Emotions, brand collabs, and theatrical push: Inside Out 2’s marketing goes expansive

From introducing new emotions to numerous collaborations with brands–Bubble Skincare, Joyburst, Uber–and celebrities alike, Inside Out 2’s marketing strategy went all guns blazing in its approach. Along with collabs with IMAX, Dolby, and RealD 3D for enhanced theatrical experiences, social media engagement played a key role in a multi-faceted attempt to rekindle the excitement from the first film.

Harshal Thakur
New Update

It’s been nine years since Inside Out was released, and we witnessed the whirlwind inside Riley’s mind. The chaos that unfolded with Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger–personifications of basic emotions–when they worked alongside each other was something the child inside everyone could relate to. The concept seemed fairly basic and relatable yet, at the same time, quite novel–something which had not been seen earlier in a movie. The idea of personified emotions interacting with each other as characters inside a person’s brain, who, in turn, is living her life, seemed aptly suitable for the animated medium. 

With Inside Out’s story revolving around a kid's childhood turmoil, the end of the first film meant the scope for a sequel. Discussions about a second instalment kept surfacing while fans longed for confirmation announcements. Pixar officially confirmed the sequel's development during the D23 Expo announcement in September 2022, with Amy Poehler, who plays Joy, coming on stage to discuss the film alongside director Pete Docter. Kelsey Mann was announced as the director of the sequel (making it his feature directorial debut), with Mark Nielsen producing, while Meg LeFauve was announced to write the film's screenplay, returning from its predecessor. 

With Inside Out 2 slated to return and a few new emotions tagging along for the ride, Pixar had to ensure that marketing the film is able to reinvigorate the excitement and warmth of the first outing. 

Familiarising the world

Bringing the nostalgia from the first instalment, the Pixar team started dropping media assets for the upcoming film way back in 2023. The teaser trailer for the film, along with the poster, was released on November 9, 2023, almost seven months before the film’s release. It showcased Riley as a teenager who will deal with the problems associated with puberty. With the character getting emotionally complex, new emotions in the form of new characters were unveiled. The poster featured new characters with the caption reading, “Big changes. new emotions.” 

In the first teaser, all the emotions were showcased to be going about their business as turmoil from the construction workers hit their headquarters. It ended by unveiling a new emotion: Anxiety.

The teaser went on to become the most-watched animated film trailer launch in the Walt Disney Company's history, surpassing the previous record set by Frozen II. It garnered 157 million views in the first 24 hours across all social media platforms—including over 78 million on TikTok.

Although the marketing went silent for a couple of months after that, it picked up at the end of January. Pixar dropped clips on its social media to get the excitement ramped up.

The official trailer was dropped on March 7, revealing other new emotions and acquainting the audience with them.

Subsequent videos and static posts on social media ensured that the film remains a part of discussions and fans await the film’s release.

Theatrical push with collabs

Considering the anticipation for the film and the theatrical reception that Pixar movies conventionally get, Walt Disney Studio collaborated with multiple ticketing platforms and theatre chains to amp up the theatrical numbers and generate pre-booking momentum. These collaborations included the ones with Fandango, AMC theatres, Regal Movies, and Cinemark theatres. The mascots of the film also greeted fans at these theatres. 

Furthermore, Pixar also collaborated with IMAX, Dolby Labs, RealD 3D, and more to amplify theatrical options and give fans a variety of ways to enjoy the movie.

Pushing the envelope with brand collabs

Inside Out 2 ventured into the brandverse to garner additional eyeballs and target people beyond the established fanbase. Pixar and Disney collaborated with skin care brand and TikTok favourite Bubble Skincare. The collaboration featured limited-edition product packaging on some of Bubble Skincare’s best-selling products, including Day Dream Tone and Texture Serum, Fresh Start Gel Cleanser and Slam Dunk Hydrating Cream Moisturizer, along with two exclusive sets featuring characters from Inside Out 2.

The studio also collaborated with Joyburst. As part of the partnership, Joyburst introduced promotional packaging featuring characters from Inside Out 2 in three flavours — Peach, Watermelon, and Strawberry-Lemonade.

Additionally, Disney collaborated with beverage brand Cawston Press and launched a contest giving families a chance to secure a trip to Lisbon.

In celebration of Inside Out 2, the National Mango Board and Disney teamed up for a sweepstakes, offering fans a chance to win tickets to the film's premiere, which was released in theatres on June 14.

The sweepstakes launched on May 20 and ran through May 31. The Grand Prize included two tickets to the World Premiere in Hollywood, California, a two-night stay, and coach air travel for two. The National Mango Board also participated as a World Premiere Sponsor.

Further, spanning retail, digital, and social activations, Samsung featured the ‘Discover the Joy’ campaign, which showcased products such as the Galaxy S24, the Neo QLED TV, and the Samsung Galaxy AI, along with various emotions from the franchise.

Amazon listed a merchandise product (bandages) that unveiled the first look at the new character, Anxiety.


Collectively, Disney and Pixar collaborated with nine brands in Europe and the UK. 

Moreover, Uber launched a campaign featuring the film’s characters unveiling its new feature, Uber teen accounts. 

Airbnb invited fans to create lasting memories with a unique opportunity to stay at Riley's Headquarters in celebration of the release of Inside Out 2. The rental service offered fans a chance to stay at a Las Vegas residence designed to replicate Riley's emotional control centre. Joy herself was the virtual host, welcoming the lucky guests.

Situated high above Las Vegas, the residence featured views and allowed fans to explore their emotions with a tour of the headquarters of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Fear, Anxiety, Ennui, Envy, and Embarrassment. Additionally, a scavenger hunt enabled guests to unlock new emotions, and after a long day, they could use the control panel to find the perfect room matching their mood for sleep.

BTS, celebs, and World premiere

Building momentum on social media, Pixar and Disney’s social media pages were put to good use as BTS clips from the dubbing sessions for the movie as well as interviews of the cast were shared on a periodic basis. 

The movie’s marketing took a few additional steps by collaborating with celebrities. NBA on ESPN collaborated with Pixar on a video featuring stars Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony.

In India, Walt Disney Studio India leveraged its social media with frequent posts engaging fans.

Disney India launched a campaign with Ananya Pandey dubbed ‘Emo-Gency with Ananya Pandey’ wherein the actress can be seen in a movie theatre with a date while the inner her emotions can be seen interacting with each other to decide the next move akin to that of Riley.

Pandey also appeared in a video wherein she can be seen in a dubbing studio, potentially indicating a Hindi dubbed version.

Inside Out 2 held its World Premiere in Hollywood with the entire cast attending the event along with other prominent celebrities.

Continuing on the momentum train, the cast including Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, and Ayo Edebiri went on an interview spree for the promotions of the movie appearing on popular channels.

Employing this comprehensive and multi-channel approach, Inside Out 2’s marketing ensured that people, fanbase and non-fans alike, were invested and aware about the movie’s release and acquainted with the ‘emotions’.

Inside Out 2 is playing in theatres worldwide.

Pixar Ayo Edebiri Walt Disney Studio Maya Hawke Amy Poehler Movie Marketing campaign BTS Brand Collabs promotions Ananya Pandey sequel