Ryan Harmon, Zeitgeist Design and Production

Case Study

Ryan Harmon

Project Overview

Zeitgeist Design + Production combines state-of-the-art technologies with traditional theatrical techniques, formulating them to make headlines and go viral. Founded in 2011 and led by two former Walt Disney Imagineers, Ryan Harmon and Joe Lanzisero, Zeitgeist has made it their mission to create timeless and timely guest experiences in the realm of “out of home” entertainment. 

Named after the German word for “spirit of the time,” Zeitgeist lives up to its name by breathing life into experiences relevant to modern audiences of all ages. Their team constantly looks to local and pop culture, art, fashion, music, literature, architecture, history, trends, and human nature for inspiration. In doing so, they work meticulously to transform brands, films, TV shows, legends, and mythologies into engaging experiences that not even their own clients could have ever envisioned.

The Problem

Zeitgeist Design + Production aims to bring back the “golden era” of immersive, memorable theme park entertainment through imaginative storytelling and engaging guest experiences without relying on intellectual properties. Throughout the past decade, companies such as Disney World and Universal Studios have been leaning heavily on expensive attractions that are tailored to their movie audiences. 

Zeitgeist, on the other hand, is seeking to put the focus of family-friendly theme park experiences and memories back on timeless storytelling. 

During our first few conversations with the Zeitgeist team, it became clear they wanted to stake their claim as the go-to talented, experienced, ethical, and reasonably-priced creative agency theme park operators could turn to for the next generation of out-of-home entertainment. However, despite the remarkably impressive background of the company’s leadership, it was still not well known outside of this niche. 

Our team knew we could help Zeitgeist further increase its brand awareness and overall impact in the entertainment world. To achieve this, we required a laser-like focus on tailoring our PR strategy toward outlets, publications, and other media in the theme park and out-of-home attractions industry.

The Strategy

With our focus set, we embarked on a comprehensive PR strategy to present both Harmon and Lanzisero as industry experts. This required us to leverage their wealth of niche industry knowledge as Disney Imagineers to gain immediate coverage, which we then utilized to educate the press on their new venture with Zeitgeist. 

Immediately, we aimed to capitalize on trending news in the world of theme parks and entertainment. These included announcements of a new Universal Studios theme park set to open in Frisco, TX, as well as news about the closure of Disney World’s “Star Wars”-themed hotel and Galactic Starcruiser attraction scheduled for late September of 2023. Our media pitches and campaigns related to the latter included notes from Harmon stating that, despite the global renown of the “Star Wars” IP, the closure is expected to cost Disney over $5 billion.

Additionally, we made sure that our strategy would help Zeitgeist increase the company’s international brand awareness. This involved alerting the press about Zeitgeist’s monthly “Spirit of the Time Zoomcast” — a live podcast all about interviewing industry professionals in the entertainment and theme park industries. 

Business Impact (results)

Through our team’s extensive efforts, Otter PR has been able to generate press coverage for Zeitgeist in dozens of top-tier publications, including NPR, Yahoo! News, The Los Angeles Tribune, Orlando Weekly, and Orlando Sentinel. This coverage was subsequently picked up by several fan-led industry publications, including the MickeyBlog podcast and Inside The Magic, equating to an online audience of over 275 million.

Our strategy for Zeitgeist involved capitalizing on trending news in the theme park industry, leveraging their team’s experience with some of the biggest brands in entertainment, and inviting the press to Zeitgeist-orchestrated events. As a result of these efforts, we have helped Zeitgeist’s brand gain international recognition that continues to be sought out by top-tier publications. Zeitgeist Design + Production was also named one of the top entrepreneurial companies in California by LA Weekly.

Tags: Disney, Enterprise, Entertainment
Audrey Boyce

Audrey Boyce

Audrey was born in Templeton, Massachusetts and graduated from the College of Coastal Georgia (CCGA) in 2022 with a degree in Nursing. During her time at CCGA, Audrey was selected as one of the top nursing students in the country and received an invitation to participate in the AWHONN/Front Line scholarship. After graduating from CCGA and working in the healthcare field for a period of time, Audrey decided to change career paths into the world of PR. Leaning on her lifelong ability to connect and create everlasting relationships with people and help them achieve their goals, she has been able to utilize those same skills to help her clients elevate their messaging, customer satisfaction, and overall brand. Audrey loves working with clients in the healthcare industry. Her deep knowledge and expert insight into the industry help her better connect with clients in the space, allowing her to help them achieve their media coverage goals. Audrey’s hobbies include baking, working out, and hanging out with family and friends whenever she’s not at work

Publicist

Audrey Boyce

Audrey Boyce

Audrey was born in Templeton, Massachusetts and graduated from the College of Coastal Georgia (CCGA) in 2022 with a degree in Nursing. During her time at CCGA, Audrey was selected as one of the top nursing students in the country and received an invitation to participate in the AWHONN/Front Line scholarship. After graduating from CCGA and working in the healthcare field for a period of time, Audrey decided to change career paths into the world of PR. Leaning on her lifelong ability to connect and create everlasting relationships with people and help them achieve their goals, she has been able to utilize those same skills to help her clients elevate their messaging, customer satisfaction, and overall brand. Audrey loves working with clients in the healthcare industry. Her deep knowledge and expert insight into the industry help her better connect with clients in the space, allowing her to help them achieve their media coverage goals. Audrey’s hobbies include baking, working out, and hanging out with family and friends whenever she’s not at work

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