By: Daniel Sweeney On: August 26, 2013 In: Advertising & Marketing, Mobile Apps, Uncategorized Comments: 0

A recent post from the folks at ClickZ looked at the future of mobile and smartphone gaming as it relates to advertising, marketing and branding.

Sure, mobile apps are already all the rage – just look at our earlier post on The Walking Dead‘s “Dead Yourself” app – but we’re talking games that deeply engage users, normally on a level beyond, for example, a photo app.

“One out of every five minutes on mobile is either spent with Facebook or Instagram,” says Simon Whitcombe, games lead at Facebook

“So what are people doing on their phones during those other four minutes? Consumers are looking to be distracted, and in many instances that distraction is a mobile game.”

At ThinkLA’s Gaming Breakfast last week, Whitcombe urged various other gaming and media execs to look at games as a form of media, “on the upswing and ripe for advertising opportunities.”

The statistics regarding mobile and social media gaming are eye-popping, to say the least.

– 126 million Americans playing games on their mobile phones monthly (
– 250 million users playing game on Facebook every month (

So how can brands use the power of gaming to tap into the millions and millions of potential customers who call themselves “gamers”? Take a look at these three different examples.



– Partnership with Preexisting Game

Though a brand like Star Wars may not need any kind of publicity boost, the Angry Birds Star Wars mobile game is an excellent example of a brand using a mobile game as a platform to engage consumers.

While other mobile games may not be as popular as the Rovio product, played by more than 260 million users in January alone, an established game with a large following is an excellent vehicle to help put your brand before new eyes.

Though, in the case of Angry Birds Star Wars, I would guess more Star Wars fans went on to become Angry Birds fans than vice-versa.
– Sponsorship within a Game

Back in April of 2010, FarmVille introduced users in Israel to sponsored crops. The move, facilitated by Saatchi & Saatchi, was met with some pushback from the FarmVille faithful.

“Spread the word if you are a Farmville player and do NOT buy these “peanuts”. This is the first brand advertising that Zynga’s Farmville has chosen to align itself with,” 
wrote one fan blog.

“There are 82 million players worldwide. Farmville makes $$$$ off the players buying seeds and whatever else this game has you do. You stop playing and spread the word, it will send the message to Farmville.”

Ideally, your sponsorship is incorporated seamlessly into the game’s user experience and spared of any type of fan backlash similar to this.



– Branded Games

Look over any list of the top branded mobile games and the U.K. credit card company Barclayscard is sure to appear. Launched in mid 2009, the company developed an app that allows users to ride a virtual waterslide, called Waterslide Extreme.

“The app follows a popular Barclaycard commercial that featured an office worker tearing off his clothes and riding through the city on a waterslide while using his card to pay for things like groceries,” reads The Street‘s list.

As of June 2011, Waterslide Extreme had more than 12 million downloads.

Which style works best for your brand? Which you think is most effective in engaging potential customers and fans? Leave a comment below!