Anyone who's had a Facebook friend playing "Farmville," "Mafia Wars" or "Café World" knows they are extremely popular and addictive for those who play them. Reckitt Benckiser -- the company behind brands such as Lysol, Clearasil and Woolite -- is launching its own, branded social game for people to learn more about the company, its brands and its work environment.
"We realized we had relatively few people who know about us," Andraea Dawson-Shepherd, the company's global communications manager, tells Marketing Daily. "They know the brands, but not the company behind them."
The Facebook game, poweRBrands, is designed to mirror the real-life experience of a marketing executive within the global company. Players will be tasked with marketing dilemmas (some of them time-sensitive or requiring the help of friends and teams) for various products in different markets. Answers are judged on a sliding scale of accuracy, per the company's ideas. "It's all about our brands; it might be a marketing task about Veet, or an advertising campaign around Lysol," Dawson-Shepherd says. "None of your answers is going to be completely right or wrong."
As they complete the tasks, players are rewarded points to exchange for promotions, different job locations and office upgrades (such as nicer desks and bigger windows). Players can climb the virtual corporate ladder to become global president of the company. The game, developed by the company Euro RSCG Riley and Nudge Social Media, includes all the expected aspects of social gaming, including posting updates to one's wall and recruiting others to achieve goals.
"You do have the ability to see how another person is doing," Dawson-Shepherd says. "You do have to think quite a bit, and I'm sure there will be some debate about the right or wrong answers."
The game, which officially launches July 19, has a dual purpose, Dawson-Shepherd says. Not only does it help people (particularly those in the 18-30 demographic) understand how a global company like Reckitt-Benckiser operates, it also serves as a recruiting tool. As such, handy links to the company's corporate Web site and careers pages are easily accessible.
"We do want people to know the company a bit more, but we're absolutely interested in having people who might be interested in working play as well," Dawson-Shepherd says. "We want to raise awareness amongst a group of people about who Reckitt Benckiser is, our work, and to show that we're innovative."
To spread the word about the game, the company this fall will launch an online marketing campaign in the U.S., with ads on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo Hot Jobs (which was recently acquired by Monster.com).