DreamWorks Puts Zynga in the Picture

Zynga and DreamWorks Animation (DWA) have partnered on what is the social gaming firm’s first feature film integration — a 24-hour campaign designed to boost awareness of the Friday release of Megamind.

Some might call it the digital age’s version of the Thursday prime-time TV spot for the latest movie release.

Seeking to leverage Zynga’s reach, DWA will integrate Megamind into Zynga’s most popular game FarmVille, which boasts 17 million daily and 56 million monthly active users worldwide. Zynga’s games are available on social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.

“FarmVille’s extraordinary reach in the social media and gaming space is unparalleled, and we are thrilled to work with Zynga to bring Megamind into their online world,” said Anne Globe, head of worldwide marketing for DWA.

On Thursday, Megamind will launch Mega-Farm, a themed landmark within the social game that incorporates the story line and characters of the film.

For 24 hours, users can see special branded content from the film, such as a Megamind contraption. Two special items will be available to players who visit the character’s farm — a Mega-Grow formula that helps to instantly grow crops without wilting plus a collectible decorative item that players can put up in their own farms.

“We are always looking for new ways to connect with movie fans, and the biggest shift in the marketing mix has been that more dollars nowadays go online,” Globe said. “FarmVille is huge, and the comedic nature of the film lends itself to the fun of the game play.”

Globe said her team would look at metrics such as awareness levels, online chatter (via Twitter and the like) and a possible spike in ticket sales to evaluate the success of the FarmVille campaign. If it works well, “we certainly would want to do more” with future movie or DVD releases, she said.

Players can purchase movie tickets directly from FarmVille, which helps the companies track the campaign’s success.

The short-term focus of the movie promotion lends it urgency and excitement, but there may be the opportunity for keeping fans engaged with key DWA film or TV characters longer term, Globe said.

Zynga late last year ran a weeklong campaign with Universal Studios Home Entertainment in social game Mafia Wars in support of the Blu-ray and DVD release of Public Enemies.

Zynga also has done FarmVille integrations with the likes of McDonald’s and Farmers Insurance.