#DinoCampusCrawl: the power of engaging audiences

By: Katie Gerweck

On Wednesday, Oct. 21, Jonathan Pytko from Pixar Animation Studios came to Eastern Michigan University to talk about his experience as a lighting supervisor on Pixar’s latest movie, “The Good Dinosaur” (source). Although I initially assumed this was a standalone event, it quickly became apparent that it was part of something bigger when attendees, including myself, were given slips of paper with the hashtags #DinoCampusCrawl and #GoodDino on them.

It appears that #DinoCampusCrawl is a campaign to promote “The Good Dinosaur” by bringing Pixar employees to college campuses to talk about their work on the movie. The #DinoCampusCrawl hashtag is filled with students talking about employees coming to their respective schools (source). Pixar Character Art Director Matt Nolte, for example, visited California State University Northridge (source).

#DinoCampusCrawl strikes me as a great public relations move by Pixar. During Pytko’s presentation he talked not only about his own work on the movie, but the role that lighting plays in general, often using short clips from “The Good Dinosaur” to illustrate his points. He also played several clips that were not in the trailers, eliciting cheers and applause from the audience. Of course, many of these students were probably already going to see  “The Good Dinosaur”  anyway– people in the audience seemed to be either CAD majors or just Pixar fans in general, like me. But what is great about #DinoCampusCrawl from a PR perspective is that it not only engages current Pixar fans, but creates a conversation that draws in new ones. After seeing Pytko’s presentation, I not only Tweeted about it, I told most of my friends what I had seen and how excited I was to see the movie. And judging by the #DinoCampusCrawl hashtag, I wasn’t the only one.

In public relations, building and maintaining positive relationships is crucial. We do this not by bombarding people with marketing materials, but by engaging them. Pixar’s #DinoCampusCrawl is a good example of how companies taking the time to interact with the public can have a big payoff.

Katie Gerweck is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in journalism. She is the editor-in-chief for EMU PRSSA. She was the copy chief for the Eastern Echo during the summer of 2015.

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