Without any contact with Nintendo, the gum giant is linking its popular adver-gaming site, candystand.com, to the hugely successful game console through Nintendo's Wii browser.
6,000 visitors in 24 hours
Wrigley recently rolled out a microsite at wii.candystand.com that can be accessed through Wii's Internet Channel, which launched in beta in December. The Internet Channel is a version of the Opera browser designed specifically for Wii to connect to the internet wirelessly or through Ethernet. Within 24 hours of launching earlier this month, wii.candystand.com had already attracted 6,000 visitors and a slew of positive blog reviews, according to Scott Tannen, director of global digital marketing at Wrigley.
"We've made a strong commitment to using games as a great way to build relationships and, as one of the top internet entertainment destinations, we have to be on top of the trends," Mr. Tannen said.
Candystand, introduced in 1997, draws between 4 million and 5 million unique consumers a month, most of them "bored office workers," Mr. Tannen said. These 20-something gamers are subjected to Wrigley's brand messaging by way of games such as Orbit Video Poker and branded basketball-court choices for the game H.O.R.S.E. that include Winterfresh and Big Red. But that's a small price to pay for free access to 65 high-quality games during long, tedious conference calls. (Mr. Tannen acknowledged he had seven such calls on a recent day, during which he could be found accessing the site.)
Formatted for TV screens
Wii.candystand.com, which clearly states that Wii and Nintendo are not Wrigley trademarks and are being used without affiliation or endorsement by Nintendo, is the first branded site that's linked to the Wii browser and offers content formatted for TVs rather than computer screens.
Mr. Tannen said he has increasingly seen consumers enter the internet through the Wii browser in the month since it was introduced and "felt the need to be there quickly. We're all gamers, and we take this space very seriously." So far, he said, feedback from consumers has been "unbelievable." Wii's wireless, motion-sensitive Wiimote brings a new dimension to the Candystand experience.
Keeps Wrigley cool
What does all that mean for Wrigley? Ideally, more loyal consumers. Without giving hard data, Mr. Tannen said Candystand's longevity and success shows it is "moving the needle and driving Wrigley's business." Offering games that tie to the Wii web-browser technology means Candystand can continue to look cool and keep Wrigley top of mind with consumers as they play away.
Nintendo declined to comment on Wrigley's use of the Wii name or on other marketers who might similarly look to ride the Wii wave.