Disney Channel will bring next month’s mash-up of “Phineas and Ferb” with Marvel’s superheroes and villains, “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel,” alive by building a 40-foot Waffle-inator at the Disney D23 Expo.
In the Waffle-inator Challenge, four players compete to free “Phineas and Ferb’s” Agent P from the clutches of the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz by hurling foam waffles at a massive screen to move Phineas and Ferb , while outmaneuvering Dr. Doof’s evil creations before time runs out.
The Waffle-inator, that will be built in the Grand Plaza near the D23 Expo entrance, is seen in “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” as Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s latest invention to take over the world. The TV special premieres Aug. 16 on Disney Channel and Aug. 25 on Disney XD. In the special, Phineas and Ferb team up with the Marvel’s super heroes, including Iron Man, Thor and the Incredible Hulk, to help them regain their powers and defeat Marvel super villains and Dr. Doofenshmirtz in an epic battle of good versus evil during which the Waffle-inator is involved.
Disney Channel opted to build a lifesize version of the invention at D23 to give kids and families a way to interact with the property as a unique promotional opportunity.
The Waffle-inator Challenge is the latest experiential promotion Disney Channels has produced after several promos designed around “Teen Beach Movie,” and touring events for Disney XD and Disney Junior’s “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and “Sofia the First” this summer that connect audiences inside malls and other highly trafficked areas with the networks’ characters in unique ways.
For “Teen Beach Movie,” for example, Disney Channel will host a “Teen Beach Movie” Beach Party at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, in Orlando, through Sept. 2 (see below). The interactive dance parties include relays on the sand, hula hoop games, water balloon and beach ball tossing. It also produced a concert series for the launch of the TV movie.
“People want to engage with the characters and stories more and want to be involved with the experience beyond what they see on television and beyond what they’re involved with in the digital space,” said Richard Loomis, senior VP and chief marketing officer, Disney Channels Worldwide.
The events are viewers’ “personal moments,” Loomis added. “It is their personal memory and it’s something we hear time and time again that they remember for years and years to come,” Loomis said. “And it’s as important to the kids as to the moms and dads having a moment with their kids.”
With the Waffle-inator Challenge, Loomis said, “Disney Channels hasn’t lost sight in the fact that there’s a lot of power and entertainment in seeing Phineas and Ferb come to life in a whole new way. We had an incredible opportunity to bring together two very different worlds and two worlds loved by kids and familes. We saw a great experiential marketing opportunity that’s aligned with the story in this special episode and very different from what we’ve done out there.”
Naturally, the stunt will also benefit Disney from plugs from fans across social media platforms, with teens and families posting photos of the Waffle-inator or themselves hurling waffles at the screen. “In the world of kids, social media isn’t influencing the event and experiential marketing experience,” Loomis said. “We’re mindful that our audience of eight-, nine- and 10-year-old kids aren’t as engaged on Facebook and Twitter as a 17-year-old boy or girl might be.”
The D23 Expo is Disney’s answer to Comic-Con, with the fanfest for all things represented by the Mouse House on display inside the Anaheim Convention Center Aug. 9-11. Single day tickets cost $47 foradults and $37 for children 3-12. Three-day passes are $136 for adults and $106 for children., with D23 fan club members receiving discounts.
In addition to the Waffle-inator Challenge, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior will also have Adrian Pasdar, Drake Bell, Fred Tatasciore, Roger Craig Smith, Bumper Robinson and Laura Bailey on hand at D23 to greet fans on Aug. 9, as well as stars representing “Teen Beach Movie,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Shake It Up,” “Jessie,” “Gravity Falls,” “Good Luck Charlie,” “Liv and Maddie,” “Kickin’ It,” “Dog With A Blog,” “Lab Rats,” “Crash & Bernstein,” “Wander Over Yonder” and “Sofia the First.”
Fans will also be able to watch live performances from Hollywood Records’ Bridgit Mendler and R5, featuring Ross Lynch, and meet characters Princess Sofia (“Sofia the First”), Doc McStuffins, Jake (“Jake and the Never Land Pirates”), Spider-Man and Iron Man.