Friday, October 19, 2012

Dreaming Disney - Monsters University

Logo of Monster University showing a one eyed horned monster.

In my day job, the one that pays for my Disney addiction, I work for a major university.  And I have worked in higher education for well over a decade.   During that time I have visited many college and university websites.  Honestly, some are really useful, both full of information and easy to navigate.  Others well are horrible, where the website actually blocks you from finding the information you need.
So, I was really shocked and amused to be directed to the newest University website on the web,Monsters UniversityIt has all the sections one would expect to find from a major university in the human world’s website.  Sections for current students, faculty and alumni are really standard.  And of course there plenty of information about athletics.  The history of Monsters University seems very slim, but I have also seen human universities with history sections even more lacking.  And it is a thrill to see the cutting edge research Monsters University is completing, answering the questions which is better one head or two.
For my personal area of responsibilities there is a policy section.  My favorite includes:
Monsters University is proud of its diversity, with monsters from every background and nationality. By valuing the uniqueness of every individual monster, MU hopes to create an atmosphere of open-mindedness and understanding. Through awareness and acceptance, students can learn to build relationships based on mutual respect, clear communication, conflict avoidance, and positive affirmation. All monsters are unique -- by heritage, number of appendages, or simply number of eyes -- and all monsters deserve respect.

The Basic Monster Respect program creates a safe environment for personal growth and cultural education, where students can learn to judge each other by content of character, not color of fur. A place where more arms means more hugs not more fists, where all students put their heads together to solve problems whether they have two heads or just the one.
The site is far from static.  One can access, the university store and buy actual Monsters University gear.  Some of the items that one can pursue are very amusing.  They are also in my opinion really pricey!  And the part I am most hopeful for is the login to the M.U. Net portal, just like a real school.  I cannot wait to get my hands onto an ID number so I can create an account and access student specific information.  Clearly there is more to come.  Maybe the ID number comes when we get to apply to Monsters University next semester!   
Congratulations Disney Marketing you have my attention.  I love this site!  I love this viral campaign and the pains taken to make it look better than many higher education website, complete with the right sort of content.  Alas, I am not willing to forgive for John Carter.  And I wonder why movies that will be clear hits in Monsters University and Wreck-It Ralph are getting the most innovative marketing?  I have not shared trailers of Monsters University at work, but working in higher education I have shared the Monsters University website with colleagues. 
I applaud this effort, but would like to see similar efforts for movies that are likely to have smaller visibility in the marketplace. 

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