WeeWorld claims the bridge between Virtual and Reality?

If WeeWorld.com GM Lauren Bigelow pegs this year’s virtual world trends, 2009 will go down in history as the year virtual worlds collide with social networks and video games. Not only will they increase use of “gaming elements,” but they will reflect timely real-world events, and cozy up to many more influential, hip brands.

Bigelow said it’s all about giving kids what they want, and what they want are more products and brands that reflect everyday life. The kids make the request and the virtual world delivers. Rather than advertisers pushing ads at them, they accept the brands as part of the fun.

“As virtual worlds evolve, brands will realize that valuable content makes the most successful advertising campaigns,” Bigelow said, adding that brands must understand that the kids are in control. “Kids tell me what they want. They will say ‘I want an iPod’ or a ‘big Hersey’s Kiss to put on the side of my head,’ and we deliver.”

MediaPost Publications – Will Virtual Worlds Collide With Real Life In 2009? – 01/06/2009

Hmm. The first? I don’t know about that… But, good on them for being the first to claim that title. 

Marketing/Advertising agendas have been creative with their new approaches to product placement.  I do agree, to some extent, that if the brand/license makes SENSE in the virtual world… and that it’s part of the role play, part of the context/concept of the site, that this is an acceptable (if not awesome) way to monetize an already-pricey venture online.

However, I do nod towards the concerned anti-youth-marketers out there that grow increasingly uncomfortable with the new wolf-in-sheeps-clothing reach to their youngin’s.  It’s a valid concern, but one that will not go away any time soon.

But again, if the addition of a license/brand to an overall world experience helps enhance the fantasy for the kid?  Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

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