EA's Playfish Cooks Up Sponsorship With British Chef Jamie Oliver

Electronic Art’s Playfish is partnering with Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver to bring his brand–and specifically a virtual pasta maker–to its social game Restaurant City.

As social games attract large user bases, it is increasingly common for advertisers to sponsor virtual goods to get in front of a very engaged audience.

The most high-profile example lately was this week’s launch of GagaVille, a Lady Gaga-inspired farm on FarmVille, Zynga’s popular social game.

In both cases, the sponsorships have been in older games, which are having a hard time attracting as many daily users as they once did. It’s unclear whether injecting high-profile brands into the games will help players reconnect or attract new players.

In the case of GagaVille, players have the chance to unlock songs from the pop star’s album coming out next week. After launching, FarmVille appeared on Facebook’s list of top performers for the week, reports InsideSocialGames. It gained 88,736 daily users to hit a total of 11.3 million.

As part of the Jamie Oliver promotion, players on Restaurant City will have to collect multiple ingredients in order to make recipes from the celebrity chef, such as Farfalle Carbonara, Asparagus Fettuccine, Basil Pesto Pasta and Meatball Pasta. Virtual goods will include the Jamie Oliver Pasta Maker.

Ultimately, players will be directed to a link to visit Jamie Oliver’s site, where they can learn how to make the recipes at home.

“Really the strategy is two-fold: to provide something fun and engaging with a brand people can feel good about. It’s also an opportunity for us to reach a whole new set of players, who are fans of him,” said Tom Sarris, Playfish’s director of global communications.

Restaurant City attracts nearly six million monthly users and 1.4 million daily users. It registered one notch higher than FarmVille on this week’s list of top gainers, coming in at number 12.

The promotion corresponds with the new TV show, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” which airs in both the U.S. and the U.K., and addresses concerns about obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

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