Cadbury Launches Social Music Game to Reach Facebook Users

Cadbury Freida Smooth MovesWe’ve seen more and more branded social games showing up on Facebook, as marketers try to use game features to promote their products. The latest is Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate brand in Australia, with the rhythm game Cadbury Freida Smooth Moves.

Cadbury is one of the largest confectioners in countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and England (as well as in a few select US stores). The game, it is based on a Cadbury commercial starring the dancing cow Freida, and it is clearly intended as a viral means to advertise the milk chocolate products. It isn’t as sophisticated as, say, some of the major social apps, but it is amusing in its own right.

When the player starts up the game, they are prompted to choose a picture from their Facebook profile. Don’t worry, for if a good one isn’t available, users are free to choose from either a gorilla or three 1950s looking TV characters, all of which based off of a series of Cadbury television commercials. We chose the gorilla, of course. Once chosen, the head is placed atop a suited figure and its time to start dancing with Freida.

MoonwalkYes, that’s right, dancing gorillas and dancing cows. As users play, the two avatars repeat a basic dance shuffle as a stream of chocolates fall in four arrow labeled rows. In a typical Guitar Hero fashion, players hit the corresponding arrow as the chocolate reaches the bottom, and as they attain certain scores (hitting the wrong key at the wrong time will detract from the score), will unlock quirky dance moves; many of which are seated in pop culture such as the Moonwalk or MC Hammer’s Hammer Time steps.

Each level is also broken up by themes such as big band, country, or pop with different dance moves associated with it. Moreover, once a dance moved as been unlocked, in the form of a badge, players can share it with their friends, complete with a video clip.

Obviously, this is the core social and advertorial element of Smooth Moves, but it’s also worth mentioning, that there are leaderboards, as well, that compare lifetime scores.

As far as game play is concerned, it is amusing to watch a cow and gorilla in a suit dance (when is it not?), the game doesn’t offer much more. While the quality of the music is high, the streaming chocolate icons and their corresponding ding, which doing when hit, feel disconnected from the game itself. In rhythm games they need to fit seamlessly together with whatever is being “played,” becoming part of each note. That’s what makes games like Guitar Hero so gratifying: Hit the note, and part of the song plays, as if you’re actually playing it — actually keeping a rhythm. That’s not really the case here, making Smooth Moves more a timing game then a rhythm game.

Video BadgeThe other chief complaint is that it doesn’t appear to be possible to choose which level a user plays when they return to the game. Each time, for us, it just restarted back at the first stage. Like in a traditional rhythm game, with a variety of different song types, players want to play the ones they like, and not everyone is going to like the music in every stage of this app.

On the upside, the folks over at Cadbury have incorporated nice incentive to play beyond amusing dance moves. Currently, each time residents of Australia or New Zealand play, they earn an entry into a drawing to win one of five 8GB Apple iPhones. And, further entries are earned by unlocking badges.

Though Smooth Moves does have its faults as a game, it certainly does better as an advertising mechanism that past attempts. Like another recent branded app from from Trident, this one looks like it will help the brand get in front of users. The question is how well these sorts of applications can show a strong return on investment. Right now, they all appear to be in the experimental stage.