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Films and Celebs Go Gaga for Casual Games

  |  May 23, 2011   |  Comments

Kung Fu Panda, Lady Gaga and Jamie Oliver get their "Ville" on.

Social games like FarmVille and CityVille are getting plenty of attention from entertainment brands lately. In the past two weeks, several film studios, record labels, and personalities have used them to enhance fan interaction. 

DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Pictures and social game developer Zynga recently teamed up to provide an in-game item for Zynga’s CityVille game to promote the upcoming animated feature Kung Fu Panda 2. The film, which opens May 26, is the first-ever advertiser to be integrated with CityVille, DreamWorks says. The game has more than 89 million monthly users, according to AppData.

As a result of the promotion, CityVille players will be able to place a Kung Fu Panda  drive-in movie theater in their city. Players can also obtain virtual items, including the movie’s “Furious Five” characters. When all five characters have been collected, an exclusive Po the Panda statue will be unlocked. The promotion runs through May 31.

“Nearly a third of all Kung Fu Panda fans on Facebook have also played CityVille, so the integration is a natural fit,” says Manny Anekal, global director of brand advertising at Zynga, in a prepared statement. A Zynga rep declined comment beyond the release.

Zynga previously partnered with DreamWorks for Megamind to create “Mega-Farm” in Farmville. According to Zynga, more than 9 million people engaged with it in the first 24 hours.

The company has also previously partnered with Paramount Pictures to bring animated film Rango to FrontierVille. 

On the music front, Zynga recently announced a partnership with Lady Gaga through which FarmVille players can get access to songs from her new album, “Born This Way,” when they visit GagaVille Farm.

According to Zynga, GagaVille Farm is a neighboring in-game farm “inspired by Lady Gaga’s unique style, featuring colorful crystals, magical unicorns, sheep on motorcycles, and if we can cram it in, some leather and glitter.” 

What’s more, Zynga’s mobile social game Words With Friends will feature a daily “Words with Gaga” contest, giving players a chance to win Gaga prizes. Zynga is also offering virtual Gaga items on RewardVille.com.

The album is also available as a free download with the purchase of a Zynga $25 game card from Best Buy. Those that redeem the card on Zynga.com for an album download code will receive an exclusive Lady Gaga unicorn for FarmVille.

The Gaga promotion runs through May 26.

j-oliver-restaurantIn the food arena, social gaming company Playfish has partnered with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in its Restaurant City game just in time for the debut of the second season Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on May 27.

According to Playfish, the relationship will enable Restaurant City’s nearly six million monthly players to engage with Oliver’s brand “and share in his excitement and passion for inspiring people to cook using fresh ingredients.”

In Restaurant City, players design and manage their own eateries, which includes creating menus and employing Facebook friends as waiters and chefs. As a result of the partnership, Jamie-Oliver-branded items are now available. 

For four weeks, Restaurant City will feature one Oliver recipe each week, including Farfalle Carbonara, Asparagus Fettuccine, Basil Pesto Pasta and Meatball Pasta. Players must collect Oliver’s pasta and other ingredients. Each recipe has about ten ingredients. Players who get them all will receive a collectible in-game item, the Jamie Oliver Pasta Maker, which will remain in their inventory of items forever. Once players have created each dish, they’ll also receive a link to the recipe on Oliver’s site.


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Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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