The Mouse Company is attempting to make online advertising whimsical by launching Disney’s Magic Words. Instead of a karaoke feature for kids, it’s a method for making advertising served alongside streaming video content better suit the mood of what’s on-screen.
If you guessed that this is powered by artificial intelligence, you were probably paying attention to the headline. Well done. It’s not much of a blind guess, either, as every second new feature launched since 1 January 2023 has been backed by the technology. Here’s how Disney’s version of it will work.
Disney worry me
In brief, Disney’s Magic Words will analyse scenes in its library, scooping up tone, any products that are onscreen, and even the colour scheme to provide advertisers with the perfect spot to promote their stuff. This metadata collection will also generate ‘appropriate’ ads for what’s happening during your movie. It’ll be less noticeable with older presentations, we reckon, but don’t be surprised if you see Under Armour ads any time Captain America is onscreen and out of uniform.
According to Omnicom’s Geoffrey Calabrese, speaking to Reuters, “These magic words are literally going to be able to connect me to the emotions of the consumer, at an audience level. And for us, that’s really a game changer.” Omnicom is one of a handful of beta testers for the technology but South African audiences don’t have to worry about this particular brand of Disney mind control just yet.
The test is currently confined to Hulu, which is entirely ad-supported, and Disney+’s ad-supported tier over in the States. It’s not over here yet but that’s only a matter of time. When it does make the jump, at least you’ll have some idea of the emotional mechanisms behind your urge to buy both Hot Wheels and specific car brands after rewatching Ant-Man and the Wasp.