Did Zynga & Relativity Media Just Shift A Paradigm When No One Was Looking?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Did Zynga & Relativity Media Just Shift A Paradigm When No One Was Looking?

Earlier today, I got word about a new promotion, in which Relativity Media was getting together with recently beleagued games firm Zynga to promote both a movie and a video game at the same time. This combination made me take notice for its sheer unusual nature.

This is the first time that Zynga has ever done an in-game promotion, and will be working within Zynga's CityVille title in a bid to promote the upcoming Relativity Media release of House at the End of the Street. Basically, Zynga will be showing the trailer for House at the End of the Street--which is actually a pretty good trailer; it's no Sinister, but it was enough to get me interested--on a platform in the game itself. Players will view the trailer, and then get a unique Fandango code, a chance to win tickets to see the movie, and the opportunity to share results on social media outlets. 

Since 78 percent of Zynga's player base, according to a recent study, has been to a movie in the last three months, and 50 percent of the audience has seen a suspense / thriller title (which is an excellent description of House at the End of the Street), it makes a very smart move indeed. Why not? After all, if CityVille users are watching movies, and suspense / thrillers at that, why not promote to the players? Giving the players chances to win tickets works well for the players too, and of course, Zynga likely gets some cash out of the deal.

I have no problem with advertising in games. There's nothing wrong with players getting a health bonus from cans of actual Coke or Sara Lee pound cakes. Why not drive past a billboard for State Farm insurance in a driving game? Why not play with Callaway drivers in a golf game? Throwing a little branding means extra cash for the developers, and that's not bad. But by like token it should translate into benefits for the players as well. Free tickets qualifies, as far as I'm concerned.

It's a solid model, and it should work out well. But will anyone else pick up the gauntlet and run with it? We can only hope!
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