Radio Disney Mobile Site Low On Traditional Ads, High on WOM

webshot for Disney RadioMarketing gurus behind the Radio Disney mobile Web site and text-messaging service aimed at tweens plan to rely on word-of-mouth marketing and a few banner ads to spread the love--at least for now.

The Walt Disney Internet Group's mDisney mobile content division recently launched a version of Radio Disney that lets consumers connect to music on any mobile phone with Internet access and data services. Consumers can see the last 10 tunes played, request songs through text messaging via shortcode, participate in polls and locate Radio Disney stations.

Today, banner ads on MySpace and market the mobile version of Radio Disney. This summer, the strategy shifts to a more traditional marketing and advertising campaign, according to Trish Halamandaris, VP/marketing and carrier sales at mDisney, part of the Walt Disney Internet Group. "We will have a full marketing and advertising campaign, but we are still locking in the plans," she says.

Launching products or services through press releases, word-of-mouth, or viral marketing and advertising campaigns lets companies fly under the radar of competitors that might want to keep track of the competition. It also allows the brand to gain momentum and credibility by building a loyal following.

Disney's strategy is not unusual these days, according to Amy Shea, EVP/global director of brand development at Brand Keys. "Brands don't feel as enthusiastic about television or online as they once did, because they are not sure if they work," she says. "You can measure clicks and eyeballs online, but what does awareness really tell you? People become a little befuddled, which tends to make them pull back on traditional channels."

Marketing efforts for the mobile version of Radio Disney could tie into major campaigns for movies such as "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" and "Wall•E." The print ads would ask consumers to text a shortcode for more information or to download a ringtone of a song.

Many companies tend to rely on press releases or word of mouth until products and services build credibility before moving into traditional marketing programs. It could take months--sometimes years--because most new ideas take off slowly.

Radio Disney's mobile site will support advertising--most likely from fashion, consumer packaged goods, and automotive brands, such as Hewlett-Packard or Land Rover, two brands that recently ran separate campaigns on

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