Disney Expanding to Younger AudiencesPosted on by Brian Neese (BrianN)
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To the delight - or horror - of parents of newborns, Disney has already launched plans to expand their market. This new target is arguably the last straw, so to speak, in the range of ages that it already caters to, as they can't exactly aim at those that are older (that would be weird). As the New York Times reports in a recent article, this move can be a bit tricky.
One of the plans for Disney is to enhance the "normal" gift bags that are given to new mothers. Disney is tapping into this possibility, as they have already provided a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit to a new mother. But the apparel related to newborns is just the beginning. Disney Baby, as they are calling it, has plans to infiltrate into bath items, baby food, and strollers. Loyalty programs for new mothers - including free park tickets for pregnant women - illustrate some of the "more aggressive," to say the least, plans for Disney as it relates to these new plans.
(Baby Dumbo food soon to come?)
Reasonable - Or a Bit Insane?
It may be easy to take a sharp approach to Disney, and don't worry, we will get to that. However, there is a bit of logic to this move from Disney. Certainly items such as Disney-themed apparel for newborns and infants are only natural. Your average parent will probably not be opposed to such items, and once the children recognize their favorite characters on it, they will be all for it as well.
Additionally, whether or not there is a bit of disdain from this campaign from Disney, do you doubt that it will be effective? Disney has thrived in practically all things related to childhood, so they shouldn't have a problem reaching newer parents and younger children.
Yet, it all seems a bit...wrong. Some of the product ideas seem very unreasonable, such as Disney-themed baby food, if they indeed follow through with such an idea. While Disney can be a great way for children to be entertained, I could not imagine feeding my baby something from Disney - or buying my baby a Disney-themed stroller, for that matter.
The tactics are also a bit unnerving as well. In the hospitals that allow gift bags, it seems a bit unethical for a company to seek out new mothers to try to sell them their items. The descriptions of their "bedside demonstrations" are a little outlandish and inappropriate. Free Disney-themed items for new mothers are one thing, but it needs to be kept separate from marketing-based advances.
Disney has also set a big target for criticism on itself after Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products, describes the rationale behind this strategic marketing move (from the NY Times article):
"To get that mom thinking about her family's first park experience before her baby is even born is a home run," Mr. Mooney said, adding that a surprisingly large number of families do not become consumers of Disney products until their children reach preschool age, when they start to watch Disney Channel programs like "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse."
It will be interesting to see just how far Disney takes these ideas.