Announcer: “Mrs. Smith, you just had a baby! What do you plan to do next?”
Mrs. Smith (having just given birth): “We’re going to Disney World!”
After the Super Bowl, the winning quarterback always announces that he is heading to Disney World. Disney TV commercials featuring the QB begin running immediately. It is tradition. But who knew that Disney would worm its way into the delivery room? I know it is sacrilegious to say anything negative about Disney, but its recent practice of sending in reps to market directly to moms in the maternity wing of the hospital (and capture their email addresses) is offensive and has rightly drawn criticism. According to a recent blog post on Time.com’s money blog, “A company—in this case, one called Our365—contracts with the hospitals for exclusive access to the folks in maternity wings, and Our365 gets money from Disney to promote its products.” According to the NY Times, Fisher-Price and Procter & Gamble are also clients of Our365. Evidently Disney has other firms under contract who perform similar services.
According to the original NY Times article:
“Late last month, the company quietly began pressing its newest priority, Disney Baby, in 580 maternity hospitals in the United States. A representative visits a new mother and offers a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit, a variation of the classic Onesie.
In bedside demonstrations, the bilingual representatives extol the product’s bells and whistles — extra soft! durable! better sizing! — and ask mothers to sign up for e-mail alerts from DisneyBaby.com. More than 200,000 bodysuits will be given away by May, when Amazon.com is set to begin selling 85 styles for a starting price of $9.99 for two; Nordstrom and Target will follow with more Disney Baby items, including hats.” (Source: The New York Times, February 6, 2011)
Even for Disney, the eternal marketing machine, this new move into hospital maternity floors seems to be a bit much. Frankly, I’m surprised that 580 hospitals agreed to let these sales reps into their maternity suites. What next? Will the hospitals allow insurance agents into the maternity suite to sell life insurance products? Where do you draw the line? I think it starts with Disney!
Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer