For the second year running, Zynga launched its Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign on its popular social game Words With Friends. The game maker fears that this year the pandemic will discourage people from delving into the topic or receiving movie screenings if they practice social distancing and on-site precautions.
The campaign worked well last year in partnership with the American Cancer Society, so San Francisco-based Zynga launched a new #WordWithHope campaign today. During the month of October there will be a word of hope in the Word of the Day of the game. Words With Friends is a good vehicle for the news, with 97 million lifetime installations (including 3 million this year), according to measurement company Sensor Tower.
Zynga will share the word on their social channels and in-game, along with statements from influential people whose lives have been changed by breast cancer. The campaign aims to illustrate the importance of screening and early detection, and celebrate the heroes who faced that diagnosis directly.
People from the fields of entertainment, fashion, literature, technology, medicine and sport take part in the campaign. Fashion designer Betsey Johnson started the campaign today with her own message.
Zynga’s Deepthi Menon said in an interview with GamesBeat that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, with higher rates of cancer in people of color. She said the message about screening is important this year because it is more difficult to do during the pandemic.
“This year has been a difficult year and it’s no secret,” said Menon. “The players are looking for ways to find hope, to find a community and to connect with each other.” It has always been like this. But this year it is needed more than ever. And most importantly, breast cancer awareness. This is a year when fewer people can get preventive screening that is usually very convenient to do. “
Due to COVID-19, people are staying indoors and that makes the awareness campaign more important than ever, Menon said.
Words With Friends can reach up to nine million people through messages on social channels or in-game, claims Zynga. The company measures the success of the campaign by community engagement, and last year it was really high, Menon said. Words With Friends is a good target game in part because it has more women than men.
“If we can start talks, the groups have to come together, that’s what is really important to us in such campaigns,” Menon said. “Betsey Johnson is a legendary fashion designer and a breast cancer survivor. She talked about her own journey with breast cancer, and you can see it in-game today. This is one of the creative ways we spread awareness. “