Social media games have become all the rage for Facebook users. For some perspective on this, Farmville, the most popular Facebook / social media game, has about 80 million users. Advertisers cannot ignore those numbers.
Honda has started to advertise with a new social media game, Car Town, which allows its users to collect cars and customize them. Car Town claims to have about 3.1 million users. That's nowhere near Farmville's user base, but for Honda, Car Town provides a heavily focused user demographic.
Honda is advertising within Car Town by placing billboards for its new CR-Z hybrid on the virtual streets of the game. "You can have 200,000 people drive past a billboard on an L.A. freeway every day, but you don't have the same level of engagement as when people select "Car Town,'" Steve Center, Honda's vice president for advertising, said in an interview. "Marketers and game developers will discover they are building powerful channels and that there's enormous property for sale."
Honda will also be a "featured garage" where users can watch videos and commercials. The Honda CR-Z will be featured as a car in the game and users will be able to purchase the car.
Companies now view social media as a core part of their online marketing spending, said Victoria Ransom, the founder of Wildfire Interactive Inc., which has helped various global companies build social marketing campaigns.
If you play Car Town, keep your eyes open for the new Honda CR-Z, otherwise, come down to the Honda Superstore of Lisle on 4475 Lincoln Ave, Lisle, IL 60532 to test drive some real Honda cars.