille merchandise, boosting sales with little marketing spend. Tweens and teens in the US who are avid fans of the Disney brand report being 74% more likely than average to purchase a licensed toy related to their favorite movie, while TikTok users are 15% more likely to purchase collectables related to their favorite movie. This indicates a receptive audience, and potential to extend sales and prolong the product life cycle of the IP. Although the film is 13 years old, Disney are set to open a Ratatouille ride at Epcot during the 2021 season; suggesting that Disney will already have a marketing plan in place surrounding the IP, which could be adapted to include some of this co-created content and boost the Disney’s community feel.
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