Even though words like “Nike” and “KFC” already exist in the Draw Something database, gamers may soon have to brush up even more on their brand recognition knowledge. AdAge is reporting that Zynga has announced plans to monetize the viral mobile app by allowing brands to pay for words to be included in the game.
In this new model, brands can pay for words associated with their products in the word selection bank. However, it won’t seem that clear to players that the words are brand-supported. The National Hockey League is among one of the first advertisers to buy terms on Draw Something, but you probably had no idea that drawing the words “puck,” “Zamboni,” “hat trick,” or “slap shot” were all part of a corporate sponsorship. AdAge also revealed that words like Nike and KFC weren’t coincidence: They were most definitely paid by the companies.
“People loved to draw the Colonel and bags of Doritos,” said Dan Porter, CEO of OMGPop, the parent company behind Draw Something. Porter recently became Zynga’s vice president of mobile and general manager for its New York office after the company bought OMGPop for $200 million dollars. He also noted that the game plans to add a reward service to encourage more gamers to stick with playing, though it is currently unspecified what kinds of rewards gamers may receive.
Draw Something formerly made money by waiting for anxious gamers to pay for extra coins to buy Bombs and new colors on the app. You can buy 400 coins for $2 and up to 10,000 coins for $25.
With Draw Something steadily declining since its boom in mid-first quarter, could this venture turn off even more players by making the app susceptible to spammy-type words? After all, App Data shows that daily active users have dropped from more than 14 million at the beginning of April to approximately 10 million by May. In the free version of Draw Something, after several rounds of plays with multiple players, words are already becoming quite repetitive. Drawing “Coca-Cola” 10 times for 10 friends might drive players further over the edge.
Conversely, brand recognition is a game in itself for most people. Most brands devise their own fonts and many people can correlate the correct brand to its font even without seeing the whole word. Brands are also often one of the easier things to draw which could give players a break after drawing highest difficulty words like “tebowing” or “Rihanna.” Is Porter correct that people truly love to draw the KFC Colonel?
With this new venture, expect a new update to your Draw Something app in the near future for added brand-sponsored words. That is, if you haven’t deleted the game from your phone already.