I was a little under the weather this past week and so I spent more time than usual in the Webkinz World with my six year old. A fascinating place. I was interested in the marketing model, the convergence of the on line and offline world, the user experience and the depth of things to do on the site. He was interested in the $800 football bed for his frog “Greenie.” In amongst the thoughts of how they came up with what games to push, who developed them and how they were tested, I found myself asking - “why didn’t I think of this” (along with most every other parent who has visited this place). He was wondering why he could only buy one type of truck for Greenie and thinking he would like a fourth to add to his collection. While I was trying to figure out how to pick up a spare in the bowling game I was getting annoyed that some Poodle named Pinky kept asking me what was my (oh I mean Greenie’s) favorite thing to do in Webkinz World. My son was happy that Greenie was earning some green for his bank - but was wondering when it would be his turn. Afterwards, I began to think about the experience - all of it. On the one hand I was thinking that it was fun to spend time together like that, but on the other should we have been doing something different - is this the best thing. Could this be used to help learn the value of money - earning and learning to spend it - I guess. But it spoke volumes about the changing way in which we reach people and what the brand experience has evolved into. Is it a stuffed animal with an on line identity or is it a community, a social network that touches people in many different ways? And was that Poodle who beat me in bowling really the Poodle or the Poodles dad? I’m not sure and could spend more time hypothesizing - but I have to go. Greenie is not feeling well and needs some food and rest.