"There's so much more that we could do with brands," Michelle
Tobin, Rovio's VP-North America Brand Ad Parterships. "We haven't
had a team that's been really focused on driving this part of the
The Advertising Partnership Team, as it's called, will span
North America, Europe and Asia and focus on things other than
standard banner ads. Likewise, the team will try to make Rovio less
reliant on third-party ad networks. Instead, the team will
emphasize native ads: integrating brands directly into the
landscape of "Angry Birds" games. How these brand integrations will
look has yet to be determined.
Rovio has worked with outside brands, but those partnerships
have been initiated by those looking to align themselves with
"Angry Birds." Now, Rovio will seek out brands.
Ms. Tobin did not reveal any new partnerships, but said deals
will be announced in the coming weeks.
Any brand integrations into "Angry Birds" games will likely
cross over to Rovio's physical products. Initially known just as an
addictive iPhone game, Rovio has transitioned "Angry Birds" into a
multimedia success that includes toys, activity parks, beverages
Ms. Tobin said that integrations could resemble a marketing
campaign Rovio ran in conjunction with McDonald's
restaurants in China. In that campaign, McDonald's signature golden
arches were made to look giant "Angry Birds" slingshots.
But Rovio's mobile reach is it's largest competitive advantage.
The company's "Angry Birds" games have been downloaded more than a
billion times. As of March 2012, "Angry Birds" was the most
downloaded paid app in the history of the Apple App Store. Globally, the company
has 263 million monthly active users. Twitter, the second most well-indexed major media
company on mobile devices, has 200 million monthly active users.
Now, the company is finally attempting to capitalize on that
user large base via direct advertising.
Ms. Tobin said the new division will be hiring account
executives for its Chicago, Los Angeles and New York offices, but
did not specify how many positions would be made available. The
company has hired former MTV exec Betsy Flounders Novak and former
Millennial Media exec Matt Pfeffer to built its Americas team.
Former Fox Digital exec Andrew Stalbow is exec VP of strategic