Will Brands Draw Something?

Draw Something is the latest digital phenomenon. It took the game just 50 days to get over 50 million downloads in just 50 days.

The Zynga-owned game is simple and fun. It’s like playing an easier version of Pictionary on your iPhone with your friends or with strangers. With the tap of your finger you can try to clumsily draw your best waffle or surfboard, or you can watch someone else draw and then guess what it is. Big Fuel chief creative officer Avi Savar calls it “Pictionary for the Facebook generation.”

It’s safe to say that Zynga is probably feeling pretty good about its recent purchase of OMGPOP for $180 million The question is how, if at all, Zygna will further incorporate brands into its ad strategy. Like all new bright, shiny digital objects, it’s unclear if Draw Something will be a viable outlet for brands beyond being yet another place for banner ads.

“I think there’s a deep opportunity to integrate,” said Brandon Berger, chief digital officer at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. “I’m a firm believer in games being an important place for brands.”

So far on the free version it’s just the usual banner ads. With such a huge and growing audience at its disposal, Draw Something seems like the perfect place for brands to jump on board and associate themselves with a fun social game.

It would be a prime candidate for a new type of activity-based ad format like those offered by Appssavvy and Kiip, which reward users for achievements with product samples and coupons. You could imagine someone getting a brand reward for successfully drawing five words. Or Zynga could do sponsored challenges in which a brand challenges users to draw something related to the brand. For example, Nike could have running-themed sponsored words.

One thing’s for sure, there are many opportunities far beyond standard ads.

Branded color palette options or having special branded drawing topic words that relate to a brand’s message would fit in with the game and with the user experience.

“Gaming is a fun environment, but I caution any brand that participates to understand the game environment first,” warned Berger.

But Draw Something isn’t exactly the next Facebook or Twitter. It is after all just a supremely popular mobile game.

“I think brands can learn a lot from the adoption of the game,” said Savar. “I don’t look at this as anything more than a game right now.”


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