Build-A-Bear Workshop has created a vibrant and imaginative interactive city—Build-A-Bearville—that takes not only social networking and customization to the next level, but also the Build-A-Bear brand. Think MySpace meets Second Life, for kids.
Children create their own avatar—selecting the color of everything from skin to hair to clothing—and walk through the different neighborhoods, such as the Town Square, Bear University and the Furbulous Fashion District, playing games and chatting with others. All Build-A-Bearville residents receive a Cub Condo, which they can paint, decorate and invite over other guests. By participating in games and quests, town citizens can earn Bear Bills, the town currency, to buy virtual clothing and goods for their condo.
Since more than 53 million stuffed animals have been made at Build-A-Bear Workshops in North America and the United Kingdom in the past 10 years, the company wanted to further extend a child’s relationship with their furry friend, by making it come to life.
“We have seen over the past few years a blurring from traditional play to online play for children,” said Dave Finnegan, the company’s CIO. “It’s clear that social networking is here to stay, so it’s important for us to get involved.”
“We wanted to embrace a platform that would act like a MySpace for kids, in that they can decorate their condos and express themselves in any way they chose,” Finnegan added.
“We were in a good position to enter this space because our store presence is known for being interactive with customization options. Extending the reach of our brand in this manner was an easy decision for us,” Finnegan said.
Birth certificates for stuffed-animal friends made in stores since October include an ID and free key code that guests can use to bring these products to life. For those animals purchased before October, children can receive a complimentary guest pass to regis