Draw Something is trying to get you to draw their ads for them
Draw Something's next step after being acquired by Zynga is to get people to draw brands that that they're familiar with, like Doritos, the NHL, and KFC. It's an interesting exercise in marketing, and definitely a novel way of getting people to interact with companies, but if overdone, I think it will ultimately sour people on the game, especially if they're already tolerating banner ads in the free version.
My thinking is that as a smaller company, OMGPOP was able to make do with in-app purchases of new paints and bombs as their primary source of income with a bit of help from banner ads. Now that Zynga has paid a bunch for the game, they want a return on the investment and are pursuing more aggressive schemes. The popularity of Draw Something has already started to take a dip; daily active users have dropped from 14 million in April to 10 million. If it continues to dive, Zynga will have a hard time closing these kind of deals with big companies.
I'm all for this new take on mobile advertising, but only if it replaces banner ads. If a player picks a sponsored term, the picture could then provide a link to the advertiser's site, or better yet, serve up a media rich iAd that launches for both players. An extra in-game coin would go a long way to inventivize players to sit through a quick video.
Do you guys still play Draw Something? Personally, I found it mostly just embarrassing if you don't have much in the way of artistic talent, but your mileage may vary. Is this plan to get players to interact directly with brands a smart, innovative marketing move that you're interested in participating in, or a skeezy trick for companies to worm into your subconscious?