A funny thing happened on my latest trip to Target. During my obligatory perusal of the store’s toy aisle to check out the latest Star Wars offerings, I stumbled upon an entire section devoted to Avatar. Figures, ships, playsets, and more took up a substantial portion of the aisle. What caught my eye though was a graphic on each package referencing a website called Avataritag.com.
If avtr.com is the viral immersed within the Avatar world (an RPG of sorts), then avataritag.com is a viral meant to drum up attention and help sell toys in ours. The idea behind this is that each Mattel Avatar product comes with a corresponding “i-TAG” (because “iPOD” was taken) which is roughly the size of a security badge. If you go to a computer with a webcam and download some software, you’re in for a treat. Just wave your i-TAG at the camera and it will generate a three dimensional rendering of the character or vehicle that you can control and learn more about. There’s a cool demo on the site that better explains this, so if you’re interested, check it out.
This is undoubtedly an original concept from Mattel, and I’m curious to see the response this gets from the rest of the internet. I’m also curious to see if anyone actually buys the toys and heads to the site. This is a brand new franchise, and I wonder who Mattel is targeting with this promotion. Are they hoping kids will get their parents to buy them Jake Scully figures so they can go online to a webcam enabled computer to see some 3D graphics? Or is the plan to have adult collectors shell out ten bucks a pop this stuff? I question their expectations, although I give them credit for creativity. Try it for yourself by getting one of the toys.
In other Avatar news, the newest trailer is debuting in theaters this weekend and will go online next week. I actually just saw a bootleg taken from someone’s cell phone on another film site, and it gave me chills. That’s right, a cell phone bootleg gave me chills. Check back soon for hopefully more Avatar news, and start counting the days until December 18th.