You’ve probably seen the video above shared on your Facebook or Twitter feed. You have Anna from Disney’s “Frozen” in an emoji-like look trying to rescue Arendelle through emoji snow and text wrapped in text bubbles similar to that on iPhones.
It was basically the entire movie from Disney Animation, but told with emojis and apps. It wasn’t some publicity stunt for the film or to produce a renewed hype for the already popular Disney film. It was an experiment because Disney had a hunch that people were going to like seeing content like that.
In an interview with Deadline, Disney’s EVP of Publishing and Digital Media Andrew Sugerman, commented on the creation of the series, saying “My team and I are not just thinking about where audiences are or where audiences have been, but where we believe audiences are going, and Disney’s not going to necessarily dictate where audiences go.”
He went on to say that Disney’s audiences are predominantly the Millennials and Gen Z’ers (21 and below). With many of them already living lives through apps and social media, it only made sense for them to use that as vocabulary to their storytelling online.
“We are the storytelling engine for a new generation,” Sugerman continued. “We focus on micro-content—short form content, everyday, across all these platforms, where we take, in many cases, stories that are as old as 80 years, converting them into newer, authentic, relevant, bite-size formats that are clearly the way that audiences across these digital platforms are increasingly consuming content.”
This drive to create this type of content started with the first “As Told By Emoji” video series which took Disney content and applied this “digital” lens to it. Sugerman’s team of what he calls “Digitalogists” then took “Frozen” (the first property they wanted to emoji-fy) and tell the “Frozen” story through “digital-platforms” like apps, social media, and anything else that lives within the digital world.
Shortly after the “Frozen As Told By Emoji” video was published two years ago, it became a viral hit and now has amassed over 15 million total views on YouTube as of today. With their experiment a success, Disney has produced and published even more videos in the series to include “Aladdin,” “Moana,” and “Tangled” as emoji-fied movies, to name a few with more planned.
Sugerman concluded, “I think it’s that ability to continually reinvent our storytelling that’s let the series, which is now in its third season, deliver the results that we’ve seen.”