Disney Reaches Into Maternity Wards

Doug Desjardins for HealthLeaders Media, February 16, 2011

In the world of marketing, Disney has long been considered the master builder ever since founder Walt Disney began merchandising his most famous creation - Mickey Mouse – in the late 1920s. Now, Disney's newest venture is targeting hospital maternity wards in a campaign to build its Disney Baby business.

In late January, Disney launched a promotion that involves marketing reps visiting mothers and newborns in maternity wards in hundreds of hospitals to promote the Disney brand.  Disney reps provide mothers with a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit for their newborn and urge them to sign up for e-mail alerts from DisneyBaby.com. The company plans to give away more than 200,000 bodysuits to mothers by May.

To help roll out the program, Disney is partnering with Our365, a photography firm that specializes in producing portraits of mothers and newborns and has contracts with nearly 600 hospitals.

Disney CEO Bob Iger told the New York Times that the campaign is simply providing new parents with easy access to a trusted brand. "If ever there was an opportunity for a trusted brand to enter a market and provide a better product and experience, it's this," said Iger. "I'm extremely excited about it."

The maternity ward campaign is part of Disney's launch of Disney Baby apparel, which will be sold at Amazon.com starting in May and later at brick-and-mortar stores. Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products, told the New York Times that "apparel is only a beachhead" in Disney's pursuit of the market for baby products.

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