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Disney Targets Babies Before They’re Born

Disney Targets Babies Before They’re Born

When I was a kid, I was never allowed to watch Disney movies at home.  But, as I was also abundantly aware when I was young, this is highly anomalous for anyone growing up in the United States, where Disney aggressively targets children.  The one demographic that they don’t seem to have tapped are infants, who are surely too young to understand the subtleties of the cult of the Disney princess.  And of course, how could Disney aim advertising at kids who haven’t even been born?

Well, apparently cornering the market on toddlers isn’t enough for them.  Last month, Disney began to distribute its newest product, Disney Baby, in almost 600 maternity hospitals across the country.  Representatives would visit new mothers and distribute a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit, which is basically a onesie.  The free products are a part of Disney’s new priority, which is to enter the market for young children, even infants.

One woman explained, “It surprised me that Disney was in there promoting something right as the baby was born, but we figured as new parents we weren’t in a position to turn free things down,” she said.

But Disney isn’t going to stop with bodysuits, which will go on sale in June after more than 200,000 are distributed for free.  They’ll aggressively place themselves at the center of baby market, which the company estimates is worth $36.3 billion annually, with bath items, baby strollers, and even baby food.

They’re even trying to draw pregnant women into the company’s orbit before children are born, by creating loyalty programs where women would sign up for email alerts in exchange for free theme park tickets.  “To get that mom thinking about her family’s first park experience before her baby is even born is a home run,” said Andy Mooney, the chairman of Disney Consumer Products.  He added that most kids don’t start to develop an awareness of Disney until they’re toddlers.  This is something that the company would obviously like to change.

This whole campaign seems pretty tacky to me, particularly the way new parents are targeted.  Although Disney is not trying to be subtle about their new advertising, parents are vulnerable after they’ve just given birth, and the thought that the Disney empire would reach kids as soon as they’re out of the womb is, frankly, disturbing.  But maybe it’s no less disturbing than Disney’s current consumer products for children.

What do you think?  Does it matter, and is this consumerism gone hideously wrong?

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2:43AM PST on Dec 17, 2011

Disney toys are made by child/slave labor in Asia. They areas corrupt and greedy as any other corporation in the US

12:54PM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Disney movies are great

6:50AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

i love disney. disney movies are great for teaching morals and respect for all living creatures.

11:58AM PDT on May 9, 2011

Big-business pure evil!

7:58PM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

Oh man! Is someone going to learn me that Disney is the devil also!?!? I like Disney.. I think that people have brains and can choose what brand of anything they want, for themselves or their babies.

8:01PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

As much as my nieces like Disney, they LOVE Veggie Tales, and so I don't really think that type of show matters to them as much as how interesting it is. If they don't want their kid watching Disney, they should show them something else. Most parents I know don't mind.

9:38AM PST on Mar 7, 2011


5:01AM PST on Mar 7, 2011

Walt Disney must turn over in his grave daily at the turn of events since his creation ... but then so have the others of that gentler by-gone era. How sad for us that it's all about money, as everything is now, no matter what.

1:59AM PST on Feb 21, 2011

Well, this country has been turning into a baby-worshiping society for a while now. Republicans, especially, see them mainly as future consumers, so "anything goes" when it comes to ingraining them at a young age to want more (usually unnecessary) stuff. Of course, giving the stuff to parents free first just makes it that much easier to train them (and therefore their kids) about wanting more stuff (whether they can even afford it or not!)

5:08PM PST on Feb 13, 2011

"What do you think? Does it matter, and is this consumerism gone hideously wrong?" I think that this is consumerism gone hideously wrong, but then again so is all of Disney's image. Seriously, everything they're pushing is dumb and preying on little kids.

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