- Luxury candy boutique Sugarfina sponsored a brand-themed version of Cooking Craze, the mobile video game developed by Big Fish Games, ahead of Valentine's Day. Players can run their own virtual Sugarfina store by creating and serving some of its most popular treats such as cereal chocolate bars and "candy bento boxes," per an announcement.
- The first 1,000 U.S. players to complete all 40 levels of the game will win a real-life candy bento box valued at $20 while the event runs from Feb. 1 to 18. Other hidden candy treats have also been embedded into the game for U.S. and Canadian players to discover.
- Sugarfina, which opened its first boutique in Beverly Hills in 2013, has more than 50 locations in North America, including 12 shops inside Nordstrom stores. The chain last year opened its first overseas store in Hong Kong through franchise operator Upper East Holdings, the Los Angeles Business Journal reported.
Sugarfina's brand-themed event in Cooking Craze could help the upscale chain of candy stores engage mobile users with its brand and signature treats like champagne- and wine-flavored gummy bears. Sugarfina made $40 million in revenue in 2017 by focusing on luxury candy that appeals to adults, including chocolate cordials filled with Tito's Handmake Vodka or Casamigos Tequila. Sugarfina's collaboration with Whispering Angel Rose on a candy collection sold out within two hours on its website, leading the company to create a waiting list of 18,000 people, per Multichannel Merchant.
By incorporating the popular candy chain into a mobile video game, Sugarfina appears to be targeting a younger group of consumers, who are more likely than older generations to engage with mobile gaming. Offering a real box of candies for players who complete the entire game could incentivize players to stick around in the app and continue playing over a longer period of time.
Sugarfina is among the brands that have sponsored mobile game content to reach a target audience. Red Bull last year introduced limited-edition packaging that let people unlock exclusive brand-themed game content in the mobile version of Pac-Man. Mobile was the fastest-growing category of gaming in 2018 with revenue that surged 71% to $61.3 billion from $35.7 billion a year earlier, Super Data Research found.
Cooking Craze has been installed on more than 38 million times, and was ranked as the No. 1 arcade game in 45 countries on both Google Play and Apple App Store, according to developer Big Fish. Australian gambling machine maker Aristocrat Technologies in 2017 bought Big Fish for $990 million because of its lucrative social casino games business, VentureBeat reported.
Candy, in particular, is a gaming theme that appears popular among mobile consumers, if software developer King's hit game "Candy Crush" is any indication. The game posted sales of more than $1.5 billion last year as players spent an average of nearly $4.2 million a day on the Google Play and Apple App Store, Sensor Tower found.