Wuppie-successor takes first steps in online world

In line with the cuddly Wuppies, Albert Heijn is launching the Welpies this year. This time the campaign is partly used hesitantly online. The Welpie, a hairy lion, comes alive online in Windows Live Messenger with special emoticons and winks in the form of a Welpie. The animated characters portray all kinds of emotions

In line with the cuddly Wuppies, Albert Heijn is launching the Welpies this year. This time the campaign is partly used hesitantly online.

The Welpie, a hairy lion, comes alive online in Windows Live Messenger with special emoticons and winks in the form of a Welpie. The animated characters portray all kinds of emotions.

For now, the integration in Windows Live Messenger is the only online aspect of the campaign. "The collaboration with Microsoft is new to us, it is a choice, you can not do everything", according to a spokesperson for Albert Heijn. "It is a step towards the new world and a difference with the 2006 Wuppie campaign. We are hopeful that the Welpie will be picked up in chat traffic."

The 'offline' Welpies, free cuddle mascots, are used by Albert Heijn as an EK gadget. In the shops the little lions are distributed with the groceries.

With the campaign, Albert Heijn focuses specifically on families. "But within families there are of course also children with a lot of football fans in. Of course, you are trying to make a move towards young people, and we expect that more lives online", says the spokesperson. The campaign is primarily used in stores. "The online section is intended to further spread the Welpie broadly, and an online component should not be missing in 2008. But you can not go too far in. You do not want to alienate people from you."

Albert Heijn expects to expand further campaigns in the online field. "Online and offline are no longer possible without each other."

Albert Heijn does not call the online activities the core business. "We do have a web shop, ah.nl, but we do deliver messages in the real world, so we are looking for other large parties for online activities, in which case Microsoft was one with which we collaborated. We look into the evaluation how it went and whether both parties gave birth. "

With the European Championship football at the door, there are countless associated campaigns. Many companies want to take a piece of the orange hedge and give the starting shot for an online campaign.

To keep things in order, Buzzkruit.nl has been launched today. This weblog claims to map and compare all Dutch online campaigns. They also keep track of how people talk about a campaign. In other words, what is the buzz that causes campaigns?