Zynga Runs Virtual Goods Charity Campaign to Aid Gulf Coast Oil Spill Victims

Gulf CoastWith the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico dumping tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the ocean daily, social game developer Zynga is bringing its virtual goods fundraising strategy to bear. Partnering with the National Audubon Society, the pair are seeking to raise both funding and awareness of the crisis with a virtual item dubbed the “Gulf Coast Turtle” within Zynga’s popular virtual aquarium app, FishVille.

Offered for a limited time, and recently discovered by FriskyMongoose.com and Games.com, users can purchase the virtual pet for a cost of 25 or 200 Sand Dollars, FishVille’s virtual currency. With each purchase, 50% of all proceeds would go to the Audubon Society to help clean up Gulf Coast animals. To give an idea on tangible value, 25 Sand Dollars costs $5 while you can purchase 240 for $40.

In addition to the purchase, Zynga has also recruited common social game viral tactics to help awareness as well. Typically speaking, many social games containing a virtual space have random animals “appear” in the player’s game, which they are able to post it to their Facebook feed for others to adopt. One such animal has been a “lost baby Gulf Coast turtle,” whose primary purpose was to virally spread the word on how everyday social network users could potentially help combat the disaster.

HelpSadly, the purchasable Gulf Coast Turtle appears to be gone at the moment, but had only been launched last Friday (June 11th). Moreover, Monday still noted four days remaining to purchase and contribute. Hopefully, it will be back soon.

On a side note, this is not the first time Zynga has participated in such charities. Notable contributions of the past have been their partnership with World Food Programme to fight hunger in places such as Cameroon, its Sweet Seeds program that helped feed children in Haiti, and the sale of a number of virtual goods in the top titles of FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and Zynga Poker to send donations to aide in the recovery of the Haitian earthquake disaster. As a matter of fact, Zynga players managed to raise $1.5 million in less than a week for the latter.

[Second image via FriskyMongoose.com]

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8 Responses to “Zynga Runs Virtual Goods Charity Campaign to Aid Gulf Coast Oil Spill Victims”

  1. cameron says:

    Why are Zynga’s overheads so high when it comes to their fundraising efforts? A 50% cut is an awful lot when you’re the middleman for donations totaling a few million.

    Some people might speculate that they were actually profiting massively from these campaigns, which is not illegal since they clearly state the percentage up front, but is certainly highly unethical.

    Any profit they derive from fundraising campaigns should be ‘soft’ – i.e. raising Zynga’s brand image and user affinity, not in crudely siphoning off cold hard cash every time there’s a natural/environmental/human disaster somewhere in the world.

  2. CrowdStar Runs Its Own Virtual Goods Campaign to Help Out with the Oil Spill says:

    [...] Earlier this week we noted Zynga’s partnership with the National Audubon Society and their Gulf Coast Turtle campaign that began [...]

  3. Social Gaming Companies Get Behind Offers for Pakistan’s Flood Victims says:

    [...] first time that social gaming companies have experimented with charitable work; Zynga has offered branded virtual goods on behalf of Haitian earthquake and Gulf oil spill victims in the past, among other [...]

  4. 6th Mega says:

    We just launched an iPhone with a similar mission of raising money for Gulf Oil Spill. Check it out http://6thmega.com/.

  5. Värdet på guld says:

    Allt är inte guld som glimmar. Men är det guld så kan det vara värt en hel del, har man gamla guldhalsband så kan guldvärdet ligga på 288 kr för gram av rent guld.

  6. Link Building The Philanthropic Way - State of Search says:

    [...] limited edition virtual pet, the ‘Gulf Coast Turtle‘, which could be purchased by users of their popular game Fishville; with half of all [...]

  7. The Marketing Student | Psychology, Marketing, Tech and Trends » A teardown of Zynga marketing: how Zynga sucks you in and keeps you there says:

    [...] quick in responding to disaster relief and emergency events. Their work with the Japan tsunami, Gulf coast oil spill and Haiti relief ensured that they always had good press about circulating in the [...]

  8. The Marketing Student » A teardown of Zynga marketing: how Zynga sucks you in and keeps you there says:

    [...] quick in responding to disaster relief and emergency events. Their work with the Japan tsunami, Gulf coast oil spill and Haiti relief ensured that they always had good press about circulating in the [...]

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