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webkinz marketing ploy or true groundswell?

By August 1, 2008How To, Marketing

For one of my clients, I have a Google Alert set for ‘environment kids’ and over the last week, the query has returned several blog and zine articles talking about how wonderful the Webkinz animals and website are. The articles are quite similar which makes me wonder if these bloggers and writers are desperate for things to write about (and recycling content) or if Webkinz is spreading this promotional material around.

My cycnicism might be connected to the fact that I think the only thing that Webkinz is teaching children is the art of needless consumption. Don’t these articles show that people are still drinking the Kool-aid? Because if it is the groundswell, then the people are speaking and they truly like the product. Maybe I’m too harsh, and the Webkinz franchise is good because it keeps kids away from drugs and sex.

Let’s just say that this article proliferation is the product of a Webkinz marketing programme. I wonder if it’s effective…and I imagine how it could be more so. Warning: There may be some true marketing nuggets buried under my glib attitude.

1. Get more people to post this article. I’ve only gotten about 15 returns (mind you my Google Alert’s reach is limited). If they really wanted to energize this thing, they could activate thousands of mommy bloggers by offering a free stuffed animal in exchange for a post. It would be a great investment because the toys are as addictive as crack…according to the articles.

2. Add some video. That’s where it’s at. Why ask people to read, when they can watch. Show us some adorable children playing with their toys and computers. Prove that Webkinz are so wonderful.

3.  Sprinkle in some links. The articles only have one link – and it’s to a Webkinz blog…not even to the Webkinz site! Hmmmm, very interesting. Maybe this blogger is behind it all!

4.  Try to shut down the articles. Nothing makes press like trying to get something removed from the web. If the company made a stink about this blog being linked to (even if it’s theirs) or about all of these unauthorized articles, it would be very loud and then the articles and attention would spread like poison ivy and eventually turn into money.

Don’t think I haven’t noticed that their ploy has worked on me. Here I am, talking about Webkinz. Something I vowed not to do, ever.

Have a wonderful weekend…

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