Too Legit to Quit: Why the Angry Birds Brand Catapulted to the Top

What was once a care-free way to spend a few spare minutes on a smartphone is about to become a full-blown, cross-market, multimedia sensation. At least, that’s what the execs at Rovio Mobile would very much love to see happen. The game development company (based in Finland, of all places) struck gold a little over a year ago when they introduced a unique strategy game called Angry Birds to iPhone users—at a bargain bin download price of just $0.99. Fast-forward to 2011, and it appears that everyone and their mother seems to know and love the game! In total, it’s sold over 50-million downloads since its release and its fan base continues to grow every day.

The angry birds' collective goal? Defeat the evil pigs by any means necessary!

The angry birds' collective goal? Defeat the evil pigs by any means necessary!

For those unfamiliar with it, Angry Birds is best described as a cartoonish puzzle game in which the goal is simply to advance from level to level. To do so, the player must literally catapult a small number of flightless birds into a nearby congregation of evil pigs (yeah, pigs). It’s a simple task, except for one minor detail: the pigs happen to be exceedingly crafty. They fortify themselves behind structures that shield them from your airborne onslaught and, after a few levels, breaking through the fortifications starts to become a considerable challenge. It’s strange, simple, and appealing at the same time; a modest game for a casual spare minute of passive entertainment.

For a while, that was the extent of it. It provided mobile phone users with an interesting way to kill their time. But eventually, the levels ran out, and folks apparently weren’t ready to accept that that was the end of it. So, acknowledging the Birds’ popularity and taking note of the collective outcry for “more,” the developers started to release additional versions of it, most notably the Halloween- and Christmas-themed editions. THEN, they expanded platforms, making it available for iPad and Android-phone users. THEN, they made it available on home consoles and personal computers. THEN, they merchandised it, making stuffed-animal replicas of the titular birds available for online purchase. Basically, they went the whole nine yards—and then some. Now that’s how you properly advance a brand!

The game's popularity extends to tangible forms, like board games and even cakes.

The game's popularity extends to tangible forms, like board games and even cakes.

But wait, there’s more to come! Realizing that there are vast amounts of untapped potential to mine from the phenomenon, Rovio has decided that fans should be able to enjoy their favorite irritable birds in more tangible ways—like, for example, in a board game. Yup, the Angry Birds will be coming soon to a family room near you! The good folks at Mattel debuted the board game iteration of the franchise at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, announcing that it will be in stores this May, so be sure to inform the little ones.

And the projectile fun doesn’t end there, either—not by a long shot! Rovio’s CEO, Mikael Hed, has been quite outspoken about his multimedia ambitions for the company’s flagship product. According to a recent article, he revealed that part of the focus is “to work on broadcast content for Angry Birds.” It seems as though the Birds may catapult their way into an animated television series at some point, though the details of what the show’s storyline might entail are yet to be unveiled.

Also cryptic at the moment are the company’s reported plans for a film adaptation, other than speculation that Hed is opting for a visual style similar to that of the Wallace and Gromit series (in other words, claymation), but again, we’ll see if they can figure out what kind of story to apply first.

All in all, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the franchise, and Rovio is poised to keep moving forward. Whether the existing fans will continue to go along for the ride or whether a new crop of them will be emerge once the Angry Birds “branch” into ancillary markets is anyone’s guess, but it’ll be interesting to see these developments come to fruition.

What do you think? Do you think the Birds have what it takes to carry their success to TV and film?

Image Credits

Joseph Giorgi

Joseph is the head of the Media Team at Quality Logo Products. He's a video specialist, blogger, perfectionist, and all-around likeable guy. When he's not busy focusing on the nitty-gritty details of his written and visual work, he's normally listening to bad 80s music and scouring the internet for useless information on useless subjects. You can also connect with Joe on Google+.


  1. Jill Tooley

    I love, love, LOVE the Angry Birds (and anything to do with Angry Birds). I really want those stuffed animals, but I have so many already and I’m afraid that I’d spend the money for nothing.

