Halloween is a time of zombies (and perhaps some plants). As such, PopCap Games, maker of the popular game “Plants Vs. Zombies,” is teaming up with the American Dental Association to help cut down on tooth decay (and perhaps general postmortem decay) around the candy-filled holiday.
Rather than giving out candy on Oct. 31, the company and the association are encouraging children and parents to “Stop Zombie Mouth” by giving out alternative treats in the form of PvZ-themed trading cards and even copies of the game.
“We looked around at which of our games was most popular among the broadest audiences, and thought about what that game might be used for in a movement or campaign,” Garth Chouteau, senior director of worldwide public relations for PopCap, tells Marketing Daily. “We thought perhaps there was a way for video games to replace candy on Halloween. We’ve got this game that’s got Halloween themes, and we wondered if there was something we could do with the game that could change consumer behavior in a modest way.”
Working with ADA dentists (and via an online site, www.stopzombiemouth.com), parents can download the materials, including coupons redeemable for a full PC/Mac Edition of the game. Further consumer outreach will include radio PSA’s and other public relations outreach.
“By the end of this month it will have a lot of material and information so that consumers can celebrate Halloween in the context of this video game,” Chouteau says. “We’re modifying [the game] slightly to include language specific to this campaign.”
While PopCap has supported charitable organizations in more traditional ways (such as donating a portion of sales to a particular cause), this is the first joint promotional effort the company has undertaken with game materials and giveaways in support of a specific organization.
“We’ve done quite a few campaigns raising funds for charitable organizations and worthy causes, but those have been more traditional fundraising drives,” Chouteau says. “This is a much broader, more ambitious campaign.”