social marketing

Social Gaming Goes to Pot (and Hollywood)

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 24, 2011 02:00 PM

The generational divide is in the Weeds, as digital gamers and baby boomers can now engage via a virtual haze of ganja gone Facebook.

According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report, urban fashion designer Marc Ecko and Lionsgate Films have joined forces for Weeds Social Club, a Facebook social game to coincide with the June 27th return of Lionsgate's hit original series for Showtime, Weeds, which this season brings pot-dealing soccer mom Mary-Louise Parker to the Big Apple.

Reminiscent of Pot Farm, which has mysteriously been pulled from Facebook, according to commenters, Weeds Social Club users, er, players, can create and grow their own strains of marijuana, tending their crops a la comparably benign FarmVille.

From low-end "Schwag Weed" to pricier and stronger "Jamaican Ganja," players set their prices above or below street value, choose their level of risk, then wait for a hoodied dealer to pick up the goods. 

Leveling up in the game garners access to more Favors, the game’s currency, as friends barter for goods such as flat-screen TVs, bongs and digital accessories to enhance their pads.

Tips for play come from Weed’s Andy Botwin, played by Justin Kirk, as Weeds Social Club tracks show episodes and experiments with alternate pot…i.e., plot scenarios.

Parents and others will no doubt be outraged — which may very well be the point. Pushing the edge is right up Ecko’s alley: "There has been this philosophy of don't offend anyone, be very broad — this Hallmark card philosophy. We believe there is a user out there that wants something with more teeth and more counterculture," he told Businessweek.

As social games proliferate, a turf dominated by Facebook, branded virtual goods are the new currency for film and television tie-ins that keep on delivering the dough.

Disney's Cars 2 and Fox's Mr. Popper's Penguins are both creating Facebook game tie-ins to promote their respective openings, tapping into the explosive growth of social games — an industry that boasts upwards of 300 million people who will spend $4.9 billion on virtual goods this year, according to ThinkEquity. 

Ecko’s eponymous company Ecko Code, which last year created an augmented reality promotion with Lindsay Lohan, is also developing games for Showtime’s Dexter and The Borgias, and expects to make at minimum, $1 million monthly selling virtual goods, while sharing revenues with the media companies with brand rights.

Truly now, digital gaming has gone to pot.


Robert Becker United States says:

In what sense is this "social game" a game? I don't mean to sound serious about something that is patently ludicrous, but the billions reportedly spent on virtual (i.e. nonexistent) goods makes me think that there is something going on here, other than the complete waste of time that the "game" delivers. How is this a game? What makes it fun to play?

June 27, 2011 08:36 AM #

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