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The newest version of mega-popular game franchise Angry Birds isn’t a downloadable mobile app, but rather a web-based promotion built around California nut producer Wonderful Pistachios.

The free-to-play, five level promotional game — playable on a subsection of — features the now-ubiquitous, titular birds launching at both pigs and nuts hiding in half-separated pistachio shells. The game also has branded backgrounds including a pistachio orchard and a football game with nuts as snacks. A set of recent TV ads also feature the birds launching at nuts to crack them open.

The game serves as a sort of stealth marketing for Google’s Chrome web browser. Trying to load the game on other browsers and mobile phones brings up a prompt that tells players the game is “optimized” for Chrome, and then directs them to download the browser.

“The ubiquitous consumer adoption of Angry Birds and pistachios makes this partnership a natural fit,” Wonderful Pistachios North American senior director of marketing Marc Seguin said in a statement. “We’re excited to give consumers the snacks they crave with pistachios and feed the frenzy for new Angry Birds content with the launch of this game.”


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To help draw attention to the promotion, players that share the game on social networks or find hidden “Golden Pistachios” hidden within the later levels can qualify for part of a $300,000 prize pool. Those prizes include cash, Angry Birds plush toys and a year’s supply of Wonderful Pistachios. Though the contest ends on December 31, the game will remain playable into 2012.

This isn’t the first time a popular mobile game maker has created a new version that’s dedicated to cross-promoting an existing product or brand. Doodle Jump maker Lima Sky promoted the Easter-themed movie Hop with a branded version of the game, while Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja series just recently saw a Puss In Boots-flavored release alongside that feature film. And, let’s not forget that Angry Birds Rio was a promotion for the bird-themed children’s film Rio, which drew 10 million downloads in ten days after its March release.

Major social games have also played host to major cross-promotional deals. Zynga’s FarmVille has featured exclusive in-game content promoting everything from McDonald’s to Lady Gaga. In fact, Zynga just today announced a deal with Discover card to allow card users early access to its upcoming Winter Wonderland expansion.

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