Zynga Gets Kung Fu'd Following DreamWorks Board Addition

Last month, Zynga added Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO and co-founder of DreamWorks Animation, to its board of directors, hinting at its aspirations to add more Hollywood-like entertainment to its social games.

Today, it announced a promotion with DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures to bring “Kung Fu Panda 2,” which debuts in theaters next Thursday, to its most popular Facebook game, CityVille.

The more than 88 million monthly players will have the chance to own a “Kung Fu Panda 2″-themed drive-in movie theater in their city. Those who opt to place the theater in their city will also receive collectible items, such as members of Kung Fu Panda’s Furious Five. When all five items are collected, players will earn an exclusive “Po the Panda” statue (Po is pictured here).

San Francisco-based Zynga said nearly a third of all Kung Fu Panda fans on Facebook also played CityVille. Manny Anekal, global director of brand advertising at Zynga, said: “The integration is a natural fit and something we think our players will love.”

Earlier this week, Zynga partnered with Lady Gaga for a promotion on FarmVille to pump the pop artist’s upcoming album, and another social game maker, Electronic Arts, is working with celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver for its Restaurant City game.

In-game advertising is a natural fit for social games since most are available for free and are monetized through virtual goods, but given that it’s still an industry in its infancy, it’s unclear how many promotions and branded virtual goods users will tolerate inside the games.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik