Children's music juggernaut Kidz Bop is set to pair up with book publisher HarperCollins for the launch of brand pages similar to those on Facebook.
The increasingly social KidzBop site is the online hub for a Billboard chart-topping series of CDs of the same name; they feature youngsters belting renditions of current pop songs from artists like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. But it's also home to a lot of kid-generated content, including videos wrapped in brand messaging from advertisers such as Macy's and ConAgra's Kid Cuisine.
Soon, readers of Lauren Oliver's fantasy "Liesl and Po," published by HarperCollins, will be able to "fan" the book on KidzBop.com. The publisher's "Book of the Month Club" fan page will also feature interactive reading experiences and a Q&A with Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, authors of fantasy series "The Familiars."
The "official fan pages," will complement just-launched member fan pages. "We built fan pages because it's what kids told us they wanted," said Dan Wilmer, SVP of digital media for Kidz Bop, which just celebrated its tenth "birthday." In a slew of videos posted by site members, kids are shown baking cakes for the brand and wishing it a happy tenth. The site has around 1 million members, according to Wilmer.
"Just like pop music, kids always want to do what adults are doing," said Wilmer, adding that the company often consults its young members about what they want from Kidz Bop. "You can't think about it as an adult and take your adult framework and foist it on the kids." As with Facebook, members can view posts from their friends in a vertical stream. Rather than "like" a post, they can "heart" it, which adds a mini pink heart emblem beside the post.
The social elements of the site help the brand remain relevant to 9- to 12-year-old tweens who have grown beyond the younger Kidz Bop music market, but have yet to reach the Facebook age minimum of 13. "It absolutely is a way to keep kids involved with the Kidz Bop brand or Kidz Bop family longer," said Wilmer.
The older ones are posting videos about back-to-school fashions or florescent colored study supplies they can't live without. Glomming onto school fashion fever, Macy's is pushing "Wendy," its own branded web series, through pre-roll ads seen before some of those kid-uploaded videos. A "Got Milk" ad featuring High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale also appears before videos.
Additionally, "Sponsored SuperContests" entice kids to upload videos associated with brand-related themes. These have been sponsored by ConAgra’s Kid Cuisine and the Smokewood Entertainment film, "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer." Now, Kidz Bop is creating its own web-based reality show in conjunction with Endemol, planned to debut later this month, said Wilmer. Still, the site could be best described as a forum for kids who post their own video content. According to Wilmer, 23,000 hours of video have been evaluated for publish on the site since the functionality was added 2.5 years ago. Each day around 12 moderators check hundreds of videos ensuring that content is safe for the young clientele.
"They're using video for everything," said Wilmer of the Kidz Bop site members. "And video is the most in demand kind of advertising, so it puts us in a very sweet spot."
Update: This story originally reported that KidzBop has moderated 23,000 videos when in fact the firm has moderated 23,000 hours of video.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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