Draw Something, Like, Say, the Zebra From ‘Madagascar 3’

Zynga's popular acquisition scores a big partnership with DreamWorks

Zynga's recently acquired game, Draw Something, which has come under some scrutiny lately for losing 5 million users last April, is focusing on the future and partnering with DreamWorks on a launch campaign for Madagascar 3.

The partnership might just be exactly what Zynga needs. The popular DreamWorks property has grossed a combined $1 billion plus worldwide, making it one of the biggest global movie franchises in history—one with a dedicated fanbase. While some critics have been skeptical of Draw Something's staying power, the numbers for the Pictionary-style game are still excellent. According to Zynga, Draw Something is still seeing 10 million or more daily act users.

Anne Globe, chief marketing officer at DreamWorks Animation, said that the studio expects Madagascar to resonate with the Draw Something audience. "The real value for us is the extensive engagement you get in a unique way with this kind of promotion rather than buying a 30-second ad, which also works. However, we see a real opportunity for longer engagement here with this audience," Globe said.

The campaign, which starts today in preparation for Memorial Day weekend and runs for a week, will feature Madagascar advertisements as well as unique film-insipired words for users to choose and draw. Zynga CMO Jeff Karp believes the campaign will help to "blur the lines between the virtual and the physical world" for users and says that the DreamWorks partnership is one of a few digital brand initiatives that will be announced in the near future.

When asked whether integrating brands into such a popular game could devalue a platform that has become a serious cult sensation, Karp argued that the partnerships are carefully crafted. "We have to earn each player's respect every day and ulimtately they have to be the ones to come back tomorrow," he said.

While both sides feel the integration will be beneficial, questions remain about the demographic matchup. Draw Something attracts a majority of users over the age of 18 and Madagascar 3 is a film likely to be popular with younger audiences. It is hard, however, to argue with the brand name recognition that DreamWorks and Madagascar bring to the relationship.