Classic Branded Games Site Enters a New Chapter

Candystand.com has long been considered a pioneer in branded gaming online, earning cult status among both hardcore and casual gamers without any real advertising or PR to speak of. So one could only imagine what might happen if the site had a little marketing muscle behind it.

Funtank, a newly formed online entertainment publisher, is aiming to solve that mystery after buying the site from confectioner Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company for an undisclosed sum. The company plans to “aggressively” market the site to both the gaming community and marketers.

“Candystand was attractive to us because it’s been around a long time and has never been aggressively promoted or advertised, yet it has developed an incredible following among consumers,” said James Baker, CEO of Funtank. “We have the opportunity to really bring in a select number of advertisers and do some rich, deep marketing programs.”

The site now earns between 4 and 5 million unique visits a day, according to Baker.

Founded in 1997, Candystand.com offers free, ad-supported games that contain Wrigley branding, such as “Lifesavers” or “Big Red” logos on vehicles used in racing games. Baker said Funtank’s plan for the site included opening it up to new marketers with “deeper” ways for them to reach consumers.

“Candystand.com is a trusted, family-friendly way for brands to get involved in the gaming space and reach and engage with gamers for 30 to 40 minutes at a clip,” he said. “The advertising is part of the game experience rather than the gaming being part of the advertising experience. That’s the real point of difference.”

Advertising on the site is not limited to games, however. Baker said Candystand.com offered “a couple standard IAB units,” all sold through a direct-sales team, and some pre-roll ads that run before the games. “That is absolutely part of the experience,” he said, “but I think what sets us apart is the ability to deliver custom solutions for advertising partners.”

New York-based Funtank was spun off from game development agency WDDG for the express purpose of buying and operating Candystand.com. WDDG has developed custom games for clients like Burger King and Altoids.

Wrigley announced its intention to stay on as a primary advertiser.

“Candystand.com has been and will continue to be an excellent tool to connect our brands with our consumers, but now Wrigley’s involvement in the site will be as an advertiser and not as the operator,” said Martin Schlatter, Wrigley’s global CMO, in a written statement.

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