In Depth

'Angry Birds' Flock to Super Bowl--Secret Code for Popular Mobile Game to Be Embedded in 30-Second 'Rio' Spot

By Andrew Hampp
Advertising Age

The biggest craze in mobile games is coming to the biggest game on TV: 20th Century Fox is teaming up with Rovio's "Angry Birds" for a marketing partnership starting on Super Bowl Sunday, when a 30-second spot for the Fox animated film "Rio" will feature an embedded code directing "Angry Birds" players to a special level in the popular mobile game.

The spot was produced in-house by Fox and is set to air during the game's fourth quarter. It will also be available after the Super Bowl on YouTube.

Users who complete the secret "Angry Birds" level will then be entered in an official "Rio" sweepstakes, in which one grand-prize winner will be flown to the film's March 22 premiere in Rio de Janiero. March 22 is also the launch date of the previously announced "Angry Birds Rio" app.
"We get a lot of requests like, 'You made 'Angry Birds,' can you make a game for us?'" "Angry Birds" creator Peter Vesterbacka recently told Ad Age. "Sure we can. But the smart brands are the ones who will work with the apps that have the audiences already and create experiences that will be integrated into the app."

Fox said the spot will be the first Super Bowl ad that requires viewers to pause the spot and watch frame-by-frame to capture an embedded code. Other marketers are adopting somewhat similar tactics, however, in their Super Bowl ads this year. Kia's 60-second Super Bowl spot will include the answer to a question that consumers need to advance in its "One Epic Contest" to win one of five 2011 Optimas.

It's not clear how many people will want to pause the Super Bowl -- which advertisers prize not just for its vast audience but also because everyone watches live -- and search frame by frame for an "Angry Birds" code. Then again, people get pretty consumed by "Angry Birds," the ostensibly casual game that devours countless hours of players' lives.

Fox is the latest movie studio to book ad time during this Sunday's Super Bowl, joining a roster that includes Universal Studios ("Cowboys & Aliens"), Paramount Pictures ("Captain America: The First Avenger," "Transformers: The Dark of the Moon," "Rango," "Super 8," "Thor"), DreamWorks Animation ("Kung Fu Panda 2") and Walt Disney Pictures ("Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.")