I should have known something was up when Disney put a sexy fox (voiced by Jason Bateman) front and center in their new animation film Zootopia, giving me serious Robin Hood flashbacks. (It's basically a universal truth that everyone had a crush on Robin Hood the fox growing up, don't deny it.) Well, if you started flirting with secretly dirty thoughts about this new fox every time you saw a Zootopia ad, that might actually be the point.
Zootopia may be a children's movie, but Disney is catering to the adult community with a niche (but probably bigger than you think) group: furries. And it seems this is no longer just a joke speculation. Buzzfeed got ahold of an email that someone from Allied Integrated Media sent to a furry meetup group, asking them to promote the hell out of their movie on their socials:
My name is [name redacted] and I am representing Walt Disney Studios. Our next film being released is ZOOTOPIA and it is about a world inhabited by animals all living in peace together. The pictures of the members of your group all looking like animals are incredible and align perfectly with the film. All of you could live peacefully in Zootopia. It would be great for you all to share these photos on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. You can take new photos of each other and share these new photos online using the hashtags #Zootopia and #ZooU. You can be representing ZOOTOPIA and the participants can receive film based items such as the poster and rabbit or fox crowns. This can be a lot of fun and your group seems perfect to participate. If you are interested start posting the photos today and email me at email@example.com. Thanks!
Many have even speculated that there was a team of furries on the Zootopia production team, so Disney could include scenes that cater very specifically to that crowd. Others have caught Disney animators slyly faving tweets. Plus, this tweet from one of the film's animators is very telling:
Does this ruin or make Zootopia for you? And how will this affect this weekend's box office numbers? And will The Secret Life of Pets also take this marketing route?