McDonalds Goes Down to the FarmVille

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farmvilleADOTAS – Last month McDonald’s raised quite a stir when it suggested a Foursquare campaign that had cost them $1,000 resulted in a 33% increase in foot traffic. Turned out that was a bit of an exaggeration — McDonald’s campaign drew a 33% boost in check-ins on Foursquare for a total of 2,865 check-ins. Still, that’s not bad for a cheap pilot campaign; in addition, Mickey D’s recorded 600,000 new Foursquare followers.

The real takeaway from the Foursquare campaign was the fast-food giant’s willingness to dive into bold social marketing endeavors. The fast food giant has already toyed with social gaming via the Sesame Seed Bakery and Dairy Farm on Zynga’s FarmVille, but now it’s going for gusto with an event coinciding with the launch of its 2010 Monopoly Game.

You know, there’s nothing quite like fast food from the farm. Will the McDonald’s event let you grow your own french fries? How about fry them in animal fat leftover when you slice a couple hundred quarter-pounders from a cow?

No, during the one-day event, brought to virtual life by appssavvy and the Chicago office of OMD, FarmVille users will be able to visit Mickey D’s farm and help grow tomatoes and mustard seeds. (N Lending a (virtual) green thumb is awarded with McCafe Consumables (they can’t even call it food anymore!) that allow users to tend their farms at twice the speed, and a McDonald’s hot air balloon. What the balloon is powered by, I dunno — if this was Taco Bell, that would be another story…

Companies, especially in the CPG arena, are experimenting more with FarmVille branding — in July, General Mills’ Cascadian Farms introduced branded organic blueberries for the virtual farmer who will only grow virtual organic products. Frankly, I’m all about using pesticides and growth hormones on my virtual farm — how else could I grow tomacco?

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