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Posts Tagged ‘Farmville’

UNICEF’s Facebook App Turns Social Network into Water Network

Move over, Farmville. Virtual farming is out, and virtual plumbing (for a good cause) is on its way in.

As part of its annual Tap Project, UNICEF has partnered with Droga5 to create an app that turns your Facebook page into a virtual water tap. The project’s goal is to help raise awareness of the staggering number of people around the world who lack access to safe drinking water (roughly 800 million), while simultaneously raising money to help get clean water to those people.

According to UNICEF, just $5 dollars can give one child safe drinking water for 200 days. By donating those $5 dollars to the cause via PayPal or text message, Facebook users can now turn their pages into virtual taps carrying water to those in need (money-raising) and then choose two friends to whom they can link “pipes”, urging them create taps of their own (spreading awareness). Through this dual-action campaign, UNICEF hopes to “turn the world’s largest social network into the world’s largest water network.”

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Can ‘Advocacy Gaming’ Inspire Social Change?

Half the Sky the gameIt’s all about “gamification” these days, right? Video games don’t just entertain us and distract us during down time on the train–they also help brands publicize new campaigns, encourage user engagement and even develop new products and promotional materials.

But can games truly educate the public in the interest of facilitating widespread social change? Games for Change certainly thinks so. We’ll refer to what they do as “advocacy gaming”–and it makes a lot of sense.

The brand’s latest, most visible project is a collaboration with New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, best known for his reporting on international human rights and gender equality abuses. It’s called “Half the Sky”, and it’s truly a multimedia effort: the Facebook game debuted this week, but it all started with Kristof’s book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (co-written with his wife and fellow Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn).

The book inspired a spinoff series on PBS–and then Games for Change got involved with the help of social gaming leader Zynga and other big-name sponsors.

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How Brands Use Games to Develop Better Products and Marketing Campaigns

Gamification: it’s a relatively new buzzword, but you’ve probably been hearing a lot about it lately. Why? Because it’s now clear that digital games go well beyond your XBox and Farmville accounts. All kinds of brands can use games to promote their products: here, for example, Edelman PR‘s Robert Phillips discusses the firm’s success creating a digital bar distraction for popular rum brand Captain Morgan.

And companies don’t just use gamification to entertain customers and familiarize them with a brand–it can help them develop better products and figure out exactly what the public wants from them in the first place. We recently had the chance to chat with Julie Wittes Schlack, SVP of Innovation and Design at Communispace, to figure out how they help brands like Kraft, State Farm, Citigroup and Comcast develop better products and marketing campaigns with simple betting games known as “prediction markets.”

How does the public see “gamification”? Do they distinguish it from traditional video games? 

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‘Words With Friends’, ‘Draw Something’ Board Games Aren’t Fooling Anyone

Virtual games based on classic real-world board games have taken the social media world by storm; bored office workers and easily distracted students everywhere play Draw Something (aka Pictionary-on-the-go) and Words With Friends (Scrabble for the attention-span-challenged) obsessively on cell phones and tablets.

Toymaker Hasbro naturally decided to get in on the action by producing tangible, real-world board games based on everyone’s favorite online distractions–which were based on board games in the first place. Confused? So are we.

Anyone notice the right-before-the-holidays release date? The company has even chosen to market these shameless ripoffs as “more social” than their digital versions, since fans can play them at parties with other actual humanoids. But no one seems to be falling for it. Some related Tweets:

Here’s the kicker: the makers of Words with Friends the Board Game are the makers of Scrabble!

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Pizza, Pants, and Tiny Cars Rank High in ‘Social Currency’

Domino’s Pizza, Fiat, and Levi’s – what do they all have in common? On the surface, very little. But a New York-based business has named the companies among the top 100 brands with “social currency.”

Vivaldi Partners, a group of three companies that includes a strategic consulting firm and an “organizational change” company, rates social currency on six attributes: affiliation, identity, information, conversation, utility, and advocacy. The firm reviewed and analyzed campaigns coming from across Europe, the Americas, and Asia over the past three years.

To sum it up, Vivaldi says: “Social currency is achieved when consumers: share a video, an image, a blog post, a tweet, or a thought about a brand.”

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Are Zynga Partnerships the New Hot Thing?

Photo: Reuters

Lady Gaga is creating her own town — “Gagaville” — through a partnership with Zynga, the makers of Farmville, and Clear Channel, which will promote her new album “Born This Way,” released May 23. Between May 17 and 29, fans and digital farmers can visit Gagaville to get new songs and exclusive content from the album, purchase a $25 card to buy in-game items, and check out the unicorns and motorcycle-riding sheep.

“‘GagaVille’ is a sign that artists are going where the fans are, and that is on Facebook, Twitter and playing online games,” Yahoo says. And Lady Gaga isn’t the first to recognize that.

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