Sears Unleashes A Flood for Sears
Wow. Sears is heading into 7 different youth-oriented virtual worlds and avatar sites to promote its back-to-school message: A “fashion forward” event and a virtual store in Zwinky‘s Zwinchester Mall, a competition and B-T-S boutique with clothes, backgrounds and animations in Meez (both via Alloy), a store and runway contest on Cartoon Doll Emporium, WeeWorld assets and contest (both from GoFish), custom boutique and free virtual goods for The-N.com avatars, a custom building in Poptropica, and exclusive content in NeoPets‘ Summer Faire environment.
That’s 7 out of a total of 13 social media sites, including Sears’ own Arrive Lounge, that are aimed specifically at virtual worlds and avatars.
Obviously, the proof will be in the pudding once school starts and traffic can be added up, but just looking at the distribution of content, I find it impressive that avatars and virtual worlds are outpacing traditional social networks for reaching the tween and teen demographic. MySpace is still in the mix, as are Seventeen and CosmoGIRL! magazines, but the pure wealth of Sears content showing up in virtual worlds is still an impressive indication of where marketers are tracking teens.
Wowza. Wooooooooowza. Sears just took a page out of Hello Kitty’s “multi-virtual-world” attack pattern and went web-crazy.
I’m 1/2 impressed by Sears full blown attack as well as their understanding of the market (and not opening their own crazy Sears-based virtual world). The other half is slightly freaked. Like – whoa, Nelly, and other such cautionary cliches. This might just stir the parental bees nest.
Most of these teen-based virtual domains are kinda no-brainers – weeworld, Cartoon Doll Emporium (well done, CDE), Zwinky… but POPTROPICA? That one threw me for a loop. I thought Poptropica was meant to be an entertainment-educational virtual world. I mean, sure, everyone’s got to pay the bills (my age old complaint) – but for some reason I thought Pop Tropica was kinda, I dunno, above licensing and branding. I never got the vibe on the site that you would run into anything like that… Well, like I said – bills gotta get paid, these web atmospheres can’t thrive one unique visitors alone.
You really should hit the link and go to Virtual World News for the remainder of their announcement. Why? Because Sears has thumbs in the buckets of many other sites, such as Nick.com, Addictinggames (game aggregater site), GoFish (platform for safe destinations), Neopets, etc. Sears must be BFF with Viacom for this back-to-school project.
Clearly Sears has set their eager Eye Of Mordor on youth. But then again… (slight shudder) who hasn’t these days? The most successful businesses these days are the ones that cater to children. Strange world, strange world indeed.
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