As school lets out for the winter holidays, a massive on-line kid eyeball grab ensues. Its target? A multitude of restless youngsters who, having tired of traditional indoor activities, have jumped on the Web to relieve holiday boredom. But, behind the scenes, kid Web site producers are more keenly interested in snagging the lucrative on-line advertising deals that always accompany an increase in kid traffic on the Internet.
Among those competing head-to-head for this year’s holiday ad bucks are PLN Interactive’s four-year-old site claus.com and bonus.com’s Supersite For Kids ‘Holiday Fun and Games Countdown,’ a project that’s managed by Palo Alto, California-based Appaloosa Interactive.
Targeting the same twelve and under audience, the two Web sites differentiate themselves in their approach to the holiday season. The Supersite’s Countdown, which launched November 26 and runs until January 1, features games and activities that expand outside Christmas to include Hanukkah (‘The Dreidel Game’), as well as winter sports (‘Snowboard Challenge’) and pop-culture holiday heroes (‘Beepin’ with Rudolph’). According to Li Kramer, VP of marketing at bonus.com, this non-exclusionary focus is deliberate. ‘We like to use bonus.com as a tool for exposing kids to all kinds of cultures.’
The free kids site has used the lure of 11 million page views per month to attract big-name ad sponsors like Crayola, Chevron cars and Surfmonkey web browser to the premier holiday event. These partners will provide daily, weekly and end-of-tournament prizes for the site’s games in exchange for prominent on-line exposure for their respective brands.
Taking a different tack, claus.com bases its content entirely on the Santa element of Christmas, using a richly animated version of the jolly one’s North Pole pad as its setting. Last year, the seasonal site generated 80 million hits and 13 million page views during its five-week run. This traffic success drew the attention of Holt Educational Outlet, an Internet toy retailer and school supplier that jumped on the sponsor bus for the first time for the site’s November 14 launch, joining second-year veteran Quaker Christmas Crunch.