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movie 2 updates inside! © 2019 Rovio

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The last 12 months has seen a flurry of activity on the Angry Birds licensing programme, welcoming new partners and setting up some major retail activations. Rob Corney, group md at Bulldog Licensing – the brand’s UK agent – tells us why 2019 is such a key year for the franchise, what he thinks is the secret to its success and plans for further growth.


THE BIRDS t’s one of the world’s biggest brands covering film, TV and mobile games that altogether have been downloaded over four billion times. And 2019 marks the release of the movie sequel, hotly tipped to be one of the biggest film releases of the year. It’s no wonder then, that Rob Corney, group md of Bulldog Licensing – the UK agency for Rovio’s Angry Birds – is excited about the brand and what the year ahead holds. The licensing programme already has an enviable base on which to build further, as Rob explains: “There are nearly 30 licensees on board for the UK programme and well over 200 worldwide. The brand is a consistent seller year in, year out around the world and, with the strongest pipeline of content delivery in its history, the future is



incredibly bright.” In terms of most recent licensing deals, there has been a lot going on already in 2019. “Anybody attending the recent toy fairs can’t have failed to notice the incredible support we got from our toy partners, with Jazwares emblazoning its stand with movie imagery and Tobar taking over practically the whole stand with Angry Birds,” Rob continues. “The launch of the Maisto remote control toys was incredible, with a whole Angry Birds environment complete with crates in Nuremburg, while the Edukie construction team built the entire range complete with life-size Red and Chuck to support its launch. “The Rascals team is now well under way with PD for an exciting new board game concept and the brand traditionally flies in that area, while our soft lines partners Smith & Brooks and Cooneen/Misirli are getting very positive reactions across retail in an area which has always been a major seller for Angry Birds.

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“Plush has always been a major driver for the Angry Birds brand, but as a property which has huge appeal across all demographics, it sees very strong sales right across the spectrum of licensing with apparel always a major success at retail.” Of course, 2019 also marks a decade of Angry Birds and Bulldog Licensing is working with partners to develop anniversary-specific products. “The collectables market is the real winner here,” Rob points out. “Our figurines partner, Silver Fox, has some exciting new product launches planned to coincide with the ten-year celebrations.” 2019, explains Rob, is all about maximising the opportunity for retailers around Angry Birds, while building a strong foundation for continued sales through 2020, benefitting from the launch of the brand’s first foray into long-form animation. “With a huge fanbase for the Angry Birds shorts, the new TV series is set to make a huge impact on the small screen and provides both licensees and retailers with the stability needed to ensure Angry Birds is a big hit on merchandise year-round,” Rob concludes.

The secret to success So what does Rob think is the secret to Angry Birds’ longevity and enduring appeal? “The gameplay is innovative and the characters have continually evolved over the years,” he says. “New game releases have continued to refresh the concept for new audiences with Angry Birds 2 appealing to all-comers, while Angry Birds Match is predominantly played by a young adult female audience and Evolution by young adult males. “The TV shows are hugely popular with billions of views and, of course, the movies reach a huge audience and appeal to the whole family.” The design work behind the brand is also incredibly adaptable, Rob believes, all the way from the cute with Hatchlings through to the topical, wacky and irreverent across the range of the franchise. “Angry Birds is always fashionable and is constantly reinventing itself to keep the fan base entertained and involved,” he adds.


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Rovio will be marking ten years of Angry Birds with two targeted anniversary licensing programmes, featuring a raft of product and brand activations. But it doesn’t stop there, because the brand also has its strongest content roadmap ever going forward.



ovio is framing the tenth anniversary of Angry Birds around a ‘decade of destruction’, explains Simo Hämäläinen, svp brand licensing at Rovio. “This is very fitting when considering the satisfaction derived from birds being slingshot launched at high speed into their piggy nemeses, knocking over their structures and getting revenge for stealing their eggs,” he explains. “So you can probably imagine the types of fun marketing activities we will be executing that riff off this theme.” At the same time, a big part of the celebrations will be taking a


trip down memory lane, paying tribute to some of the big games and brand activations which have brought Angry Birds to the attention of the world. A selected premium licensing range will take inspiration from the history and the evolution of the brand. “There are two tenth anniversary programmes ongoing, one of which is targeted at premium partners and with the audience being teens and adults,” says Simo. “This will involve bespoke asset creation and will be a different style guide to the second program, which is skewed towards kids. By splitting our programme in this way, we can reach two different audiences that will have interfaced with the Angry Birds brand over the last ten years.”

