Beleaguered social games maker Zynga has struggled to monetize the shift of its user base from the desktop to mobile devices. To that end, the company today announced what it calls its first reward-based mobile campaign promoting the 2013 Honda Accord.
The effort allows people playing “Words With Friends” and “Scramble With Friends” to earn in-game currency and tips by playing Honda-related words including “new,” “tech,” and “you.” Honda’s "It Starts With You" campaign kicked off Oct. 6 on Zynga with the "Word of the Day" promotion in Words With Friends.
The related “Scramble With Friends” advertising featuring sponsored words “Accord,” “luxury” and “new” in a branded board game started on Oct. 13 and lasts through Oct. 31.
The automaker wound up advertising in the Zynga games in part because of independent research by showed its target audience has a strong affinity for word and puzzle games. While the effort is the first rewards-based campaign in mobile, Zynga has previously run reward-based advertising in Web games with brands including McDonald’s, Nordstrom and Fox.
The company is touting the Honda deal amid deepening financial woes. Earlier this month it told Wall Street it expected weak third-quarter earnings and further reduced guidance for the year. That followed surprisingly poor results in the second quarter, increasing investor concerns about Zynga’s ability to successfully transition its business to mobile. Investor uncertainty has seen the stock fall 75% of since the company's Dec. 2011 IPO.