    I wonder if Rovio knows that we sell 100% custom stress balls? Just think: Angry Birds stress balls have the potential to fly off the shelves! They’re much cheaper per item than stuffed animals AND they’re just as cute! 🙂

    Anyway, I’d like to make a quick observation about the Angry Birds extras that you mention in this post. I think Rovio is doing a BRILLIANT job of tying their brand to a variety of outlets, and the game is so popular that I’m confident a TV show or a movie would work. I’ve read speculative comments on other posts and it seems like many Angry Birds fans aren’t optimistic about the movie/show possibilities, but I am! I fully intend to buy the board game when it comes out and I’m going to buy some Angry Birds merch as soon as I decide what I want. I can’t get enough of the game…even the “evil” pigs are adorable in their own way.

    Other companies and developers should take a hint from Rovio’s “Angry Birds” success: you have to LISTEN to your customers and give them what they want (in this case: more levels, updates, and tie-ins). They’re truly crossing those virtual lines and appealing to a wide variety of people!

    A+ post, Joe! 🙂

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I didn’t even know what “Angry Birds” was until very recently. Articles referencing the franchise kept popping up on some of my favorite sites (very diverse sites, mind you). The ‘birds’ basically invaded my day-to-day browsing, and I was naturally curious as to why it was so friggin’ popular.

      Well, I downloaded the game a couple weeks ago in an effort to do some research for this post, and I got hooked! Now I understand the phenomenon—and I suppose I’m part of it.

  2. JPorretto

    I Love this game too. I’m on my third play-through of it now. First on my iPhone, then on my wife’s iPod, now on my new Android.

    There’s a joke about how Blackberry users can play too…. texting.

    Launch Red Bird
    –Hit One Pig
    Launch Yellow bird…………Tap!
    –Hit a Gray Block

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I love that anecdote. Yeah, Blackberry users kind-of got the short end of the stick with “Angry Birds.”

  3. LK

    LOVE Angry Birds! When I was first trying to beat all the levels I would stay up playing Angry Birds until my phone’s battery ran out. I also want an Angry Bird stuffed animal, but don’t really feel that thats a wise way to spend my money… now an Angry Bird stress ball, GENIUS idea Jill.

    Joe- do you think they’ll put out an Angry Birds for 3DS???

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Wow! I never even thought of that. I really hope so! In fact, I don’t see why they wouldn’t—more dimensions means even “angrier” birds.


  4. Chase

    Angry Birds is my game! I have 3 starred the entire first release (all levels). I have not finished 3 starring seasons just yet. But everything else is in the books!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Seriously? THAT takes some serious dedication!

      • Jill Tooley

        Oh, he’s serious! He showed me his 3-star collection to prove it…and it’s quite the collection. We can’t all be foosball/Rubik’s Cube/Angry Birds masters like Chase! 😉

  5. Juliette

    I’m so hooked on this game…..and got my mom hooked on it too (I’m nabbing her a stuffed Angry Bird for mother’s day). Now if I could just get unstuck from this one level…

    I’m really happy they took the idea, saw the interest and ran with it (probably cackling madly as they did so). Like Jill, I’ll be buying the board game too. 🙂 (and the stress balls would be awesome!)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I can just see the CEO laughing maniacally—all the way to the bank.

    • Jill Tooley

      I know, wouldn’t Angry Birds stress balls be adorable!?!? And they wouldn’t hurt if they were launched at you (which, let’s be honest, would inevitably happen in ANY office)!

      What’s your favorite Angry Bird? I’m partial to the yellow, triangle-shaped one for some reason…

  6. Cybernetic SAM

    Does not compute…Cybernetic SAM does not know what angry birds are. This is referring to the classic Hitchcock film, right? That one I know very well, but then again I am 48 years behind technology. Guess this qualifies me to have my blog pseudo name revoked…

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Yes, this blog refers to the 1963 Hitchcock film… “Angry Birds.”

      • Cybernetic SAM

        well they were angry, were they not!?!?

  7. Jason Borne

    Why are the birds so angry and what does Rovio have against pigs?

    I love bacon! 🙂

    … this game sounds addicting, almost like a marriage killer; I’ll pass! The last thing I need to do is lock myself in a room shooting birds and pigs.

    CONFESSION: I downloaded the app and I’m addicted. I hate you all.

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