According to Adverblog, (via a link on InsideGoogle) Fiat and Google have partnered to offer this contest (web site in both English and Italian which also celebrates Italy and the Winter Olympics that begin in Italy next week.
Under the snows of Turin and the Olympic valleys Fiat has hidden an exclusive Ferrari 360+ Experience pass and four Fiat Sedici cars. The game (Sedici contest) challenges users finding on a Google Earth map the places where such prizes have been hidden.
This is not only fun for the whole family (-: but it's also a great way for Google to reinforce their "cool" factor while at the same time introducing the Google Earth service to people who've never heard of it and/or used it. I'm sure that Fiat will also receive a sizable amount of free promotion as the mass media reports on the game.
A bit more in this post from Ogle Earth.
Of course, this is not the first Google Earth game. You can find three others listed here.
I'm thinking that we will see a lot more Google Earth "game" partnerships between Google and other companies, city/regional tourism organizations, and local advertisers.
I also would not be the least bit suprised to see Microsoft partner with others or simply promote their own products using Windows Live Local (WLL) both the aerial and the bird's eye imagery that WLL offers.
The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!