Duncan Wardle Media Relations 2008 Presentation

Duncan Wardle is VP of Global PR for Disney Parks. His presentation is called Communication Revolution 2.0 -> 3.0.

He started with the Epic video to set the tone:


Not new stuff (the video is a few years old), but helpful background for people just getting into social media.

Duncan sees this period of change as equivalent in upheaval to the industrial revolution. He calls it the communications revolution, based on these trends:

  • Digitization
  • Convergence – Duncan thinks Apple TV will do for TV what the iPod has done for audio.
  • Media Snacking – Half of the US now has broadband. The internet has taught us to be impatient readers.
  • Social Networking – The future is here today. Personalization and customization. There are no more broad demographics. The days of the interruption economy are done. People can and increasingly will be able to screen out brands they don’t consider relevant.

The Evolving PR Industry:

Authenticity – desire for authentic stories opens opportunities for PR people, who are trained as storytellers.


Impact on News Media – Every sector of traditional news media is in decline. We are seeing the end of mass-market magazines, and a proliferation of niche magazines. 55 percent of people get news online. News media are going to multiple channels instead of only their mainstream outlets. All media sites will go big with video.

Implications for PR Professionals:

  • Need a Two-Way Dialog. Disney has developed three new online communities (with about 500 members each) for dialog with its brand evangelists.
  • They did a partnership with Careerbuilder.com for a Disney Dream Job contest. See the video below:
  • Duncan says he thinks all Disney employees should be able to blog. They are the greatest brand evangelists. He says companies don’t take advantage of the enthusiam of their employees and customers nearly as much as they should.
  • Ability to screen out brands. Disney did a Virtual Magic Kingdom that is like a Disney-branded Second Life to engage kids.
  • Enhance Traditional News Media Outreach. Disney Parks News Bureau is content they create for traditional media and to get placement. Also introducing DisneyBeat soon, to allow video of the latest Disney parks news to be shared.
  • Enabling Word of Mouth. Online communities are here to stay. Need to harness passion of brand advocates and advocates. They have a Walt Disney World Moms Panel. The Mickey Moms Club.


This was a very interesting presentation. If big brands like Disney are realizing they need to cede control of their messages (or better yet, realize they never had control), it should be a sign to others that they need to embrace user-generated content, too.

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

12 thoughts on “Duncan Wardle Media Relations 2008 Presentation”

  1. I agree that Duncan delivered a very interesting presentation with lots of practical ideas for using two-way dialogue and consumers who are passionate about the Disney product to enhance the company’s reputation among ever-expanding social networks.

    Lee, this was a very good summary. I also enjoyed meeting you and hearing your presentation about how your company uses social media. I look forward to officially enrolling in SMUG.

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