By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk
Most of us that have spent any time on Facebook have probably been invited at some point by one of our friends to play a social game such as the hugely popular Mafia Wars or Farmville. I personally have received the invites, but have to admit that I haven't taken up on any one of them yet.
Social Gaming is growing and is forecasted to become even more popular, especially with women online. Men have always been the major players on console games, such as PlayStation and Xbox, but they are not the dominant demographic playing on Facebook.
Zynga, the social game company that created Mafia Wars and Farmville, announced a couple of months ago a new partnership with Yahoo to offer their games through Yahoo's portal, including the Yahoo home page, on Yahoo Games and on Yahoo mail. They also have a similar deal with Microsoft where the games will be on the company's online properties including MSN Games and Windows Live Messenger.
So it didn't surprise me too much when I learned that a consumer products company just developed it's own social game on Facebook with the intent to promote its own brands. I am surprised however with the company that launched it.
Reckitt Benckiser (RB) the parent of Clearasil, Lysol, Woolite and other household brands, is that company and not one that is a household name by any means. Just launched on July 19, poweRBrands is designed to mirror the real-life experiences of us marketing folks that work for a consumer products company such as RB. By joining the "virtual RB" marketing team, the player progresses through a combination of tasks and teamwork, and climbs the corporate ladder to eventually become global "President".
RB's poweRBrands was not developed by Zynga, put instead in partnership with Euro RSCG Riley and Nudge Social Media. They claim it to be the first Facebook game of its kind, giving the player the unique opportunity to test their marketing and business ability, learn strategy and decision-making skills, and be introduced to the unique culture and challenges that face RB marketers every day.
RB is specifically targeting the 18-30 year age group and wants to use poweRBrands not only to create awareness of the company and the brands it markets, but also as a recruiting tool. Andraea Dawson-Shepherd, RB's global communications director, said: "poweRBrands is part of a serious initiative to make learning about our industry and marketing both relevant and fun. It is not a direct recruitment tool, but is a great way to introduce students and early careers sales people and marketers to our culture – and we hope that some of them may look further at our website and other career information."
As I mentioned I'm not much of a gamer, however I went to RB's Facebook page and downloaded the app to start playing the game. I got through a couple of screens and made my first decision whether to implement a BOGO (by one get one) offer or a coupon for a Lysol promotion. So now I'll see if I can get any of my other marketing friends to play with me. The Facebook page enables players to exchange news and provide feedback and tips.
As of yesterday I learned from RB that they already had 6,000 downloads of the apps after the first day. They are planning an online U.S. marketing campaign that won't kick off till late-August and will run into September which will include ads on Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo! Hot Jobs.
I'm interested to hear from both other marketers and women, especially women marketers. Where do you think this whole social gaming market is going and how do you think it can fit within a marketing campaign as RB has done with poweRBrands? I'm also curious to know where people are finding the time to play these games? So I invite you to share with us your thoughts.