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Away from the anniversary, Simo says that Rovio has the strongest content roadmap that Angry Birds has ever had. A highlight is, of course, The Angry Birds Movie 2, which releases in cinemas this summer, with Rovio believing that the interest generated from the sequel will act as an invaluable springboard for its upcoming brand activities. Simo continues: “We continue to invest and publish unique, high quality content on our Angry Birds YouTube channel (which has over 2.8m subscribers). A recently released example of this was Angry Birds On the Run, our first live-action serialised short-form content, and written/directed by the awesome Baker Terry. In 2020, our content strategy evolves further with the release of our first long-form animated series, supported by its own licensing program and published across different platforms globally.” In addition to this, there will also be more location-

based exhibitions. For example, Rovio recently partnered with Namco UK to announce Angry Birds indoor adventure golf attractions across the UK. “And expect some fun new ‘live show’ activations around the world,” teases Simo. “These are particularly exciting, as we’ve never introduced Angry Birds to such live-action entertainment forms until now.” As for the longer term future, Simo believes that Angry Birds is only just beginning. “It’s important to say though that ten years of history is nothing in the entertainment industry. Angry Birds as a brand has seen some exciting times over the last decade, but truly, this is only the beginning,” he concludes.

Game on

Gaming, of course, remains key to the further development of the Angry Birds franchise. Simo explains that Rovio is committed to launching at least two new games in 2019, starting with Angry Birds Dream Blast which is a tap-to-match puzzle game featuring the young flock. “If we consider our biggest game, Angry Birds 2, was released a couple of years ago now, our strategy to keep games fun/engaging and content-rich over a long period of time is really working well,” says Simo. “It’s not just about globally releasing a mobile game and focusing on the first week - it’s very much about taking a longer term view. Also, one of our strategic core pillars as a company is to invest in and investigate the future of gaming.” To this end, Rovio has been partnering with developers such as Resolution Games to bring Angry Birds to mixed reality (Magic Leap) and virtual reality (Oculus Rift, HTV Vive) over the past months. “This has been a great experience as the nature of the Angry Birds classic slingshot gameplay lends itself perfectly to extended reality formats,” Simo continues. In addition, to support the new movie and the accompanying licensing programme, Rovio will be launching a digital programme connected to a new Angry Birds AR application. “It will be an entertainment platform that connects physical products to the digital Angry Birds world in a cool way through AR,” says Simo. “It offers a safe environment for children and it is light and easy to download even on the go. The app will be featured through tens of millions of products' call to actions, providing amazing visibility for the programme. It’s not meant to be only for the movie though - we will continue supporting and developing it after the movie launch!”


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With such broad appeal, it’s not surprising that there is such a varied amount of Angry Birds product on shelves. We chat to some key licensees about what the brand means to them and highlight some upcoming new lines.

Helen Bull divisional director, Thorpe Park

Above: The Angry Birds attraction added ‘colour and vibrancy’ to Thorpe Park.

“At the time of launch, Angry Birds Land added colour and vibrancy to the Resort and was a stepped change for us in offering something truly immersive for the family market; offering them the chance to come together and enjoy three fantastic and exciting Angry Birds-branded attractions. Whether it’s thrilling fun or an exhilarating adrenaline rush you’re looking for, Angry Birds Land offers something for all. From family-favourite attractions such as the Dodgems, to a unique 4D cinema experience and an exhilarating drop ride, the Angry Birds Land has mass appeal and most importantly offers families the chance to create those everlasting memorable moments together.”


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Leanne Jennings head of buying, Tobar

