News from Zynga: the American game developer, which debuted a few months ago on Wall Street, these days has close a commercial alliance with Martha Stewart, American television icon whom make its debut in Castelville with a set of 12 different missions to complete. To take advantage of its popular social game for cross-promotions is nothing new for the company to Mark Pincus, which last year saw Lady Gaga made her appearance in FarmVille, but this time the reactions were not all excited and even in America there have been protests by groups of players which have threatened to stop playing Castelville if the promotion would last further.
The problem is that “miss Bon Ton Usa“, in 2002, was involved in a case of suspected insider trading in the securities of pharmaceutical company ImClone Systems for which she had to stay in jail for a year, in 2004, following which the same Stewart resigned from all role in her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (traded on Wall Street too, which made its founder and majority shareholder multimillion-dollar rich from a day with each other, in 1999). As if that were not enough, Viacom in 2004 struck out the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia from CBS and UPN affiliates after slipping away from her until then famous prime time TV show, while Kmart stores cited the company alleging inflated invoices for payment of fees and advertising costs.
In recent years, Martha Stewart has tried again the road to success with the Martha Stewart Living magazine and a new morning show (Martha), as well as appearing in a new series of The Apprentice (called The Apprentice: Martha Stewart) and as a “guest star” in an episode of the TV show Ugly Betty. Since 2006 she has published a handbook to keep the house in order, “Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook“, has begun to collaborate on NBC‘s Today Show and MSLO launched on the market a house that bears his name and which is built by KB Home (so far 650 homes have been booked at prices between $ 200,000 and $ 400,000 each), while lines of her products have been put up for sale again not only from Kmart but also from Macy’s and Wal Mart.
Nevertheless, the American public still seems very divided on Martha, so much that to someone the Zynga’s move seems risky. Mark Pincus does not seem to care as he had not worried about the controversy surrounding the choice of a controversial “testimonial” as Lady Gaga last year, ending with being right.