McDonald's promotes brand on FarmVille farm

Ronny Kerr · October 7, 2010 · Short URL:

Zynga partnership lasts only one day but demonstrates the power of branding on social networks

You may have never seen an actual farm where McDonald’s gets its special ingredients, but you’re about to see the company’s first-ever digital farm:

McDonald's FarmVille

The popular fast food chain announced Thursday morning that it has partnered with social gaming giant Zynga to create a specially branded McDonald’s farm that users can interact with in FarmVille to earn rewards.

For today only, FarmVille will highlight the McDonald’s farm as a user’s “neighbor farm.” Users who visit the farm can help grow tomato and mustard seed crops and, in turn, receive an in-game reward called a FarmVille McCafe Consumable. The Consumable lets players move around their farms at double speed. Players who interact with the McDonald’s farm will also receive a McDonald's Hot Air Balloon to decorate their own farm.

"McDonald's on FarmVille represents the re-thinking of the delivery and reception of advertising," said Chris Cunningham, co-founder and CEO of appssavvy, the social branding and advertising company that led the partnership. "Today it is about understanding the social activity taking place and only then figuring out a way to join relevantly through value-added marketing, which McDonald's has done to perfection."

More than 215 million monthly active users play Zynga games, according to the company, and FarmVille has always been the most popular of its titles, so McDonald’s is certainly getting some decent exposure. That’s even considering that the campaign runs only for one day.

This wouldn’t be Zynga’s first foray into creative advertising strategies.

Back in May, the startup launched a six-week campaign with 7-11 to carry more than 30 branded items (cups, ice cream, etc.) in its 7,000 stores nationwide. And in late August, Zynga nearly found itself the defendant in a lawsuit over a Mafia Wars guerilla marketing campaign, which involved the gluing of fake $25,000 bills to sidewalks in five different San Francisco locations.

As for the digital McDonald's farm, I find the blatant lack of cows a little surprising.

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appssavvy is a mobile advertising technology company with the mission of rethinking the delivery and reception of advertising. Focused on activity, appssavvy redefines how brands reach consumers, creates native ad experiences for publishers, and most importantly, improves advertising through data and insights about real-time behavior.




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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit