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

Latest Videos

More Videos

Google collects as much data as it can about you. It would be foolish to believe Google cares about your privacy. I did cut off Google fr...

Phil Davis

ACCC launches fresh legal challenge against Google's consumer data practices for advertising

Read more

“This new logo has been noticed and it replaces a logo no one really knew existed so I’d say it’s abided by the ‘rule’ of brand equity - ...

Lawrence

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

IMHO a logo that needs to be explained really doesn't achieve it's purpose.I admit coming to the debate a little late, but has anyone els...

JV_at_lAttitude_in_Cairns

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well. I just came across your website and I have to say that your work is really appreciative. Your conte...

Rochie Grey

Will 3D printing be good for retail?

Read more

Very insightful. Executive leaders can let middle managers decide on the best course of action for the business and once these plans are ...

Abi TCA

CMOs: Let middle managers lead radical innovation

Read more

Blog Posts

The obvious reason Covidsafe failed to get majority takeup

Online identity is a hot topic as more consumers are waking up to how their data is being used. So what does the marketing industry need to do to avoid a complete loss of public trust, in instances such as the COVID-19 tracing app?

Dan Richardson

Head of data, Verizon Media

Brand or product placement?

CMOs are looking to ensure investment decisions in marketing initiatives are good value for money. Yet they are frustrated in understanding the value of product placements within this mix for a very simple reason: Product placements are broadly defined and as a result, mean very different things to different people.

Michael Neale and Dr David Corkindale

University of Adelaide Business School and University of South Australia

Why CMOs need a clear voice strategy to connect with their customers

Now more than ever, voice presents a clear opportunity to add value to an organisation in many ways. Where operational efficiencies are scrutinised, budgets are tighter and discretionary consumer spend at a low, engaging with an audience is difficult.

Guy Munro

Head of innovation and technology, Paper + Spark

Sign in