Jul 21, 2011

Rovio Mobile's Vesterbacka on how Angry Birds became successful

Angry Birds Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Particularly if it's from Peter Vesterbacka , the CMO or the Mighty Eagle of Rovio Mobile, the Finnish company behind the Angry Birds phenomenon. At Cannes, apart from speaking at the annual ad fest, Vesterbacka was also scouting and hunting for talent .

The success rate - two short-list for the top position at Rovio. Even as he moves to the next level of talent hunt, Verterbacka takes pot-shots , aiming directly at the brands. Brands, he says, are wasting their time advertising on television. "With our reach we can provide a much better bang-for-the buck to them" . While, one can debate the claims made by the Mighty Eagle, the fact remains Angry Birds has caught the attention of millions across the world. In a chat with BE, Vesterbacka talks about the origin of Angry Birds and the flight towards becoming an entertainment company in the time to come.

How did Rovio Mobile and Angry Birds happen?

After winning a game development competition sponsored by Nokia and HP, Niklas Hed founded a mobile game development studio in 2004 in Finland. We had developed 51 titles, before Rovio hit gold with Angry Birds. The Angry Bird app took off in small countries first - Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, and the Czech Republic - before being featured on the front page of the UK App Store in February of 2010, where it jumped from 600th to first. Since then, the growth has been explosive - the app is number one in 79 countries, with 250 million downloads, 4 million Facebook fans, and tens of millions of views on Facebook!

What was the origin of the Birds, who have shaken the world with their anger?

Our game designer Jaakko Lisalo created a concept featuring a flock of manic birds, and something about their furious expressions was immediately appealing to the rest of the Rovio team. The game-play hadn't even been developed yet, but there was a feeling in the air that these birds had something special. Many of the now iconic elements associated with Angry Birds weren't even present in the initial screen-shot and were only implemented during the development process.

To what do you attribute the success of the Angry Birds phenomenon across the globe that seems to be popular across the ages?

From the beginning, we were focused on creating a worldwide phenomenon. (We felt) There's something inherently appealing about these birds - maybe it's their crazed expressions , bright colors and broadly drawn features, or their hero's quest to rescue their eggs. Like many iconic characters, the flightless Angry Birds may appear small and vulnerable, but they are actually very powerful. Think pudgy Mario the plumber versus the monstrous Bowser , or Bugs Bunny versus the hunter Elmer Fudd. That's a narrative that's very appealing to all ages.

With a following, comprising of 50 million downloads and 1.2 billion hours a year consumption, what are the plans for the Birds to take them to the next level?

We have an amazing fan base. In addition to our four million fans on Facebook and our millions of views on YouTube, we get tons of pictures from fans of their homemade art, crafts, cakes, videos, musical tributes, live-action games, and clothing, as well as mountains of tweets expressing their interest and support. This shows that people are really excited about these characters and want to engage with them more. We're going to keep existing fans engaged while pushing into new platforms and forms of media in order to reach as many fans as possible.
We recently acquired the Finnish animation studio Kombo, and just recently we had a very exciting media announcement. David Maisel, the former chairman of Marvel Studios, will be acting as a special advisor to Rovio in order to help us develop our film and media strategy and will also serve as executive producer of future Angry Birds films. We're ramping up our book publishing operation, and we have a cookbook of egg recipes already on the way.

As we transition into being an entertainment company, we're going to keep releasing great new games, but we're also going to offer many new ways of interacting with these beloved characters. Without getting into the specific details of our long-term plan, we can say that "world domination" is a good start!

How is your fan base in India? Anything specifically lined up for the Indian market?

We have a significant and growing fan base in India, and we are hoping for even more intense growth as adoption of smart phones in India increases. To thank our fans in India for their support, we're even looking into the possibility of giving them a special treat!

Kindly Bookmark this Post using your favorite Bookmarking service:
Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble Facebook Twitter


Post a Comment

Blog Archive


Break Time

Protected By

Break Time

| Trick Builder (TB) © 2012. All Rights Reserved | Contact | About | Powered by My Blogger Blab (MBB) | Design by Midhun | Back To Top |