Crack with Friends

I was having dinner the other night with a friend and asked how her son was doing at college. Her response? “Well, he barely calls, but he is kicking my butt in ‘Words with Friends.’” I had no clue what she was talking about, but she explained this technological phenomenon. After she was done, I thought about it for a second and replied, “So, it’s Scrabble?”

I was wrong. I was so wrong. This app is hailed as the “Crystal Meth of Language Games” by cracked.com. Who would’ve thought that a game adored by people whose addresses were nursing homes, not dorms, would become popular among that elusive, coveted 18-24 demographic? The game, which in essence is a virtual “Scrabble,” can be played on Facebook, Smartphones and tablet devices; it has 12.5 million monthly users on Facebook alone, and is the number one app in the world.

And now the app has brought Alec Baldwin back in the news. This time it’s not for verbal abuse or some alcoholic rant. No, it’s because he wouldn’t turn off his game before takeoff, getting booted from an American Airlines flight. If I were the PR pro for Zynga, “Words with Friends’” parent company, I would be sending Alec Baldwin the biggest muffin basket known to man. Over the last seven days 200,000 people started playing the game on Facebook, half of them in the last day alone. The Alec Baldwin/Words with Friends fiasco has already gone viral and Zynga is taking full advantage of the free publicity and showing support for Alec Baldwin on its Facebook page by posting this picture:

Zynga has also supported him via its Twitter feed.

What a PR wet dream. All this free press thanks to a celeb you didn’t actually have to pay? And with the help of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Tumblrs, Zynga is reaching its target game-playing audience. The timing couldn’t have been any better, seeing as Zynga just went public a few days ago. My guess is that the stock is going to soar. And there is M-O-N-E-Y to be made. If you were counting, that’s 11 points, and quite the score for Zynga.

As for American Airlines… not as pretty of a picture. Though Alec did board another AA flight, he tweeted “no wonder they’re bankrupt” and “there’s always United.”

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