Wrigley Sells Advergaming Site Candystand

New Owner Funtank Will Open up Property to Other Brands

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. is selling its successful advergaming website Candystand.com to Funtank, the newly opened branded gaming and entertainment publisher said today.
Candystand.com's success is largely predicated on word-of-mouth advertising, combined with visitors who spend nearly 13 minutes per visit with the site's suite of 100-plus Flash and Shockwave games, according to Funtank.
Candystand.com's success is largely predicated on word-of-mouth advertising, combined with visitors who spend nearly 13 minutes per visit with the site's suite of 100-plus Flash and Shockwave games, according to Funtank.

Wrigley plans to maintain a presence on the site, signing on as its first and exclusive confectionery sponsor. Wrigley would not comment as to why it was selling the property, referring instead to a statement from Funtank.

"Candystand.com has been and will continue to be an excellent tool to connect our brands with our consumers," Martin Schlatter, Wrigley's global chief marketing officer, said in the statement. "We look forward to working with Funtank and see this as a win-win for both companies."

Innovative site
Launched in 1997, Candystand has been considered an innovator of online branded gaming. Wrigley told Ad Age last year that the site draws between 4 million and 5 million unique consumers a month.

Its success is largely predicated on word-of-mouth advertising, combined with visitors who spend nearly 13 minutes per visit with the site's suite of 100-plus Flash and Shockwave games, according to Funtank.

Funtank, whose sibling company, WDDG, has managed and maintained Candystand.com since 2005, will open the site to select brands and sponsors later this year, with Wrigley staying on as its premier advertiser.

WDDG has developed and published branded gaming content for a laundry list of brands including MTV, Burger King, Marc Ecko and Altoids. With its acquisition of Candystand, Funtank was effectively open for business.

James Baker, who comes on as CEO of Funtank, said he recognizes the existing strength and "rich heritage" of the Candystand portal but also sees further potential for the website.

"We're very focused of driving Candystand as a property," he said. "It isn't just about playable advertising; it's about real, rich gaming experiences."

Succeeds with engagement
Mr. Baker said Candystand succeeds where other branded-content efforts tend to fail: engagement.

"Its history speaks for itself," he said. "It's great viral marketing" -- something Mr. Baker said Funtank plans to mirror in its forthcoming marketing.

"We're not doing anything to compromise Candystand's success," he said. "But with some care and feeding, we think we can strengthen the appeal."

And that appeal is especially diverse, transcending demographics and offering something for everyone. Mr. Baker said the existing Candystand user is anyone from the traditional web-savvy teenager to the less-traditional stay-at-home mom, a gamut that he sees as a highly attractive opportunity for potential advertisers.
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