Emily Bryson York published a story titled The Hottest Thing in Kids Marketing? Imitating Webkinz on Advertising Age 8 Oct 2007.
She opened with a quiz to guess where you would find a Webkiz toy, the answer was tossed aside and forgotten in the corner of the bedroom. Her article is right on the theme of our earlier post, Hasbro Joins in Chase of Webkiz, Webkinz are being purchased solely for the ID tag to access their virtual world.
Bratz and MyePets are mentioned as following the Webkinz model (buy a plush pet or toy for access to the online community).
Other virtual communities for youth that do not require purchase of a something to enter are also briefly discussed (Barbie Girls, Club Penguin).
Its nice to see we are not the only ones noticing the “throw the Webkinz in the corner” mentality. However, we do still seem to be the only ones recognizing that somehow incorporating the physical pet into your online experiences or otherwise increasing its play value of the physical pet might differentiate you from the rapidly crowding field. Plus it could make you look more favorable to mom when she makes the purchase.
I tried to respond to Ad Age’s post in their system, but after spending many minutes signing up, giving them my life history, and finally writing my response, the form died. I hate it when that happens. Especially later you get bombarded by their advertising materials in your email box.
Anyway, my never sent comments mentioned the opportunity for third parties to create “add-on” additional features to bring new life to the tens of thousands of Webkinz and “Webkinz like” plush pets tossed in the corner right now.
If not, at least a toy drive to collect them and give them to poor kids might be in order?
Plus I pointed out their list of Webkinz wantabees missed Hasbro’s quite recent addition, the VIPs.