A few weeks ago, I noticed that the sack of russet potatoes I bought from SuperTarget had a little Farmville promotional tag that would give you 3$ in Farmville cash for three accounts. It seemed amusing at the time, but now the folks at Zynga have taken things one step further. Apparently there is now a campaign selling 8 items that, if you collect them all (yes, that shiver down your spine was a recollection of the Pokemon craze from a decade ago), gives you a boatload of Farmville cash. Virtual world/real world cross-promotions are certainly nothing new (see, e.g. Webkinz, etc). It seems like a good way to monetize your game if you can get big enough to attract distributors. Who knows, maybe it will help entice people into eating more healthy foods, not that anything sold in a 7-11 could be remotely nutritional, but it’s a start.
If this works, be on the look out for more real world cross-promotions. I’m pretty sure, however, that 7-11 will want nothing to do with Zynga if the game company decides to bring MafiaWars into the real world.