Discover to sponsor holiday-themed Zynga game

Discover Financial Services will sponsor a holiday-themed expansion of social gaming company Zynga‘s “FarmVille” game. The sponsorship, which enables consumers to earn gifts by completing virtual challenges, will go live to the public on Dec. 5.

Jennifer Murillo, VP of brand communications at Discover, said the company has been working “for a couple months” with Zynga on creating a partnership that benefits Discover card members.

“We know many of our card members really enjoy social gaming, so the objective was to find a way to enhance that game-playing experience for our card members and really add some interest and something new to that game-playing experience,” Murillo said.

Beginning on Dec. 2, consumers who locate the Discover farm in FarmVille will be able to access a preview of the Winter Wonderland expansion. When the expansion goes live on Dec. 5, consumers will earn a free virtual gift and, through Dec. 14, can complete challenges to receive up to three Discover-branded virtual items. Virtual items include a “Cashback Bonus Castle,” an “It Pays to Discover Tree” that can be used to receive up to 500 coins for use in the game and a Yeti that can be used to receive up to 300 coins, Murillo said.

Discover is directing consumers to “like” its Facebook page in order to receive exclusive information to help in accessing the branded items. Driving Facebook “likes” is the only remarketing mechanism Discover is using in the campaign, Murillo said.

For a limited time, Discover is offering card members the ability to exchange $25 in Cashback Bonus rewards for a $50 Zynga Game Card that can be used as in-game currency. Non-card members who apply and are approved for a Discover More card can receive a $100 Zynga Game Card.

Murillo said Discover is not using the sponsorship to collect data that can be used for remarketing or market research. Discover worked directly with Zynga on the initiative, she said.

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