Case Study: The Walt Disney Company

Marketing Television Like Toothpaste


How do you promote television programming to target consumers who don’t watch much television at all? This was the problem faced by Disney’s Buena Vista Television division.

The answer is by leveraging other non-television related channels of distribution and consumer venues to build awareness for innovative new programming.


Ascension strategists working in Disney’s Buena Vista Television division pioneered an innovative way to drive new viewers to its animated and live action syndicated and network shows.

Ascension’s approach was to leverage the appeal of Disney as part of a third party strategic alliance program designed to get Disney programming exposure in non-television venues like grocery aisles, fast food restaurants, auto dealer lots, and department stores.

The solution involved developing four thirty-minute animated shows packaged into a two-hour programming block called the Disney Afternoon.

Ascension then led the initiative to build strategic alliances with major consumer goods/services firms that were interested in having their brands affiliated with Disney Afternoon. All partnerships brought Disney in-store point-of-sale exposure, television commercial tags in partner product network advertising, and in-package premiums themed around characters that appear in Disney Afternoon programming.


The program resulted in a collective $100 million off-channel marketing program funded by strategic alliance partners McDonald’s, Nintendo, Procter & Gamble, and Kellogg’s.

Now, strategic partnership alliance program and borrowed interest strategy pioneered by Ascension consultants have been adopted by countless other entertainment companies. Today this off-channel marketing strategy is table stakes for most movie studios and broadcast or cable television programmers when launching new initiatives.