The world's largest social-networking website today announced it will commence a months-long contest to promote "High School Musical 3," the first theatrical release for the "HSM" franchise, that will have entire high-school graduating classes nationwide vying for a chance to win a trip to a Walt Disney resort.
Disney is marketing the movie as a family picture, one that parents will actually want to attend themselves, rather than merely serving as chauffeurs for its core audience -- and with good reason: Getting to that older, non-tween audience will be crucial to the film's success in wide release.
MySpace not just for kids
That's where MySpace comes in: 85% of its 75 million U.S. users are age 18 or older, and some 40% of U.S. moms are also on the social network, according to July 2008 ComScore metrics.
Contest participants can earn points for their school's graduating class by logging on to the film's official MySpace profile, completing online tasks and voting via text message. The winning school also receives an "HSM3" celebrity pep rally featuring U.K. singer Natasha Bedingfield.
In a statement, Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios president of marketing Jim Gallagher called the initiative a "great way to include every high school in the country in the fun of 'HSM3'" -- but it would seem that most already were: By the start of 2008, more than 2,500 licenses for the original "High School Musical" had been granted to U.S. school and amateur theaters, resulting in more than 10,000 amateur and community performances, according to Disney Theatrical Group.
'HSM 2' coming to auditoriums
Conveniently, school performance rights to "High School Musical 2" will become available in October, just as the "High School Musical 3" contest is in full swing at MySpace.
Moreover, the MySpace/"HSM3" marketing partnership comes on the heels of related "HSM" summer and back-to-school marketing campaigns at a pair of major U.S. retailers: Kmart stores featured promotional materials for the July premiere of "High School Musical: Get in the Picture," the ABC reality show related to franchise, while sibling Sears has "High School Musical" co-star Vanessa Hudgens as the face of a "Don't Just Go Back, Arrive" back-to-school campaign on national TV.