The Kate Upton ads for Game of War: Fire Age have been a constant source of fascination to us here at App Trigger since they first hit the air earlier this year. Not only did they kick mobile games advertising up to a whole new level — because now everyone is using celebrities in their TV spots — it also seemed like it must have been incredibly expensive.
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After all, Upton is a bona fide supermodel, and her time can’t come cheap. When Machine Zone first reached out to Upton about appearing in its ads, it was undoubtedly competing for her time with some very serious brands from other industries. That had to have cost a pretty penny, right?
Maybe not. An article on VentureBeat concerning the ongoing legal drama between Machine Zone and Kabam sheds some interesting light on how much of a bargain Upton might have been. Supposedly, Machine Zone Gabe Leydon claimed that his company only had to pay $1 million for Upton to be the face of Game of War, and that it doesn’t have to pay royalties for the continued use of her likeness in ads.
For those of us who make far less than seven-digit salaries, that might sound like a lot, but considering that Game of War has been among the top five highest-grossing iOS apps every day for at least the last year (and it’s currently no. 1), it’s really not. Then consider that not only did Upton’s spots get plenty of play on TV, they get served through other mobile apps millions of times each day.
Considering the enmity between both sides — and honestly, you should read the whole Venture Beat piece for its fascinating look into modern day corporate jousting — it’s quite possible we have to take Upton’s salary for the ad campaign with a grain of salt. We just can’t help but think that $1 million would be an absolute bargain considering what the ad campaign achieved in ubiquity, and that it was money well spent … even if we still aren’t sure that Ms. Upton has ever played the game she endorses.