No one can forget the poignant moment in Peter Pan when the impish character urges rapt audience members to clap their hands to bring life back to his favorite fairy, Tinker Bell.
Now Disney is hoping that Tinker Bell–along with a collection of pirates and other Disney characters–can help breath life back into its mobile phone services for kids. Beginning in September, Disney plans to roll out a grab bag of goodies for young cell phone users, including a mobile storefront, instant-messaging chat system and virtual world widgets.
The mobile market for children and ‘tweens looks like pure gold to the likes of Disney. For uber-connected 9- to 14-year-olds, who can’t yet drive and might not have their own computers, cell phones are a lifeline to their best friends, favorite music and videos and chosen brands. Market researcher MultiMedia Intelligence says the U.S. had more than 16 million teen mobile subscribers in 2007, up 12% from 2006.
Disney is hardly new to the tricky mobile market for kids. In June 2006, the company became a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, by leasing airwaves from Sprint. The company sells games and ringtones in more than 70 countries, mostly through partnerships with mobile carriers.
Disney is reaching out and you should be aware. Think deeply. ,=
A mobile widget called “Fairy Friend” puts an animated butterfly fairy on users’ phones.. Players will have to feed and care for the fairy on their phones. A mobile game connected to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Online virtual world is planned for September or October. Players will engage in short “battles” and earn virtual coins that they can spend online at Disney.com.
Clap your hands–and open your wallets—or make a comment
The number in the headline is obscene and morally repulsive. Big industries have truly lost their heads.
I will comment on this in the next few days. Until then thanks to the website Daily Kos the story is out there and well told. Michele Simon has written an excellent article “It’s Official: Big Food Targets Kids”
“It’s a rare day when I think the Federal Trade Commission has actually performed a valuable public service and lived up to its motto, “For the Consumer.” But last week, the agency charged with protecting us from unscrupulous marketers (among other corporate aggression) released a landmark report on food marketing to children. At the request of Congress, FTC subpoenaed 44 food and beverage companies to find out just how much money is spent targeting youth with food marketing. While the recommendations are worthless (more on that later), the data is priceless.”
Its an essential read READ MORE
My apologies if you find this odd. I am in the middle of bad cold so my writing will be on and off for the next few days. (I have recycled this article over from TRonMarketing-its got a sting) Anyhow- My neighbors spotted teenager asked me about cool adds and I pulled out the well known mustached milk adds. He is after all a key market segment. His comment “whatever” told it all.
Since that humiliating experience I have been on a mission to catch his attention. A few days ago I heard about the California Milk Campaign which tries irony. Think shades of Spinal Tap and a retro young ironic hip cool vibe? Who would have thought to put milk inside a guitar? In the hands of a musical phenom by the name of White Gold?
And you may ask what was the spotted ones response. Coool or something like that. Anyway it seems irony is the new cool. I am cool again.
According to the highly respected Campaign For “A commercial Free CHildhood “Webkinz.com, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, has quietly begun targeting children with outside advertising.
The site is already commercial – in order to subscribe to it, children must buy a Webkinz toy that comes with a special code. But apparently this wasn’t enough for Ganz (the makers of Webkinz) Ganz is now selling their young users to advertisers. According to the “CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERCIAL FREE CHILDHOOD Ganz didn’t bother to inform parents, many of whom purchase Webkinz toys for their children expecting that the website will be free of outside advertising and links. These are serious allegations that Ganz is choosing to maximize profits at the expense of parents’ trust and children’s wellbeing.
As a marketer with a long track record I find marketing to children is questionable to say the least. To keep up with the debate and keep myself balanced in my marketing and advertising practice I rely on the” Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood”. The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood is the result of an innovative conference which was held in 1999 at Howard University. The conference brought together a diverse and interdisciplinary group of activists, academics, educators and health care providers concerned about the corporate influences on children. One year later, a number of conference attendees gathered in New York City to protest the Golden Marble Awards, the advertising industry’s celebration of marketing to children. No surprise with ads like this being placed in the market A year later the
Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood was born as a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration.