Brands Friending Social Gaming Amid New Web Craze

Honda Motors Co. (HMC) and McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) are making a push into social gaming to promote their brands, as Madison Avenue begins to take notice of the latest Web craze that is drawing growing numbers of people to games on social networks.

Honda is kicking off a campaign Aug. 23 for its new sporty hybrid CR-Z on “Car Town,” a recently launched social game on Facebook aimed at car enthusiasts. The game is from Cie Games, a company that is backed in part by Rick Thompson, the co-founder of Playdom Inc.

McDonald’s, meanwhile, has signed an ad deal with “Farmville,” the hit farming game on Facebook from Zynga Game Network Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. A spokeswoman for the fast-food company says it is in discussions with Zynga but declined to provide details.

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