BOLT Case Study (September 2009)

For Walt Disney Pictures’ animated family film, “Bolt,” AvatarLabs wanted to create a fun iPhone app perfect for parents and kids, as well as general audiences. As in everything we do, we wanted to make this more than a simply a marketing app. We wanted amazing design, innovative ideas and excellent execution to drive an engaging and interactive experience.

Bolt iPhone app challenges:

* New movie = launching new brand
* Be more than an ad, be an experience
* Engagement thru entertainment
* Target audience is kids and family. Not sure (at the time) if this is the iPhone audience

Key Assumptions:

Truth: Everyone loves a good game
Secret Truth: Everyone loves a hamster (in a roller ball)


* Create a great, casual game with high engagement factor
* Game play should be challenging, but not too hard
* High-energy graphics and music
* Take advantage of unique iPhone user interface features (touch and accelerometer)
* Create 3D elements and feel to promote 3D CG and the event aspect of the film (released in standard theaters and Disney Digital 3D)
* Use select film clips for creative appeal and humor
* Don’t break the bank! (3 levels are very good for a free game)

Sell the movie:

* Tout release date for theatrical and repurpose / relaunch for Home Entertainment version
* Include high quality video featuring funny Rhino lines
* A positive experience playing the game raises awareness of the film and increases intent to see.


A game that is short, sweet and totally awesome that delivers high engagement and long-term branding value.


(Based on 3.0 version of game sample, metrics are current as of Sept. 2009)
* Even 11 months later, Rhinoball is still creating active engagement!
* Average daily session length: 5:19 minutes
* Average launches per app: 2.3 launches
* Majority of users (60%) play game for over 1 minute per launch
* Over half of users launch application 2-3 times (50.5% or 750,000)
* Small percentage (4%), play for over 12 minutes and launch application over 4 times (5%)


* Total downloads to date: Over 1.5 million and counting (still averaging over 1,200 new downloads per day)
* Initial launch date: October 20, 2009
* Taken down from store: March 14, 2009
* Home Entertainment Version 2.0 Re-issue: April 8, 2009

When the app store recently crossed 1 billion downloads, “Rhinoball” had just passed 1.4 million downloads, which means nearly 1 in every 667 downloads from the app store was “Rhinoball!”


Top 10 Free Apps
Top 10 Free Games
Finalist: Key Art Awards, New Media
Finalist: 2009 Mobi Awards, Finalist in “Best Mobile App” category