She’s Back: A Cruella De Vil Social Media Strategy

Image Courtesy of New York Post


If she doesn’t scare you no evil thing will… Cruella De Vil is back in a way she has never been seen before. And she might just be more fashionable than ever…

For one of Disney’s most iconic villains and her spotted fur coat, a social media plan had to be executed that fit her fashionable but malicious antics. Taking into account Disney’s previous releases during the pandemic era, Disney’s Live-Action Mulan along with the new animated classic Raya and the Last Dragon, we created a plan that was able to adapt to the pandemic era movie times with a focus on also encouraging the return to the theater. Utilizing some of these movies marketing strategies while also taking a look at both of these movies successes through direct-to-streaming release and in-theater revenue, we assessed and created a set of SMART goals with the goal of mind of a social media strategy that could lead to increased direct-to-streaming purchases via Disney+ as well as a successful opening week box office total.

For our plans SMART goals, they were as follows…

Specific: Our goal is to increase brand awareness and buzz surrounding the movie as well as increase our followers on our Cruella Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Measurable: We would like to see both our Twitter and Instagram accounts amass over 200,000 followers by the end of the campaign, we would also like to see our hashtag used over 30,000 times with over 30,000 unique impressions. Additionally, and directly related to the film’s success, we would like to see Premier Access purchases on Disney increase by 20% as well as see in-person ticket sales reach $75 million in its opening week.

Attainable: We believe this is extremely attainable based on our current following on our other official Disney accounts as well as the current reach that all of our other official accounts have. By utilizing these official accounts to promote our Cruella accounts, we believe we will be able to hit these benchmarks by the end of the campaign. Additionally, we believe these monetary goals of a 20% increase in Premier Access purchases and in-person ticket sales are easily attainable taking into account the success of the movie’s predecessors that have also been released directly to Disney+ and in theaters.

Relevant: We believe these SMART goals are relevant as we want to focus on growing our following online as well as creating a buzz around the film through the engagement we receive on social media. We believe our strategy and goals will allow us to do that and focus on that.

Timing: We would like to accomplish this goal within 2 months starting March 30th and ending May 30th (post-movie release).

The overall strategy of our social media campaign was to bring back the nostalgic feel of Cruella’s previous appearances while also introducing the villain to a whole new audience. Filled with lots of sinister blacks and shades of reds, along with plenty of spots, we centered our campaign around Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, specifically for their abilities to generate a variety of creative content. Utilizing a brand voice that matches her sinister style, we used words like “darling,” and “wretched,” to accent all of our content to ensure Cruella’s voice really shined through. We do have to live up to an icon after all.


For campaign will utilize Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram to increase engagement and buzz around the movie’s release. We will strategically utilize all three platforms to create a cohesive and impactful campaign that will ensure success surrounding Cruella’s release. We believe these three platforms will meet our specific target markets the best and allow us to monitor and measure our SMART goals the best. Additionally, all three platforms’ content will interconnect and overlap with one another, allowing the campaign to be as cohesive as possible. Cohesive branding will ensure “consistency in your brand, no matter which platform you’re on, your brand should be immediately recognizable.” (Corgiat, 2015)


As Cruella is an iconic fashionista, we want our brand voice for the campaign to match. Defining our brand voice to match this could be described as sophisticated, bold, and forward. Our copy for our content will reflect this voice with punchy taglines that reflect the sophisticated but malicious style that Cruella herself embodies. We really want Cruella’s personality and the nostalgia that surrounds this story to truly come through with our brand voice and the copy/content that we create with the campaign. Using words like darling, horrid, miserable, and wretched will be key to helping this come through as well as usage of some of the iconic quotes from the original 101 Dalmations film such as “Darling, looking good is much more important than being good.”


The Snapchat portion of our campaign consists of elements unlike no other, including a Cruella AI Snapchat filter, featuring the film's new feature song “Who’s Sorry Now?”, a Snapchat takeover from Ms. Emma Stone aka Cruella herself, and swipe up elements to create the convenience of locating tickets to the film right on your phone.

