Disney Crafts Huge Marketing Opportunity Out Of Your Baby!

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About a year ago, the Walt Disney Company launched a new initiative to go after its youngest consumers yet. Disney Baby was a huge advertising push where hospitals gave out cuddle Pooh-themed onesies and Mickey Mouse layette offerings. At the time, new mothers were a little hesitant to be targeted for marketing purposes, but who really turns away the free hospital gifts? I still have my Vera Bradley diaper bag given out by one of our local Women and Children’s hospitals. The wave of media attention on Disney Baby passed, as most parenting news stories tend to. Now, the “newborns as advertising opportunity” discussion is back in full force after Disney launched it’s own “social commerce” website:

When I first followed the links I was frantically being emailed by thoughtful parents who were both surprised and excited to see the new site, I was confronted with a catalog/message board that very closely resembled the increasingly popular Pinterest. If you haven’t seen it, Pinterest is like a community bulletin board where you can post pictures, thoughts or articles that interest you. The boards are themed for easy browsing, or you can create your own board that might be followed by other users, much like Tumblr. DisneyBaby takes that layout and applies it to the mommy-sharing world.

The opening screen has parents’ pictures and quotes sharing the “magical moments” of raising a child. They’re sweet and sentimental, meant to immediately relate to the moms and dads visiting the site. A little girl digging in the sand with the caption, “My first trip to the beach! I loved it!” And of course, there are obligatory pictures of infants with Mickey Mouse ears on. Then, once you start exploring the site, you see the “bulletin boards.” With boards like “On The Go,” “Playtime,” and “Baby’s Firsts,” these categories separate out both the stories shared on the page and the products available. That’s the real Disney magic of this site. Their adorable stuff animals and Sleeping Beauty onesies are mixed in seamlessly with “Momgineer Tips” and ways to make Tummy Time fun. Disney has disguised their sales pitch with the use of a community forum and a chance to share with other moms.

The Walt Disney Company has always tried to make it’s consumers feel like a community. They offer ways to get involved and feel like part of the club. In fact, they even have a D23 club that you have to pay to be a part of, but you receive special deals and a couple freebies a year. I’m not knocking this approach. Disney obviously isn’t the only company that uses it. But it might be the first marketer to attempt it on this scale. Creating an entire parenting community around your products it quite the endeavor.

Whether you drink the Disney Kool-Aid or not, this website is a huge step forward in advertisers targeting mothers and infants the minute they leave the delivery room. Parents will have to decide if they want their support networks (which parenting message boards are often seen as) built around a group of lovable childhood characters or not. The success of this site will definitely give other companies an idea of just how far they can push their products into people’s lives.

What do you think? Are you excited for DisneyBaby? Or will you be sticking to more traditional parenting message boards, with a little less Disney magic, but a little more honest reflection?