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Buy toothpaste, get the SimCity Attractions Set with five new buildings

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Buy specially marked Crest or Oral-B products in the US and you'll earn a code to unlock SimCity's Attractions Set (opens in new tab) , a selection of five tourist-attracting buildings (opens in new tab) including "Giant Garden Gnome," "Dolly the Dinosaur," "Llarry the Llama," "MaxisMan Statue," and "the World's Largest Ball of Twine."

What does toothpaste have to do with SimCity? About as much as Mountain Dew has to do with Call of Duty, we suppose, and at least this cross-promotion promotes dental hygiene products instead of sugar intake. It's also better than SimCity's free Nissan Leaf Charging station (opens in new tab) , which adds happiness while draining zero resources, putting the advertising before the gameplay.

Still, this makes me a bit queasy. There's plenty of precedent for this kind of marketing, and I don't have a universally sour reaction to it, but adding more promotional buildings now doesn't improve the narrative of SimCity's launch, even if toothpaste is really just a roundabout way to buy some innocuous DLC buildings. It makes it look like a bin to stuff marketing into, and though we know there's more to it, what it looks like is what our guts react to. Right now, mine is trying to digest a big glob of fluoride.

Also, why are SimCity boxes sitting next to a PS3 and Xbox 360 in Crest's promotional image?

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.