“Rovio has been investing a lot in the brand and there is so much content for us to choose from – the Right: Angry products are a perfect fit for the licence.” Birds product had a While we were aware of the brand’s strong presence on Tobar’s Nuremberg stand. popularity, even we were quite surprised Below right: Snot Nose Leonard when we saw the stats relating to the number is one of the new launches from Tobar. of people playing the game and also watching Below left: Maisto’s range content on YouTube on a monthly basis - the also boasts some larger vehicles. stats are huge! It just goes to show that the appeal has not waned over the years and the hard work Rovio has been putting into to keep the characters fresh and fun has really paid off. Due to the amazing fit with the licence, we have been able to re-create some of this year’s best trend lines with the Angry Birds characters. We have jelly balls, squishies, balloon balls and there is a slot racing and slime, while also incorporating the set which features Red and humour from the movie and elements of the Leonard bombing around the islands in their gameplay itself. vehicles. One of the favourites from the range is the We also distribute Maisto, which has RC Slingshot Racers – M&B is well known for one of the hottest producing RC and these just fit trends within pocket perfectly with the licence, incorporating money at the the slingshot element from the game.” moment. With the blind bag collectable element of the Hatch and Race Eggs, these are great fun as the egg becomes the character with six to collect. Alongside those we have the Crashers – highly detailed super fast pull back and go cars; each character has its own vehicle. M&B has also managed to really capture the fun element of the brand with some of the larger vehicles within the range. Rage Racers are two motorised vehicles with sounds from the app


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Steven Van Bommel ceo, Edukie

“We’re backing Angry Birds as we believe in the long-term strategy which Rovio has chosen for the brand; things aren’t just only based around the movie. “Its appeal has endured because it is a simple game and easy to play for all ages” Reactions to our new product line at the recent toy fairs was more than positive; the awareness of Angry Birds with people is so high.”

Above: Angry Birds’ appeal has endured because of its simplicity, says Edukie’s Steven.

Ellie Griffiths licensing and marketing manager, SAMBRO

Tim Rudd-Clarke licensing director, Gemma International

“Puzzle Palz have been hugely successful for SAMBRO since the initial ranges launched in AW’18. We have spent the last few months steadily growing the portfolio and are super excited that Angry Birds will be joining the family this year. Angry Birds was a perfect fit for us due to its enduring popularity and universal appeal to both boys and girls of all ages. Of course, 2019 is also a massive year for the brand with Angry Birds 2 hitting cinemas later this year and new games set for release. We knew we had to be part of it! The range of cute 3D collectable erasers will feature six key characters and is set to launch across UK, EMEA and North America for AW’19.”


“We realised several years ago that mobile gaming was becoming a big phenomenon and a new area for licensing. We identified an opportunity with Angry Birds and signed our first card and gift packaging deal back in 2011 - the brand has been a fantastic addition to our portfolio and we’re pleased to be a continual licensee for Angry Birds. Angry Birds is the pioneering, classic mobile gaming brand, it’s broad appeal across ages and gender has kept it at the forefront of gaming, with the constant engagement the games offer they really do keep the user coming back for more! Of course, it’s not only the games but the content, movies, partnerships and consumer products which have also ensured Angry Birds remains fresh and appealing to original and new fans alike.”

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Sam Ferguson vp global licensing Jazwares Left: Jazwares’ line aims to bring the Angry Birds charisma to life.

Seb Mather md Beautiful Game “Angry Birds is a brand which continues to reinvent itself. With such focus on new exciting content and cross platform fan engagement, it’s great to see the brand flourish into its third generation. As a first time Angry Birds licensee, this year is an exciting time to be involved with the brand. Our product and the bird characters are a great fit stylistically and resonate well with fans. We have already launched an initial range of wall stickers with full wall murals and personalised options available. We’re really excited to be working on our Angry Birds Movie 2 range, which will be launching later this year.”

“There is a true 360 content strategy engaging fans across all mediums for Angry Birds. The brand roadmap is incredibly exciting with the tenth anniversary, the Angry Birds 2 movie, new game releases and new content in the pipeline this a truly longterm partnership for Jazwares. Rovio has done an amazing job over the past ten years expanding the franchise so that fans are engaged across all mediums. The brand talks to fans in different ways on various platforms delighting younger and older audiences. Our line is action-packed and brings the Angry Birds charisma to life, reflecting the DNA of the brand. We have extensive expertise in bringing digital brands to life and this line definitely delivers new and engaging ways for fans to interact with Angry Birds. We have an Angry Birds offering at all the key price-points from the £3.99 Catablind impulse collectables, right through to the £19.99 Build n Launch play-set. Consisting of splat balls, catapult blinds, playsets and plush, the Jazwares toy line offers true-to game play patterns and character recognition that we are confident fans are going to love.”

Right: New character Zeta has been embraced by 151 Products.

