You know, it just had to come sometime.
With 50 million users doodling away furiously on Zynga's Draw Something mobile game, that treasure trove of eyes on screens was bound to attract someone willing to open it up and loot it for all it's worth.
According to Ad Digital Age, Zynga has gone a step farther than the traditional pop-up and banner ads one usually sees in a social game, and it is now inserting brand names into the list of playable words in Draw Something.
If you've never played the game, it works like this: You're given a list of three terms to draw for your friend. Choose one and do your best to draw a picture, Pictionary-style, that would allow your friend to guess the word. When your friend guesses the word, he or she is given another set of three words to draw and send to you.
And that goes on ad infinitum.
It's an amazingly addictive game, and in fewer than five months it amassed 50 million downloads. That's a lot of eyes. And a lot of opportunities for advertising.
Enter Zynga's new Draw Something direct-sales force, who are courting advertisers to insert the names of products into that list of three words you'll be drawing.
So if you're a Draw Something addict — and there's a lot of you out there — instead of being limited to the rather generic "gorilla" or "lollypop" doodles, you'll be figuring out how to convey terms like "Pepsi" and "Nike."
In fact, according to Ad Digital Age, you're already seeing words like "puck," "Zamboni," and "slap shot," courtesy of the National Hockey League, who's one of the first advertisers to sign up. The marketing campaign seeks to promote the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The NHL is also posting some of the more noteworthy doodles to its Pinterest page, so don't be surprised if you see your masterpiece "Nude with Cheetos" in the public eye sometime soon.