Is Rovio’s Angry Birds brand already bigger than Disney?
A few years back, early 2010, I had a casual chat with Peter Vesterbacka, who just recently had started to drive Angry Birds marketing towards what it is today. We were chatting about how the world is open for those who have dreams and are crazy, brave and persistent enough. We also talked about how far Angry Birds game would go. I clearly remember Peter smiling at me and saying something like this: “This is just the beginning. We are building an entertainment brand. You gotta aim to be Disney and more, but in a modern way.” At that point that comment sounded a bit crazy, since all there was at that point was the game, which even wasn’t available for all major devices.
Now it’s time to start looking at how wide spread Angry Birds brand is today. It all begun from the mobile games, then went to animation and content cooperation (remember NASA and Star Wars) and has since then extended to a multitude of products in all possible categories. Talking to a CEO of a Finnish amusement park in 2011, who just returned from a big toys conference in China: “Every single exhibitor from the total of 900 had something AB in their selection. It was amazing!”
And today you can find everything and anything with AB theme: Amusement parks, clothing, home electronics, cosmetics, candy, soft drinks, fishing equipment, bed linnen, sneakers, board games, scooters, swimming pools, carpets, coffee, bags, bikes, chocolate, watches, umbrellas, kites… the list is endless. Just check out this photo stream about AB products available in Finland.
What’s special about this is the way how some of these products have emerged to the market. Not all of them are just basic sweat shop products made to cash off the brand while the hype continues. Rovio has started cooperation with some leading companies who are putting emphasis on quality. For example, amusement parks are created by Lappset, coffee comes from Paulig, soft drinks are produced by Olvi and candy by Fazer. Amazingly, all these companies are from Finland, just like Rovio.
Rovio is still much smaller than Disney in revenues, but let’s talk about the changing business. How much of new and exciting stuff have you seen from Disney lately? Any cool, trendy content? Anything, that will make people talk about all over the world? I didn’t think so.
Disney has changed the world during the last millenium, and has created an empire with several historical brands. They have their movie business, amusement parks and all that. But will it last in this changing world? Do people still want to spend their vacations (and money) in Disney parks? Or is it time for new things, produced and consumed differently?
I believe the very profitable Rovio is making a great way ahead with their new type of approaches in building their entertainment empire. It includes things like community, cooperation, networking, sharing profit and embracing the whole world. This was not too popular during the last millenium business empires.
No matter what the figures say, I believe has more top-of-mind awareness than Disney has in this moment of time.
What do you think?