DQ launches tween site

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DQ launches tween site
DQ launches tween site

With the goal of engaging the age 8-12, or tween, market, Dairy Queen has launched a character-driven campaign that includes a new online game called “Unite the Deeqs.”

“Everybody knows — especially in today's world — that if you're going to engage tweens online, you better have a gaming component to that online experience,” said Michael Keller, chief brand officer for American Dairy Queen Corp., Minneapolis.

Dairy Queen worked with Space150 on the campaign, which consists of the online game at Deeqs.com, as well as an in-store “Deeqs” kids meal bag, posters, table tents and trading cards, Keller said. The campaign is more about the brand experience and it's also a way for Dairy Queen to extend its relationship with these kids after they leave the store, he said.

The online game consists of anime-style customizable characters who walk, jump and jet from cloud to cloud as they collect cheeseburgers and other treats to increase points. According to legend, the Deeqs are a species evolved from a batch of “too fun” and “too powerful” soft serve ice cream. Recently escaped from the freezer, the Deeqs need to unite in order to face an “evil storm” that threatens their world, aptly named DQ-topia.

When it comes to youth of this age, brands have to compete for their attention, said Kelly Thompson, associate director of strategy and insights at Space150.

“They live really media-saturated lives. So if we can get them to spend eight minutes with the Dairy Queen brand, I think that's a huge coup,” she said.

The agency did a lot of research, looking at online gaming and communities that tweens participate in, as well as the aesthetics they respond to, she added. 

In creating the site, both Dairy Queen and Space150 were very cognizant of the concerns related to marketing to 8-12 year olds. “So many of the big fast food players — rightfully so — come under some scrutiny from a variety of organizations that are watching out for kids,” Keller said. Those under the age of 13 need permission from their parents to receive e-mail about the site.

So far Dairy Queen has only promoted the Deeqs within its own properties since the site's soft launch in January. Since then, the site has received more than 90,000 visits with an average visit consisting of 8.16 minutes, said John Grudnowski, director of modern media, Space150. “We're seeing about 300 searches a day on Google for Deeqs,” he said.

The hard launch will take place in late May or early June and there are plans to update and expand the site throughout the summer, Grudnowski said.

There are also plans to make media buys and form partnerships to drive more traffic to the site, Keller said.

Like a Webkinz or Club Penguin-type experience, Deeqs.com will have a social networking component where kids will be able to play games, personalize characters, accumulate points, buy merchandise, contribute ideas and interact with each other, Keller said. “We need reasons for the members to want to stay and play,” he said.

There are about 5,500 independently owned and operated Dairy Queen franchised restaurants in North America, according to Keller. 

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