Disney Should Bring Wearables To Kids -- Think Fitbit Meets Wii Fit

Disney could really take note here. When my wife and I first bought a Wii Fit console to jog, hoola hoop and take step classes next to animated characters the kids were truly engaged. They would join us jogging around an imaginary track and swivel around as we all clocked up points for rhythmic gyrations with a hoop. Kids love to play and if keeping fit and improving coordination is a part of that, all the better.

That's what makes today's prediction in Marketing that Disney is working on a wearable fitness tracker -- a Fitbit for kids, if you will -- so interesting. Of course, there's nothing to stop kids from wearing a Fitbit and tracking their activity today. In fact, our school conducted an experiment once with pedometers to measure activity with house points handed out to those who stood out. You've probably guessed it, but there was a little bit of cheating going on from what I could see. Kids would have their brother or sister wear the device to football training as well as wear it for their own activities. One kid had even hit upon a guaranteed way of getting extra house points. He simply put the pedometer on top of a rickety old washing machine while his parents washed his school uniform -- that was an hour of jogging in the bag before bedtime most evenings.

So, if you put together measuring physical activity and kids loving to play computer games, you've surely hit on an obvious rich vein for Disney -- combining its computer games characters with fun activities. The entertainment giant already sells packs of characters that unlock adventures on the popular gaming consoles. Wouldn't it be a great idea to have the console measure activity in some way, perhaps through the Wii sensor or Microsoft's Kinect technology, to give a read out of how well the child has worked out. Of course, it wouldn't be measured in that way. More how they managed to keep up with a pirate running away from baddies or dodged Peter Pan's arrows or perhaps ran up the step in the Millennium Falcon and the won a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader.  

When I think if the idle times our kids spend on either the Wii or the Xbox I can imagine there would be a lot of parents, like us, who would love for the kids to get more actively involved in the game and swing arms and legs instead of pressing X or Y on a controller. Build a reporting system around it, either through the console or a wearable device and kids can keep track of their fitness progress and compare with siblings and friends. The wearable would obviously have the advantage of tracking activity outside the home so would be preferable. Nevertheless, Disney could get in on the act by having activity reported to an account in a child's name which then unlocks a new character or a new level in a game. 

It's one thing to launch a hashtag, such as Disney's #HealthilyEverAfter, quite another to do something in the real world beyond a tv spot. Moving beyond the screen could only deepen young families' bonds with the brand, surely? The company already has MagicBand technology to store tickets and unlock hotel doors. So, it's got the experience with wearables. Time for some bold action?

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