ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Disney outlines mobile strategy

A Disney Online executive discussed Walt Disney Co.?s multifaceted mobile strategy in an exclusive interview.

Disney?s mobile initiatives include SMS alerts and campaigns, games, sweepstakes programs and a video-enabled mobile Web site, both a WAP version and one optimized for the iPhone?s Safari browser and touchscreen capabilities. On Oct. 28, Disney released a free, ad-supported application for the iPhone and iPod touch.

?We?re focused on extending to mobile platforms, and we work with all Disney-branded business units to mobilize their programs,? said A.J. Rhodes, director of mobile strategy and marketing at Disney Online, North Hollywood, CA.

?We use the same ad filter for both platforms?our mobile site and iPhone app,? he said. ?The mobile site and the app support Disney films, television shows and video games, although the app is a more robust experience.

?The site and app are updated weekly with new videos, new sections [and] new games launching and both utilize news feeds from around the company with information and quizzes about popular movies and TV shows.?

Disney line
Disney Online, a unit of Disney Interactive Media Group, produces, the wired and mobile Web gateway to all of the company's Disney-branded entertainment initiatives, providing information about Disney movies, travel, television, games, music, shopping and live events.

Consumers can text the keyword MOBILE to the short code DISNEY to get information about the company.

Disney claims that ranks as the No. 1 entertainment site on the mobile Web.

In addition to the free Disney iPhone application, the company also has an expanding line-up of paid applications currently available in the App Store, including Toy Story Mania, Disney Fairies Fly, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Breakspin.

Disney Interactive Studios recently launched the latest addition to its slate of applications, The Muppets Animal Drummer for the iPhone and iPod touch (see story).

Disney takes a multichannel approach to marketing its many properties. Mobile continues to increase in its importance as a marketing channel for Disney.

There is a marketing campaign dedicated to drive downloads of the new Disney iPhone application.

?We use a multitude of methods to get the word out about the app,? Mr. Rhodes said. ?Our strategy in regards to communication is to educate the Disney audience?people are already consuming our content on other platforms.

?We?re running TV spots on the Disney Channel, radio commercials, mobile calls-to-action in print and outdoor advertising, we?re promoting it on the online version of our site and we?re running mobile advertising and on-device search advertising, both natural organic search and paid search,? he said.

The entertainment giant works with several mobile ad networks, including Millennial Media, AdMob, Jumptap and Nokia.

Disney has found that ads promoting a specific TV show or movie are more successful than general Disney-branded ads.

?We?ve learned to be brand-specific?a Hannah Montana ad that is targeted generally does well, while a general Disney ad is not as effective,? Mr. Rhodes said.

Jonas Brothers, Xbox, Target and AT&T
Disney sells its own inventory across its various platforms, including television, radio, online and mobile.

?We?ve seen tremendous adoption of our mobile site?in fact it?s the No. 1 entertainment mobile site?so we?re able to garner quite a bit of traffic,? Mr. Rhodes said.

Disney offers cobranded sponsorship opportunities and banner ads sold on a CPM basis. It offers both cross-channel buys and mobile-specific. About 40 percent of the campaigns it sells focus exclusively on the mobile channel.

Currently Disney has three advertising sponsorship deals running on its mobile site, which represent the three types of mobile campaigns it typically sells.

Jonas Brothers and Xbox 360 are running a cobranded sponsorship campaign featured across the Disney mobile site.

Banner ads redirect users to a microsite that is also cobranded by the Jonas Brothers and Xbox. The site broadcasts a call-to-action for consumers to participate in a user-generated-content program letting kids submit video clips, then view and rate videos submitted by others.

There is a text-to-win sweepstakes integrated into the campaign as well, asking consumers to text the keyword XBOX to a short code to enter for the chance to meet the Jonas Brothers in person and win an Xbox 360 video game system.

?We?ve seen the text-message sweepstakes work very well,? Mr. Rhodes said. ?A previous campaign with the Jonas Brothers and Best Western saw almost half of the sweepstakes entries come from mobile.

?An SMS call-to-action is a great way to get people participating in a campaing,? he said.

Mass merchandiser Target launched a straightforward banner ad buy across Disney?s mobile Web site and various applications to drive consumers in store to boost holiday sales.

AT&T ran a Haunted Holidays campaign leveraging Disney?s online and mobile platforms featuring ?The Nightmare Before Christmas,? Charles Dickens? ?A Tale of Two Cities? and ?A Christmas Carol,? ?Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? and other Disney properties relevant to the ?spooky Christmas? theme.

The campaign targeted all AT&T handsets that visited Disney?s mobile site, which offered video exclusive to the mobile platform.

AT&T banner as within the ?haunted holidays? section of the Disney mobile site drove consumers to the AT&T MediaNet mobile video portal.

Mobile gaming
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Disney reports that its core demographic on mobile skews older than its TV and radio properties.

?At the core, the demographics are very similar, although from mobile standpoint it?s slightly older, whereas on the Disney Channel or Radio Disney you get younger kids,? Mr. Rhodes said. ?On mobile we get tweens or teens?we perform best in that 11-15 range.

?We also perform well on mobile with moms and adults?men are more familiar with navigating to content on their phone,? he said. ?Parents are sharing mobile content with their kids, making games the No. 1 section of our mobile site.

?Families are playing them together?kids may not have their own phone, but they have access to their parents? phones, and parents trust Disney-approved content.

Disney has a series of mobile games it calls ?interactive adventures,? basically digital, mobile versions of the ?Choose Your Own Adventure? series of books.

Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers both have their own mobile games. Other top Disney mobile games include Fairy Friends, Cannons of the Deep (based on the ride and film ?The Pirates of the Caribbean?), trivia games based on various Disney film releases and the Princess and the Frog Swamp.

All Disney mobile games have free, WAP-based, ad-supported versions, and many are available within the iPhone application, which also has games with more robust functionality such as the Wizards of Waverly.

Mobile connects all channels
Disney continues to place a greater and greater emphasis on the mobile channel, both as a publisher and an advertiser.

?Mobile fits in really prominently in our overall strategy,? Mr. Rhodes said. ?Our focus has been on aligning our mobile properties with the online version of the site?the same videos available online are also available on mobile.

?We?re using mobile to connect and enhance larger campaigns for films and TV shows, and we have pretty extensive mobile programs connected to our upcoming releases, including Tim Burton?s ?Alice in Wonderland,? ?The Sorcerer?s Apprentice? and ?Toy Story 3,?? he said. ?Mobile is an important channel because we?re seeing a lot of adoption and traffic, not just our properties, but across the industry.

?The market in general is becoming more capable, people know it?s available, and with such a recognizable brand like Disney is, people are actively seeking out our mobile content.?