Specialty retailer Tween Brands has debuted a virtual world it calls ScapeNation, which calls tweens to save the world from destruction by an evil villain.
The site includes games, mysteries and social networking capabilities. The story centers around a villain, named Darkness, who threatens the virtual world.
“The objectives were to launch the next level of customer engagement for Tween Brands,” said Steve Red, president/chief creative officer at Philadelphia agency Red Tettemer via e-mail. “Its audience are digital natives and are looking for new ways to interact with the world online. Tween Brands moves into that space with the launch of ScapeNation.”
The site also is aimed at bringing boys into what is now a primarily female audience.
“Tween Brands is a girl brand currently, and by building dual gender appeal into ScapeNation, it is able to take an important step toward occupying a dual gender position,” Red said.
This comes as the Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning about the risks involved in children using virtual worlds aimed at adults. Because ScapeNation targets kids ages 7 to 14, it is monitored to make sure members are age-appropriate.
“ScapeNation has a robust chat filtering and moderation system in place,” said Red. “There are real-time human moderators monitoring the site to foster a safe environment. Efforts have been made to ensure that ScapeNation is COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) compliant, including offering parental controls.”
To promote the site, Tween Brands is running an integrated campaign that includes video, banner ads, posters, ScapeNation trading cards and gift cards. There will be a social media marketing component on sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
The marketing campaign features site characters asking tweens to help.
ScapeNation is the first effort for Tween Brands by Red Tettemer since the agency won the business in January 2008. Red Tettemer worked on the creative, while A51 Integrated built many of the features.
Free to play, the site will be monetized through micro-transactions. Users can buy ScapeBucks, the ScapeNation virtual currency, to buy virtual accessories and other items to use in the virtual world.