Greg Skinner (email@example.com) is the director of Mina, a market intelligence company specializing in the youth market. He also admits to having an unhealthy obsession with the World Wide Web. KidScreen asked him to do some browsing on our behalf and report on some of the interesting kids sites raising a ruckus in cyberspace.
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We’ve reached a point in Web site evolution where kids interacting with the www are pretty comfortable. So, with all of the tricks and treats they find there, are simple banner ads and logos the most effective ways to get a company recognized? Some marketers are definitely better at it than others. Let’s try and discover who they are.
Straight off, the Shows section of the site rules like a schoolmaster. It’s a comprehensive listing that includes episode breakdowns, air times, printable coloring books, and most importantly, fat, bangin’ minutiae on what’s up and character descriptions. From Bananas in Pajamas to Sailor Moon, if you didn’t know about these shows before, you do now.
Which brings us to our first major link between the site and an advertiser, in this case, Hasbro. The promo for Beasties (the Transformers) is a draw for two action figures; to enter, just find a picture of Optimus in the program description, click it and you’re inÑeasy as pie.
Is it compelling? Ohhh yes. The colors are bright and inviting, and so are the prizes. And it’s nicely laid out. Beyond that, the descriptions are amazing, equipping zealots with breakdowns on weaponry and skills, with plenty of picsÑmmmm, rich like a Twinkie.
The Hasbro logo, although not a direct link to the Hasbro site, does reinforce the positive nature of the giveaway by supplying entrants with an icon to look for in the future.
The What’s Hot section houses all sorts of nifty giveaways, and hence, company tie-ins. The real eye catcher is the Kraft ‘Brainwash’ promo, although the bad choice of colors (a red logo on a red background) totally detracts from the strength of the company ID.
Spot the Kraft logo on two TV shows, send in your entry (using the on-line submission form, if you please) and you’re a potential winner! Search on-line a little further and there’s a recipe using Kraft peanut butter and Alphabits. The Wizard of Words would be pleased! All of this scrumptiousness simply works to keep YTV viewers highly aware of the channel and its brands, from the shows to YTV itself. So bad colors or not, the Kraft tie-in is a superb promotional vehicle for everybody.
And finally, there’s Psykoblast `97, a huge weekend at Paramount Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto, and the most comprehensive promotional tie-in of the lot. Psykoblast (the event) was all about tons of stuff to do. Hanson, the kid pop music group, was there, as was Sailor Moon and a host of YTV hosts. The on-site recount provides plenty of pics of the proceedings, as well as icons for Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, Black Diamond Cheesestrings, Koosh and Pepperidge Farm, the latter with a Goldfish snack box vibrating madly.
Did all of this have any legs? You bet. The logos were significantly sized, and if any of them are sponsors of shows on YTV, brand recognition and recall will be through the roof. The bottom line? These promos are dope.
Overall rating: brand on (8.5 out of 10)
‘Hey, look everyone, everything’s upside down!’
Once you get used to it, it’s kind of funny. Actuallly, everything isn’t upside down, just the opening page, and just for a day, but that’s what the Nick site is all aboutÑfunnneeeee stuff.
There’s a gap on this site that catches your eye immediately, www.gapkids.com to be exact, with a little banner on the home page in amongst Nick’s mag and games links. Even though it’s an ad, you’re highly likely to click it for three reasons:
* it says ‘gapkids.com,’ which alludes to a Web site for kids (even though, in your mind, you know better);
* it’s got a sweet, harmless appearance, with fluffy bunny colors that are hardly threatening (while most banner ads are Las Vegas in comparison); and
* it differentiates itself by staying still, while everything around it is moving!
Now, the Gap site itself is another bird altogether, but then, this is just about getting you there; and lo and behold, this spot does.
A quick check of the TV section reveals a nice little breakdown of what’s on throughout the day and program descriptions to boot. It’s short and sweet and in the middle of it is a link to AOL! The matriarch of on-line advertising on a Web site? It seems odd until you really think about it. What better place to capture Internet surfers than on their home turf? There’s also a banner that reads ‘more Nick on AOL.’ Smart. (OK, so the link takes you to a place where you need to spend a horrible hour and a half downloading software, but the bottom line is that it got you there.)
Regardless of your choice, both ad hotlinks work because they recognize one thing: the www is for both adults and kids. Kid initiative punches the link and parental guidance interprets the content. Wired by Nick, powered by kids, purchased by adults. Brilliant.
Overall rating: tease me (7.5 out of 10)