When it comes to creative advertising potential, it's hard to beat a game like SimCity. In most titles, the idea of in-game advertising makes little sense. Sarah Kerrigan doesn't shop at Victoria's Secret, Booker DeWitt is an unlikely fan of Coca-Cola, and the post-apocalyptic setting of Metro 2033 isn't exactly prime McDonald's turf. But SimCity? SimCity
is a game where it makes perfect sense to integrate real-world brands and buildings. A city filled with familiar logos and advertising is a city that more closely resembles the real world.
That's undoubtedly why EA decided to partner with Crest Toothpaste. Yes, toothpaste. And not for in-game advertising, either. The Nissan Leaf DLC that the company launched a few weeks back at least made sense in some context; EV charging stations are going to be an increasingly common site in cities in the future, and the Nissan partnership was a nice touch. But the five new SimCity Attractions that the company added in the Crest partnership boggle the mind
To quote: "There are five attractions: Giant Garden Gnome, Dolly the Dinosaur, Llarry the Llama, MaxisMan Statue and the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. Each attraction adds happiness and will also act as a tourist destination in your city. You will have a choice of redeeming the Attractions Set, The Sims Social SimCash, or a $5-off coupon for Origin
... There is no in-game charge for the Attractions Set; however, you will need to purchase a specially marked Crest or Oral-B product in order to redeem the code."
This is clever marketing at its finest. In one swoop, EA has bracketed the untapped potential of gamers who care about dental hygiene.
The Nissan Leaf DLC
generated some hate, since gamers were unhappy with the idea that EA had put resources into developing DLCs when the core game was in such rough shape. The DLCs are so minor that this isn't much of an argument, but the choice of business partners
Crest Toothpaste? There are other companies we'd prefer to see take up this role. In fact, we'd prefer to see most
other companies take up this role. Brushing one's teeth is pretty awesome, but it doesn't exactly make a city feel like home.
PS -- the "Giant Garden Gnome" is totally a real-world thing. You're welcome.