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PopCap’s treat (no trick): Free Plants vs. Zombies codes for Halloween

Trick-or-treating is nearly upon us, and this year, kids may wants more than candy. An unsurprising study suggests most children would prefer a free game over Halloween candy.

We reported previously about developer PopCap’s work with the American Dental Association to promote oral hygiene. The casual-game developer used its popular Plants vs. Zombies game in a campaign called “Stop Zombie Mouth.” As part of that promotion, PopCap gave dentists thousands of Plants vs. Zombies trading cards that featured characters from the game as well as cartoon caricatures of dental ailments like plaque and rot. Dentists then share those cards along with a coupon code for a free copy of Plants vs. Zombies to their patients.

“We distributed all one million packs of trading cards,” PopCap director of brand marketing Keith Zentner said. “We did the last big push at the ADA convention in San Francisco. The response was extremely strong. [This promotion] made the entire dental community feel very contemporary.”

We all assume that kids will only accept candy for Halloween, but a survey suggests that isn’t the case. Of kids ages 5 to 13, 93 percent said they would rather receive a video game than candy, and 89 percent wouldn’t mind if Halloween shifted focus from candy to other kinds of fun.

When I was a kid, we heard of the mythical house that provided king-sized candy bars to each kid, but I never found it. But what kind of rich house is going to give out video games?

Well, PopCap pointed out the problem, and it also has a solution.

Above: Print these sheets and hand out the coupons on Halloween.

Image Credit: VentureBeat

The developer’s StopZombieMouth.com has a link to a page of coupons that people can print off and hand out for trick-or-treating.  The coupons come with a download code for a free copy of Plants vs. Zombies for the PC or Mac. PopCap is providing the whole thing free of charge. StopZombieMouth.com moves to the free-game redemption site Tuesday.

Of course, this promotion doesn’t just build excitement for dental hygiene.

“We’re also trying to raise aware and get people excited about the game as we lead into some fun new stuff coming down the pipe,” Zentner said. “[Plants vs. Zombies] has been out for over four years, we’re long overdue for a sequel.”

In August, PopCap announced the Plants vs. Zombies sequel would arrive in late spring 2013, and a promotion like this could get the original game into a bunch of young players’ hands leading up to that launch.


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