Brands hop on to Angry Birds bandwagon ahead of film release

Angry Birds movie ties up with brands including Gems, Lego, Kurkure and McDonalds to launch merchandise


The Angry Birds Movie will release in India on 27 May. Photo: Columbia Pictures and Rovio Entertainment Ltd
The Angry Birds Movie will release in India on 27 May. Photo: Columbia Pictures and Rovio Entertainment Ltd

Mumbai: The Angry Birds Movie, based on the popular mobile phone game by Rovio Entertainment, has signed on brands including Gems, Lego, Kurkure and McDonalds, among others, to partner with them in India.

The film will release in India on 27 May, across 600 screens and three languages.

That’s not all. The Angry Birds Action! game, launched late last month, as a precursor to the film is using augmented reality to promote the film and the brand tie-ups. The game allows users to earn rewards by scanning special BirdCodes on product packaging, such as on a packet of Gems, the box of a Lego playset, a McDonalds happy meal box or a movie poster. Scanning the BirdCode will allow users to unlock more content on the game, in the form of mini-games, access to different levels in the game and other content.

“Angry Birds is one of the most loved and adored brands in the country and has enjoyed a very strong brand recall among consumers in India. With over 100 million BirdCodes generated for the market, we see a harmonious transition of offline elements into our new mobile game Angry Birds Action! and our upcoming Angry Birds Movie,”said Anurag Sachdeva, country director (India and South Asia) Rovio Entertainment.

The most interesting BirdCode will appear at the end of the Angry Birds Movie, with the credits. Activated by an inaudible watermark in the audio of the end credits, the game will unlock the notorious pigs — providing an incentive for fans to actually go see it in cinemas.

“To have close to a decade of gaming and merchandising legacy before the film is launched, is a rarity. So there is no doubt that the film is likely to do well, considering that the Angry Birds are already a household name,” said Navin Shah, joint managing director of EMC Solutions Worldwide Pvt. Ltd, a branded entertainment solutions firm. “Unlike in the West, animated films tend to be considered kid–centric in India. Even from a box office perspective, animated films such as the Minions and Kung Fu Panda tend to rake in approximately Rs 10-20 crore, while a live action film such as a Jurassic Park, Iron Man or even Jungle Book typically rake in more than Rs 100 crore at the box office. However, in this case, the film is expected to appeal to both children and adults alike,” said Shah.

Angry Birds is not the first mobile game to make it to the silver screen. For instance, the 2011 action-adventure film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider featuring Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, was based on the mobile game Tomb Raider. Made at a budget of $115 million, it earned more than twice the amount in the US alone. The 2010 action fantasy film Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time was also based on the video game of the same title and went on to become one of the highest-grossing films.

By and large, a mobile game or a story becomes a film first before it creates enough equity to warrant merchandising. However, in the case of Angry Birds, the film follows what most would consider a supremely successful run in licensing and merchandising globally, spawning everything from pencils and stationery to underwear and a theme park.

The game has already crossed 3 billion downloads globally, of which 100 million downloads are in India. Estimates by Jiggy George, founder and CEO, Dream Theatre Pvt. Ltd which represents Rovio in India and South Asia for licensing and merchandising, peg the Indian licensing market at Rs 2,000-2,200 crore, of which Angry Birds would account for about Rs 100 crore at retail. “When we started out in 2010 we had over 1,500 products in over a dozen categories. The popularity of this product truly amazed us considering the limited penetration of smartphones, not to mention the fact that the property was not present on television. Now with a huge spike in consumer interactions across mediums, increased smartphone penetration, better internet access and a successful consumer products business, the Angry Birds movie sets us up beautifully for the second coming,” he said.

The company also has a tie-up in place with Snapdeal.com to put up a dedicated Angry Birds micro-site with over 500 products, which will go live simultaneous to the movie release.

On the consumer products side, there will be a flood of Angry Birds merchandise both for the classic 2.0 and the movie across core categories such as kids apparel, mobile phones, computer and phone accessories, footwear, back-to- school products, bags and accessories and e-books on Juggernaut. The Angry Birds products prices start at Rs.99 and will be available across large format stores like such as Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, stand alone stores and leading e-commerce sites like Amazon.com, Flipkart.com, among others.

Prashant Peres, director, marketing (chocolates), at Mondelez India, said that the company starts work on such associations approximately 10 months in advance as it entails everything from identifying the property to drawing up a contract, designing toys, packaging, developing communication among other things. “Each step involves working closely with the licensor to arrive at the best possible utilization of both brands’ assets” he said. Figurines of the popular characters from the game are now available exclusively with Gems Surprise.

“We constantly strive to identify properties that can help build excitement and engagement through their association and Angry Birds perfectly fit the bill with its popularity and inherent playfulness,” he added.

The film will be promoted on traditional media as well as new media in the run up to its launch. Beyond the film promos on television, the movie will be promoted on television properties such as the Indian Premier League, shows like Baal Veer and Taarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma, as well as on Chutti TV in the South. The company, in collaboration with a radio stations, will also place Angry Bird branded bird feeders across city.

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