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Disney's high-profile app fail is a tale of caution for marketers

A primetime celebration for the 60th birthday of Disneyland on the ABC network delivered a high-profile failure when the Disney Applause application, which was promoted heavily during the broadcast, did not work as promised. 

Disney Applause is an app that turns users' phones into viewing companions for select television specials and events, but on Monday night the technology failed to perform after continuous promotion. Throughout the televised event on ABC, viewers were instructed to download the app, which would crash when attempting to sync, leaving a variety of fans disappointed with no acknowledgment from the brand. 

?The App was awash with negative comments, reviews and ratings due to this one failure event,? said Thom Jordan, CEO of Ping Mobile. ?Many users vented frustration not only at the app not working but how it ruined the 60th Anniversary event-watching experience and tarnished the Disney brand itself. 

?Disney needs to react and do damage control on this,? he said. ?My suspicion is it was a combo of the high number of users attempting to use the app at the same time and the new Feb. 12 and 16 versions of the app not being fully tested and functional is the culprit here.?

Disney damage control
Disney is brand as whole known for its innovation and modern technologies that provide experiences akin to magic. But Monday?s performance tarnished that brand image with a frustrating user experience that did not deliver. 

When it came time to use it during the first performance, the app would say it was listening to the audio but then crash. A wide range of users took to social media and to various app stores to voice their complaints about the disappointing experience. 

While it is unknown what caused the app to fail it could have been due to capacity issues, incorrect memory and CPU usage, bandwidth issues, integration issues and production problems. Neither ABC nor Disney provided any commentary on the issues plaguing the app during the performance, allowing social media to run rampant with negative messaging.

Diminishing Disney image
The app rating itself on Apple?s App Store has dropped down to one stars and is filled with a variety of bad reviews, many of which are claiming the brand?s image has been blemished and the viewing experience disrupted. Viewers spent a great deal of time attempting to get the app to work, which in turn spoiled the experience altogether. 

Disney should have put more energy into testing the app to make sure it could withstand the amount of users and lacked any bugs. 

 ?[Disney should] fully test the features, scalability, and stability of an app before such a large scale expected use,? Mr. Jordan said. ?A quality assurance team should be throwing the app against the wall, trying to blow it up via extreme use cases to ensure this never happens again.?