No idea what Webkinz are? Good, I didn't want to be the only one. Apparently they are wildly popular children's stuffed toys. And they are also a testament to the power of social media in the hands of a company's customers.
According to Ad Age, Webkinz does no advertising for the stuffed animals. But what they do have, is a devoted network of retailers, and a very catchy viral component. Each Webkinz comes with a 'secret code' which the child owner can input at Webkinz's site. Doing so gives the owner a cyber version of their toy, which they can clothe and feed with 'KinzCash' they collect at the site by winning games and solving puzzles. The owners can create virtual 'playpens' where fellow owners can join the kids and share and play with each others Webkinz.
And a look at the site's Alexa info shows that traffic has been steadily climbing for months.
The 'media push' for the stuffed toys hasn't come from traditional marketing, but instead in the form of blog posts, newspaper stories, and mentions on shows such as "Good Morning America," "Regis & Kelly" and "Rachael Ray." Ah the power of good ole fashioned word-of-mouth.
The Viral Garden, Marketing, Webkinz