If you haven’t already heard, a prequel to Disney’s Monsters Inc. is coming. Titled Monsters University, the prequel isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until June 21, 2013. However, in the meantime Disney and Pixar have released monstersuniversity.com – a website that allows you to completely immerse yourself in the world of Monstropolis and Mike and Sully’s Alma Mater, Monsters University.
The Monsters University site hit the web just a few weeks ago. The page takes the style of pretty much every college website currently on the internet, and makes it more awesome by infusing it with the Monsters Inc. world.
Look familiar? That’s because whether you went to college, are currently applying for college, had a child in college, or live in a college town, chances are you’ve encountered a website that has this exact same vibe. In fact, I’d even go as far to say that this site is even better designed than my own Alma Mater’s website. Yep. Disney did a college website better than real colleges.
The site is easy to navigate, attractive, and surprisingly very thorough. The fun doesn’t stop at the home page. Every link actually leads to another part of the site going into details about classes available at Monsters University, student life, athletics, and everything perspective students would want to know about a real university. Except again, this is way cooler because…monsters.
As a content developer myself, hats off to the creative content team behind the Monsters University website. Every line is infused with the fun, quirky Monsters Inc. style. You couldn’t pay me to aimlessly click around a real university’s website, but I could spend hours here. Every link and every page leads to unique, exciting information about Monsters University and reveals exactly how awesome this movie is going to be (HINT: extremely).
The content doesn’t just graze the surface, either. There’s a detailed history of the University, a description of Greek life on campus, an event calendar, campus news, and student testimonials. Specifics on the different schools (School of Scaring, School of Engineering, School of Liberal Arts and Monstrosities, School of Science, and School of Business) include course descriptions and recommended reading. There’s even a campus map that I swear looks just like the real campus I attended.
I have a feeling things on this website are going to get even more awesome as the Monsters University release date approaches. As of right now there is a student portal similar to Merlin or Blackboard, but you can’t register without a student ID. There’s a link detailing how to acquire said ID, but it vaguely states that IDs will be available “beginning this fall.” Maybe once we’re allowed access to the student portal additional trailers, information, and maybe even some fun games will be available. Hopefully we can all get our hands on an MU ID soon, because I want to go to Monsters University NOW.
Why was this website a brilliant idea on Disney’s part? Well, Monsters Inc. came out in 2001, and fans have been waiting for a sequel for years. Now, 11 years later, kids that grew up with Monsters Inc. are headed off to college themselves. The college-themed movie is a way to still engage that original audience, and the Monsters University website is a way to get that audience excited and tide fans over and keep them engaged until the movie actually releases.
This site also allows Disney to provide a link to the Monsters University store, so prospective students can get their hands on some MU swag and start showing off their school spirit long before the movie releases. The store is clearly intended for humans like us, but in order to fit the Monsters Inc. theme there are shirts with multiple arms on display that are either sold out or coming soon. Things get even more fun on the order screen, where in addition to selecting your size there are options (they’re not clickable) for how many sleeves and collars you need.
I don’t know about you, but I am eating this marketing campaign up. Even though the site is purely to promote the film, there is no mention of the release date and no shameless plugging of trailers. Everything is presented as though Monsters University is a real college. Disney totally nailed it with this immersive marketing technique, and I can’t wait to see what else this website has to offer.