Wait, did you misread that? Not quite a “virus”, but what’s known as a “viral”…

This is actually the very first time Disneyland Resort Paris has used the new — and, occasionally, very effective — method of online video sharing to advertise their resort in Marne-la-Vallée. Create a video with a bizarre or interesting enough “hook”, that just happens to feature your product, and there’s a chance it’ll be passed from person-to-person across the internet. No need to pay a television company for airtime, or websites for advertising space. Just upload the video, and let the viral spread… Readers in the UK will already know of the famous and incredibly successful “Cadbury Gorilla” viral advert, featuring a gorilla playing the drums to a Phil Collins song, with nothing but a purple background to link the advert to the chocolate maker.

Disney’s Hollywood hot-dog video was first posted, without explanation, on the official 15th Anniversary blog. Clicking “play”, you’d be forgiven for thinking host Tristane was just showing us some nighttime CCTV images from around Disneyland Park, filmed during this past Christmas season. The lights are still twinkling, but not a soul is around…

Suddenly, something runs across the frame… a wild dog! Do they really roam the park at night?! How strange…

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Next, we’re on a glittering, illuminated Hollywood Boulevard. The dogs runs across from Toon Studio towards… yes! We can see where this is going now…

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The Hollywood Tower Hotel. In their preparations for the public opening, it looks like the bellhops were more than happy to test the service elevator with un petit chien

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Emerging, a few faster-than-gravity drops later, as a stretched-out sausage dog. Maybe this is why the parks’ hot dogs are so expensive?

Rather than television advertising, the marketing directors are, for the first time, trying to directly capture some the elusive, younger “iPod generation”. Or in this case, rather, the “YouTube generation”. After all, it’s the young thrill-seekers to whom The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror should appeal most. Their word-of-mouth amongst friends, video sharing and parental persuasion to visit, hopefully, the pay off.

How is it doing so far? The original video displayed here has been seen 5,164 times on the Paris-based Dailymotion, most popular for video sharing in France, whilst a fan’s re-post of it on YouTube has gained just 1,397 views. Most impressive, however, is this duplicate posting of the video back on Dailymotion, currently standing at a very impressive 74,327 views!

As well as an inventive teaser for the new attraction, the viral video aims to give a little inspiration for a unique new competition recently launched across several of the resort’s international markets, allowing visitors to the attraction’s official website to imagineer their own teaser which will then, crucially, make the reverse-leap from the internet to television.

Here’s the official DLRP Today idea — show a gorilla (preferably the Cadbury “gorilla”, or a close relative) wandering the parks and climbing aboard the service elevator. When it drops into the Fourth Dimension and the doors open, none other than Phil Collins steps out into the boiler room. He’s got a soft spot for the resort, after all.

No, we don’t expect to win.

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