Disney Advertising

The Client

Disney Advertising is The Walt Disney Company's advertising arm. Consisting of Sales and Product teams among others, they cover online advertising sales, integrated marketing, and guidelines for the many properties owned by the company.

The Project

After the merger with 20th Century Fox, TWDC was looking to create a consolidated media kit for their numerous digital properties. Prior to this was a hodgepodge of different information. Each was maintained by the individual brand (or in some cases, not maintained with outdated information). What the company needed was up-to-date and consistent guidelines across these various properties. The long-team goal would be a unified collection of specifications. This would allow advertisers to easily buy ad space across the entire company's portfolio.

What I Did

How it Went

With my key role and success in re-launching and maintaining the ESPN media kit web site, I became the point person for this. I would develop, update, and create content for Disney Advertising's media kit web site. This site was to become the reference point for digital advertising across the company's entire brand portfolio. My deep knowledge of the ads landscape was instrumental in making this site what it needed to be.

When I came onto this project, I had already assumed ownership of Disney/ABC's own media kit content. I was updating and re-working it into a unified site. Not long into it we approached by the Disney Advertising sales teams to instead shift content to their new Disney Advertising portal. I was able to quickly pivot and bring the work I had so far completed into the fold of the Disney Advertising web site. I continued to assess the current guidelines of TWDC's other properties. From there I started work to streamline and standardize the company's ad specs.

screenshot of the Disney Advertising media kit homepage

The Disney Advertising media kit web site homepage. I developed and managed content for all the branded sections seen here, with the exception of Hulu.

The first phase of this project was to evaluate the current documentation and guidelines for the individual brands. The main issues I needed to tackle were the lack of consistency in technical specifications and the language used. The other being out-of-date information. Some still featured content for technologies no long in-use or even listed ad formats that were no longer being sold.

This is not totally unsurprising. Given that there is significantly less ad real estate on properties other than ESPN, it was easy for some of this documentation to fall through the cracks. ESPN led the company in sheer volume of advertising. It had been an ongoing priority to keep information current for the ESPN media kit and I had already been managing it for several years. I used my experience and the library of guidelines I had created there to help update and refresh the other brands. Consistency was sorely needed.

examples of old ads documentation

Before coming in to head up this project, there was a lack of consistency with the advertising guidelines and documentation. Coupled with information that was out-of-date.

The approach for the ESPN media kit favored presenting the content in a web-based format. For the Disney Advertising version, the sales teams requested to place the information into a .pdf format. This meant the creation of a large library of spec sheets and documentation. These would serve our salespeople, account managers, advertising clients, and ad agencies.

The previous redesign of the ESPN media kit web site had been a success. Along with that brand's dominance in advertising over TWDC's other properties, I chose to use it as base for creating a new standardized template that the refreshed documentation would follow. Something clean, clear, and easy to read for a wide audience both internal and external. These were very text-heavy documents so effectively using layout and typography was key.

comparison of my newly designed documentation with the old versions

A Disney Advertising-branded version of the documentation format (right) versus samples from the old documentation (left). From chaos to consistency and clarity.

While the ultimate end-goal for the Disney Advertising media kit is to have a single set of ad format guidelines for advertisers to serve across all of TWDC's properties, the various sites still had some rules and inconsistencies that had yet to be sussed out by the site and product teams. There were also still many formats that were specific to certain sites, especially ESPN.

All these differences needed to be accounted for and represented in the documentation. While I was able to standardize the terminology and technical information throughout, it was still necessary to differentiate the various brands for these reasons. As such I created different flavors of the documents. This was to make it visually clear what property they applied to by reflecting the design of the corresponding site. Presenting that information in a consistent format was also essential.

different versions of the documentation for various Disney properties

Different versions of the documentation for Disney's multiple brands. Reflecting the design of the sites in the document design made it clear to which any specific ad format exceptions or rules applied.

My combination of over a decade of experience in ad operations at the company paired with my background in design, made me a perfect fit for this project. Attention to detail and consistency are both qualities that rank high in my mind for any job. My extensive knowledge of digital advertising, both of the technical and business aspects, were essential. As a result the company benefits with a high-quality library of specs and guidelines.

Aside from the creation of the documents, I also used my visual design skills to improve the site in other ways. I designed thumbnails and themes for the different sections of the site. I also created a separate, full thumbnail library representing the entire product catalog for an internal ads tool that was still in development.

examples of additional visual design work for Disney Advertising

Examples of additional visual design for the web site as well as for an in-development internal ads tool.

Along with my curation of the site's ad specs and content, as I did with the ESPN media kit I oversaw localization of documentation for our LATAM and Brazil teams. Some of the company's fastest-growing markets. I also coordinated with our other international teams to carve-out specific guidelines or alternate versions as-needed. This gave the company complete coverage. A global company often requires a global effort.

My Takeaways

Like the work I did before on the ESPN media kit, this was a culmination of my experience in digital advertising and also design. It made me the perfect person to undertake this project and lead it to success. I'm very proud of the work I did. These documents help ensure the delivery of advertisements that meet the company's standards. This improves efficiency in the trafficking process, and project an air of quality and professionalism that the company is known for.

I gained a great deal more experience creating and designing content within set corporate structures. This project not only exercised my design skills. It required my writing skills and my project and time management skills. I had to work independently, but also use my ability to effectively communicate with various teams and stakeholders throughout the company globally. The importance of the work was never lost on me, as so many people both internal and external rely on the content I created.

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