August 19th, 2011

Dunkin’ Donuts Opens Shop in Sims’ Universe

The New York Times

The stimulative effects of coffee have long been celebrated in the popular culture, as evidenced by tunes like “The Coffee Song” and “Coffee Break” from the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” But how much can coffee energize people in a virtual world?
Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, as well as its pastries, will be integrated into the Sims Social game for Facebook being introduced by Electronic Arts.Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, as well as its pastries, will be integrated into the Sims Social game for Facebook being introduced by Electronic Arts.

Dunkin’ Donuts, part of Dunkin’ Brands, is about to find out as it agrees, for the first time, to be integrated into an online game.

For the next six months, the coffee and pastries sold by Dunkin’ Donuts will be featured in the Sims Social Facebook game to be introduced on facebook.com by Electronic Arts. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Dunkin’ Donuts will be one of a small number of brands and products to be integrated into the game; the total is likely to be three. Electronic Arts is shying from disclosing the identities of the others just yet.

The placement in the Sims Social game on Facebook is part of larger efforts by Dunkin’ Donuts to raise its profile as the brand’s restaurants are expanding their geographic presence beyond their longtime stronghold in the Northeast.

Other examples of efforts to raise the Dunkin’ Donuts brand profile include its first integration into a movie, with “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and its first sponsorship of a concert tour, with the country singer, Joe Nichols.

The goal is to “make the brand more relevant to a broadening audience,” said Dan Saia, vice president for consumer engagement at Dunkin’ Brands in Canton, Mass. In this instance, the idea is to “continue to reach out to young adults,” he added, who are spending an increasing amount of time “in the digital world.”

As part of the integration of Dunkin’ Donuts into the Sims Social game, players will be able to give each month a cup of coffee and a food item to their Facebook friends. For instance, a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee will be described as a “Dunkin’ Donuts coffee boost.”

“Our products will provide value” to players during the game, Mr. Saia said. “Maybe gifting a doughnut to a friend will put them in a better mood.” Also, players who visit the Dunkin’ Donuts page on facebook.com (facebook.com/DunkinDonuts) and click “like” will receive two bonus Dunkin’ Donuts product items to display in their virtual Sims home.

The Sims Social will mark the first time that a Sims game will have more than one product or brand incorporated into the game at the same time, said Denny Chiu, a spokesman for Electronic Arts in Redwood Shores, Calif. More information on the Sims Social game can be obtained on facebook.com or at thesimssocial.com.

The Dunkin’ Donuts agency, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston, was the creative steward of the Sims Social in-game integration as well as handling the media buying. Hill, Holliday is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

Read more: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/dunkin-donuts-opens-shop-in-sims-universe/?ref=media

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