“Angry Birds’ character expressions and colours, together with the huge popularity of group marketing the film and game, give us confidence the brand will be an exciting new offer to our director 151 products licence portfolio. It is a bright and fun brand, with a wide appeal across multiple age groups. People will feel they can relate to each individual character and their distinct behaviours/personalities and enjoy having a favourite. We have embraced the new character, Zeta, creating a piña colada fragrance – in the movie she likes all things tropical yet lives in a frozen island… the irony!”

Amanda Lewis


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From a retailer’s point of view, the wide-ranging appeal of Angry Birds is a big plus point. And with a swathe of new merchandise on the way in 2019, expect to see Angry Birds land on all kinds of shelves.

Karen Hewitt co-founder,

Rebecca Naish head of marketing and licensing, The Entertainer “The brand is still so recognised and loved – 63 million users play the mobile games every month! People are still really engaged with the Angry Birds brand and the characters. The movie will give Angry Birds a big boost; the new ranges look great and the new packaging guide will really help bring the brand together at retail. I feel I am most like Stella. She’s described as the Feisty Optimist and I think my husband would agree with the feisty element and my team would agree with me being an optimist. She’s very inquisitive which is like me, too.”

Natalie Howarth-Ruiz frame buying assistant, Specsavers Specsavers is excited to announce the launch of four new Angry Birds kids’ frames, which will be available in stores in July 2019. Coinciding with the release of The Angry Birds Movie 2, the colourful glasses feature fan-favourite characters Red, Bomb, Chuck and Leonard, as well as the adorable Hatchlings. Partnering with the Angry Birds franchise, which has huge global reach and brand awareness among our customers, means our new frames will surely delight our younger customers and parents alike.


“Angry Birds has a really broad appeal across a wide range of ages and genders, which makes a retailer’s job much easier when choosing a licence to back. We are really exciting for the second movie as it is sure to increase awareness and demand for the brand. Personally, I think I am most like Stella as I am most definitely a Feisty Optimist with an inquisitive nature. However, talk to my colleagues in the office and they might describe me as Bomb - chilled out unless you get me worked up and then I'll explode!”

Sandra Hamerton licensing manager, Smith & Brooks “Smith & Brooks are excited to be working on such a fun licence that has enduring appeal to both children and adults with a growing number of fans of the game and, of course, the anticipation of the second movie and tenth anniversary. We are looking forward to launching our ranges of daywear, footwear and accessories to coincide with the wealth of activity taking place around Angry Birds this year."

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MOVIE 2 The Angry Birds Movie grossed more than $352 million at the global box office and was Sony Pictures’ highest grossing film of 2016. With the eagerly awaited sequel due to land in cinemas this autumn, we take a look at what we can expect.


his autumn, audiences will be transported back to Bird Island, with the all-star cast from The But when a new villain threatens to destroy life on both Angry Birds Movie reuniting Bird and Piggy Islands, the birds and pigs realise with a top creative team of their only chance of survival is to join forces. entertainment veterans behind some of Now, volatile Red, speedy Chuck and the biggest animation success stories of explosive Bomb will have to team up with the the past decade. dastardly Leonard and other pigs, in a While the plot is being closely guarded, hilarious heist adventure to dismantle we do know that Bird Island is once an evil super-weapon before it destroys again an idyllic, happy bird community them first, and they quickly discover – thanks to the recovery efforts to that your enemy’s enemy might just have rebuild following the to be your friend. all-out war with the pigs chronicled in The Angry Birds Movie 2 will be the first movie. accompanied by a strong line-up of games, The islanders are continuing to celebrate toys, books, consumer products and their heroes – Red, Bomb and Chuck – who, promotional partners and promises to feature with the aid of the legendary Mighty Eagle, rescued all more of everyone’s favourite adorable Hatchlings. the eggs from the scheming pigs. And while piggy technology begins to wide “Sony Pictures locked in over 130 partners world seep into bird culture - including a ssful succe wildly a ring delive for The Angry Birds Movie, burgeoning slingshot film. the for aign camp al otion prom $250 million in transportation system - the war the between the birds and pigs has not Sony Pictures is aiming to soar even higher with t weigh heavy a d ended. It has simply sequel, putting support behin evolved (or rather marketing campaign globally.” Pictures devolved) into an elaborate Peter Staines, UK head of partnerships, Sony series of pranks played on both sides.


© 2019 Rovio

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Profile for Max Publishing

Bulldog Licensing: Angry Birds 2019  

Bulldog Licensing: Angry Birds 2019