Or, Why Your Kids Want The Toyota Scion
After playing around a bit on Postopia.com, my daughter’s favorite site as of late, I was reminded again of the power of kid marketing. She’s already made us go to Wal Mart twice to buy ‘post’ cereals. She’s only interested in Post cereals. She doesn’t care what kind, she just needs the code on the box to create a ‘Big Mouth’. See, on the site you can create a Big Mouth (ie try it) but you can’t save it without a code. And, since it is virtually a SIMS for kids, she *has* to be able to save it.
Of course, as life is short (and cereal is cheap), I allowed her to buy the cereal that I know she will force down, only for the prize (which in this case is a few numbers on a piece of cardboard).
She had a friend over a few days last week and those girls spent hours taking care of their Big Mouths. They kept me and the other kids entertained by competing in games and competitively aging their Big Mouth. It was friendly competition that led to no arguments, so I’m not complaining, but I am always impressed to see a company that ‘gets’ what kids want. Post has created a fun (for kids) site that is garish and loud and obnoxious and gross and is just what my daughter wants to spend her time looking at…
Toyota is another such company that ‘gets it’. The latest article from the New York Times discusses Toyota’s latest preteen marketing project Whyville.com. Now, whyville is not new, but the fact that Toyota is advertising on there is giving them a great deal of press attention for a site that’s been around since 1999.
However, it looks like Toyota is on to something, especially in the way it doesn’t really translate into advertising but part of the online experience:
It may appear counterintuitive, but Toyota says the promotion is working. Ten days into the campaign, visitors to the site had used the word “Scion” in online chats more than 78,000 times; hundreds of virtual Scions were purchased, using “clams,” the currency of Whyville; and the community meeting place “Club Scion” was visited 33,741 times. These online Scion owners customized their cars, drove around the virtual Whyville and picked up their Scion-less friends for a ride.
Of course, in-game ads, similar to this are not uncommon, but marketing to children who are YEARS away from a purchase is a tough thing to sell to your higher ups. Many people want immediate results and are unwilling to wait months for results, so it’s gratifying to see a company that’s willing to wait a decade or more for them. This is truly ‘smart marketing’ and in the coming years we will see Toyota’s brand positioning pay off.
Some sites that do a great job in giving kids a free ride, supported by ads (if they are a little TOO in your face):
If you have others, please share. Our summer is just beginning… 😉