Virtual worlds attract millions of kids every month who come to chat, play and learn and has become a fertile ground for getting brands in front of millions of eyes quickly and simply. ToyNews talks to Bin Weevils and Moshi Monsters which both work with toy firms in different ways

Kids Media Special: Brave New Worlds

John-Paul Burke, Bin Weevils, Media Partnerships Manager

What can online worlds offer toy companies?

We can offer advertisers such a large audience with two million unique users per month. When we create plans for advertisers, we’ll work with them to build campaigns that actually get across the mood and feel of what they are advertising to users.

By doing it in a way that users will enjoy and fun, it’s almost ambient advertising. Users can choose to engage with it, it’s not just flashing an ad in front of them and hoping they click.

What marketing opportunities do you have for toy firms?

We create 3D virtual areas where kids can use theirWeevils to roam around, play games, take part in competitions and chat to friends. We offer firms a safe hub. It’s almost like having their own shop within our precinct for a period of time. For whatever period of time they are running, we’ll develop an area kids can play in, and advertisers can get their message across.

Not everyone has big money but we try and work out the best options for them to maximise their money. We do standard advertising as well, but our forte is the immersive content.

Can you give me any examples of toy companies you have worked with in the past?

We’ve partnered with Hasbro on lots and we have a Furby Boom campaign to coincide with the Hamleys launch and the release of the app. For this campaign, we’ve seeded it. So we’ve put eggs around the Bin and asked kids to guess what the eggs are, and then they click on the eggs and it pops up with ‘Who am I?’ and they can then find out more information.

We also opened the hunt up so we asked kids to hunt around the Bin and find as many eggs as they could. The eggs hatch and they can then interact with their Furby’s and different pages will pop up with information on it. The average numbers we would see for a campaign like that would be maybe 250,000 to 300,000 unique users interacting with the campaign.

Can online worlds work together with other media effectively?

We should be working in partnership with the likes of TV and radio. It’s not about saying we’re better than another, it’s about how we get these things to marry up to create a nice gentle flow between looking after the interests of the child, and fulfilling the needs of the advertiser.

Why should toy companies work with online worlds?

Extra depth of experience for the user – they feel part of the campaign rather than like they are being told to do something.

Darran Garnham, Mind Candy, Chief Business Development Officer

What can online worlds offer toy companies?

Deeper consumer engagement, regular fresh content, a direct window to communicate to the audience and data – lots and lots of data.

With Moshi Monsters we can show who are the most popular characters, story lines, areas the consumer spends most time. This offers a competitive advantage when deciding which toys to develop.

What marketing opportunities do you have for toy firms?

It very much depends on the brand and age group. We have steered away from direct marketing campaigns. We run competitions and creative activities offering brand prizing but have not pushed this too hard. The value of parental trust is often worth more than the money such activities bring.

Can you give me any examples of toy companies you have worked with in the past and the campaigns worked with them?

We have worked closely with Vivid, Mega and Spin Master. We offer a transmedia approach with in-game competitions and in our print magazine. New toy lines are offered to competition winners first, with the rest of the audience given the opportunity to see the line.

Can online worlds work together with other media like TV and radio effectively?

Yes, very much so. Online world communication targets the core user, those already engaged or intrigued. Other forms of media will assist to educate new users and filter them into the world.

In a nutshell, why should toy companies work with online worlds?

Digital is disrupting classic forms of media entertainment. Our audience choose to log-into their accounts and return day after day.

We also offer access and entertainment 24-7/365 days of the year – it’s powerful.

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