While Zynga has been running generic advertising offers in FarmVille for years, it has also been dabbling in other forms of incentivized purchasing. In a deal with Microsoft from a few months ago, for example, FarmVille users could get 3 Farm Cash (the game’s virtual currency) in exchange for becoming a fan of the Bing search engine.
But now it’s getting into grocery stores, showing how social games and virtual goods are being tied in to more and more consumer products.
FarmVille players have been spotting a partnership with Zynga and vegetable company Green Giant, the game-focused FarmVille Freak blog notes. If you buy packaged tomatoes, salad, and carrots, for example, you can peel off stickers and get codes, then you enter them into the FarmVille site to redeem. It appears that purchasing the goods gets users around 15 Farm Cash or below, with a limit of three redemptions per account.
Other offers have typically given you a discount on purchasing a product or service in exchange for a large amount of Credits. This case is different, because the Farm Cash bonus is being used as an incentive to get users buying one brand at the grocery story (Green Giant vegetables) versus the others. Retailers have long used follow-on bonuses to make purchases look more enticing, so this use of FarmVille is an obvious extension for them; for another example of virtual currency being used to generate in-store sales, see Dr. Pepper’s deal with EA.
It’s likely that the Green Giant deal is a one-off promotion, but we’ll be tracking to see how else Zynga and other developers that use virtual goods work with consumer packaged goods companies.