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Zynga enlists Snoop Dogg to blow up truck

In what may or may not be a highly questionable business decision, the social-gaming powerhouse is detonating one heck of a publicity stunt in the Las Vegas desert to promote its Mafia Wars title.


Social-gaming powerhouse Zynga launched its latest game, "Mafia Wars: Las Vegas" earlier this month, and it promised eager players that when the game hit 10 million users, it would celebrate by detonating an armored truck in the Vegas-area desert and live-stream the whole thing on the Web. Yes, really.

Well, the milestone has been hit, according to a release on Thursday, and Zynga has made good on its promise to blow up the truck. Oh, except there's an addition: the truck will be blown up with the help of rapper Snoop Dogg, whose name I will never be able to hear again without thinking immediately of the performer being addressed as "Snoop! Snoop-a-loop!" by Will Ferrell's "Frank the Tank" character in "Old School." The act will be performed at 6 p.m. PDT on Thursday, streamed live on the Mafia Wars Las Vegas site.

Considering that Snoop Dogg's most recent high-profile appearance has involved him getting sprayed in the face with the ammunition from a whipped-cream brassiere in pop singer Katy Perry's video for "California Gurls," I suppose that he must have been more than willing to do something spiced with a bit more testosterone.

It's not clear whether Snoop Dogg was specifically hired for the gig because his nom de guerre ties in amusingly to Zynga's cuddly canine mascot, or maybe just because the whole idea of Snoop Dogg blowing up a truck in the desert is so ridiculous, it can't possibly be met with any backlash. (Or can it?)

I can imagine Zynga executives calmly seated across a boardroom table from prospective investors in the company's most recent massive funding round, explaining why they absolutely need another cash infusion. To fuel growth, obviously. To launch new titles. To make some acquisitions. To buy more Facebook ads to promote it all.

"Oh. And we want to blow up an armored truck in the Nevada desert. Except it won't be us doing it--it'll be Snoop Dogg."

The "Mafia Wars" series has been a parade of hits for Zynga, and the new Sin City edition has already boasted, according to Zynga, 30 million fights and 600 million robberies. Its Facebook-based games, such as FarmVille, have been decked by gaming aficionados as silly--but the company, meanwhile, means business.

It recently hired former Facebook and MySpace executive Owen Van Natta and formed a joint venture with SoftBank in Japan to fuel international growth. And the number of people willing to pay real money for virtual accessories in aquarium, farm, and frontier homestead games has apparently won Zynga sufficient financial security to hire a rapper, a lot of explosives, and a truck that won't be getting returned to its owner in one piece.

What's next? Will the next FarmVille milestone be commemorated with country star Kenny Chesney blowing up a tractor? This is obviously very important and newsworthy, people.