Makin’ the rounds

Planet Cazmo’s Virtual Concert Series, which started in November 2008, has been a boon to the virtual world for tweens and young teens: It has captivated audiences, secured a significant amount of press for the world, and driven user stats and growth.

Today the music-focused site adds another notch on its belt by securing former American Idol heart throb David Archuleta for an upcoming concert.

The virtual concert, June 19 and 20, will help promote Archuleta’s new iTunes gift pack and his upcoming US tour with Demi Lovato.

Virtual Worlds News: OMG! David Archuleta Plays Planet Cazmo

First of all:

I owe my blog (and whomever reads it – crickets…crickets…) a huge apology.  Yes, I’ve been a twitaholic of sorts (well, maybe not so much in the last two weeks unless you like seeing foursquare.com updates of me @ airports).

The truth is – I have recently taken a new position at Gazillion Entertainment in San Mateo/San Fran.  Gazillion has been a fantastic fit so far – and a truly remarkable company.  I’m not going to go too much into my position here, being an industry blogger + allowing lots of transparency with job specifics & titles have (not surprisingly) bitten me in the arse a couple times.  Of course, if you happen to located around a cookie or a latte and I (again, not-surprisingly) happen to suddenly appear in search of said-cookie or said-latte, then yes – I will no doubt gush and yammer about my position at Gazillion.  Long story short, folks, I am bloggin’ on this here blog for the sack of industry bloggin’, ye kin?  If not, no worries, as always – just bear with me.

So, the last few weeks have me traveling QUITE a bit.  LA to SAN FRAN (as I’ve not completely relocated as of yet), LA to other cities to visit G’s VW/MMO game studios (weeeee!), LA to Disney World (16th Annual Kid Power Conference), and LA to DC (FOSI – re: COPPA 2.0 & discussion about the Megan Meier Bill).

I feel like a gypsy & I’m starting to befriend various TSA folks.  The TSA in Orlando is currently babysitting my brand new California driver’s license. Le sigh.

So, after all that – twitter has been my easy-going, no-hassle, info source & airport-bored friend.  Limits my ramblings CONSIDERABLE, and that tends to be where I shine, but I still get the info share happenin’, and ultimately, that’s what it’s about.  I actually now have multiple accounts & multiple apps on my iphone (the only account you darlings need know is @izzyneis 🙂 )

But, as I scan my RSS feeds today, I see I’m not alone in makin’ the rounds.  Mr. David Archuleta, amongst other tween super-powers, has been traveling the virtual universe.  I believe it was just a month or two ago when the young crooner was on BuildABearville.com – where others have also graced the beartastic stage, like “Ryan” from High School Musical, etc.  Buildabearville has CONSTANT celeb support for their bear-devoted audience… and MAN, have you BEEN to that world lately?  They’ve expanded quite a bit.  Still heavily branded with store products, but hey – gotta pay the bills, right?

Finding ways to work house-hold brands of popularity into your virtual world can indeed be fun!  KIDS LOVE CELEBRITY – not just individuals, but CELEBRITY… one famous concept that has inpact on the peer system around them.  If they feel like they reach a finger out and touch that celebrity?  .000015 seconds of associated celebrity.  The 25 degrees of Kevin Bacon.  Being able to connect at all, in any weird context, can bring youth closer to that power which they desire.  It’s a little spike of happiness.

Chat rooms have been doing this for as long as chat rooms have been chat rooms.  Heck – people travel miles around to go to malls to see their favorite stars.  I once saw Cameron Mathison (from All My Children – which I have been watching since I was 2 while my mom folded laundry and i slurped on macaroni and cheese) – and, aside from his famousness, Ryan Lavery is hot (sorry, soap-geek-moment).  I digress – anyway, so, Cam (as I like to call him) was at the Decatur Mall in DECATUR, ILLINOIS (otherwise known as that nasty mole in the armpit of the midwest…).  THERE WAS A LINE AROUND THE MALL just to see this semi-celeb of housewife fame.  I nearly passed out as I passed him (he was sitting at a table with handlers at the Sears entrance).

The point is – just cause the character is virtual doesn’t mean kids won’t find enticement & happiness in a celeb gracing their favorite virtual destination.  BUT REMEMBER: OWN IN.  LIke – don’t 1/2 arse a celeb’s appearance, otherwise you’ll lose faith from your users who are keen.  Make it feel as real as you can. You want those users to walk away feeling like they had their moment – their finger touching fame.

Kids have stars in their eyes. They do (heck, I do).  Do them, me, yourself a favor – don’t be the one that dims that star.  Help shine it and keep it bright and in tact.  For as much as some people want to poo-poo Disney… I was a 30 year old girl at Disney World (post-conference), hanging out BY MY SELF, and i shed a tear or two when they played Disney songs about dreams coming true while fireworks (which I don’t like, btw) were shooting like stars over Cinderella’s castle.  For whatever happens in business, or behind the big red curtain of marketing & advertising & money makers – Disney does a damn fine job in polishing stars-in-eyes.  It’s all about the experience, isn’t it?  The full, round, sensory-a-blazin’ experience.  That’s what makes a company that lasts decades on end.

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  1. June 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Hey Izzy,

    Goodness yes, since adding you on Twitter I thought you traveled a lot! I’m still in recovery from countless runs between London and the U.S. – I know it’s rough.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing up such an interesting point in this post – you’re absolutely right, kids love celebrity, almost as much as many adults I’m sure. What makes me curious though is, for better or worse, how this gets developed at such an early age. In my ever-so-rose-tinted view I’d like to think that in the grand scheme of things, kids see celebs like David Archuleta or Miley Cyrus as equally cool as Astronauts and Doctors.

    What I mean is, for me, I still remember 8-year-old Shane being awestruck at meeting Andy Crane (a British kids T.V. Presenter from back in the 80’s) just as much as meeting Helen Sharman, the first Brit in space. Now that I’m older and have worked in television/interactive for several years, the celeb factor wears off when you realize they’re just people doing a job, but as you say, it’s wonderful to get caught up in the moment, like Disney do so well.

    Continuing this trail of thought, it’s easy to see celebs in the virtual world having a lot of audience pull – just look at Twitter. I bet everyone has a few friends on there who only follow celebs. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, in fact it breaks down the elitist “us and them” attitude that’s also turning corporate marketing on its head, but what I mean is, these days the cult of celebrity has a lot of influence and it’s vital to make use of that to promote your brand as much as possible.

    I’m sure I’m pinging around ideas that make no sense here, but it’s Friday, go easy on me!

  2. mogwog
    June 19, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    long time ,no see. I have been checking your blog daily for your insightful posts and its good to see that you found time to update us. congrads on your new job ! as a loyal reader I will always keep the crickets company till you blog again.

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