Our intended target market for Snapchat consists of 18–24-year-old users both male and female identifying. These users will reside within the US and grew up with Disney films and TV shows, most of them having seen the live-action 101 Dalmatians film in theatres. They’re outgoing, creative, and authentic while not being afraid to be their true selves. We believe this target market is perfect to match our goal for the campaign via Snapchat as it represents Snapchats user demographic as well. For example, a majority of Snapchat users fall within the 18–24 age group, making up 37% of the platforms active users. (Hootsuite, 2019) As our Snapchat filter will allow users to become Cruella De Ville and show off their personality via our official Cruella Snapchat story highlight, we believe this will appeal to our specified target market the most. Especially with the element of nostalgia that comes along with the Cruella film and this target market’s love for Disney.


For our Twitter content, we will include several different components that are sure to live up to the queen of spots herself. Including a branded hashtag, a Cruella “Rate My Look” where Twitter followers will be able to submit their favorite fashions for a chance of having Cruella herself aka Emma Stone, rate their outfits from 1 to 5 puppy paws in a personalized video, as well as an opportunity to get an exclusive and early look at the film through replying with their favorite Cruella De Vil quote.

Our Twitter target market is similar to that of our Snapchat target market. Our Twitter target market consists of 18–24-year-olds, primarily female, that live within the US. Approximately 47% of active Twitter users are 18–24, which is a similar statistic to that of Snapchat. (Hootsuite, 2020) Since this is the primary user demographic of Twitter, we wanted to be sure to target our campaign to them. Additionally, our target market is creative and Disney lovers as they grew up surrounded by Disney TV shows and films. We think this will be an extremely important aspect of our campaign as we want to ensure we are putting out content that fits this target market well, as we hope that these users will eventually either see the film in theatres or see the movie via Disney+.


For our Instagram content, we had to pull out all the “spots” to honor the spotted fashion queen. For Instagram, we included a #CruellaSpotting Giveaway that allowed us to partner with AMC Theaters along with some great Disney influencers as well as a countdown and an opportunity for followers to comment on their favorite Cruella De Vil quote to receive a coupon for Disney Premier Access and an exclusive preview of the movie.

Our target market for Instagram includes a bit broader segmentation than that of Snapchat and Twitter. Primarily, our target market for Instagram is meant to target moms and young adults whereas our target market segmentation for Snapchat and Twitter was more meant to target young adults. For our Instagram target market, will include females age 20–35 that primarily reside within the US. They’re busy but organized and like to live an active lifestyle where relaxing means going for a run or going on vacation somewhere with their family. They love Disney movies, and grew up surrounded by Disney movies and TV shows. They may even be Disney Vacation Club members and enjoy going to the Disney parks. They’re creative and authentic in their true selves. We believe this target market segmentation will really enjoy the content that we have generated for Instagram and help us meet our SMART goals.


For our campaign, we will have several different hashtags that will exist on both Twitter and Instagram. As we discussed before, Twitter will have a branded hashtag with #Cruella that contains a branded and themed emoji whenever it is used in a tweet. Additionally, we will also use #DisneyCruella when posting tweets and content as well. For Instagram, we will be utilizing #Cruella as well as #CruellaSpotting to coordinate with our giveaway and partnership with AMC. The hashtag will help us be able to find submissions easily as well as track engagement and impressions with the hashtag. We want our hashtags to be simple and effective in the sense that they aren’t too long and aren’t too overwhelming for our followers. When they’re simple and straight to the point, we believe this will be easier for our followers to utilize and encourage engagement in combination with the content we have planned for the campaign. This is also taking into account the success that both Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon saw with their simplified hashtags of #DisneyMulan and #DisneyRaya, as we hope to also emulate that success with our campaign.


For our campaign, we will have one specific brand partnership and three separate influencer partnerships.

