Topps Candy’s latest initiative, www.babybottlepop.com, creates opportunities for children to socialize in a safe online environment by exchanging messages in bottles across virtual waterways. A tie-in to Topps’ popular Baby Bottle Pop, the site is one of the first in the confectionery industry to link offline experience directly with online play.

“Like some of the toy brands out there, children can purchase a real-life product, Baby Bottle Pop, and can use it as a key to unlock a whole virtual world,” says Ari Weinstock, senior brand manager at Topps. “We understand that this generation of children is the most Web-savvy, and we wanted to update one of our best-selling products to appeal to their sense of imagination and curiosity.”

Beginning in May, every Baby Bottle Pop will contain a unique code written on a small, rolled-up scroll. The code can be entered on the Web site’s gateway screen to unlock the virtual world created by Topps. For each UPC code uploaded, one message can be written and received by visitors. Messages can be tracked as they travel via geographically correct rivers and tributaries across North America. Additionally, children can select from a variety of baby avatars to represent themselves. Each child will get their own beachfront property for sending and receiving messages, and those beaches can be customized with themes such as sports, outer-space and adventure. Virtual beach combers can play up to 12 games on the site. As a matter of safety, kids can only compose messages from pre-selected phrases, and personal contact information cannot be exchanged. For more information about Topps Candy, visit www.topps.com/candy.