Angry Birds a lesson in mobile as the “first screen”

Angry Birds a lesson in mobile as the “first screen”
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EXCLUSIVE: Advertisers must stop thinking of mobile as a “second screen” and recognise the smartphone is now the primary device for consuming content, Angry Birds executive Henri Holm has told B&T.

“Mobile is not the future. It is today. People say that mobile is the second screen but the difference is that TV is watching you while you watch you mobile screen,” said Holm, senior VP of Rovio – the media company which created and controls the Angry Birds brand.

“Mobile is the prime screen, and games seem to be leading the consumption of entertainment content.”

Since its inception in 2009 the Angry Birds game has seen 1.7 billion downloads globally. In Australia, downloads of the app outnumber the population, at 29 million, according to Rovio.

Its popularity has snowballed, fueling Rovio’s evolution from what began as a gaming company in 2003 to what it is today – “an entertainment and media powerhouse” – with brand extensions in retail, theme parks, soft drink and publishing.

The brand also has its own 3D movie set for release in 2016, and currently produces short animation videos.

Its brand has been built and is perennially promoted by thousands of passionate and highly engaged fans. “The marketing dollars we’ve spent for brand building is zero. We create something that highly engages fans and something our fans are absolutely passionate about.

"When we get these fans to fully manifest how they are passionate about the Angry Birds brand that brings this experience alive. Everything we do has to fit into what the fans want,” said Holm.

To that end, Holm is adamant that mobile advertising must move beyond banners to rich media fully integrated into gaming and entertainment content.

As part of this mantra Rovio now enables brands to embed their logos and messages within Angry Birds games as part of the animated sets and characters’ activities.

Creation of these sorts of brand engagement opportunities will be a core part of Rovio’s new partnership with mobile advertising network, Mobile Embrace, announced in early May. 

According to Pete Birch, MD of fourth screen advertising at Mobile Embrace, Australian advertisers are playing a game of catch up with increasingly mobilized Australian consumers.

“Ad spend hasn’t caught up yet with consumer behaviour,” said Birch.

“In this market I would estimate only 5%-10% of the total digital spend is going into mobile, but you’ve got consumers spending 30% – 40% of their time using mobile to access the internet.

“This puts down a challenge to agencies and clients and advertisers. They are not moving fast enough to mobilise their content to get their ads in front of an audience which is increasingly mobile.”

For more with Henri Holm look out for The Brief, coming soon. 

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