A new Disney branded netbook is coming, which will be targeted to children between the ages of 6-12 with a $350 price tag. Asus will manufacture the Disney netbook, complete with Disney Princess graphics for girls or a Mickey Mouse design for boys. Naturally, all the Disney “stuff” you can imagine will be preloaded and at kids’ fingertips, such as Disney wallpapers and themes, a Radio Disney widget, etc.
The online buzz about the Disney branded netbook among parents is related to the types of parental controls the netbooks will provide. Apparently, Disney netbooks will come with parental controls that require parents to approve email addresses and websites before a child can access them. As you can imagine, a Disney netbook that allows a child to visit an inappropriate website would not be good for the Disney brand image. Of course, kids under age 12 have been known to modify security settings on computers without their parents knowing about it. We’ll have to wait and see how effective the Disney netbook parental controls actually are when the product launches in late July.
It seems like a Disney branded netbook is a good brand extension. The price point is not exorbitant (remember the over the top Disney Dream Desk PC from several years ago — see the picture in this post), and this is a product that children should be able to use not just for entertainment but hopefully, for some kind of education as well. Disney has been known to pursue and even launch some highly questionable brand extensions in the past (remember Disney wine?), which fizzled quickly. It’s nice to see a brand extension that actually makes some sense.
However, there is something to be said for brand focus. It seems like there is almost nothing that Disney isn’t willing to put their brand name on in return for a licensing fee (except the aforementioned Disney wine which bombed before it even hit the market fully). I suppose I’m thinking of it this way — Disney games, okay. Disney electronics, still okay, but stretching it a bit. Of course, the Disney brand remains strong and over-extending the brand hasn’t overly diluted it yet. I wonder if it ever will. Or is Disney the brand that can survive, thrive, and extend forever?
What do you think?
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