Angry Birds Fever Hits China Moon Festival, Wonderful Pistachios


Can Angry Birds be stopped?

The mobile game that has reduced worker productivity in America by half (at least in my household) was already global, but now it’s “glocalizing” as well to meet those new markets. For China’s Autumn Festival, Rovio released a special “Moon Festival” theme for the game.[more]

Available as a download for Android devices, Moon festival Angry Birds follows in the customized tradition, such as Valentine’s Day Angry Birds and a version for the bird-centered film Rio.

More on the Moon Festival Angry Birds in its own words:

“It’s September and the moon is full and high as the Angry Birds head to China for the mooncake festival! The 3000-year-old harvest festival is one of the most important Chinese holidays, and the pigs think they can hide themselves in the midst of all the celebrations. Help the Angry Birds as they chase the pigs through 30 brand new levels filled with pagodas, rabbits, and red lanterns, lit by a dazzling harvest moon”

This is not Rovio’s maiden international voyage (it hit Europe a few months ago) but the Moon Festival version is Rovio’s first go at the China market.

It’s no surprise that Rovio would want to get its already popular Angry Birds into the China market, already one of the largest mobile markets in the world, predicted to grow by over 50 percent a year through 2014, when it’s estimated the market may be worth around $2.5 billion. As Inside Mobile Apps recently noted, “It’s an incredibly complex and different market from the U.S.” Maybe, but that isn’t stopping everyone from plowing ahead; in July, just as Rovio announced in China, Zynga laid claim to its own China partnership with local, major player Tencent.

In July, when the company opened a base in Shanghai, China was already the second largest global market for Angry Birds. Earlier, Rovio predicted “100 million Angry Birds downloads in China by the end of 2011.”

Angry Birds fever” is on display elsewhere in China, where the southern city of Changsa now boasts an (unlicensed) Angry Birds theme park:

Rovio also announced a partnership with China’s leading mobile ad network, Madhouse, but their strategy is not all pixelated and digital blips. In accordance with custom, mobile gaming fans can pick up a set of Angry Birds mooncakes, the traditional pastry of the holiday.

It’s a show that Rovio understands the key to cracking the China market is more than just bringing a good product; it’s localization, localization, localization.

Rovio’s feathered fiends are also popping up in other brands’ campaigns, by the way — check out the new spot for Wonderful Pistachios, part of the latest celeb spots for the brand’s Get Crackin’ campaign along with the unfriended-by-Facebook Winklevoss twins, and Khloe Kardashian & Lamar Odom.