What better way to market a game that isn't really a game than with an artist who isn't really an artist? Such was the rationale, apparently, behind Zynga's recent decision to partner with Lady Gaga, the freshly anointed face of FarmVille. As of May 17th, FarmVille users will be able to take a much-needed break from wasting their lives and visit GagaVille -- a neighboring but equally fake farm full of unicorns, crystals and terrible life decisions. There, visitors will be able to listen to unreleased tracks from Gaga's forthcoming album, Born This Way, which they can also download for "free," once they've dropped $25 of their parents' hard-earned cash on a Zynga gift card. The campaign will mercifully come to an end on May 26th, but not before Diet Madonna extends her corporate leviathan to every corner of Zynga's gaming universe, including Words With Friends, Mafia Wars and anything else your pre-teen cousin spends far too much time playing. Gaga will win. Zynga will win. The human race, on balance, will lose. If you haven't slit your wrists yet, the PR after the break should do the trick.
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Zynga Goes Gaga! Lady Gaga and Zynga Team Up to Celebrate New Album "Born This Way"

FarmVille Players Get Exclusive First Listen to "Born This Way" Songs in Newly Created GagaVille Farm, Provided in Partnership with Clear Channel's iHeartRadio

Partnership Also Includes Zynga Game Cards with Free Album, Words With Friends "Words with Gaga" Contest, and Limited Edition Virtual Items in RewardVille

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lady Gaga and Zynga today announced a partnership to launch the mega-artist's new album "Born this Way." Launching May 17, the first-of-its-kind program gives "little monsters" throughout the world a first listen to exclusive un-released songs from the upcoming when they visit GagaVille, a uniquely designed neighboring farm in FarmVille (There will be unicorns and crystals. Enough said.). The full album also comes bundled as a free download with the purchase of a special Zynga $25 game card, available exclusively at Best Buy.

The program reaches across Zynga games and across platforms. Words With Friends, the popular mobile social game available iPhone, iPad, as well as Android devices, will feature a daily "Words with Gaga" contest, giving players a chance to win Gaga prizes including tickets to an upcoming concert and a signed copy of "Born This Way." Zynga is also rewarding players with limited edition Lady Gaga virtual items on RewardVille.com for them to enjoy across the Zynga games they love to play.

"I want to celebrate and share 'Born This Way' with my little monsters in a special way that's never been done before," said Lady Gaga. "Zynga has created a magical place in FarmVille where my fans can come play, and be the first to listen to the album."

"We're focused on creating cool new ways to entertain and surprise our players," said Owen Van Natta, Zynga's executive vice president of business. "Our partnership with Lady Gaga offers many new experiences: Exclusive access to music in-game, a mobile contest, a free album bundled with Zynga game card purchases and limited edition virtual items across ten Zynga games. We want to thank Lady Gaga for working with us on this truly great surprise."

The program runs May 17 through May 26. Elements of the program include:

GagaVille in FarmVille, Exclusive Access to Music: Visit neighboring in-game farm – "GagaVille" – inspired by Lady Gaga's unique style, featuring colorful crystals, magical unicorns, sheep on motorcycles, and if we can cram it in, some leather and glitter. Get exclusive access to un-released songs from "Born This Way" every day from May 17 through May 19 by completing quests and unlocking Clear Channel's iHeartRadio player – that's three never-before-heard songs. On May 20th, be the first to listen to a selection of songs from "Born This Way" before the album drops on May 23.

Special $25 Zynga Game Cards, Win a Day "On the set with Gaga": Available exclusively through Best Buy (US and Canada) on May 15 through June 11, these $25 Zynga game cards come with a free download of "Born This Way" the full album plus exclusive bonus tracks. Redeem the game card on Zynga.com for album download code (effective May 23), get an exclusive Lady Gaga unicorn for FarmVille, and a chance to win a day "On the Set with Gaga." As part of this sweepstakes, seven lucky players who redeem eligible game cards will win a day on the set of Lady Gaga's next music video shoot wherever it may be – whether Cairo, Cleveland, or anywhere in between. InComm is the exclusive prepaid provider of Zynga game cards.

Words With Friends "Words with Gaga" Contest: Zynga and Lady Gaga will reveal a new word each day that relates to the artist or her new album. For example: UNICORN may or may not be a word of the day. We're not telling. Play the special Gaga word of the day for your chance to win Lady Gaga prizes, including a signed album and concert tickets to see Lady Gaga perform. Winners will be selected at random each day of the contest. US only.

Lady Gaga Virtual Items on RewardVille and beyond: For the first time ever, Zynga is partnering with an artist to offer exclusive virtual items across 10 games. Log onto RewardVille.com to redeem zCoins for limited edition virtual items inspired by Lady Gaga for the Zynga games you love to play, including: CityVille, FrontierVille, FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Zynga Poker, Café World, Treasure Isle, YoVille, PetVille, and Vampire Wars. Starting on May 17th, Lady Gaga will announce codes that unlock exclusive Lady Gaga-inspired limited edition virtual items on 148 Clear Channel stations.

This is the second time Zynga and Lady Gaga have teamed up. In March 2011, the two entertainment icons teamed up to raise more than $3 million for Japan relief efforts.