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“Charlie The Tuna” To Live In A Happy Aquarium

Charlie® the Tuna makes his debut as a free in-game item for Crowdstar’s Happy Aquarium game on Facebook. When players engage with a 15-second video ad about StarKist’s Shelf Stable line, they can unlock Charlie into their aquarium for free and care for him as their new pet fish. Once consumers have unlocked Charlie, they will be able to add him to their fish tanks and have him interact with the other fish in their tank. This is the first time that Happy Aquarium has integrated a branded character into the game.

“Charlie the Tuna is one of the most beloved advertising icons of all time, and we wanted to provide our target consumers with the opportunity to interact with him directly,” said Jennifer Albert, Director of Marketing at StarKist. “We understand that our target female consumer is an avid social gamer and our Happy Aquarium integration allows consumers to engage with one of their favorite icons while we educate them on the benefits of our StarKist Flavor Fresh Pouch.”

“Branded virtual items are on the rise in social games because of their positive connection between players and brands,” said Mark Donohue, SVP of Media Ad Sales at WildTangent Media. “Games provide a captive audience in the lean forward position so the opt-in ad messages prior to gameplay are not interruptive, but rather a part of the overall experience. Players enjoy being rewarded as it makes their gameplay more enjoyable.”
In-game items are often purchased by consumers to enhance gameplay. With WildTangent Media’s BrandBoost program, advertisers such as StarKist can offer a desired branded item for free in exchange for engagement. The result is a value exchange that benefits the advertiser and the game player.

“With 3 million monthly active users and an audience of over 70% women, Happy Aquarium is an ideal platform to reach female players who look to casual games for the relaxation it provides in their busy lifestyles,” said Rob Kalman, Brand Group Director at Horizon Media. “By offering users the opportunity to earn Charlie the Tuna’s bubble blowing character for free, the brand is able to educate consumers about their Pouch products while having fun with consumers the same time.”

The goal of StarKist’s integration with Happy Aquarium is to educate consumers on their Shelf Stable line of StarKist Flavor Fresh Pouches. The integration is part of the brand's digital program for the Lenten season, which also includes a weekly sweepstakes on their Facebook page. The brand has made digital marketing one of the centerpieces of its new “Thanks Charlie” ™ campaign. StarKist has a robust online community with more than 160,000 Facebook Fans.