Burger King Makes Foray into Mobile Phone Gaming

Mobile game and content provider Mobliss has been hired by Burger King to create cell phone games featuring the chain’s products, the latest effort by The Home of the Whopper’s marketers to leverage games to market its brand.

Mobliss, based in Seattle and owned by Japan’s Index Corp., is already developing the new mobile games, which will be available via download to mobile devices early next year. As has been the case with Burger King’s prior forays into game advertising and marketing, at least some of the new cell phone titles will feature the company’s ubiquitous (and somewhat strange) icon, The King.

In a statement announcing the initiative, Burger King said the first game from Mobliss will have players attempting to win a role as of The King’s protégé “by facing challenges and progressing in the virtual world of a Burger King-themed city.” Gamers will be able to accrue points as they successfully complete tasks and — in typical video game fashion — the challenges become increasingly difficult as gamers advance through the levels.

According to the company, the game experience will be “enhanced by the peer-to-peer interaction of the community.”

Burger King’s president of global marketing, strategy and innovation, issued a statement saying the company wanted to go beyond merely paying for ad units within games.

“Anyone can buy advertising space in gaming,” he said. “Our vision is to be successful in generating original content that is relevant to our consumer. Content-generated share of voice wins hearts and commands attention in an over-crowded medium.” Neither Mobliss nor Burger King responded to a request for comment.

It’s not the first time Burger King’s game-advertising endeavors have gone beyond merely having the company name on signs or items within games. BK’s work with Blitz games resulted in a number of titles — released on disk for the Xbox console and sold at Burger Kings for $3.99 each – including one called “Sneak King” that had The King sneaking up on players and granting them BK meals.

Also, Burger King brokered product integrations with Electronic Arts for games including a version of “Fight Night Round 3” in which The King appeared as a character to fight.

The sandwich chain will promote the mobile games through signs in the restaurants and on meal packaging. Those who want to buy the game will be asked to send a text message. Mobliss has direct publishing agreements with a number of national carriers including Sprint, AT&T, U.S. Cellular, Verizon, Alltel and T-Mobile.

The licensing deal between Mobliss and Burger King was brokered by the company’s licensing agent, Broad Street Licensing Group.

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