Angry Birds: From gaming hit to media platform

Angry Birds creator Rovio happy with transformation

Rovio, the Finland-based publisher of the super-popular series of Angry Birds mobile games has undergone a dramatic evolution since the first incarnation of its most famous title hit handhelds in 2009.

The first Angry Birds was the company's fifty-first title and the smash hit catalysed Rovio's transformation from a games publisher to an a fully fledged entertainment company, according to Michele Tobin, the company's head of brand partnerships and advertising.

Tobin told the ADMA Global Forum 2013 that the success of Angry Birds has not only made possible the dramatic expansion of the brand from games to plush toys, theme parks, and (soon) soft drinks, but also made possible partnerships that let Rovio extend its "brand equity" to other companies and provide a connected audience amounting to hundreds of millions of loyal fans.

Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 1.7 billion times Tobin said, making it the largest game in the world. Some 263 million people actively play Angry Birds every month, giving Rovio "massive global reach across all territories". Last year, the brand delivered some $2.5 billion at retail. "That's a lot of plush toys and such," Tobin said.

The way fans have embraced the game "has allowed us to expand and grow beyond a mobile game publisher to a global entertainment and media company," Tobin said.

"Games remain the engine driver for everything we do but we developed a number of different businesses around that that allow fans to interact with our brands in different ways."

A new publishing unit launched by Rovio three months ago leverages the Angry Birds audience to help promote games from third-party software developers.

"Rovio has built an infrastructure that's very powerful in terms of promoting game, cross-promoting them to an existing audience base."

But promoting mobile games produced by its own team and other developers isn't the end of how Rovio has been using Angry Birds. Based on the success of its YouTube channel, the company branched into advertising-supported cartoons, which it launched simultaneously across all editions of Angry Birds.

It has also used the Angry Birds brand to promote products from other companies, such as Microsoft's Bing search engine, which featured in a series of Angry Birds animated shorts. This was accompanied by integrated Bing-based searches in Angry Birds titles to help players complete levels.

In China, home to Angry Birds' second-largest user base after the US, Rovio partnered with McDonald's for a location-based campaign. That campaign, launched in October last year, meant that McDonald's patrons could access custom content while in-store. It was accompanied by TV, social and in-game promotion.

"What we were able to do here is really bring the holy grail of mobile together in the right experience, targeted to the right person, the right customer, in exactly the right place and time," Tobin said.

"So we were able to offer fans that went into a McDonald's location a special experience in the game, along with special content in the game and power-ups. So we were really able to drive in-restaurant foot traffic by giving fans something of value."

Brand cross-pollination with partners ranging from US space agency NASA to former Guns N' Roses guitarist (and Angry Birds fan) Slash has also been part of the evolution of Angry Birds from a mobile game into a platform.

"The brand has serious brand equity," Tobin said. "In fact I had a brand, a consumer brand, come to me the other day and say, 'I think we'd like to borrow a little bit of your brand equity this year and do something interesting'.

"So I think that's where we may differ from other publishers, where yes we offer massive reach [but] we also offer something special in that the brand has recognition outside the game in the real world."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Cannes Part 1: Why brands must put human interactions at the heart of their business

As a Media Juror at this year’s Cannes Lions, I was fortunate enough to attend the world’s most influential festival of creativity and listen to thought-leading marketers from around the globe.

Nickie Scriven

CEO, Zenith

4 creative skills that will be useful forever

In recent times, the clarion call from futurists, economists, marketers, educators and leaders the world over is one of slight panic, “The world is changing and you’re not ready for it!” And of course, they make a very good point.

Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory

Speakers, trainers, co-authors

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

Being an investor who has an understanding of the finance industry, I would question the validity of this article, judging by the impairm...

Rowan

How a customer-led digital transformation has helped this CMO generate $6m in incremental business

Read more

An interesting update considering that today is the easiest way it has ever been to measure contribution to the business as well as the h...

Frederic

State of the CMO 2019: Tenure shortens, pressure is on as marketers strive to demonstrate impact

Read more

I thought this was what Salesforce Audience Studio (formerly Salesforce DMP) was supposed to do. How are a CDP and a DMP different? I'm c...

Tony Ahn

Salesforce announces customer data platform

Read more

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in