NHL buys words in 'Draw Something'

Have you noticed a sudden urge to watch the NHL playoffs after playing Draw Something on your phone?

That may be the result of the NHL's recent advertising campaign in the popular drawing game, which now includes NHL-themed words such as Zamboni, hat trick and slapshot as part of the deal.

The NHL has featured some of the best drawings on its Pinterest page and on Twitter under the #DrawNHL hashtag.

It's not like Draw Something is now "Draw NHL," as I refreshed my words list 25 times this morning and didn't see a single NHL term (well, unless you count the word Canada, but it's safe to assume that wasn't part of the deal). You wouldn't even notice the hockey-themed words unless you were looking for them.

Zynga purchased Draw Something developer OMGPOP in March for $180 million, and despite the initial success -- it had 50 million downloads in its first 50 days -- interest in the game is waning. Since peaking on April 3 with 14.6 million daily active users, that number is now down to 10.2 million and falling every day, according to AppData.

Integrated advertising like this -- and what's also been done with KFC, Doritos and Nike -- is the best way for Zynga to make its money back. And even if some people will predictably guffaw at drawing advertisements, many consumers haven't noticed that they've already been doing it for weeks.