Zynga’s FrontierVille To Hype Premiere of Johnny Depp’s New Film

Rango, the Johnny Depp-voiced chameleon whose self-titled movie is set to hit theaters this weekend, will have a cameo role in Zynga’s FrontierVille to help encourage the release.

Starting at the moment, FrontierVille players will be challenged to find Rango, ask their associates for 10 water buckets and outlook the trailer for the film. If they complete that mission, players get a Rango statue to add to their homestead on FrontierVille.

The encouragement is the first time Zynga has worked with Paramount Pictures, but the group has used its games to publicize movie openings before. currently, Zynga’s Mafia Wars plugged Sony Pictures’s The Green Hornet by offering collectibles within the game. Zynga also promoted DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind on FarmVille with Mega-Farm, a themed attraction within the game.

Manny Anekal, Zynga’s global director of brand advertising for Zynga, says that while there are no figures linking activity on those games to bigger box office take, some 19 million people are active FrontierVille users and 9 million interacted with the Megamind promo.

This is the latest promo to offer a prize for watching a trailer on Facebook. Last week, NBC offered a buy-one-get-one-free deal from Chiptotle for watching a preview for America’s Next Great Restaurant, a new reality show.

While such promos are efficient at getting users to click play, it’s unclear if they’re actually watching the video or if they’re more apt to watch the advertised belongings. Chris Thilk, who runs the blog Movie Marketing Madness, says that while it’s hard to tell if the promos actually increase audience, gameplayers at least don’t seem to mind. “The promotions add functionality to game play,” he says. “As long as it’s not just an ad, I think the audience will be more forgiving.”

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