The Walt Disney Co., the entertainment company, successfully leveraged its own unique marketing assets and a truly holistic communications strategy in order to turn “Black Panther” into a box office triumph.

Theresa Cross, VP/marketing strategy and communications at Disney Motion Picture Marketing, revealed its marketing strategy for the now iconic film was ambitious in its scope. (For more detail, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Disney’s “Black Panther” proved the power of cross-platform marketing.)

“As we solidified our film roll out strategy,” she explained, “we wanted to ensure that we unlocked this specific opportunity in each of our business units – from parks and resorts, to consumer products, to interactive gaming, to our media networks – creating a holistic, cross-platform synergy campaign resulting in a 360[-degree] consumer experience.”

With the existing fan base of a half-century of comic books and a decade of interlocking superhero movies behind it – each from the Marvel franchise owned by Disney – no other film had ever been a stronger candidate for such marketing exposure.

The fact “Black Panther” was setting new standards for diversity, with black talent leading the way in front of and behind the camera, it had another strength to draw upon.

Because of the setting and cast of “Black Panther”, Cross told the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference, it was “important that we leaned into all the unique and deeply rooted film elements – from the cast and the filmmaker to the themes and the visuals – to invite new fans into this world”.

One powerful result: “We had seen significant engagement and excitement from multicultural consumers, specifically black women, who were engaged at a higher rate than anyone for this film.”

More broadly, the entire marketing program “had to feel authentically Marvel, elevated in its presentation, urgent in its execution, ensuring that we arrived in the marketplace as an undeniable event, and a cultural moment that could change a conversation”.

To that end, she continued: “We really focused more on digging deep into identifying our psychographic targets, allowing us to create consumer profiles that we could tailor our content messaging to around specific lifestyles, interests, affinities and sensibilities.”

For instance, comic book fans had to be approached in one way and sci-fi enthusiasts in another; adventurers and explorers demanded a completely different type of appeal. And, despite their seeming commonality of interests, each had nuanced preferences.

The first public notice for “Black Panther” was a teaser during the NBA finals, and further activations included the college football playoffs, the Super Bowl, tapping a range of Disney-owned media properties, and pursuing a wider 360-degree marketing campaign.

Alongside generating over $1bn in box office sales, Cross said: “We’re so happy that ‘Black Panther’ shattered long-held beliefs about what a film with a cast that looks like this can actually achieve.”

Sourced from WARC