Staff Writer
Oct 24, 2017

How Disney delivered immersive storytelling to engage audiences on mobile

For the latest Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales mobile campaign, Disney took the traditional trailer to a whole new level.

How Disney delivered immersive storytelling to engage audiences on mobile


Disney has long been known as a media company pioneering digital, branded-entertainment initiatives to reach and engage its online audiences. 

Mobile is one of Disney's most strategic, direct-to-consumer marketing channels, which it uses to inform its audience about upcoming launches, travel, television, games, music or other live events.

In June this year, to launch its fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean blockbuster franchise, Disney leveraged AdColony’s Aurora HD Mobile Video to garner the interest of its users, learn more about the characters and the movie’s plot, and spread its “Disney magic” via immersive storytelling.

Campaign objective

Disney’s campaign objective was to drive top-of-mind awareness, building up to the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales release date.

The campaign objectives of Dentsu, AdColony’s media agency, were to achieve near 100 percent viewability, completion and engagement rates. 


As everyone in the film industry knows, to guarantee success it is imperative that any newly-released film starts with a blockbuster opening weekend. Yet, for a new release to stand out from the competition, it is important to capture attention by creating audience experiences that draw them into the narrative. 


Film trailers are a tried and true way to create buzz around a launch. But — in an era where more people are turning to their mobile devices for entertainment, and spending less time watching TVCs — Disney chose to leverage AdColony’s Aurora HD Mobile Video to capture the attention of audiences who are on the move and engrossed in their mobile devices. 

Mobile video allowed Disney to engage audiences by taking them on a virtual treasure hunt. This paved the way for users to get involved in the plot of the film, and took the traditional trailer to a whole new level.

Target audience

The mobile-first target audience was segmented into three distinct demographics: youngsters, teens (13-17 year olds) and families. 


Launching a mobile campaign in the mobile-first region of Asia was an obvious choice. However, given the poor infrastructure and network coverage, viewability and slow buffering were an issue.

Secondly, as the mobile medium encourages device interaction, the challenge was to create a campaign where users got hands-on with ads instead of being passive viewers. 

Finally, Disney wanted to measure the three campaign objectives via a third-party verification agency.  


Leveraging AdColony’s mobile creative technology, Disney’s virtual treasure hunt encouraged users to keep their eyes glued to the trailer, looking for specific items along the way.

When the item came on screen during the video, users tapped their phone to collect the treasure. For each treasure found, the consumer was awarded with an additional piece of video content that, available to view when the trailer finished. The custom trailer was built around three treasures, and ensured each one was on screen long enough for consumers to react and collect them. If they didn’t get them all, they were incentivized to play again.

Capturing audience attention is the foundation of effective advertising, and AdColony strived to achieve this. Key elements for the campaign included:

  • Exceeding the target for Moat’s “human, in-view video completions”
  • Creating meaningful engagement and interaction
  • Loading content within three seconds of launch
  • Reaching a wide audience across more than 1,000 publishers
  • Capturing user attention via HD video and crystal clear sound


To drive attention and campaign effectiveness, AdColony’s Instant Play technology gave marketers access to powerful graphic capacity and other native mobile capabilities, resulting in an immersive experience for the viewer. 

Its crystal clear, buffer-free, in-app video playback and dynamic end cards provided the viewer with a variety of post-video experiences leading to consumer actions.

The campaign drove record-high campaign results for Disney, surpassing industry benchmarks for viewability, completion and engagement rates. 

  • Engagement rate: 341.52 percent, 50 times higher than global benchmarks (as per Innovid’s Q1 report), and 150 percent in APAC (estimated against Google video benchmarks)
  • Viewable completion rate: 90 percent viewable completion rate (3 times higher than Moat industry benchmarks)
  • Viewability: two times higher than the industry average


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