American Express and Zynga have joined forces to create a pre-paid debit card that allows users to earn virtual FarmVille dollars in exchange for real world purchases.(Because your wallet was missing a rewards card that prominently displays a duck, with teeth, chewing on wheat.)
“Our goal is to build and scale the blurring of the lines between the virtual world and the physical world,” Zynga CMO Jeff Karp told All Things D.
The co-branded card also serves as a way for American Express to reach out to a lower-income demographic, the Wall Street Journal reports, that is less likely to take advantage of AmEx partnerships with Delta, Starwood, and Mercedes-Benz.
Dan Schulman, the president of AmEx’s Enterprise Growth Group, told the WSJ that this card is the “perfect way for American Express to expand its franchise to become much more of an inclusive brand.”
Zynga has 292 million active monthly users, and 22.5 million of those use FarmVille alone.
The project launched Tuesday. It begins when users plant the “Serve Money Tree” in the game. Players get virtual rewards when they sign up for a Serve account, when the card is activated, when they transfer money from a current bank account onto the card, when they make their first five $25 purchase, and, of course, when they harvest their money trees.
This isn’t the first time AmEx and Farmville have formed a partnership. In 2010, AmEx gave Zynga players purple cows and other goodies through rewards programs.
Zynga partnered with Frito Lay in March to put codes in certain bags of chips sold at Walmart that could unlock FarmVille virtual goodies.
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