Next Gen has a great article on marketing and branded games. Cheetos hired a game company to develop a branded paintball game.
The developers had thought it would be a great idea to let the kids shoot the famed mascot. They were right. The kids would have loved that. The marketers didn’t. The game was scrapped.Oops.
Personally, this is probably an overreaction on the part of the marketers. It's not like the kids would be able to kill the character, jump up and down on him and chant "Doritos is great!" It's paintball, everyone is fair game. Take the flip side of this and you could see the marketers potentially wanting the Cheetos Tiger to have super powers (of course only after eating Cheetos), flying around and hitting everyone with extreme accuracy.
As games become more and more a legitimate medium on par with TV, radio and the like, marketers are going to have to realize that absolute control is foolish. I frequently run into the same situation when clients want to create a community online but refuse to allow unedited comments from the community. It doesn't make sense just like having a shooting game with your mascot and not allowing someone to frag em doesn't make sense.
Random thought: So if this game had come out, would my fingers get all orange after playing it?
Random image: I wonder what the marketers think about this girl in a Cheetos bath.