Zynga’s First Super Bowl Commercial … Kind Of

Zynga’s popular puzzle game Words With Friends was featured in Best Buy’s Super Bowl commercial yesterday, calling attention to the game’s founders as some of the “greatest mobile innovators.”

The game, which is a take on Scrabble, has been working its way into the cultural fabric, as Zynga is happy to remind us with a lighthearted list of milestone moments, including Alec Baldwin’s meltdown that led to getting booted off a plane (see the entire list below).

But yesterday, it became part of one of America’s biggest pastimes: Football.

If you were watching the Super Bowl, you may have briefly seen Words With Friends creators and brothers Paul and David Bettner in a cameo performance during Best Buy’s commercial. The funniest part is that they get busted for playing on a plane.

In addition to Zynga, the commercial also noted other mobile innovations, including inventors from Shazam, Square and Instagram.

Words with Friends was acquired by Zynga through the purchase of Newtoy and is actually part of an entire franchise of games that includes Chess With Friends, Hanging With Friends and the latest addition, Scramble With Friends.

In Apple’s App Store for iPhone, Words With Friends has regularly been the leading game in the word category since 2010, until Hanging With Friends became the leading game in June 2011. In August 2011, Zynga released Words With Friends on Facebook, where it has continued to be one of Zynga’s top 10 most popular titles. Currently, it ranks sixth, with Hanging With Friends now placing at 10th.

In fact, the Words With Friends franchise as a whole likely represents the company’s most played titles, even if it doesn’t monetize as well as other social game titles, like FarmVille, Poker or CityVille. A company spokesperson declined to comment.

In recognition of Words With Friends and its appearance in the commercial, here’s Zynga’s list of the game’s biggest cultural moments:

  1. In the words of Jamie Lee Curtis, waiting for a word is “like a young lover waiting for words from her beau.”
  2. It’s credited for being a matchmaker and a flirt because strangers can play each other and chat.
  3. It helped save lives (See Gizmodo story here.)
  4. Celebrity couples do it every day (Alec Baldwin is the best example.)
  5. It’s the subject of ‘rapper braggadocio’ — word up, Fabolous and Big Boi.
  6. John Mayer tweeted, “Words With Friends is the new Twitter.”
  7. Finally, people no longer have to think you’re talking about wrestling or pandas when you type WWF.
  8. The New York Giants are fans. (See the WSJ story.)
  9. It became an official FAA violation when one smart celeb got kicked off a flight. (See above.)
  10. And finally, the game co-starred in a Superbowl XLVI commercial.

And here, if you missed it, is the commercial:

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