When Little Big Planet first came out on the PS3 I saw the immediate opportunity to build themed community worlds based on brands. Nobody I talked to saw the benefit. Who knew…because this week Rovio, the makers of the insanely addictive Angry Birds mobile games announced the creation of a new advertising division, The Advertising Partnership Team, and will open its doors to companies that will want to buy into its avian franchise and associated YouTube channel.
While the games have been supported by traditional banner ads, Rovio intends to get a lot cleverer with the inclusion of integrated brand marketing within the games themselves. If you think to the recent McDonalds campaign in China where the ‘Golden Arches’ were turned into a giant slingshot you can see where they are heading with this.
The concept is nothing new, in fact it could be compared to basic product placement that occurs in TV and film but weaving brand awareness into the mechanics of a game so popular is a stroke of genius for Rovio. Couple this with their own range of toy Angry Birds and boardgames it opens up massive new cross-over revenue streams.
Smash down giant Coke bottles with the little blue bird ? Sure why not.
Kill a piggie suspended by a shoelace above a Nike trainer ? Yeah, that’s bound to be a given too.
Mobile can be the means of choice for advertisers but without the context platform behind it it means nothing.
The Angry Birds games have been downloaded more than a billion times and have some 263m monthly active users, more than Twitter. This proves that as a means of delivery, mobile can be the future of advertising and marketing strategy.
But it’s the platform of engagement that is the critical piece in all this. On it’s own mobile won’t work.