Jury Still Out on Branded Phones and Services

Disney.jpgWe recently received some promotional materials on the Disney phone, which got us wondering about mobile brand marketing in general.

Ever since ESPN shut down its cell phone company due to the lack of subscribers, people have been wondering if it’s even a good idea to dedicate an actual service, or even just hardware, to a particular brand.

In general, it’s pretty hard for a carrier to snag new cell phone customers. Everyone is either tied into a contract that comes with cancellation fees, or simply wants a new phone and doesn’t really care enough to switch services.

Disney gets around this by offering services that appeal to parents, such as monthly spending limits on ringtones, time and day limits on when your kids can use the phone, and even built-in GPS technology so you know where your children are. Their price points are also considerably lower than what ESPN was charging.

Other vendors such as Helio and Amp’d offer their own services, but Disney so far is the only branded effort that seems to be succeeding. (ESPN is re-launching as a service that runs on Verizon phones – not quite the same thing).