đźš— The Pixar Social Media Strategy

A different voice for each network? That's a new one.

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I’m typing this on a treadmill desk. I know, I know, but I’m really trying to get in great shape. Yes, it does look as awkward as you’d imagine, and yes, I had to check both the length and weight limit to get my colossalness on one.

But you’re here for social things. Let’s talk about:

  • Pixar’s social media strategy

  • Another brand getting sued for using copyrighted music

  • Taylor Swift + social, because 2024.

The Pixar Social Media Strategy

I’ve always been the biggest Pixar fan. My favorite test on a date: see how they react when I list Ratatouille among my favorite films of all-time (Remy forever). I’m happy to say their social keeps me smiling, too.

Take their memefication of Taylor Swift’s last album drop. The brand searched their catalog and associated the new record’s lyrics & song titles with relevant, iconic scenes. Super simple, smile-inducing stuff. Also worth nearly 600,000 likes, making it one of their best non-trailer / keyart reveal social posts in several months.

It’s part of Pixar’s want (and hey, most of our wants) to make sure they’re attracting newer, younger audiences while continuing to be true to brand.

Even more interesting—the brand’s using a different voice & tone for each social network, a strategy you don’t see very often. Let’s get into it.

Same brand, different brand voices?

Straight from Pixar’s Shorty Awards case study:

“based on the user demographic of the platforms, we leaned our brand voice specifically towards Gen Z on some, others towards Millenials, and some falling in between. As the channels evolved, we always made sure that each platform had its own unique voice via the copy and provided content catered to that specific audience.”

Traditionally, brands have some magnus opus of a voice document, carefully articulating how they present themselves on social (I had one client with an entire page on exclamation points). That’s usually translated by social folks to be a little more social-first, which usually means more conversational.

It’s not common to have multiple different voices that come to life on different platforms, though. Maybe one unique internet voice, like how the McDonald’s social platforms index hard on internet speak despite the brand’s more wholesome tone on TV and in-store.

The Per Channel Breakdown

I love an exec summary, so here’s a bulleted breakdown of generally how Pixar handles each of their social platforms.

  • Threads: more trendy, more experimental

  • TikTok: trend heavy, Gen Z focus, TikTokish content

  • Twitter: company updates for millennials + trends

  • Instagram: more polished, less trendy, a catch-all for the full Pixar audience.

  • Facebook: more accessible for global millennials

At a glance, it makes sense! A little hard to conceptualize, though. Let’s do the fun stuff and look at examples, starting with Threads (a channel that still perplexes most of us).

I laughed. Feels a lot like the early days of Twitter mixed with the self-deprecation of current Twitter. The Gen Zness is strong here, even if my millennial self laughed hardest at the Ratatouille reference (which is notably the least engaged here). Also notable is Threads became Pixar’s text for experimenting with first-person language.

Entertainment brands can crush it on TikTok by simply reposting best scenes (which Pixar certainly ), but many enjoy adding some zest with original content.

An especially clever execution: the brand made their own Capcut-style memes by cutting characters out of their backgrounds. Check this out.


Am I right?! Stream Toy Story on #DisneyPlus. #Pixar #ToyStory

The dream level would be actually making this a usable template in Capcut, though I suspect the brand safety buzzer might make a tough internal sell. Also, if we’re honest, fans are gonna throw the characters on Capcut whether they own the IP or not. I’m just dreaming of all that owned data on a new platform.

On to Facebook, the oft-forgotten network of the young social folks. That can’t happen here—Pixar has 14 million followers on Zuck’s network, many like me who would happily engage and groan with this Bug’s Life content when we see it’s 25 years old.

Let’s take one more look towards Instagram, though. They’ve always seen huge engagement over there, but that’s no excuse to stop experimenting!

The brand’s new play: meme-ing their own IP, but tossing multiple films into the content. I’ve always really liked this approach. You’re grabbing fans of two films at the same time, and if a viewer likes both, I bet they’re even more likely to engage.

Are they overoptimizing, though?

When you’re a brand that has to cast a net as wide as Pixar, I totally get using each network with a different voice—you wanna make sure each demographic you’re chasing has some place to feel at home with your brand.

That said, I do think the idea that each network has different in-platform tastes is a bit much. The average person uses 6.7 different social networks. We don’t become different people when we log in to different networks—every platform is just a distribution vehicle. So yes, target difference audiences on different networks if you like, but meh, don’t assume people have different tastes on different networks.

I raised an eyebrow when Pixar specifically called out their platform-specificity in regards to this Cars carousel. Here’s the Instagram and TikTok versions of the same post.

I reallyyy don’t think getting as granular as different fonts on different social networks produces different results. Maybe they’ve got first-party data they believe in, but this level of customization can put a lot of strain on a team—I’d rather spend time making more content than tweaking existing content 5% for what’s likely marginal uplift at best.

The Results

Boy, did it work. Pixar reported two very impressive numbers in their case study.

  • 47% increase in overall audience engagement

  • 126% increase in followers age 13-24 across all platforms (YoY)

Sounds like quite a success to me!

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Social Cues

There are so many social big thinkers out there, writing all kinds of amazing strategies, analysis, and breakdowns. All ships rise with the tide, so here are a few reads from other places I think you could learn from.

I am, once again, begging you to understand copyright laws. No, you don’t have a license for that song. Give this Twitter thread a read to understand what could happen if you’re infringing.

I chatted with AdAge about every brand wanting to make sure they’re somehow tied to TSwift. Take a look at a few examples from notable brands and why I don’t think you should even try to plan for it.

You know I’ll always push you to watch more creator content. What’s notable here—we’re all making short-form, while Jenny’s 4 hour examination earned 3.4 million views in 4 days of YouTube despite her only having 1.1 million subscribers. Besides the fascinating breakdown, it’s worth checking out for her storytelling style & ability to keep you engaged longer than most movies.