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The multi-pronged collaboration will allow little monsters across the world to interact with a Lady Gaga-inspired farm in Zynga game FarmVille, get a first listen to new songs from the pop icon’s upcoming album — via music streams, powered by radio giant Clear Channel’s digital radio service iHeartRadio, that can be unlocked in the game — and a download of the album plus exclusive bonus tracks when buying a $25 Zynga game card, which allows players to buy in-game items, at Best Buy. Players can also get limited-edition Gaga items on Zynga’s RewardVille and will get Gaga-themed words of the day in mobile phone game Words With Friends.
The FarmVille farm inspired by the pop icon will be dubbed GagaVille and feature such things as crystals, unicorns and sheep on motorcycles. Purchasers of the Best Buy cards, available in the U.S. and Canada, also get an exclusive Lady Gaga unicorn in FarmVille and get a chance to be one of seven winners who will get to spend a day on the set of the star’s next video shoot.
The Lady Gaga program, which launches May 17, marks the first time Zynga has partnered with a global pop icon or an entertainment release across different games and platforms at the same time. Financial details weren’t disclosed.
“I want to celebrate and share Born This Way with my little monsters in a special way that’s never been done before,” Lady Gaga said. “Zynga has created a magical place in FarmVille where my fans can come play and be the first to listen to the album.”
Zynga and Gaga had teamed this year to raise more than $3 million for relief efforts in Japan.
Meanwhile, the Lady Gaga integration marks the first time that Clear Channel has partnered with a social gaming firm. The radio giant’s relationship with Zynga will be promoted across Clear Channel stations and on iHeartRadio. In addition, Lady Gaga will announce codes that unlock exclusive Gaga-inspired limited-edition virtual items on 148 Clear Channel stations May 17, including New York’s Z100 and L.A.’s KIIS-FM
“We’re inventing new ways for fans and players to celebrate Lady Gaga’s new album and do so in the way that reflects the album’s focus on self-expression and positivity,” said Raquel Di Sabatino, director of entertainment and media at Zynga. She didn’t disclose financial terms.
“Lady Gaga is an innovative force in pop culture and has been revolutionizing the industry, including in the way she connects with her fans,” she said. “And she is as passionate about her fans as we are about our players.”
The Gaga effort comes as Zynga continues its entertainment push after a recent deal with Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies to promote the theatrical release of Rango.
In the film space, its first deal featured DreamWorks Animations’ Megamind in a partnership that saw the animated film’s protagonist launch a “Mega-Farm” within Zynga’s flagship game FarmVille for a day. Zynga then placed Sony Pictures Entertainment’s The Green Hornet inside its Mafia Wars game.
On the TV side, Time Warner’s TNT did a Southland integration with Mafia Wars in late December.
And early last year, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Zynga partnered for a Mafia Wars campaign in support of the Blu-ray and DVD release of Public Enemies.
Music has also increasingly been on Zynga’s radar, and it has had a successful partnership with Dr. Dre for Mafia Wars that allowed players to watch the music video for the rapper-producer’s first single from his album Detox, among other things to promote the album.
And last August, Snoop Dogg and Mafia Wars blew up a four-ton armored truck in celebration of 10 million visitors to Mafia Wars Las Vegas, with more than 2 million views of the live stream.
Clear Channel, on its part, has increasingly looked to Facebook and other online ways to engage its listeners. “Partnering with Zynga to provide this incredible immersive music experience within FarmVille is another clear indication that Clear Channel is adding the social element to radio in ways no other company can,” said Bob Pittman, chairman of media and entertainment platforms at Clear Channel. “Radio has been Lady Gaga’s virtual stage from the very beginning, enabling fans to connect with her 24×7, and this is another extension of that stage.
More than 250 million people play Zynga games every month on social networks, particularly on Facebook, with FarmVille attracting 46 million a month.
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