The Bugg Report recently sat down with Alex Lambek from Rovio to discuss Angry Birds and all things relating to the uber-popular brand.
Hello Alex, thank you for taking the time to talk with us on the Rovio business and Angry Birds. We believe that you have held a number of very impressive positions throughout your career at companies including Nokia, Blackberry, Fox and now Rovio. As an introduction to our readers, can you tell us about yourself and your background?
I appreciate your interest in Rovio and let me tell you a few things about myself. I’m a Dutch national and have spent my entire career in the mobile and more recently in the media industry, in sales, marketing, category management and general management positions. I have spent most time in the Asia Pacific region and am proud to have brought low cost mobile devices to hundreds of millions of entry level consumers in markets like China, India and Indonesia while at Nokia. I also worked in Australia for three years as MD of Nokia in the good days and still miss the great outdoors and my many ‘mates’. More recently I have become involved in Media, having run a start up pay satellite TV operator in Indonesia and then worked with large broadcasters in Asia to bring them great channels like Fox Sports and National Geographic Channel, among many others. My passion is to change things for the better for fans and consumers all around the world, and in my spare time I am also learning to become a Professional Coach.
From a Rovio perspective, can you explain your now CCO position at the company, and what your main focus points and priorities are for Angry Birds?
As CCO my main focus is on making Angry Birds an even more loved brand in the hearts and minds of our consumers.
The recent release of “Angry Birds 2 has seen huge success to-date with over 2000 reviews and 4-star rating on iTunes. How important has the release of this game been for the company with the rise of so many new app games in the space?
Angry Birds 2 has been a big success and when writing this response, we are above 50 million downloads – that’s more than 1 million downloads a day since launch!
The other major focus for Rovio is the new Angry Birds movie, due for release in May, 2016. I believe that Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis will be directing the movie, but the plot has been kept very quite to-date. Can you tell us anything about the movie in terms of adding another dimension to the Angry Birds universe?
Angry Birds will become accessible to an even bigger crowd and in ways like never before, when the movie is launched. We have great people like David Maisel (former Marvel Studios Chairman and producer of Iron Man) as Executive Producer and John Cohen (producer of Despicable Me) producing for of us and a great acting cast to join us as well. In terms of what the movie is about, you will have to wait until it is released, but we will start to reveal a bit more when our trailer comes out this year. I love what I have seen and the Angry Birds story is told in an amazing way.
Speaking of the movie and keeping with the screen focus, the Angry Birds Toons have been widely viewed since the introduction back in 2013. I believe that the final episode was in April this year. From a strategic viewpoint, how has this platform helped keep Angry Birds front of mind for fans whilst the movie and new iOS app games have been in development?
Besides our games, our ToonsTV short animation site has also been a big success and has garnered more than 5 billion views globally. Toons can also be watched in the games and enhance the overall experience of our fans.
Consumer Products (CP) is obviously a huge part of the Licensing business and for Angry Birds it would appear no different. How have Rovio used the CP business to drive the Angry Birds business from a product and promotional angle? I would imagine that the theme parks are very important from a promotional angle as well?
The third pillar of our business is Consumer Products. We recently announced a new toys partnership with Lego and many other existing and new partners are signing up with us now. They love what we are doing with our new games and movie, and the excitement we can build with our licensee partners to excite kids and adults alike. We look forward to engaging our fans and those of our partners with great digital and physical product offers.
We believe that you have signed a three year deal for Angry Birds to feature in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From a promotional angle it seems like a huge opportunity to drive the brand. What can fans attending the parade expect to see?
One of the keys to our future success is working with partners and trusting them to add to our offering in ways that we could never do alone.
Examples include partnering with Kunlun in China to make Angry Birds 2 a success – around one third of our downloads now come from China! In Media, we partner with Cake, who help widen the distribution of our content and in Consumer Products we partner with the Legos of the world as well as with great agents in key markets. Macy’s Parade participation and being on the Jimmy Kimmel show are examples of great local market execution and meant to engage and excite our fans in locally relevant ways.
Stay tuned for more news on Rovio in months to come and hope you enjoy our world of birds and pigs!
Thanks for your time Alex, we hope to speak with you again soon to learn more about the business and ongoing success.
For licensing enquiries for Australia and New Zealand please contact WP Brands:
Phone: +61 3 9274 2900