Cie Games, the maker of Car Town, with 7.2 million users making it one of the most popular games on Facebook, has partnered with Toyota to debut to the virtual world the new line of the Prius model at the same time Toyota reveals the car at the Detroit auto show.
The three-month campaign to roll out the new Prius vehicles to the gaming community is designed to drive brand engagement and interest in the cars as they simultaneously make their real life debut.
“Car Town is more than a game – it’s a media platform,” said Justin Choi, president and CEO of Cie Games, in a prepared statement. “We don’t just throw ads in front of consumers to drive impressions. We create game elements and game extensions that incorporate the key messages of the brands we work with,” he said in a press release.
The ‘Prius Goes Plural’ marketing campaign asks Facebook fans to help Toyota decide on a term to describe the plural of Prius cars in a public voting system. After voting within the game, players receive a virtual T-shirt with their name on it.
In addition to being able to view the virtual show room in the game, the Prius model in Car Town requires less fuel to race than non-hybrid cars. Created by Cie Games, Car Town is the only game on Facebook built around licensed automotive brands. It lets players collect and customize virtual cars, build their dream garages and help their friends along the way.
Toyota isn’t the only brand to experiment with Facebook around a big auto show – Ford held a contest to submit the best name for the new Ford Mustang V6 Performance Package in November – with the winner earning a two-year lease on the new 2012 Mustang.