Megamind buys the farm. In a good way.

Blog Comments (3)

News broke on The Hollywood Reporter yesterday that “Zynga and DreamWorks Animation have partnered on what is the largest social gaming firm’s first-ever feature film integration — a 24-hour campaign designed to boost awareness of the Friday release of Megamind.” This follows hot on the heels of old McDonalds having a farm and before that a reportedly very successful agrarian ad spend by Microsoft’s Bing.

Then way back in December ’09 there’s what, unless I (rather than The Hollywood Reporter) am very much mistaken, was Zynga’s actual-first-ever feature film integration: the Public Enemies ‘Crime Spree’, a slick week-long DVD promo inside Zynga’s Mafia Wars which saw Universal getting away with daylight robbery.

Dreamworks are no doubt hoping that by masterminding FarmVille‘s first official film promo they can look forward to more of the same. The first-mover advantage for plays like this can be considerable, and it sounds like the studio are rightly looking beyond the obvious metrics in terms of how they gauge its effectiveness. As for the creative implementation, while this may not have the criminal cross-over of the Public Enemies/Mafia Wars activity, it sounds as though plenty of thought has gone into making Dreamworks’ film a coherent part of the FarmVille experience, replete with all the juicy virtual freebies that have becoming de rigeur for this kind of thing:

“Megamind will launch his own Mega-Farm, a themed landmark within the social game that incorporates the storyline and characters of the film. For 24 hours, users can see special branded content from the film, such as a Megamind contraption. Two special items will be available to players who visit the character’s farm — a special Mega-Grow formula that helps to instantly grow crops without wilting plus a collectable decorative item that players can put up in their own farms.”

Only twenty-four hours eh? Sounds like getting your message in FarmVille involves parting with a fair old chunk of the biggest virtual currency of all.

Unless you’d rather do it the old-fashioned way:

Oh, and in case you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s a lovely infographic courtesy of AllFacebook chock full of mind-bending and, let’s be honest, slightly depressing statistics:

» Blog » Megamind buys the farm. ...
On November 4, 2010

3 Responses to Megamind buys the farm. In a good way.

  1. John says:

    As far back as 2007 around 28% of ALL web users played games online. Maybe puts FB’s appeal into perspective?

    That 53% is of a smaller pool than the world at large.

    *end facebook rant*

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey John – The difference probably comes down to how many of those were engaged in the kind of persistent gaming experience something like Farmville offers, in terms of the amount of time they invested and how frequently they signed-in. That’s what’s attractive to advertisers, whe they know they can run a 24-hour promo and still reach 25% of its total audience – a whopping 17m wannabe country bumpkins:

      Another factor is the relative ease with which an ancillary narrative like Megamind’s can be superimposed onto the relatively blank canvas of a game ecosystem like Farmville. In terms of gameplay it seems to be challenging people to master human subsistence at the most basic level (to the extent that it has not even properly embraced some of the pivotal innovations arising post British agricultural revolution). Bolting on brands and entertainment properties is much easier coming from a position of having no real pre-existing storyverse to worry about.

      In that respect FarmVille is the perfect ‘gamification’ of the Facebook experience. It makes it easier for us to do something that would otherwise require real time and effort (and, at the very least, standing up and moving around) but in doing so it robs us of a meaningful reward. Which brings us to the wider paradox of the social web: if it’s that much easier for me to say ‘hi’, or ‘shut up’, or ‘I protest (and am now going to turn my avatar green and change my Twitter location to “Tehran” by way of doing so)’, does it really matter as much when I do?

      • John says:

        Can’t really disagree with you there!

        The scary thing about FB, however, is it is now the default ‘must-have’ on a lot of budget sheets – indie game studio and marketing company a-like. The carpet-bombing approach is fine if you can afford it (where are my pub-quality stats on percentage of marketing budgets ‘wasted’ when I need them?).
        Win a million users off a competing game with an experience they have had before, only glossier, re-skinned, and watch as someone does exactly the same in return. It is blunt sticks, and games (barring the very most commercially successful) not even consigned to the history book but dust. The audience won are fickle and even the slightest change in weather can stop them from converting and actually handing someone cash for whatever it is being sold.

        At the risk of going way off topic, I prefer the 1.idea 2. platform way of doing things – particularly when it comes to games. It seems, to my eyes anyway that the bulk of these games/campaigns work the opposite way i.e. definitely gonna be on facebook, now what? Oh hey look what that fellas doing over there!

        grammar is for weekdays

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