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Universal Studios Home Entertainment bets on mobile gaming to propel sales

The one-week initiative lets mobile gamers enter a sweepstakes, vie for daily prizes, earn virtual currency and buy the film from Amazon. The campaign is being used in the Words with Friends and Draw Something apps.

“Consumers loved the fun and creativity surrounding Dr. Seuss, the Lorax character and Truffula valley. In Draw Something, we saw a game that celebrated creativity and cooperative play and fit the whimsical themes of the movie,” said Joe Eibert, vice president of digital marketing for Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Universal City, CA.

“With their massive popularity, mobile games are a great way to reach and engage consumers on a large scale,” he said. “Studios have jumped on this opportunity and will continue to do so.”

Gaming incentive
Via the partnership, Draw Something users can play film-related words and can use a themed color palette to create their drawings. Video ads between games promote the film as well.

Words with Friends players can spell out words associated with the movie.

The in-game prompts drive consumers to the microsite

Consumers can enter to win daily prizes such as gift cards, books and Blu-ray disks through the microsite. When users enter they can also choose to nominate a school to receive Dr. Seuss books.

Also on the mobile site, consumers can buy a 3D combo pack, which includes a Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD disks.

Besides the campaign’s microsite, users can also browse the film’s mobile site to find plot information and view pictures.

Plugged-in audience
Universal Studios Home Entertainment is not the only company to tailor campaigns around mobile gamers.

For instance, Dreamworks Animation recently partnered with Zynga on a similar campaign to build hype around the release of “Madagascar 3? (see story).

In both the Dreamworks and Universal Studios examples, the mobile campaigns take on the look and feel of actual content inside the game instead of the usual click-to-download banner ads that many mobile games are known for.

By letting consumers spell out and draw words that are similar to app content, mobile game advertising can lead to high brand recall.

Additionally, with game apps consistently ranking as a top category, marketers have the opportunity to target a group of highly-engaged mobile users through advertising efforts.

Universal Studios is also looking at how mobile can be combined with other marketing channels to drive engagement.

“With over half of all cell phone owners using their phones during TV viewing, mobile can amplify our TV advertising and we’re seeing plenty of exciting opportunities with Viggle, Shazam and others,” Mr. Eibert said.

“The majority of our Blu-ray and DVD sales occur inside stores and mobile allows us to show trailers, upsell by showing bonus feature sneak peeks and more,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York