Our brand partnership will be with AMC theaters. As one portion of our SMART goals is to generate a certain level of revenue during opening week at the box office, we believe this partnership with AMC will help propel us towards that goal. For the partnership, this will primarily be for our #CruellaSpotting giveaway. Through the partnership, AMC will provide the ticket vouchers and snacks that will be included in the Cruella premiere basket while we will provide the Cruella merchandise and goodies that will be included in the winner's basket. AMC will also be promoting this giveaway on their social media channels, allowing us to further reach beyond our target market segmentation. This brand partnership will be beneficial for both our team as well as AMC Theatres. With the COVID-19 pandemic slowly starting to come to an end, and families rushing to get back to the movies, we believe we will encourage this through our partnership with AMC Theatres and the giveaway as well as allow us to work towards our SMART goal of hitting $70 million during opening week for the film.

For our influencer partnerships, this will be with three different Disney influencers that match our target market perfectly.

Lex (thepixietraveler)

The first influencer that we decided upon was Lex (@thepixietraveler). Lex is 30 years old, a single mother of two twin boys, and a popular Disney lifestyle influencer. She currently boosts over 62,000 followers and is always sharing her moments in the Walt Disney World parks. With her being right within our target market segmentation, we believe she would be the perfect partnership to help us promote the giveaway on Instagram. Prior to posting, we will send Lex and her sons some exclusive Cruella-themed merchandise as a thank you for partnering with us and to be worn in her Instagram post highlighting the giveaway. This also gives her the ability to tag each of the products so her followers are able to purchase them as well. As far as for her posting specifics, Lex will post a series of Instagram stories of her finding the Cruella wanted poster at Walt Disney World with her sons as well as with a traditional Instagram post of her laying out the giveaway in detail. We hope this partnership will, again, help us reach a broader range of our target market segmentation and encourage Lex’s followers to participate in the giveaway.

Chelsea (styledbymagic)

The second influencer that we decided upon was Chelsea (@styledbymagic). Chelsea boosts over 65,000 followers on Instagram and is a Disney fashionista. She also shares her magical cosplays on Instagram of her as various Disney characters. When it is not a pandemic, Chelsea loves to travel and head to all of the Disney parks from around the world. As Cruella is also a fashionista herself, we believe Chelsea will be an excellent influencer to help us promote our giveaway and campaign. Similar to Lex, we will be sending Chelsea some exclusive Cruella merchandise, but hers will primarily be focused on Cruella themed accessories for her to utilize in a Cruella cosplay. This, again, will allow Chelsea to tag the products in her Instagram post and encourage her followers to purchase the items. Chelsea will also post a Instagram post similar to Lex, featuring herself in her Cruella cosplay with the Cruella Wanted sign at Walt Disney World, with instructions on how to participate in the giveaway as well as the official hashtag #CruellaSpotting.

Jenielle (LittleGrayThread)

The final influencer we will partner with is Jenielle (@littlegraythread). Jenielle is a mother of 2 little girls named Gray and Sage who take adventures to Disneyland frequently as annual passholders. Jenielle currently boosts over 20,000 followers and has gone viral several times for her amazing DIY cosplays for Gray and Sage. Jenielle loves dressing Gray and Sage up as a variety of Disney characters such as Loki and Thor all the way to Mrs. Potts and Chip. Along with their Instagram being filled with wonderful moments of the trio at the Disney parks, Jenielle also runs a family oriented travel blog where she shares some of her favorite moments from the trio’s travels along with tips and tricks for families trying to plan their first vacation with their kids. We believe this trio is the perfect final influencers to partner with for their family-friendly appeal and connection with their followers. As part of the campaign, we will send Gray and Sage some of our exclusive Cruella merchandise made for kids along with some goodies for Jenielle too. To help us promote the contest, similar to Lex and Chelsea, Gray, Sage, and Jenielle will head to Disneyland to check out the Cruella Wanted sign. They’ll also highlight some of the Cruella-themed events that will be taking place at Disneyland to encourage followers to come join the fun. We believe this partnership will help us, again, reach a further segmentation of our target market and encourage engagement with the contest, directly relating to our SMART goal.

Overall, we are extremely proud of the marketing plan and social media campaign that we have put in place to promote the film. Although we may not be as fashionable or as sophisticated as Cruella herself, we hope that the plan would make her proud.

University of Florida Grad Student & Full Time Professional Fangirl