The Rovio company, who manufactures and markets the insanely popular Angry Birds game, has a not so subtle strategy to take over the world. The cast of characters have adorned things such as plush dolls, key chains, Halloween costumes, and every other piece of marketing paraphernalia you can think of. In only two years, the company’s owners have gained a net worth of over $12 billion and are looking to take their product to growing Chinese professional market.
Popular American TV shows make references to the game in their scripts, Charlie Day’s character can be seen playing it in the movie Horrible Bosses, and in parodies of the British singer Adele. Just like any good marketing frenzy, the people at Rovio want to take their product to China. I still remember the perfect angry-bird-shooting experience on the Samsung Galaxy S2 phone we tested on.
Rovio, which is a Finnish company that started mobile development and marketing in 2003, created Angry Birds in 2009 in a clever response to the Swine Flu epidemic. Years earlier, people were concerned about contracting Avian Flu and the game takes a stab at the bird’s turn at revenge. Your job is to slingshot birds into pigs who have stolen their eggs. The concept is easy, addictive, and extremely marketable to the Chinese consumers who suffered with the stigma of the Avian Flu and now can take revenge on the western bred Swine Flu.
With the proliferation of smartphones amongst the Chinese population, the Angry Birds phenomenon is growing exponentially. The chairmen of Sang Cheng, the Chinese agent for the game, said that the game sold 100 million units six months ago and now stands at over 350 million. The game has been so popular in China because of the easy assimilation of the Chinese culture into the game.
The game has grown so fast in China that Rovio is looking to hold a national competition in China to see who the best player in the country is. The company will work with China Mobile to create the largest mobile game competition held in Beijing. This demonstrates how popular a simple slingshot game concept can become if marketed with such a diverse cultural appeal. Now the people of China will have the same massive distraction at work as the Americans.