So far, we’ve seen the virtual and real worlds collide many times in Facebook games: McDonalds blimps in Farmville; a Kiss concert in Nightclub City; buy actual Charles Chocolates in Chocolatier: Secret Society.
Here’s another first. This Black Friday, Old Navy will be holding its first ever Black Friday party in CrowdStar’s hit game, It Girl.
It Girl players will be able to guide their avatars through an Old Navy virtual store, try on Old Navy fashion (in my case, cheap t-shirts and fleece sweatshirts), and share Old Navy virtual gifts to their friends. There will also be Old Navy coupons to buy virtual items and two virtual parties: Gobblepalooza (underway and lasting until November 27) and The Gobble (running from November 28 to December 31, which makes one wonder why it’s not just one party).
This is all very cool but it would be a lot more cool if Old Navy and CrowdStar were offering coupons in It Girl on Black Friday to buy real items at Old Navy physical stores or their web site. Then, it would be less a promotion and more a test to see how ads in social games can drive real-world purchases.
In my opinion, the Holy Grail for social games marketing is when you can connect the virtual promotions to real world savings and purchases. This It Girl-Old Navy promotion is cool, but its only a trial run for next year’s Black Friday promotions, which will actually let you play a game and earn discounts for real-world items.