Disney slamdunks lockdown marketing with Olaf song

Disney’s latest short hits the right note in the midst of Coronavirus marketing fatigue.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

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A message from the CEO of a company you’ve never heard of. The reminder that ‘we are all in it together’ from a company that you may have bought a hose-pipe from in the late nineties. The pile up of email marketing from fashion brands promising ‘lock-down looks’ when you perfected the ‘everyday is leggings’ look weeks ago. It’s fair to assume as lockdown extends, our collective patience with brands hitting the wrong note in a crisis is declining.

Enter Olaf, the star of Disney’s phenomenally successful Frozen franchise, reminding us that we may well be 56 days into lockdown but brands are still grappling to get to grips with the best way to connect with consumers. At a time when brands are constantly being reminded of the peril of going dark, this animated short reminds us all of the need for some light-relief and reassurance. 

‘I am with you’ is the last installment of the animated short At Home With Olaf series. It features Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad at home, writing a letter to a loved one he is separated from. A lullaby designed to remind viewers that you can be with the people you love ‘emotionally’ even when physically separated.  

The short has already racked up over 2.3 million YouTube views, as well as headlines declaring ‘I’m not crying, you're crying’. Featuring scenes from other Disney classics, including 101 Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, Moana, Zootopia and Ralph Breaks the Internet, it is a compelling reminder of the comfort of familiar stories at uncertain times. 

That the Frozen team have come together virtually and from their homes to write a new story is a wonderful reminder of the power of doing, as well as creativity in constraint in these uncertain and challenging times. As composer and lyricist Kristen Anderson-Lopez told the Los Angeles Times: "We don’t have the skills to be able to be fighting on the front lines like so many people are. We don’t have the skills to develop a vaccine. What we do have is the skill to stay where we are, to wear a mask and to reach out through words and music to say, ‘You’re not alone.’”