Jeff Karp brings branding experience to games company.
Zynga is apparently ramping up its ad sales initiatives, bringing Jeff Karp on board yesterday as chief marketing and revenue officer. Most recently, Karp (left) was EVP for Electronic Arts' "Play" division while helping build up game franchises like The Sims and Sim City.
Citing a quiet period, San Francisco-based Zynga today would not greatly detail how its newest executive might affect the digital games player's ad sales strategies. In an email sent to ClickZ News yesterday, a company rep stated Karp would be "overseeing marketing and communications, international sales, and in-game revenue."
Karp did offer more insight to Ad Age today. It seems he'll be both marketing Zynga's game products and working with brands that want to advertise on its platform.
"The key for us when we talk about brands entering our game is to make sure that those partnerships and promotions are informative, entertaining and educational for our players," he told the publication. "Lucky for us we can be incredibly selective with the partnerships we move forward with, and we won't just shove in brand promos or branded virtual goods unless they provide real value to our players."
Before joining EA, Karp served at Wilson Sporting Goods as VP of interactive marketing.
Meanwhile Zynga, which filed a $1 billion IPO last month, claims to have 60 million daily active users and 232 million monthly uniques in 166 countries. Most of the users play games like Farmville, Zynga Poker, and CityVille on Facebook, where Zynga has advertised heavily to create its huge audience. It also recently launched Zynga Poker on Facebook’s social media competitor Google+.
In terms of its platform for marketers, Zynga ad types include:
Engagement Ads, in which players can answer questions about brand preferences and purchase behavior in exchange for in-game currency. For instance, a user might field questions about her American Express card.
Branded Virtual Goods, in which a brand ties advertising deeply into game play. The best-known examples are Farmer's Insurance on Farmville, Bing, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's. Paramount recently launched a campaign in CityVille offering an in-game item to drive awareness of Kung Fu Panda 2.
Mobile Ads, which are served into free versions of Zynga mobile games like "Words with Friends" and "Hanging with Friends." Advertisers have included Amazon, eBay, and HBO; Zynga alsohas used the space to cross-promote other mobile games.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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